How to Make Change

Image courtesy of xe-pOr-ex /

Image courtesy of xe-pOr-ex /

Last week, we talked about how to identify the source of our need for change.  This week, let’s talk about the hardest part: actually changing our lives for the better! Obviously, we need to spend some time planning for a major change.  We want to consider every factor, from financial to emotional, and be honest about the things that might come up during the transition.  Once we’ve planned it, we want to put the plan in motion immediately, even if it’s the tiniest action.  Transfer $20 to savings for that move, eat just one extra vegetable or fruit or start looking at new jobs TODAY (not at work, lol).  It will get the ball rolling and make us feel like we’re moving toward our goals.  And once we’re moving, there’s no turning back.  Here’s how to survive a major transition:

Mindset: There are very few people who enjoy disrupting the comfortable routine of their lives.  Even if we are making a change that will improve our lives, the transition time can be rough.  We want to be very clear in our minds about WHY we are doing this in the first place, and even if we are, we may still need reminders.  These reminders can be anything from spending a few minutes during the day focusing on the ultimate outcome, to leaning on a friend or loved one when it all seems to be too much, to posting little notes in the bathroom or the car so we will see them every day.  Make these reminders positive: not what you hated about the past, but why you know this new path is going to be good for you, or what you are looking forward to.  Remember that it’s okay to be scared about new things, it’s okay to want to kill the moving company (author’s note: there’s a funny story about that), and it’s okay to cry about it.  But the way forward is through: during the little crises, take your time to be upset, refocus, and keep going.

Recovery: Finally!  We’ve finished moving; we’ve launched our new business; we’ve lost that last 15 pounds!  Once we’ve reached a major goal, it’s important to give ourselves some time to breathe.  So seriously: take a load off.  Give your mind and your body time to adjust.  Sleep long enough and at the right times; take naps if you need to.  Don’t pack your schedule yet – you want to have time to learn the skills you need to maintain the new you.  If you’ve reached a physical goal, you may have to change the way you cook, or schedule time to exercise or train.  If you’ve started a new job, you may need to do some homework to get up to speed on new technology or best practices.  Most importantly, give yourself the gift of free time, above and beyond your sleep time or homework time.  Read a book, or catch up on that TV series you love, and don’t judge yourself for it.  This is not time wasted – even as adults, we need recess.

Momentum: Just as important as recovery is restructuring our lives to maintain our goals.  If we move to a new city, but we do the exact same things we did in the old one, what was the point of moving?  A major change isn’t just the transition; it’s what we do with our new perspective that makes it permanent.  This is where it really gets tough: the number of tiny adjustments we have to make to keep growing is infinite.  That new job might be better by every measure, but if we don’t change the way we work it will probably turn out a lot like the old job.  At this point, we want to remind ourselves of what we left, and why.  Remember to keep this positive as well: too much anger, shame or sadness about the past is counterproductive.  Instead, we want to focus on why our goal originally motivated us to transform our lives.  Back when we first made the decision, what were the things we daydreamed about doing with this new step?  Maybe we wanted to learn a new skill, or adopt a new lifestyle.  Ask yourself: Am I doing something every day to live that new life?  Yes, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

This isn’t the easy stuff, but we CAN do it.  We can live lives that make us feel good, lives that we wake up looking forward to.  It is almost always more difficult than the alternative, but it is absolutely worth it.

Hoop Well!  Live Well!

Posted on Saturday, May 24, 2014 19:10