This one is for me. I’m about to make a major change in my lovely little life and it’s rather scary, but good scary. I mean, good scary is still terrifying, but it feels right so at least there’s that. I will let you know what that change is and more very soon (and forgive me for all the vagueness of late, but all will be revealed shortly).
In the meantime, the older I get the more I realise how much I suck at change. It’s an ironic sucking, actually, because while I hate making changes, I crave them at the same time. I find myself climbing the walls if life stays too samey-same for too long. I need challenge, inspiration and stimulation so I have always been one to seek out change. But I still suck at it.
Lately I’ve been trawling the internet looking for help to feel stronger and less nervous about what’s coming up. I was seeking solace in my decision to make this big change and assistance in making the process as simple as possible. I wanted to find a way to enjoy the change while it was happening (and not a few weeks down the track as I usually do – I’m definitely a late-settler!). I thought I’d share my findings with you because perhaps you are facing change right now or maybe you are seeking it.
1. It’s okay to feel unsettled by change
This was a big one for me because for years I’ve pretended that I love change because that’s what we’re supposed to be like, right? All the go-gettters of the world tell us that they “thrive” on change and embracing it is essential if you want to be successful. “Change is just a part of life,” we are constantly told and that’s true. But that doesn’t mean that change isn’t scary, difficult, overwhelming and even terrifying. It’s okay to be scared; go gently.
2. Change is going to happen whether we are ready or not
The fact is, while we are sometimes the instigators of change in our life, most of the changes we face are going to happen whether we like it or not. Whether we lean into the change or we resist it, the same outcome is eventually going to be the result. What does that tell us? It’s a hell of a lot harder to resist than to lean in, that’s what.
3. Write down the positives
You can write down the negatives too (see point 7 below), but definitely don’t skip the positives. Writing down everything good that’s going to come from the change we face is a great way of helping us look beyond our immediate fears. Create some certainty around Good stuff is coming our way once we get through the negative stuff. Sometimes we just need a reminder of that.
4. Trust yourself
In spite of it all, I’m quite a resilient person and I think part of that is that I trust myself. I am confident that I can get myself out of most of life’s more challenging situations. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I like the hairy stuff – far from it – but I do have a fundamental belief that everything is going to be okay because I’ll make it okay. I know I’m alright, no matter how overwhelming change can sometimes be. I think we all need to learn to trust ourselves and plod along knowing that ultimately we’ve got this.
5. The control thing has got to go
This is my ‘big one’: I hate change because I hate not being in control. The older I’ve become, the more I rely on my ability to be in charge of at least some of my world. When a big change-tsunami comes along, my sense of control gets utterly drowned and I panic. We all know that’s no way to survive, so we’ve got to learn to let go, relax, trust our instincts, focus on the moment, use our training and… float.
6. Put your hand up
I’m really going with this ocean analogy, but it just works – change can feel very much like you’re drowning in a big, wide sea and that’s a very lonely feeling indeed. Until you put your hand up. Then an army of lifesavers come pounding down the beach to bring you safely to shore. We all have those lifesavers in our life, we just need to put our hand up and shout for help. Your army will be there and, what’s more, they will relish the opportunity to do whatever they can to help you get through your transition with a smile your face. Put your hand up.
7. Set aside some worry time
We all have worries, but some of us dwell on our anxieties more than others. If you are prone to letting your worries overtake your every thought (and during a time of change, it’s rather hard not to go there), make some time each day to just let it all out. Have a cry, think your worst case scenario, write down every little thing that is concerning you, talk to a friend, moan and groan, panic a little then put it all aside until your next designated worry session. Just put it down and go and do something else. Be a Scarlett and think about it again tomorrow.
8. Be flexible
When change is afoot in one area of your life, you need to be flexible in all areas of your life. Nothing is isolated and change affects everything. It’s tempting to try to keep the rest of your life ‘normal’ while other parts are topsy turvy, but that will only serve to make you more stressed. Try to make some room for the change to settle into.
9. Acknowledge your stress
Sometimes life is just really, really stressful and there aren’t enough miles to run or minutes to be mindful of to change that. Don’t fight your stress, just sit with it. Keep your eating healthy and your exercise regular and remember to breathe, but don’t expect to feel relaxed and carefree during a difficult time. Acknowledge that you’re going to be stressed and on edge and take steps to lessen the impact of that. Ditch social commitments and keep a low profile for a few weeks. Cook simple meals that require little thought or cleaning. Read books to the children and stay offline. Go to bed earlier for a contemplative lie in. Stress doesn’t have to impact everything.
10. Don’t do it all at once
Just as we can’t expect to love the changes straightaway, we also shouldn’t expect that we can make them happen all at once. Break your big change down into a series of little changes if you can. If the change is a ‘big boom’ sort of change, let that happen but create your new habits around it bit by bit. It will take time to adjust to the newness, but you can lessen the impact by getting used to one thing at a time.
How well do you manage change? Do you have any tips for me right now – I’m open!?