It’s human nature to resist change. The more tumultuous our lives become, the more we seek to wrap ourselves in the warm, familiar blanket of stability.
Can You Let Go of the Old?
There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, so long as we’re able to cast off that comforting blanket when it begins to weigh upon and bind us. What about you? Has life thrust some unexpected events at you lately? Have you heard a small, nagging voice urging you that it’s time to change and improve yourself? If so, it’s time to embrace personal change. Here’s how:
Identify Your Fears
When faced with change, we tend to imagine worse-case scenarios and blow them out of proportion. The greatest obstacle to making positive changes in your life has nothing to do with money, time, resources, talent, or even willpower. The greatest obstacle is fear. . .
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of failure
- Fear of embarrassment
- Fear of loss
Try this exercise: Write down and examine each of your fears when you’re in a calm state of mind. Next, think back to all the other times you’ve adapted and thrived in the face of change. You’ll notice that those same fears were also present then. Reminding yourself that most of your worst fears never come to pass will reduce their potency and allow you to move forward.
Accept That You Don’t Have All the Answers
Change is usually chaotic. Finding your way without a road map can be confusing and messy. Embrace and accept that you won’t always know what you’re doing or that you may look foolish or need help from others. Remove pressure on yourself to get it right the first time. Change is a process, not a destination.
Re-program Your Thinking
Negative thinking is habitual. Replace harmful thoughts with positive ones as soon as you become aware of them by imagining all the good outcomes that will come from the change in front of you. Use your “mind’s eye” to see yourself in a better, happier place. Picture specific outcomes that change will bring about.
Actively Look for Opportunity
People who are good at bringing about and adapting to change have the ability to see opportunity where others don’t. Sometimes this takes some unconventional thinking. Reexamine what you count as a “win.” Setbacks are inevitable. Promise yourself before you get started that you won’t throw in the towel when you stumble. Instead, stop, reassess, and look for another opportunity whenever you run into a roadblock.
Share Your Goals
Strong social support provides encouragement and accountability. Seek out people who are positive influences in your life and let them in on your plans. Consider joining or forming a group with similar goals. There’s power in numbers. Leaning on the strength, resources, and wisdom of others beats going it alone.
- Post your goals and daily affirmations around the house to serve as encouragement.
- Take on only one big change at a time.
- You don’t have to “fix” everything about you or your life all at once.
- Strive for progress rather than perfection.
- Celebrate milestones and continually
- Lay down new short- and medium- term goals
Change is largely what we make of it. With the right mind-set, personal change can be one of the most exciting, memorable periods of your life—an opportunity for personal development; a chance to refresh, re-energize, or chart a new course in life.
When change comes, seize it and keep moving forward. You are the author of your own life story. You can’t erase what has passed, but you can always write a new chapter for tomorrow.