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Handling Change, Realistically

A lot of change is happening around us right now.  With that, a lot of uncertainty has appeared.   A cycle of confusion, rage, acceptance.  We may not have asked for it, but it is here and we can either go with it or try to fight it.  Either way, change is occurring before our very eyes.  Embracing it can be tough.  Enjoying it can feel strange.  Yet, we must carry on and do what we can with what we have. 

Change happens all the time.  Seasons change four times a year.  Our taste in music, décor, even clothes evolve as we enter various stages of life.  We alter our tastes from time to time.  Change is something we are actually very well versed in, yet when it happens we still tend to retreat, or even panic.  It feels unnatural – forced even.  The newness can be uncomfortable and the details scary, yet it is more familiar than we think. 

How then do we address change?  We do not need to embrace it or even enjoy it (although there is nothing wrong with doing so).  We do have to learn to live with change.  Bend with it, flow with it as much as possible, because it is through this adaptation that we ourselves continue to grow, and growth is needed in order to survive.

Want to handle change realistically?  See four ways to help deal with ever-constant change:

  • Accept Change is Messy.  And hard.  And non-linear.  Do not expect perfection because no change is flawless.  Finding ways to accept the messiness is key.  Change takes twists and turns.  Knowing that the vacation you were eagerly awaiting is postponed does not mean the end of the world.  It simply means a pivot is needed.  Plan for peaks and valleys that will occur.  Back to back work meetings getting the way of your yoga practice?  Opt for shorter routines, or limit it to days when you know you will have more time.  Accept that the journey will look a little different than expected.  Be gentle when things do not work out as planned.  The end result will happen, the road to it make just look differently than pictured.
  • One Step at a Time.  Often times change can be daunting and that is what stops us in our tracks.  We are unable to see the forest from the trees and begin to think changes are impossible.  Focusing on smaller digestible steps may hold the key to long-term change.  Break down goals to miniature size and work on that.  Want to run a mile?  Start by running for 30 seconds.  Want to eat a salad every day?  Start with once a week.  No one says you cannot build upon your goal.  No one says you must have every step laid out from the get go either.  Put your blinders on and focus on the next immediate step that needs to happen, not the entire picture. 
  • Add Before You Subtract.  Don’t put the emphasis on eliminating a habit, instead emphasize the new routine you are trying to implement.  Before you start taking things out (cookies, tv watching, Netflix binges), start adding.  Focus on bringing new things into the mix.  Rather than banishing the mid-morning scone, add belly-filling ingredients to your breakfast so the scone won’t be as tempting.  Want to stop watching television after dinner?  Instead of ceasing cold turkey, start introducing walks after dinner a few evening a week.  Adding a new habit into the routine may slowly start to push the old habit out. 
  • Recruit Your Tribe.  If you feel you do better with support, then recruit those around you to help you.  In a study done on activity adherence, social support helped women increase physical activity in otherwise sedentary lifestyles. Let others know what you are working on (and what your struggles are) and how they can help you.  Lean on them if you need to.  Ask for an accountability buddy to support you.  Find the people who will stand by your side because that support can lead to an increase in motivation.   Chances are they will help you change.  They will help you stay focused on what you want.  Keeping at it is the way to succeed and your support system will help you do just that.

– Progress, Not Perfection –

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10459889/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3490012/

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