Wherever you are in that perfectly imperfect journey called life, you will encounter many phases, many people, many jobs, and many changes.
The changes can come from within you or can be inspired by forces outside of you.
Where does it begin? With a decision. Other people can make decisions that affect us – we have to decide whether we’ll adjust (or not). More often than not, you won’t feel like you have a choice.
- New job in a new city? Time to plan a move to that new place…
- Your child is struggling in school? Time to help them with their studies or find another resource to help them get over the hump where their schoolwork is concerned.
- A troubled marriage that’s getting worse? Once you’ve tried as many solutions as you can afford (or that you’re willing to try), you may have no choice but to put an end to the relationship.
In each of the above scenarios, you may feel like you don’t truly HAVE a choice, but you do have the power to decide to pivot.
There will be times in your life when you KNOW you are ready for a change, but you might not be 100% sure how to manifest that change in your life. “Pivot” doesn’t have to be a scary word – there are ways to handle the changes that will appear in your life with a degree of ease and skill.
First – realize that it’s in our nature to change on a regular basis. We do it all the time, every single day. Scientific studies have shown that our human bodies are continually changing – cells are dying and renewing, and we can gain or lose strength, aerobic capacity, and brain power. Some of these changes we will be comfortable with, and others will make us apprehensive or even afraid.
Unfortunately, we can’t be taught to handle change – it’s person-dependent and is a byproduct of all the events and things we’ve experienced up to a certain point. Change can be harder to deal with when you are resistant to it, and it may cause you to cringe inwardly when you think about making drastic changes to your lifestyle.
Let’s explore a new perspective – change can indeed be hard, and many people struggle with it, but there is also a multitude of benefits that come along with making those big changes – let’s call them Life Pivots – when the opportunity arises.
What is Change, Anyway?
It’s a six-letter word, both a noun and a verb, and it can either scare you or thrill you. The key? Get comfortable with the concept of change in your life because it’s not going away, and you really can’t avoid it.
The goal? Reaching a point where you understand HOW to change your life in a graceful and strategic way instead of just being carried along on the winds of change with no direction and no purpose.
Change for a human being means that you’re becoming different. It’s not a neat, tidy definition, but because change is always changing, it’s hard to define. *insert mind-blown emoji here*
Many of our fellow human beings fear change because it’s unknown – and a fear of the unknown is inherent in most of us. What we don’t know CAN hurt us – or at least, that’s what we’ve been taught.
Change can be broken down into multiple stages – it’s not instantaneous, it’s not the same for every person, and as an individual, you can see and handle change differently from your friend, neighbor, or co-worker.
5 Stages of Experiencing Change:
- Precontemplation – You’re in denial because you either then you don’t need to make a change or you’re not prepared to make one yet.
- Contemplation – You’ve decided something needs to change. You’re not quite ready for it, but you know where you stand is not where you want to stay.
- Preparation – You have decided – you want to make a change, and you will make the required change. You’re committed to the pivot, even though your game plan may not be fully fleshed out.
- Action – Things are moving forward – you’ve made changes, and you’re taking action, and you’re on the road to success!
- Maintenance – You’ve implemented the change; now, you must keep up with the changes you’ve made. There may be setbacks, but as long as you keep tracking your goals and the changes you’ve implemented, you’re going to keep moving forward.
If this feels overwhelming, don’t worry – everything in our lives has a process, including change. The stages are simply to help you understand that significant life pivots don’t happen immediately – read through these steps and consider them so you’ll better understand what’s going through your mind as you complete your pivot.
Why is Change Important and Impactful?
- Learning and Personal Growth Opportunities – change will push you out of your comfort zone and help you develop as a better person. Just as flowers need water to grow, people need change to grow.
- Pivoting in your life enhances Confidence – tackling life pivots and transitions will empower you and strengthen your sense of confidence. Looking back on all the challenges you’ve overcome will make your celebrations mean much more – and it’s inevitable with life pivots, especially when you tackle them on your own.
- Contagious Motivation – start with one small win, and pretty soon, you’ll want that feeling of excitement again and again. The motivation will come easier because you’ll know what you’re looking for, and your past successes will propel you forward.
- Personal Resilience – you won’t back down or give up when things get hard – you’ll weather the storm and become stronger.
- Excitement and Exhilaration – making changes in your life provides you with new people to meet, new places to go, healthy habits to develop, and more things to learn about yourself. What a great aspect of life!
Making changes gives you an appreciation for challenges and triumphs, reconnects you to the human experience (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and helps strengthen your sense of compassion, which will help you and those around you.
Reflect on your life, solve challenges, and see how you’ve grown over the years by keeping a journal.
These tips can help you get started on making changes and helping them stick:
- Set an Intention – line them up clearly, and create clear, measurable intentions that leave vague language and emotions by the wayside. Consider using your personal journal to write down your new intentions and flesh them out with details that will help you track your progress.
- Choose a time to check in with your intentions each day. The end of the day, as you reflect on your day, is a great time for journaling and for documenting your progress.
- Place emphasis on, and meditate on your goals. That doesn’t mean you need to adopt a classic yoga pose and “ohm” your way through your day, but by documenting your progress regularly in a safe space (ahem – your journal), you’ll keep yourself focused, make time for yourself, add additional strength to your intentions.
- Plan for contingencies – it’s never fun to think about the negatives, but when they are unexpected, they’re even less fun to deal with. List a few things that could potentially go wrong, and also give yourself a plan to work through or around them.
- Decide what’s realistic – factors to consider can include
- Is it affordable? Create a timeline and analysis to help you prepare
- Do you really want the change/goal? Think through the actual change and not just the idea of the change.
- What’s your plan? Changes without plans are less likely to actually happen. Do yourself a favor and set a timeline and a concrete plan before getting into motion.
Change can be easier than you think it will be – pivoting isn’t difficult. Other perfectly imperfect human beings do it every single day. Reluctance to make a change doesn’t have to stop you – when you know you want to transition to a better place, know what you need to do, and you have a good idea of how to do it, you’re already one HUGE step ahead of the game.
Now get to work!