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10 Steps to Making Change Easier: Smoothing Transitions
1. Begin by making small changes or break up large-scale changes into more manageable increments. This can make you feel better about handling the changes you are about to make while making you more comfortable with change in general.
2. Mentally link changes to established daily rituals. This can make changes like taking on a new habit, starting a new job, or adapting to a new home happen much more smoothly. For example, if you want to begin meditating at home, try weaving it into your morning routine.
3. Going with the flow can help you accept change instead of resisting it. If you stay flexible, you will be able to ride out change without too much turbulence.
4. When a change feels most stressful, relief can often be found in finding the good that it brings. An illness, a financial loss, or a broken relationship can seem like the end of the world, yet they also can be blessings in disguise.
5. Remember that all change involves a degree of learning. If you find change particularly stressful, try to keep in mind that after this period of transformation has passed, you will be a wiser person for it.
6. Remember that upheaval and confusion are often natural parts of change. While we can anticipate certain elements that a change might bring, it is impossible to know everything that will happen in advance. Be prepared for unexpected surprises, and the winds of change won’t easily knock you over.
7. Don’t feel like you have to cope with changing circumstances or the stress of making a change on your own. Talk about what’s going on for you with a friend or write about it in a journal. Sharing your feelings can give you a sense of relief while helping you find the strength to carry on.
8. Give yourself time to accept any changes that you face. And as change happens, recognize that you may need time to adjust to your new situation. Allow yourself a period of time to reconcile your feelings. This can make big changes feel less extreme.
9. No matter how large or difficult a change is, you will eventually adapt to these new circumstances. Remember that regardless of how great the change, all the new that it brings will eventually weave itself into the right places in your life.
10. If you’re trying to change a pattern of behavior or navigate your way through a life change, don’t assume that it has to be easy. Wanting to cry or being moody during a period of change is natural. Then again, don’t assume that making a change needs to be hard. Sometimes, changes are meant to be that easy. ~ Madyson Taylor, Daily Om
One of my favorite books is “The Way of Transition” by William Bridges. The book is about change, actually the process leading to change. The book opens with: “It’s a paradox: To achieve continuity, we have to be willing to change. Change is, in fact, the only way to protect whatever exists, for without continuous readjustment the present cannot continue.” Thus, change is a necessity, for without it, we stagnant, fail to move forward, and remain mired in the past. It has been a constant in our lives since the day we were born. Yet, at times it seems an insurmountable obstacle. Ironically, in the face of change,
“[t]he very things we now wish that we could hold onto and keep safe from change were themselves originally produced by changes. And many of those changes, in their day, looked just as daunting as any in the present do..No matter how solid and comfortable and necessary the status quo feels today. It was once new, untried and uncomfortable. Change is not only the path ahead but it is also the path behind us, the one which we traveled along to wherever we are now trying to stay.” ~ William Bridges, The Way of Transition
The “transition” that Bridges refers to in the book’s title, is the process that we undergo to create real change. “Transition” involves three stages: letting go of the old (past), the “neutral zone,” where we’ve let go of the past but haven’t fully embraced the new (present), and finally, beginning a new life. At its essence, this is the very nature of change.
Generally, we are oblivious to the constant change that occurs around and in us. Such changes create little to no resistance. It is the major events in life that turns the spotlight on change. For example, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a divorce, or a major illness. Of course, change is not limited to losses. Surprisingly. resistance to change is just as frequent in response to situations where one would presumably be happy, such as the birth of a child, securing a dream job, or achieving a long fought-for goal. In all of these instances, we must transition from the person that we are, to the person that awaits us.. As Bridges notes:
“We resist transition not because we can’t accept the change, but because we can’t accept letting go of that piece of ourselves that we have to give up when and because the situation has changed.”
It is that piece of ourselves that cloaks us in comfort and certainty, and it is little wonder that we resist the letting go.
At some point in your life, you will undoubtedly find yourself in conflict about a new situation. Acknowledging that conflict and recognizing it for what it is, forms the most important step. Like grief, change is a process that we must face before we find ourselves in a state of acceptance, and ready to move on to a new life. The time of transition leading to acceptance is fluid, and there is no set time frame between the letting go of the old life and embracing the new one. The most important step is to accept that an ending is a prerequisite to any beginning. With that fact in mind, we can begin the journey towards the life that awaits us.