‘Change is a way of growing beyond the person you thought you were into the deeper, stronger person you will become.’ – Susan Squellati Florence.
The one thing we can be sure of in life is that things change!
When a major part of our life changes, it is common for us to experience highs or lows. Change impacts us all in many different ways and in all areas of our lives. We all go through a cycle of emotions when change hits us- the speed, timing and how we deal with it, varies from person to person.
There is no getting away from it so having the skills and strategies in how to deal with things is key. If you are experiencing a particular change right now, you first need to understand what is happening, the impact it is having on you and then how you can positively deal with it. In this article I will be giving you my top tips on you can best deal with change in your life.
Some changes and life experiences fit with how we view ourselves – how we want life to be. Other changes can completely shatter this view and alter how we thought things would turn out to be.
We may have seen our job or career heading in a certain direction, how our personal relationships would turn out, what our future would be like. When we make changes that we are in control of – the things that we choose to change – then these things will generally be supportive of how we see our future. When we do not choose the change, it can have an impact on us that makes us want to ‘deny’ the change – to find a way of stopping it happening so we can go back to how we want things to be.
So when change is forced on us we can cling to what we know rather than something that we don’t have any experience of. We cling to how things used to be or try to create things how we want them to be, rather than accepting a change that someone else is forcing on us where we feel out of personal control.
This type of situation can generate feelings of anxiousness or fear – which in turn can trigger the ‘fight or flight’ response – where emotions are raised in a strong enough way to get up to ‘fight’ for what we want or to ‘flee’ to a place of safety. There is also a third response where we freeze and are completely unable to do anything! This is also why we can end up resisting change and trying to avoid certain situations but it is important to understand your brain is simply trying to protect you!
• So with all change it is important to get clarity. To help you get clarity, it is important to write down and understand:
o what is happening,
o what the circumstances are,
o What the impact is on you and
o What options you have.
Next weigh up your options – look at the pros and cons of each one and decide the best course of action to take. Then set yourself some goals.
• Successful people have goals – they will give you focus and direction and help you to keep on track when ‘emotions’ might take over. Not having goals will leave you reacting to daily circumstances and can make you feel even more out of control. When you have goals in place it will give you a better sense of control, help you to keep motivated to succeed and will under-pin a more positive attitude for getting through the change. Here are a few tips on how to set successful goals:
• Work out what you want to achieve
• Know by when you are going to achieve it
• Break it down into chunks and decide when you are going to achieve each thing by
• Tell someone about it – that will encourage you to get on with things!
• Keep a journal This will enable you to make notes on how you are feeling and the changes that you are noticing as you go through the exercises. Make a note of the day and date with each entry so it is easier for you to reflect back.
• Keeping a journal is also a great way of letting out how you feel in a safe way. We can express things onto paper without anyone getting hurt in the way we express it! It is your private space. As well as capturing how you are generally, make notes on things such as the following:
• Your mood and feelings
• Your energy level
• The positives that you notice from the day
• Any achievements and further things to concentrate on
• Capture any points of learning, any changes – however big or small, your experiences and any realisations that you may have.
• If there are particular things that need to be dealt with – break them down into manageable chunks and if you need to set yourself a goal to sort it out – then do it!
Remember, you are more than your current circumstances!
By following those simple tips, you can bring some personal control back in so you can deal with the change successfully.
Once you understand change, you may start to welcome it a bit more. Don’t forget that you are in charge of your own life and your own future – no one else is! If a change is being ‘forced’ on you – make your own choices about how you can go forward as a result of it.
Grab hold of it! You can create your own positive future and more importantly, your own positive present.
Janice Haddon has over 25 years’ experience in strategic and operational Human Resources and management consultancy. Working across a range of sectors and with start-ups to top 20 companies, Janice is a qualified coach and has a passion for integrating performance, personal positivity and wellbeing into the work place. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, an MA in Psychotherapy and an MBA from Henley Management College, Janice is also a Master Practitioner in NLP, a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapy Counsellor.