As humans, change isn’t something we enjoy. We’d much rather do the things we love and avoid “rocking the boat.” However, change is also an inevitable part of life. The sooner you understand this and grasp the reality of the situation, the faster you’ll be able to adapt.
Just Do It
As the Nike slogan says, “Just do it!” It may sound like a cliché, but the first step is always the hardest. Once you move in the direction of change, the rest of the process will be much easier.
Whenever you find yourself facing a major change, the worst thing you can do is spend days, weeks, months, or years mulling over the decision. Overthinking things will only make the situation worse.
Realize You Can’t Control Everything
There’s something you need to understand from the very start: You can’t control everything.
“I think we all know this at some level, but the way we think and act and feel many times contradicts this basic truth,” says Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. “We don’t control the universe, and yet we seem to wish we could. All the wishful thinking won’t make it so.”
Once you establish this simple truth in your mind, you’ll experience a transformational shift that allows you to release certain stressors and instead focus on the small things you can influence. You’ll also find that you’re more accepting of change when it happens, since you’re less likely to drag your feet and resist.
Expand Your Interests
In order to be more accepting of change, you need to put yourself in a constant mindset that change is normal and good by pursuing new things that interest you. If you’re conditioned to initiating change on your own terms, you’ll find it easier to change even when you aren’t the initiator.
This is something that Michigan-based Park West Gallery has learned firsthand. They are directly involved with Turnaround Arts, a program that enriches students in underprivileged schools through exposure to the arts, and have seen some powerful change as a result. Specifically, new data shows that students involved in Turnaround Arts programs show a 22.5 percent increase in math scores and 12.6 percent growth in reading.
How is this relevant? Well, consider that students are trying something totally new (art) and it’s not only giving them a new perspective of fine arts, but it’s also changing their approach to education and critical thinking. By expanding your interests, you can coax yourself into being more receptive to change.
Keep a Journal
The vast majority of people are able to clearly express their thoughts when they put pen to paper. There’s just something very freeing and concrete about turning abstract thoughts into written word form. Because of this, many experts suggest keeping a journal.
You don’t have to be religious with your journal – writing an entry every single day and following a strict protocol – but you should be committed in a consistent fashion. In this journal, express your thoughts and emotions as they relate to changing circumstances in your life. Then, once the change has passed, come back and write follow-up entries. This practice will show you that change isn’t bad and often gives your life some much-needed direction.
Change Isn’t a Bad Word
While you may shudder a bit inside when you hear the word, “change” doesn’t have to be a bad word. In fact, change is actually a totally healthy and natural thing in most situations. If you get too stuck in your ways, you may end up standing still for too long and never learn to improve yourself.
Change isn’t comfortable, but it’s entirely necessary. The sooner you come to realize this, the happier you’ll be!