Change is difficult. It is so easy to get caught in a rut. Get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed. We say that we crave structure, hence the schedule.
There are definitely good ways to set a schedule for your day, but it is also important to leave space for the unexpected and exciting to happen. There’s something off when you don’t have time to meet up with friends because you are catching up on your favorite TV show, and besides, you already liked their photo on Facebook, isn’t that enough? No. It’s not.
When it’s time to make a change in your life you know it. Maybe you don’t know what needs to change, but you get that uncomfortable feeling. Something isn’t quite right anymore. You can either choose to grow, or to settle in and be choked by an old skin that’s too tight. And if you’re not growing…well that can’t be good.
I like to think that with enough prayer and thinking you can figure out what needs to change. However I also think that God doesn’t always speak right into our ears, so sometimes figuring out what the best course of action is takes a little bit of trial and error.
There can also be times when we are in a situation that isn’t easy to change. Maybe we are locked into a career that we don’t really like, but we have a family to think about. At those times you can’t just think about how a situation is affecting you, because how you handle it will affect so many other people around you. However, there are still ways that you can change to allow yourself to continue growing!
Identify what needs to change.
When you get that feeling, you know the one, I talked about it up at the top, it’s time for a little self-reflection. Maybe it feels like anxiety, or claustrophobia, or like you are missing something. To me it feels like I have a tight knot around my heart.
The first thing that I like to do is take an inventory of my life. This doesn’t have to be a crazy in depth process, because sometimes we don’t have the time for that. It can just be a quick check-in, what ever you have time for.
First, I think about all of the good things that are in my life. These are things that I make time for during each day, week, or month. People who build me up instead of tearing me down, or things that I really enjoy doing.
- God and The Church
- My Husband
- Extended Family
- My Job
Next I’ll make a list of things that cause me to get stressed out, areas where I feel stuck, areas where I could be doing better.
- The Doctor/Dentist
Making that change!
Now this, this is the hard part. Because change is hard, ridiculously hard. I’m talking, trying new foods that smell like they definitely shouldn’t be anywhere near my plate, hard. But this is also where the magic happens, that part where you step outside your comfort zone and realize that this is the way that you should have been doing it all along. Whether that is changing your perspective, changing your priorities, or even just bringing a snack to work for when you get the afternoon grumpies, you are taking control.
Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t like, and that’s just how it is. But you are in control of how you react. Yes, filing is probably the most boring task in the whole world, but will you tackle it with joy, or is all that alphabetising going to leave you in a bad mood for the rest of the day? Now that is up to YOU!
What is really helpful for me, is after I identify areas of my life that need to be adjusted, I will choose a few to tackle at a time and then make a list of the steps that I need to take to make the change.
Now I love lists, I am a huge lister. Infact I have a whole composition notebook that is almost entirely made up of lists. But if you aren’t a list person, you can make some sort of chart or web type thing, that will allow you to visualize the steps you need to take.
Break it down!
If you break something difficult down into smaller steps, even something like talking to your boss about a raise, or about working more or less hours, you will feel more prepared and more confident in yourself. An added step that I like to take when I have something particularly difficult to accomplish is to ask a few people whom I trust if they have any suggestions to make my plan better. This helps me to feel more sure about myself, and also helps me to know that I am taking the best steps to reach my goal.
How do you identify changes that need to be made in your life? What is your favorite way to make those changes a reality?