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Could now be the time to change?

PICTURE THIS: Imagining a happier life once you’ve made changes may be the spur you need

CHANGE IS often daunting for people, as it is associated with one’s routine being changed and bringing instability into one’s life.

When people describe being in a rut, they are frequently referring to situations which have stayed the same for a long time.

They have lost interest and motivation.

A common example of fear of change is when a person stays in an unfulfilling relationship because they are scared of being single, or of the effort and risk involved in trying to find a new partner.

UNFULFILLING
People can coast along in unfulfilling relationships for years, even marrying a person about whom they feel ambivalent, just because they are so fearful about the prospect of breaking up.

Often, these marriages end in divorce when one or both partners have finally had enough.

However, divorce is tough for everyone involved, especially children.

Another common scenario in which people are afraid to make changes is if they are stuck in a job which is secure, but one which they have no passion for.

They stay in this job because they can’t wrap their minds around the possibility of embarking on an entirely new and different career path.

However, spending many years of your working life counting down the days to your retirement is a terrible waste.

Yet, sadly, many employees convince themselves that it is much better than striking out in a new direction.

If you are happy with how your life is, then you would not be considering change at the moment – unless it is imposed upon you.

For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that this is not the case.

If you are considering change, but struggling with the prospect of it, ask yourself – what implications does it have for you?

If you are unclear about it, monitor your thoughts over the course of a week.

What might your life might be like if you made changes and thought in a more positive way?

An important first step to making changes to your life is to develop the confidence to make the needed changes.

The use of positive affirmations is a powerful tool to enhance confidence.

They provide a way to pre-programme our subconscious so that we associate a particular desired feeling with a behavioural response which we can trigger for ourselves whenever we require to. This can take the form of words or a gesture or both.

Try visualising yourself in a situation where you feel confident.

Then practice making those changes.

Do something different that you have wanted to do for a long time, but have perhaps been put off by others or been too afraid to take the risk.

Don’t think about it too much or you will generate negative thoughts and talk yourself out of doing it.

Once you’ve done it, reflect on the exercise.

As you do, write down what happened.

Did you enjoy it? Did it give you a sense of achievement?

If something undesirable happened, don’t allow this to put you off of doing things again. Explore the series of events and look for the learning opportunities it has created for you.

At other times, change may be forced upon us.

Here, we may feel as though we are not in control and that something is being done to us.

This is often associated with a sense of loss, and examples may include a family death, downsizing a house, or an unwanted divorce.

We may hold on to feelings of negative emotion, resentment, bitterness, which only serves to make us feel even more out of control.

MECHANISMS
We do, however, still have to cope with any change in the best way possible. The sure thing is that it will happen.

If we take more control of the change, it is more likely to happen in a way of our choosing.

And it can be helpful to find mechanisms or tools that we can use to help us cope with life changes. For example:

* Write down all of the positive things which may come
out of a proposed change. Be
prepared to think about this.
The possibilities may not be
obvious, especially so if you
are resistant and adamant that
things should not be different.

* Reward yourself in some
way if you are able to come up
with more positive alternative
outcomes.

* Use humour to diffuse the
tensions you might be feeling about change. Humour is
something that may also put
you in a better frame of mind
to try and think more positively.

* Try confiding in someone
else about how you are feeling.
It can be helpful just to know
someone else is prepared to
give you the time and listen.

They may also help to get things more into perspective. There could be the benefit of sharing of experience and helpful strategies given about how they have managed in previous situations.

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