10 Simple Steps to Being Good at Change

A friend once said to me, “you are so good at handling change.” How I wish that were true.  She may have perceived me to be good at handling change because, a) I have had a great deal of change throughout my life and b) I tend to put a smile on my face and fake until I make it.  I would not recommend either of those as a way of becoming good at handling change. Change can be scary. Change can be exciting. Change, whether you want it or you have to do it, whether it is good or bad; is stressful.  And well, stress over time is not good for anyone.

As I thought about my friend’s comment I thought about the major and minor changes I had made throughout my life.

  • In 10 years: I moved 11 times (across the country and back again), and lived in 4 different states.
  • In 10 years: I went from financial security to major debt; dug myself out of debt and back to financial security.
  • In 10 years I left a job I had for a very long time, started a business, closed the business, got a good job, another good job, a better job, a great job and then lost a job.
  • In 10 years I had some personal loss, personal gain, and a health scare.
  • In 15 years I got married, 5 years later got divorced, dated, dated, and dated some more. 10 years after my divorce I got married, to someone one I have known since I was 10.

10 seems to be a good number these days so here are 10 tips to help you get good at handling change.

  1. Get rid of the negative energy.  Whatever it is that is making you angry or upset about the change you do need to eventually let it go.  Write down all of your negative feelings about the change, be mad about it, feel it, and then rip it up.  When you rip it up, you are letting it go for the day.  If you need to ou can do this daily for a while, then every other day, then weekly.
  2. Focus on the positive.  You need to shift your thinking and look at the good things about this change.  If you can’t think of any, ask for help from friends or family.  Make that list of only the things you truly can believe are positive and keep that list with you.  Update it as you move through the change, there maybe things you see as a positive that you never even thought of initially.
  3. More of the good, less of the bad.  Do more of the good things for you and your body, exercise, meditation, massage, reading etc.  Do less of the bad stuff, even if you think it will make you feel better, it will not.  Less junk food, tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, frivolous spending.
  4. Read about it.  Research how others have made it through what you are going through.  Even if it is a good change, change can be hard. Prepare yourself with as much information and knowledge as you can.
  5. Break it down.  Change can be overwhelming, is there a way to break the change down into smaller pieces? If you are moving, do not look at the whole house, just one shelf at a time.  If you are trying to get over a break up, do one thing everyday that makes you feel good.  Take things one step and one day at a time.
  6. Ask for help.  Get the support you need when you need it.  If you are experiencing mental or physical health issues, go see a professional.  If you need help from friends or family, ask for it.  You may even find a specific support group to help.
  7. Empower yourself.  This change is happening.  You may not be in control of the change, but you are in control of you.  You are in control of your attitude, your reactions, and your actions.
  8. Own your actions and forgive yourself.  When going through change we make mistakes.  Take responsibility for your mistake or mis-step. Forgive yourself, we all do it. If you are trying to lose weight and you splurged for a day or two, this does not mean the whole process is wrecked.
  9. Forgive others.  Not everyone will be understanding or even kind.  Comments may be made that hurt or offend you, most of the time unintentionally.  When you are able, let it go.  When your anger festers, the only person it harms is you.
  10. Repeat steps 1 through 9 as often as you need to.

Sarah Stewart


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