How do you feel about change?

The new year has started and often that comes with new commitments and new habits. Sometimes, maintaining these habits eventually falls off. I too fell in this yearly trap until I shifted my perception towards change and gave myself a little compassion during the process.

Embracing change urges us to step beyond the familiar and the comfortable, a process that often involves an unacknowledged sense of grief. Despite the positive intentions associated with adopting a “new me” mindset, conflicting emotions arising from the end of familiar habits-can impede success. Even when we acknowledge the positive nature of the change, resistance is a common hurdle. 

If conflicting feelings persist, even in the face of positive change, the adjustment period may take time, and it’s within this timeframe that our well-intentioned goals often slip away.  However, it isn’t the way it has to be. 

So what helps?

  1. Develop a Plan: Strategize how to navigate through the upcoming changes. Seek support from others and jot down essential details on paper. Creating a comprehensive list of tasks, anticipated challenges, and potential solutions can serve as a valuable guide and reference point.
  1. Cultivate Acceptance and Compassion: Shift your focus from the discomfort of change to its positive aspects that led you to commit. Acknowledge and appreciate habits that once served you, recognizing that they might have acted as protective mechanisms. Embracing where these habits have brought you is an essential step in fostering acceptance and compassion for yourself.
  1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: Allow space for your emotions in the midst of change. Initial excitement may turn into intimidation as you realize the adjustments required. Confronting and sitting with these feelings is crucial. Recognizing feelings are not reality; they are a natural part of the process, and acknowledging them is not a sign of weakness.
  1. Maintain Routine with Grace: Stick to your regular routine as much as possible, but be compassionate with yourself when deviations occur. Understand that the journey of change often involves challenges, and self-criticism during tough times can hinder progress. How you speak to yourself matters, especially during moments of inconsistency.
  1. Beware of Cognitive Distortions: Identify and challenge negative thought patterns that may hinder your progress. Be mindful of cognitive distortions that may keep you stuck in unhelpful thought patterns, hindering your ability to move forward.
  1. Establish a Support System: Recognize the importance of a support network. Seeking assistance from those who care about you can make a significant difference. While it may be uncomfortable at times, acknowledging that it’s challenging to navigate change alone is essential. Opening up to others fosters collaboration, validation, and motivation, enhancing consistency in your efforts.

Overall, allow yourself some grace when you haven’t been consistent. Remind yourself that new habits take time and being consistent doesn’t mean you can’t ebb and flow. Try to avoid the trap of comparing yourself to others, as it can rob you of the joy that change can bring!