Embarking on a new project or venture is amazingly exciting – but it can feel just as scary at the same time. We share eight strategies to help you confidently cope with change.
To help you embrace new starts in your own life – whether they’re planned or forced upon you – life coach Claire Bradford shares eight strategies to help you cope with change.
A new start brings out our best intentions
Remember when you were at school and you got a new exercise book? How pristine and beautiful it seemed compared to the dog-eared, bedoodled one it replaced? And how you promised yourself you would only ever do your best work in it using your neatest handwriting?
Maybe you’re not so different now and the lure of a new notebook or fresh diary has the same effect on you.
There’s something about a new start that brings out our best thoughts and intentions. My theory is that fresh starts offer a sort of redemption – a cancelling out of the old to-do lists that were never quite finished, the habits that were slid into or the questionable decisions we made. The past is scrunched up in the wastepaper basket and a clean page awaits.
But just as a new start opens up an exciting new chapter in our life, it can also seem daunting and scary.
Eight strategies to confidently cope with change
Going back to work, starting a new business or embarking on a new project has that same new exercise book feel. It can be nerve-racking but exciting all at the same time (my kids have coined the word ‘nervecitement’ for this very sensation).
If you’re in a new start situation, here are eight strategies to help you navigate the change with confidence.
1) Don’t try to do everything at once
You may have big and exciting plans, but going for all of them all at the same time will end in overwhelm and likely failure. Make a list or a mindmap of everything you want to achieve and start with one or two achievable goals. Be realistic and take small but constant action.
2) Give yourself permission to be scared
If you are nervous or downright scared, that’s ok. You have been in this situation lots of times before and you have made it work for you.
Think of all the first days at school, the new jobs, the risks you’ve taken and the moves you’ve made. They might not have all gone completely to plan, but each new start you have made teaches you more and more about how you can adapt – and thrive – with change.
Make a list of all the times you’ve been a nervous newbie and what happened as a result. You will have had some successes and doubtless some not so great moments too, but you will have learned a lot from both.
3) Visualise the future
Now have fun inventing the story of your change. What could happen? Go wild.
Visualise yourself 5 or 10 years in the future after your change. How do you look? How do you feel? What’s different around you? Now do the same imagining you haven’t made the change.
4) Give your mind space
Make a regular – preferably daily – practice of mindfulness, meditation or journaling time. Your mind will be very busy negotiating change and it’s important to give it some time and space to refuel.
5) Use your support network
Know where your support is and use it. Friends, colleagues, family, groups, forums – it all counts. Consider hiring a coach or counsellor if you find gaps in your support safety net.
Stick with positive people and avoid anyone who is negative about you, your choices or your situation.
6) Be clear about why
Be clear about why you are making this change and what you want to gain from it. If you feel that you didn’t have a choice, find ways to empower yourself and own as many decisions around your situation as you can.
7) Celebrate your wins
Celebrate your victories – however small. Whether it’s a new client or just a day when you didn’t feel out of your depth, it’s all good. Recognise your achievements and share them with others.
8) Accept you’re not perfect
Give yourself a break occasionally. Nobody’s perfect. You might have to use Tippex in that new exercise book, but you’re still fantastic.
Claire Bradford from Straightforward Coaching is an experience life coach, copy coach, motivational speaker and media columnist.Claire Bradford