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Last Updated on November 25, 2019

Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It

Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It

The one constant thing in our lives is change.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future” – John F Kennedy

We cannot avoid it and the more we resist change the tougher our life becomes. Change as John F Kennedy quoted is a Law of Life. We are surrounded by change and it is the one thing that has the most dramatic impact on our lives. There is no avoiding change as it will find you, challenge you and force you to reconsider how to live your life.

In this article, we will look into the importance of adapting to change and how you can adjust yourself to an ever-changing life.

Why Do You Have to Adapt to Change?

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” —Jim Rohn

Change can come into our lives as a result of a crisis, as a result of choice or just by chance. In either situation, we are all faced with having to make a choice – do we make the change or not?

I believe that it is better to be prepared for change because we have more control over how we react to the change we are having to face in our lives.

When you are unprepared and resistant to change, then you have no control or choice as to how you want to live your life. You live your life as a reactionary rather than an activator of change.

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“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” —Lao Tzu

We cannot avoid the unexpected events (crisis) in our lives, as it is these events that challenge us and force us to step out of our comfort zone. If we ignore or hide away from the challenge of change, we deny ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow.

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” —Henri Bergson

Our resilience in life can only grow stronger when we embrace change and manage these challenges in a positive way, rather than hide away and ignore the opportunities that change can bring to our lives.

There is no escaping the impact that change can bring into in your life. Managing change in life is key to living a life where you are not only surviving but thriving as well.

5 Strategies for Adapting to Change

These 5 strategies below are the key steps that will enable you to adapt and successfully manage change in your life.

1. Changing Your Mindset – Your Power Choice

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”.— George Bernard Shaw

We like to live our lives in our comfort zone. Our subconscious likes this because it is the “known”. Embracing change is stepping into the unknown and our subconscious will does not like the “unknown.” so it will resist.

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Our fear and self-limiting beliefs will kick into action when we are faced with the disruptive consequences of change. There is no escaping the fact that change is a disruptor and it feels uncomfortable and scary. However, it is our power of choice that enables us to activate positive change in our lives.

We cannot control the events of change in our life, but we can control how we react to the impact that these events have on our lives.

“Life is about choices. Some we regret, some we’re proud of. Some will haunt us forever. The message: we are what we chose to be.” — Graham Brown

The more you use your power of choice and the more you focus your mindset on positively adapting to change, the more resilient you will be to dealing with impact that change will bring to your life.

2. Find Meaning In Life

“Step out of your comfort zone. Comfort zones, where your unrealized dreams are buried, are the enemies of achievement. Leadership begins when you step outside your comfort zone.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Knowing what is important in your life gives you purpose and sets the direction of how you want to live your life. With a sense of purpose and meaning in life, you have clarity and focus and both these elements are essential to you being able to successfully adapt and manage the impact of change in your life.

Having no purpose or meaning means that you tend to drift in life within the confines of your comfort zone. Purpose and meaning in life gives you the courage to step out of your comfort zone – which is where you will find change and the opportunities it can offer to you.

3. Let Go of Your Regrets

The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli

Regrets have a huge impact on how you respond to change and they hold you back in life. Letting go of your regrets is key to you being able to move forward in life.

It is the events of change that present opportunities in life, so if are looking back at your past you may miss the opportunities of the present and the future.

You cannot change what you did or did not do in the past so let it go. The only control you have now is to choose to live in your present and future life.

A great exercise to deal with regrets in life is to blow up a heap of balloons and on each balloon write a regret. Then, let the balloon go. As the balloon drifts off, out loud say goodbye to that regret.

Very simple but an effective way of dealing with the pile of regrets that you have collected in your lives.

4. Write a List of Scary Things to Do – Then Go Do Them

Change is scary and it is all about stepping out of your comfort zone into the unknown. Our subconscious needs to get familiar with us stepping out of a comfort zone and doing scary things. In fact we want to train our subconscious into believing that stepping out of our comfort zone and doing scary things is a normal thing for us to do.

Make a list of scary things that you would like to do but have been too afraid to. Put a plan in place and then go do them. Go have fun, challenge yourself and get yourself use to the feeling of being scared and stepping into the unknown.

Public speaking is one of the most frightening things for me and for many other people to do. To overcome my fear of public speaking, I joined Toast Masters My first speech I gave was a nightmare. My knees were knocking (didn’t know that was possible – but it is!) and I broke out in a sweat and my voice was a whisper when I started my speech.

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I got through it and though it wasn’t the greatest speech the exhilaration of actually overcoming my fear was amazing. I kept going and know enjoy public speaking so much that I jump at any opportunity to speak.

5. Focus on Living a Balanced and Healthy Life

“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.” – Buddha

Living a balanced and healthy active life builds our resilience and ability to successfully manage the disruption that change can have on our lives.

Stress is a normal response to dealing with changes and challenges in daily life. In the short term, stress can help you perform better under pressure, but constant stress can pose problems for your health.

Finding positive ways to deal with the stress and pressure that we face daily is key to our survival on both a physical and emotional level.

Some healthy lifestyle actions you can use to successfully manage change and disruption in your life are:

There are many more things you can to do to live a health balanced life. The key is that you commit to activities that enable you to be resilient, optimitic, physically and mentally fit to successful work through the impact that change can bring to your life.

Final Thoughts

We all desire to live successful, happy and long lives. To achieve what we all desire we need to be proactive about how we mange the change we face in our lives.

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Denial and resisting change will only result in you living a miserable life. This is why it is so important to learn how to be adaptable, resilient and bold in life because these 3 things are key to you successfully adapting to the constant impact that change will have on your life.

More to Help You Adapt Change

Featured photo credit: diana spatariu via unsplash.com

More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis (The Complete Guide)

How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis (The Complete Guide)

Is there such a thing as a quarter life crisis and could it be the cause of you experiencing a lack of happiness and fulfilment in your life or career right now?

According to popular psychology, a quarter life crisis is a crisis “involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life” which is most commonly experienced in a period ranging from a person’s twenties up to their mid-thirties.[1] It tends to occur after we have finished our schooling and study, when we have settled into everyday life, often at major points or life changing events when we feel we are at a crossroads. We know something must change but we don’t know what or how to begin. It can feel confusing and lonely.

The good news is this is quite a normal experience. With some insight and small steps, you can gain clarity and direction on a way forward.

Firstly, it’s important to realize you are not alone. LinkedIn surveyed thousands of 25 to 33 years olds; the data showed that 75% had experienced a quarter life crisis with the average age being 27.[2]

Our twenties and thirties are nothing like they used to be. There are so many pressures now for people in this age group including having a well-qualified career, a secure relationship and possibly a family. The prospect of owning a home of your own becomes important, yet each year seems to be getting further out of reach, putting further pressure on your income earning capacity and career choice.

Personally, I have experienced both a quarter life crisis and a mid life one and there are similarities between both. Change was instigated for me both times by a difficult life-changing event, because I didn’t understand what I was experiencing or how to change it. Hindsight is a great thing and I sometimes wish I’d had the insights back then that I have now.

When you become aware of what you are experiencing and acknowledge your feelings as perfectly normal, change and transformation flows with more ease as you begin to take the steps to find new direction, happiness and fulfilment.

Here you will find what I consider to be the complete guide. It contains the essential steps I have identified to get clear on your way forward and move through this period of your life with more certainty.

1. Stop Comparing Your Own Quarter Life Crisis to Your Friend’s

Comparing yourself with your friends and peers, noticing their life choices and achievements can lead you to feel inferior and this increases those feelings of pressure and anxiety. You only have to jump online for five minutes and scroll through your newsfeed to see images of couples with children, career and life announcements and they all seem much more satisfied than you.

The truth is that often what you see is not real and they could be experiencing their own crisis too behind the facade. This means you could be comparing yourself with something that doesn’t even exist. What is the point in that?

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If you want to make this easier for yourself, stop accessing social media platforms. You can remove apps from your phone so you have to physically log in. If you need to access certain platforms for work or business, stay away from your newsfeed, even unfollow connections until you have worked through this period of your life.

When you stop comparing, you will notice that the pressure decreases and you will feel more comfort in your current situation. This allows change to unfold at its own pace.

2. Let Go of All the Should’s

If you hear yourself say, “I should be” or “I have to”, you are attempting to live your life by other people’s standards. And now you are aware of this, you will be amazed at how often you use this language.

The thing is, trying to live to others’ standards will never bring you true happiness or fulfilment. Even the use of this language brings a feeling of self-judgement and stress without even taking the actions associated with it. And over time, continually living this way, you will start to feel like your life isn’t your own; and you will lead yourself deeper into crisis as your self-esteem suffers.

If you hear yourself using this language, stop in your tracks. Explore where the thought actually came from and who said you should be doing things that way. Let go of the need to judge yourself according to someone else’s standards and start to think about what you really want instead.

When you let go of all the “I should’s” and start to replace them with your “I wants,” you will notice the feeling of lightness as your self-esteems rises again.

3. Get Clear on What Is Important to You

As you begin to let go of what you thought should be important, you create space to get clear on what is important to you.

Most of the time, like the majority of people, you are living your life unconsciously and unaware of what is really important to you. This means you will find it difficult to make choices that will light you up from the inside.

Dr John Demartini, a long time educator and international expert in human behavior states in his book The Values Factor, that true motivation is inspiration and is present when we are fulfilling our values. And, when we are living according to our truest and most important values is when we are our most fulfilled.

This means it’s important to get ultra clear on your most important values. You can do this simply by looking at what you put most of your time and energy into currently, and the moments in your life when you have felt your most fulfilled. Those moments may have been at any point in your life and may even mean going right back to memories of childhood.

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As you get clearer on what is important to you, you will gain even more clarity on what you truly want for you.

4. Change Your Environment

Feeling stuck can often be exacerbated when we stay in the same place, because our environment can have a huge impact on our state of mind. And, when you are in a stuck state of mind, it can be difficult to see past what you have in your life right now.

This doesn’t mean you need to sell all your belongings and go to live in an ashram for a year, although this may be the thing that feels right for you, and if it is that is okay.

You can gain the same benefits by going on a holiday, going away for a long weekend or even just going for a few day trips into nature, the forest or the beach where you can feel a real connection with self.

When you change your environment, you can change your state and your mindset. You shift yourself out of focusing on feeling dissatisfied with your life right now and shift yourself into thinking about how your life could be.

5. Enter the Dream Room and Ask Yourself “What If?”

There have been many great stories created in The Dream Room.

Walt Disney has been named one of the most remarkably creative, and as you may know one of the most successful individuals of the 20th century. The methods he used for all his creations are still being used today. Each of his creations began in the place called The Dream Room, the place where anything is possible; where there is nothing too absurd, there are no limits and no judgement. This was a place for brainstorming or dream storming as it was called.[3]

I always like to call it the “What if” room, which is a place where you ask yourself the “What if?” questions. This is the place where you can create your own outrageous wish list of what you really want. It doesn’t have to be a physical room; it’s a room you go to in your mind’s eye. This dream space is expansive and the expansion can be increased when you also change your physical environment by going to a place outdoors where you can see the horizon.

Find your space, arm yourself with a journal and pen, and ask yourself these questions:

  • What if anything were possible, what would I do and what would I create for my life?
  • What if life was exactly as I wanted it to be, what would that look like and how would I feel experiencing that?
  • What if I were without fear, what would I aim for?
  • What if I couldn’t possibly fail, how can I see myself doing this?

Dream as you did when you were a child, when you knew without a doubt that anything is possible.

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When you embrace this and allow yourself to dream, you will begin to create the most exciting picture of your next chapter in life.

6. Be Patient and Let Go of Control

Human beings waste so much time trying to control how their lives evolve and if you attempt to rush this dream process, you will find it difficult to gain the clarity you are looking for.

Learn patience, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and you are creating your own private empire of what you want for you.

This means that your dream room vision may be created in one day, two weeks or even a year. However long it takes, make it okay for you.

Many of the answers you are searching for are locked in your unconscious mind, things you have forgotten over time while you have possibly been focusing on living the way you thought you should live.

As you start asking the right questions, your answers will begin to come little by little and, will often come when you least expect them.

Carry a small notebook with you or voice record on an app on your phone. Even keep a notebook by your bed for when you first wake up in the morning.

7. Ditch Your Perception of Life Always Being Perfect

Even if we create an exciting vision, we can often get in our own way by our fear of things not working out perfectly.

We see failure before we have even started and hesitate on something that powerfully lights us up on the inside because it’s not the perfect time. Before we know it, years have passed and we are still in the same place. This can cause an even bigger crisis in later years.

Life is always happening perfectly for us; the problem is our perception of perfection is imperfect.

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Over the years, we have made perfection mean everything it really doesn’t. As a society, we have chosen to see perfection as things always lining up perfectly, no mistakes, a flawlessness, always getting the right result and the outcomes we want.

Here’s the thing: the opposite of this is absolutely true.

Life happens perfectly for you all the time. This means all the mistakes you make, all the outcomes you don’t want and not getting things right first time, is absolutely perfect for you at the time. As you make these mistakes, the lessons and growth you receive are vital to you living the life you truly want in the long term.

If at any point, you feel your need for perfection is possibly holding you back, comfort yourself with knowing that whatever the outcome, it’s happening perfectly. You will be exactly where you are meant to be to enable you to eventually live the life of your dreams

8. Make a Stand for You

Often when we make a decision on our future, we can find those closest to us object to our plans, because they want what is best for us; they want us to be happy.

The thing is what they think will make us happy isn’t necessarily what will really make us happy, because their dreams and values are different to ours. This can often make us apprehensive and delay actioning our plans since we don’t want to disappoint them.

This brings to mind something an amazing mentor once said to me, he said, “dogs only bark at what they don’t understand”. To me, this means that if a dog barks, they are not quite sure what is happening and in that uncertainty, they sense danger.

Your loved ones are exactly the same. They don’t understand where you are heading because it’s possibly something they are not familiar with themselves. Or maybe it reminds them of past experiences of their own where things didn’t quite work out the way they wanted them to. They won’t be disappointed in you when you make a stand for what you want. They just love you and want to protect you.

Proudly make a stand for you and your dream. Reassure them that you love them and you will be okay with whatever happens, because life is always happening for you and you are grateful for their support in the life you are choosing.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, no one else’s life, desires or dreams can bring you happiness and fulfilment; only what is important to you and what you really want can do that.

By being patient and kind with yourself as you move through what can be your most exciting life-changing period, you will feel this crisis point end and find clarity on exactly what will light up your life.

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Featured photo credit: ZACHARY STAINES via unsplash.com

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