Sunday, February 8, 2009
change happens everyday, to everyone:How to Survive Any change in your life.
Secrets to Making Change Easier
In the words of creative British novelist Arnold Bennett, “Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” So if you find change difficult to handle, you’re not alone; many others grapple with both the benefits and challenges brought about by change. Take solace in the fact that change happens to everyone everyday; it’s the one constant in life, the thing that connects us all.
maybe life has handed you a challenging change, or maybe you’ve initiated a change you’ve always wanted to make. At First30Days, we believe that the change you’re currently experiencing can be made easier, smoother and less stressful; we’re going to share proven tips and techniques to help you cope with this change—be it a career change, relationship change, health change or financial change—with hope, optimism and serenity.
At First30Days, we’ve developed nine principles, or secrets, to help you move through change to reach your destination successfully. We believe that creating an entirely new perspective on change—a new mindset about the transitions you face—will help you become a “Change Optimist” and love your life even more.
1. Change Your View of Change: Beliefs Can Make all the Difference
The things that you believe about change—and about yourself—will directly affect how successfully you move through your current transition, whether you’re in day one, day 30 or years past the start of the change.
People who fear change usually believe that change is hard, which lays bare all of their anxieties and insecurities. They then feel paralyzed and unable to move past this change for fear of failure. On the other hand, there are people who believe that change is a positive thing that will help them grow and learn. These “Change Optimists” also believe that something exciting is waiting for them on the other side of the transition—even if they can’t see the benefit now.
The good news is: we can identify and bust the myths and fears we have about change. Don’t ask the usual disempowering questions during change, such as “Why did this happen to me?” and “How will I ever get through this?” Kick-start a new belief about change with a few new questions, like “What could be great about this change?,” “What opportunity has this change brought to me?,” “What good things in my life haven’t changed?” and “What can I be grateful for?” When you ask these positive questions, you’ll perceive your outlook on change beginning to shift to the positive.
Survive Any Change
Everyone experiences change—it may be starting a new job, going through a breakup, handling a health diagnosis or a simple change you've been considering for years. Whatever change you're going through, remember change happens everyday, to everyone. There may be more than 6 billion people in the world but, as the one constant in life, change connects us all.
Though you know change is a key and necessary ingredient in life, that doesn't make going through change any easier. Here are 10 ways to survive any change, and come out smiling on the other side.
1. Change your mindset. Your thoughts on change are probably pretty negative, since for many people change means being pulled outside your comfort zone. Instead of asking yourself negative things about a change, ask what could be good about it. What opportunity has it opened up for you? Remember what good things haven't changed. And from now on, tell yourself that with every change in your life, something good will come. It may be impossible to believe right now, but the gift that comes from change—though it's probably not related to what you're going through—will have a very real effect on your life. For example, you may go through a painful breakup and then move to a new city a few months later. It's important to be on the lookout for good changes, and not necessarily where you expect to find them!
2. Plant the S.E.E.D. If you lost your job or just went through a breakup, you might be inclined to curl up on the couch with a tub of ice cream for a few days. This is the worst thing you can do. It's during change that we need to be the most vigilant about maintaining our health and well-being. It starts with the S.E.E.D: Sleep, Eat, Exercise, Drink (water, that is!). S.E.E.D is the foundation for handling whatever change comes your way. In the days immediately following a change, make sure that you get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, get some moderate exercise and drink plenty of fluids. You'll be surprised how well you can handle any change when you're feeling good!
3. Ask for help. A quick way to embrace change is to surround yourself with a team of people who can help. Whatever the situation, there is always, always, someone who can help. When you share the details of your change, you'll find that there is so much encouragement and advice waiting for you. Your team can be made up of family, friends, clergy members, therapists and co-workers. These people will listen, support and encourage you, but most importantly, help get you back on a path of hope and optimism! Practice saying the three simple words that will help you through any change: I need help. Most people think they will be viewed as weak if they say these words, but the opposite is actually true. People will admire your desire to grow and learn.
4. Turn on your Change GPS. Change brings up lots of emotions that keep us trapped in what once was. Get unstuck by turning on your Change GPS™! A GPS navigator only asks two questions: "Where are you now?" and "Where do you want to go?" Your Change GPS helps you move through change by alerting you if you're off course and encouraging you to focus on your final destination. If you want to lose weight, you can list the numerous reasons why you think you're overweight—an action that keeps you stuck in the past—or you can create a clear intention of where you want to go and how you're going to get there. Activate your Change GPS by stating your desire in the present tense. Then create a plan and take action. Watch how quickly you arrive at your destination.
5. Flex your change muscle. We're all born with a will to survive, a will to get better no matter what and a will to be happier. This part of us is the Change Muscle™. Our Change Muscle helps us adapt, accept the reality of our situation and find our center again. Every time we are faced with a change and move through it, we are activating our Change Muscle. Once we use the Muscle, it is strengthened for life—you can never lose all that you gained from past changes. Every time things get tough, flex your Change Muscle. You've gone through numerous changes before and have the strength to get through the change you're going through now.
6. Let go of fearing the unknown. If you're having trouble accepting change, turn to the analogy of the boat in the river: When you resist change, it's as if you're rowing upstream against the current. When change happens, we often look longingly back to what we used to have or what we used to be. We don't like where the River of Life seems to be taking us, so we cling to the rocks or we row vigorously back upstream—that's what makes change tough! Allow your boat to flow with the River of Life. Accept change by taking in your new circumstances without fighting, arguing, explaining or asking "What If?" It may be difficult at first, but you will soon see that life will lead you through this change and into a place of greater happiness and peace.
7. List your change resume. Whether you realize it or not, you have already gone through many changes—some that life has handed to you and others that you have initiated. Taking a few minutes to acknowledge the changes you have survived will assist you in tackling the change you're in right now—and future changes—with ease and grace! Write them down in a notebook or even on an index card, and separate them by changes that were given to you and self-initiated changes. Under each change, list the good things that eventually came from the change and write down what you learned about yourself during the change. In all likelihood, you will come across some similarities that make change easier for you.
8. Slay those demons. The six Change Demons—fear, doubt, impatience, shame, blame and guilt—help you figure out how you do and don't want to feel during change. When one (or more) of the Change Demons comes up, take a moment to remember those feelings are temporary. Emotions are like fuel during change. The negative ones can make change harder, while the positive ones can help us move through change in a simpler, quicker and more conscious way. The next time you experience one (or more) of the Change Demons, replace it with a better emotion. Replace fear with faith, doubt with surrender, impatience with endurance, blame with honesty, guilt with forgiveness, and shame with honor.
9. Meet your spiritual side. When everything around you is changing, look for the part of you that doesn't change and is always there—the part that is calm and centered. Creating a stronger, deeper relationship with the real you, while letting your tired and scared mind take a rest, is essential in helping you move through change with hope and optimism. When you tap into this side of yourself, you connect with an army of invisible forces that are just waiting to help you. You can to tune into this resource every day simply by focusing inward and noticing how things feel, taking a quiet walk, sitting in silence, praying, expressing your gratitude or meditating. Choose the outlet that works best or create your own. Once you become attuned to it, you can feel its stability, guidance and gentle suggestions.
10. Fight comparison sickness. We constantly compare our situation to others. We ask questions like: "Why is his life so much better than mine?" or "Why are things easier for her?" and even "If I had his money or youth, this change would be easier." We compare everything: social status, relationship status, looks, jobs, financial standing, friends and lovers, kids, homes and luck. Looking at somebody else's life does nothing to help you with your own change. Start believing in yourself and your ability to move through change. Remember that you have the talent, ability and strength to get through any change that comes your way. Take a moment to remember what you have to offer, your unique talents, what makes you you. Face this change with everything you've got, not with what anyone else may or may not have.
How to Survive a Financial Crisis
As the credit crunch tightens and the markets tumble, you’re probably looking to cut expenses in your daily life and start shoring up for your future. Even if you’ve spent the past 3,000 days playing fast and loose with your finances, it’s not too late to reevaluate your views on money, discover where your paycheck disappears to each month, and build a budget around your long-term goals. Living within your means now will pay off immediately in emotional rewards, and in financial rewards for years to come. Here’s how to start.1. Shine a light on your records. First, know what you owe. Pull together your outstanding debts, including car loans, credit cards, mortgage payments, and student loans. Sometimes it’s a relief to see what you’re up against in black and white (and maybe red). Often it’s the “not knowing” that’s the most stressful. Embrace the truth of your situation and you’ll be one step closer to being debt free.2. Know where your money goes. This is arguably the most difficult part of getting control of your finances. Stick an index card in your wallet and jot down every purchase you make, no matter how small. Do this for one month, then divide your expenses into two categories--things that are necessary, and things that aren’t (here’s a hint: food and shelter are necessary, weekly manicures and poker night with the guys are not). Weigh the immediate gratification of “I-want-it-now” impulse buys against your long-term savings and debt-repayment goals and you'll see that foregoing small conveniences now will trump more stress later. A site like Bankrate.com can help you create a budget. Adjust it until you find a balance that will work in the long-term. When you save on what you don’t really need, you can spend more on what you do.3. Wrangle your debt. If you have credit card debt, transfer a balance to one of your cards with lower interest. You’ll save money in interest, lower your debt ratio, and improve your credit score. Only use your cards if you can afford to pay them off immediately, otherwise lock them in a safe-deposit box or stick them in your freezer (seriously!). Experts suggest you then pay off the card with the highest interest first, move to any that are maxed out, and follow with the ones that carry the lowest balances. It might take time, but you can become debt free when you create a plan and stick to it.4. Minimize your lifestyle costs. As winter approaches, there’s talk that our energy bills could increase by 15% or more. Check your insulation and invest in thick curtains since about a third of the heat in a home is lost through the walls and windows. Buy energy-efficient light bulbs (and don't forget to flip the switch when you leave the room). Find the cheapest gas prices in your area by searching Gasbuddy.com, Gaspricewatch.com and Altfuelprices.com. Cancel subscriptions that you rarely (or never) use, call to negotiate lower rates on your cable and internet bills, and bundle your insurance policies with one company. Finally, make your "big ticket" items cost less--if you're paying more than 40% of your salary on your house and insurance, either refinance or consider selling and moving to a smaller home.5. Remember that you’re not alone. Schedule weekly meetings with your partner so you’re on the same page. You don’t need to bear this burden alone, and talking about your finances will paint a vivid picture of the future you envision for yourselves. If you’re single, consider having a friend help you stay accountable to your new frugal lifestyle.