Sometimes change is expected and well planned. Other times, it’s seemingly out of our control.
This blog will specifically discuss chosen, purposeful change but many of these tips can apply to any adjustment you are making. Intentional changes are typically implemented to improve ourselves, our family’s routines, or our overall health and well-being.
One of the biggest areas people want to change is their physical health. This commonly includes improving one’s diet, exercise, home products, and beauty routines.
Even though we desire and consciously decide to enact these changes, we all know it isn’t always easy. “Old habits die hard” is a common saying for a reason! However, we’re here to help you approach these purposeful changes with self-love, respect, and compassion. Read on for 5 tips on how to gracefully approach change and prepare yourself for transformations that you want to make in your life.
Prayer is a great first support when we’re approaching change. If you aren’t religious, then quiet time, meditation, and recentering yourself can be great alternatives to calm your mind and support yourself.
Pray or meditate on the upcoming change. Ask God to support and guide you with a sound mind and loving heart. If you prefer meditation, consider listening to a calming guided reflection that promotes self-love and connection with nature or other peaceful imagery. Tapping or Forest Bathing may also be useful for preparing yourself for change.
This tip aims to improve your spiritual and emotional health and promote a sense of connection and peace before making any lifestyle modifications. Changes can be difficult, so return to this practice whenever you need extra support and self-nurturing.
2) Be Realistic: Manage Expectations Versus Necessities
The last thing anyone wants is to set themselves up to fail, so it’s important to approach change realistically. If your new choices don’t bring more peace, harmony, wellness, and contentment into your life, you may eventually lose motivation.
Contemplate the adjustments you want to make by asking yourself questions. Does this change seem reasonable? Why do I want to make this change? What is my motivation? Why do I need to make this shift? Is it manageable long-term? Lastly, is the change something I truly want and feel good about?
One way to tell if a change is worthwhile is to look at the impact it will have on your life. For example, does the outcome seem truly “life-changing” in a positive way? Another way to determine its potential is to examine how you feel about the result and the steps required to make this change.
Even when the adjustment seems to check off all the positivity boxes, it doesn’t always mean we’re ready to put the change into place, and that’s okay. We may simply need more time to think about the process to determine how to achieve it and why we truly want it to occur. According to an article in Psychology Today, it’s normal to experience fear, stress, urges to self-sabotage, and feelings associated with anxiety as we begin to take action.
There’s more to change than just the apparent planning, motivation, and excitement. There are also challenges we’ll need to prepare to face with grace from within ourselves and others. For example, uncomfortable feelings, resistance, or indulgences that oppose the end goal are common. Of course, these reactions are normal, but with conviction in the necessity of this change, your support system, prayer and meditation practices, and a healthcare professional, mental health or otherwise, you can be better equipped to approach change and work through the inevitable challenges that can arise.
3) Plan with Consideration
Consider your and your loved ones’ time and needs as you create a plan. Stretch yourself, but try to keep a steady routine that consists of what you and your family value, need, and want. For example, this often includes time for family meals, church on Sundays, weekly phone calls with friends, or journaling before bedtime. The more positive aspects of your routine you can keep, the better overall success and satisfaction.
Start small from your current circumstances and mindset. The five stages of change originally conceptualized by Dr. James Prochaska are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. These stages represent change as a process. There are also corresponding Processes of Change within the integrative biopsychosocial Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of Change, which includes the previously named five stages, that can determine an individual’s success. The Processes of Change are cognitive, emotional, and behavioral shifts that can take place while making changes. Read this blog to determine which stage you may be in currently and what Process of Change could be most beneficial for you.
As a rule of thumb, from your current state, create 1 to 3 manageable goals that act as stepping stones to your final target. For example, if your ultimate goal is to live a plant-based lifestyle and you’re ready to take action, start by adding fruit to each meal. Once you achieve that objective and feel confident about it, create a small new step, like eating a vegetable with each meal, until you accomplish your task.
If your goal is time-based, start small, too. For example, if you want to meditate every day, begin with 5 minutes. After you achieve this goal consistently, then increase the amount of time. If daily participation doesn’t seem realistic, there’s also the option to increase the time and decrease the number of days per week you meditate or simply reduce the frequency in which you participate.
4) Increase Support
Ask your friends and family for their support. If the changes you want to make directly impact their daily lives as well, then ask them for their feedback and brainstorm together. You can ask someone to join you in making the change and offer support to one another. Also, consider joining a support group or group challenge where the members have a similar goal in mind.
Another important way to be supportive is by celebrating your victories! You ate fruit with lunch every day this week, brilliant! Give yourself a pat on the back. While the changes you’re making likely feel intrinsically rewarding, it never hurts to say a kind word to yourself. You can also find something fun to reward yourself with, like a day at the pool. Lastly, returning to your prayer and meditation practice is a great way to support yourself.
5) Prepare to Fail with Compassion
There will be times when you may forget your lunch at home or get too busy to meditate. How will you respond? While you may be conditioned to partake in negative self-talk, it’s important to offer yourself some kind words and give yourself a break. Research shows that people who show themselves self-compassion can have higher levels of resilience, making it easier for them to bounce back after disappointments. An example of self-compassion is saying to yourself, “This is difficult. I’m doing the best I can, and I know that nobody is perfect. My goals do matter to me, and I am still capable of making it to the finish line.”
Failure isn’t final without our consent. We can always get back up and try again. Give yourself space to fail with love and grace. Understand that change involves adjusting many facets of your life, some of which may not directly relate to the goal at hand! Sometimes change means an overall shift in the way we live our lives, which can be challenging at times.
If you’re struggling with self-compassion or change in general, then seek out support from a mental health professional or your pastor.
Calculated, positive, purpose-driven change can be a blessing with the right tools, mindset, and support system. If you’re looking to make a change by going back to school to pursue your passion for natural health, we’re here to help. Our flexible, 100% online Certified Natural Health Professional program begins every four weeks, making it easier for you to fit school into your schedule. Call 800-428-0408, option 2, to speak with an Enrollment Specialist or visit trinityschool.org/program/CNHP to learn more.