Steps to Making Changes that Stick
The new year can bring many of us the desire to restart, refresh, and make changes in our lives. The new year can also bring pressures and feelings of not being good enough as we are. How do we find the balance between being realistic about our desires to change and being overzealous and overcommitted?
Change doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, all-at-once commitment. The best way to initiate and stick with change is to make it manageable. Break your goals down into small chunks or timelines. Cutting things off cold turkey might not work for you (or most of us), and that’s okay. Find ways to incorporate these small changes or new tasks into your daily routines.
For many, making change is black and white. We either succeed or we don’t. Work to challenge this thinking; become more flexible in how you approach change. When that critical voice pops into your head, be aware of what it is saying and start to talk back. Give yourself room to make mistakes.
Often, change comes with learning. If you find change to be particularly difficult, assess what tools and skills you might need to acquire before diving in head first. If you haven’t had to learn something new in a long time, this might seem particularly challenging, but knowing you will come out on the other side a wiser and stronger person might help push you forward.
Find support in others who are attempting to make a similar change, or just changes of their own. Keeping yourself accountable can be key to committing to a change. If you are struggling to find community, you can try journaling or counseling to process the struggles and obstacles of life changes.
Sometimes change can be more impactful than we expect. The change you are wanting to make may feel like it is connected to your personality and who you are. Who are you without this behavior or activity? Will there be a loss? Make space to process the feelings connected to change.
Remember that you are resilient! You have survived 100% of your hardest days and this may be no different. Rely on the strengths and coping skills you have developed throughout your life to get through this time.
Evaluate your need for change. Is this a change that is healthy? Productive? Necessary? Make sure the change you want to make isn’t rooted in self-criticism, anxiety, or toxic social conditioning.
If you feel like you need more support and guidance to make and process changes in this new year, reach out to us at Georgetown Counseling and Wellness. We offer counseling services to adults, adolescents, children, and families who are struggling with anxiety, depression, parenting, and a variety of other issues. Counseling may be the link you need to reach your goals and work towards a better quality of life.