Big change: how to survive the time it takes
Changes are often postponed. So at the moment when we finally decide to do something, to change our lives, we want it quickly, immediately, now. We have no appetite for living as we used to: staying in the same job, or still unemployed, remaining in the same relationship, or the same country. But we know all too well that changes take time. So the question of today´s blog is:
How do you survive the time it takes till you achieve your remote goal?
Firstly, you need to arrange your mind in a way that helps your motivation, stress resistance and perseverance.
Secondly, you need to take care of your basic needs and well-being to prevent exhaustion.
Thirdly, you need a pragmatic survival strategy.
With these three things taken care of, you can dream and fly and have a safe journey.
The change starts at the moment you commit to it. It might be that you are still in the old job, country, relationship, and even sitting in the same T-shirt you had on 2 minutes ago, when you were still undecided. But your situation is not the same, because by making the commitment to the change, you have flipped the diverging switch. Your change has already started.
When you now look ahead, you hope to feel excitement, motivation, the joy of seeing your big goal somewhere ahead. You might. But as well as your optimism, you will also very likely have plenty of concerns and doubts. One of the reasons for that might be that your big goal seems too far away. It isn’t just around the corner, and everything in between now and the goal seems insecure and blurry. But it is in your hands to change that, and this article and website are to help you with it.
First of all, you need to place some more lamps on the journey, not just that one big light far away. The more lights – a.k.a. milestones – the better, and the more motivating. So, in your situation, what would count as nice small achievements in the direction you have chosen? Think of as many milestones as you can, the tiniest things that would already feel like a difference and an improvement. Divide the marathon into smaller stages. Keep on listing milestones till you know one that could be around the corner, within your reach.
Every now and then, you will also be tempted to self-pity or to treating yourself like a victim of bad circumstances. OK, if it needs to be, but try not to wallow in those feelings for too long. Learn to recognize that you actually do have a choice much more often than not, and that you are making your choices actively. There is a huge difference between “Oh, I simply can´t quit my current job” and “I could quit my job at any time, but I have decided to stay in it for a few more months for the security and regular income while I am going through the change, until I have enough savings to bridge it. I estimate that in about 10 months I will be ready to quit this job”.
The change is not the event of achieving something. Rather, the change is that journey, on which achieving a specific goal might be one milestone somewhere on the way, neither at the beginning, nor at the end, and sometimes the goal may even vary. But the change is the process of continually diverting from your previous direction. And it is up to you to recognize even the first and slightest differences, and to enjoy them.
You might have come across this list in my articles already. They really are the key things to take care of to prevent complete exhaustion or burn-out.
The basics that should always stay on the top of your priority list include:
Quality sleep, enough water, nutritious food, some physical exercise and fresh air, and some social contact.
No matter how busy you might get on the journey, no matter how full of other ideas for what to do, as long as you take care of the items above, regularly, you are doing the best you can to have enough energy for your change. Remember, even the greatest idea and the most motivating goal are not enough, if on the way you get exhausted.
The survival strategy
When a part of you wants to dream and fly and the other part insists on keeping down to earth, you know you have a good team.
The old golden rule says: hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Hoping for the best, you have set your big goal. Getting closer to the ground, it is always good to think of at least two alternative options instead of betting it all on one – so when setting your goals and milestones, always think of two alternatives that both sound OK. It might also be useful to make some financial planning for any transition period. And if you want to prepare for the worst, don´t avoid the nightmare scenarios that might pop up in your thoughts anyway and give you a hard time, especially at nights. Face them instead, and ask yourself straightforwardly: What are the worst things that could happen if my plans do not go well?
Does it feel apocalyptic? Breathe in, breathe out and keep on: build your survival strategy. Hypothetically speaking, what could you do if any of the bad things happened, and what if several of them happened at once? What could you try? What are the emergency resources, your hidden treasures, talents and backups that you could use if the worst happened?
Is there anything you can do already to prevent or minimize the risks? Perhaps make a saving plan, consult some professionals before making any huge time or money investments, find out more information before taking further decisions, maintain your friendships, explore alternative options, try a creative combination of them... Go ahead and take some preventive measures, it will lower your stress.
The ideas you had for the worst-case scenario, you can for now keep in your mind, as your survival strategy. Because when you acknowledge that, whether easily or not, you would survive and finally make it even through the biggest setbacks, you will feel stronger than ever before. And as the very worst rarely happens, you have good reason to believe that things will go better than that. Now that you have your survival strategy, you can fly higher again and enjoy your change.