Preparing for big life changes

Life always tends to throw us curveballs when we least expect it. As soon as we think life has settled down, we get tested in a way we never thought possible. 

That is life’s way of showing us that we can always learn more, that we are alive, and always need to be ready for a challenge. We think things are going one way, and they they go in the total opposite direction. That’s life, my friends.

I remember when I was fresh out of high school; I thought I had my whole life planned. You know the usual: finishing school at this date, getting engaged on that day, married on this holiday, then kids at a specific age. Well, has anyone ever had their lives go as planned? I certainly haven’t and that’s okay. The only way we can learn in life is through challenges; even though we think that the easy days are the best days and the easy tasks teach us things, they really don’t. 

I used to have a teacher that swore by the following: in life only 10 percent of people are prepared for change.

At the time, I didn’t think anything of this sentence.

Yeah okay, that’s because change can be unexpected, I thought I totally understood. But boy was I ever wrong. Being in my mid-twenties now, I completely understand where she was coming from when she said that. I mean, in reality, how can anyone really be prepared for change? Change can be anything from a death in the family, to a job change, to an unexpected bill, and even a relationship ending. But because we weren’t prepared for it, that’s where we learn the most. 

When these unexpected changes happen, though, it’s also important to embrace the opportunity they provide. We may thing the dark cloud is above us and there is nothing we can do, but we need to embrace the change in front of us and see what we can make with it. Life is showing us we have something we need to learn, an emotion to experience, or a path that needs exploring. So clutch the change in front of you, because it will benefit your life in the end. 

Here are a few things that will help you when preparing for big life changes:

1) Make sure to surround yourself with support – When unexpected things happen in life, the most important thing to get you through it is people on your side. It’s those friends, those family members, and those coworkers that you will lean on when you feel weak, and when you feel like you can’t handle what is being thrown in front of you.

Once you have that support, the challenge doesn’t seem as tough as it once did. The people you surround yourself with are full of wisdom. So, take it all in and learn what you can, whenever you can.

2) Make sure you always understand your reasons – This is very important to make the change as seamless as possible. Make sure you understand what you are looking for and what you want out of a specific relationship, job, or other task. Once you know what you want and what you are looking for, it will make the hurdle that much easier to handle. Your confidence will shine through and you will better understand where you are going.

3) Express your feelings whenever possible – As much as we are taught to hold things in and always show a strong nature, it is important to always follow our heart and express how we are feeling. Consider that relationship that you don’t feel quite right about; don’t lean back and expect things to work out.  You have to step up and let your feelings rise to the top of your priority list.

Whether it be a job, relationship, school or house, being honest with yourself and those around you will not only allowing you deal the change in a more confident way, it will increase your happiness in a way you never thought possible.

4) Always weigh the options – No matter what challenge you have in front of you, make sure you are considering all of your options. Understanding and laying out your options will help guide you to what you really want. You may think you are at a dead end from time to time, but the solution is out there, I promise.

5) Make sure to set realistic expectations – At every point in life, we create expectations for ourselves. We want to ace that class, we want to be the star on our team, or we want to get that promotion we deserve. While expectations are great and definitely worthwhile, we need to make sure we keep them in check. 

As individuals we tend to set the bar higher than is realistically possible. While we can sometimes underestimate ourselves, we are also guilty of overestimating our abilities, which may hinder us in the end. While being confident and having expectations is great, we need to make sure they match up with what we want and what is possible with the tools we are given. Small steps are always a gateway to the bigger ones.

6) Always take a moment – When we are thrown those big life changes we don’t expect, it always a great idea to step back for a moment and see what we are really looking at and dealing with.

Taking yourself and your mind out of a situation, even if only for a few minutes can give you a sense of awareness that is not always possible when you’re on the front lines. It allows you to see this hurdle from the outside and find a perspective you may not have considered. With all the stress of life challenges, it is nice to take yourself out of the moment and breathe.

Even though you may be feeling extremely lost when life throws you these unexpected challenges, just know that you can handle it and you will come out a better person in the end. These changes shouldn’t be feared; they should be embraced. 

Keep this quote in mind: “If you are not being challenged by life, you are not living.”

Any thoughts on how you handle big life changes? I’d love to hear your tips.

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