I love this quote about how to embrace change:
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” -Jimmy Dean
Learning how to embrace change and become more brave involves taking stock of where we are at in this very moment, and then launching forth from that point to become a greater version of yourself.
Embracing change means accepting your current state as is, but it also means taking control of your future. One more quote that I love:
“God loves you just the way you are, but he loves you too much to leave you that way.” -Max Lucado
We are not destined to be the same as we were yesterday. I can say this with certainty from my own personal experience. Several times in the last few years I have been beaten down only to get picked back up. When my book sales didn’t reach my unrealistic expectations, when we were moved to Salisbury, NC, and when we struggled to do job where were on call 4 nights a week, I realize now that we had to go through those experiences to mold us into better people over all.
Sometimes (read usually) we actually HAVE to go through trials in order to come out better on the other end. But it isn’t easy. That’s why I made up this list of 34 actionable ideas you can do to jumpstart your ability to embrace change.
(*Please note, I link out to quite a few resources in this post, all of which with the intent to help you, the reader. Some of these links are affiliate links and I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you).
#1: Accept Your Current Situation
Embracing change starts with acceptance. It doesn’t matter how you got to where you are at right now, what matters is that you are there. Whether you are stuck at a job you hate, overweight, or depressed, you must accept your current situation.
Acceptance is different than resignment. Actually, its completely different. Acceptance means letting the past be what it was and getting ready to make a better future. Resignment is feeling stuck in your current state.
Learn to accept your situation, knowing that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark it may seem. Come to terms with your current state, and make plans to attack the future and make things wildly better for yourself over time.
#2: Adjust Course
Once you have learned to accept your situation, you must learn how to adjust course. Unfortunately, life will always throw things at you. Most likely you are even going through trials right now. Ride the waves and be willing to be flexible and change your plans when appropriate.
This exact step is one that I recommend the most in my book (Now What) because even in one week things can happen to steer you off course. You must be ready to re-evaluate and switch things around. For instance, you can’t continue to run if you just broke your ankle. You have to get creative and figure out a new way to work out.
Re-evaluate, Readjust, and go forward.
#3: Take a Step Forward
Take that next step. Don’t be afraid to start something. There is a chance you might fail, it might not work for you, or you might not like it. But don’t be afraid to try.
The worst thing you can do is to never try. To stay at home, stuck in the same old rut is a disservice to your God given abilities.
Don’t sit on the sidelines anymore. Get out there and play the game of life. You might fall flat on your face (I’ve done that several times for sure!) but you might just succeed big time. Do you think most people that are rich and famous today ever knew what they would become? Nope! No way dude. Most of them worked their butts off.
So get out there and work your own butt off.
#4: Increase Resiliency
Resiliency is something that can be learned. It makes me think of one Survivor Contestant named Rudy Boesch. He competed on the show when he was 75 years old, setting the record for the oldest contestant. He was a military man too, and definitely dealt with his fair share of tragedy.
His resilience was seen on the show when he would drink unclean water and compete in all of the challenges that even younger survivor contestants were struggling with.
He is an example of how we can learn to deal with struggle and become resistant to the things that life throws at us, instead just shrugging them off. If we can learn to be like Rudy, how much more could we accomplish?
If our first world problems of power outages, running out of Corn Flakes, or deciding between Burger King or McDonald’s can cause us so much grief, is it any wonder we struggle as we do?
Get off the strugglebus buy getting some good ol’ fashioned resilience. Do something that scares you and makes you feel uncomfortable,. The initial discomfort will suck, but it will get better.
#5: Do Something Fun
Sometimes you just need to do something that brings joy to your mind. If we get too stuck in trying to solve things and fix problems we can end up doing more harm than good.
What this means is that we need to take more breaks. Go on a walk, shoot some pool, or play a video game (just don’t get sucked in… Avoid WoW at all costs!) Give your brain a break so you can come back and keep working on your goals.
Embracing change does not mean attacking a problem until every detail is worked out. It will come together in time my friend.
#6: Learn to Meditate
I personally love meditating. It has helped me immensely in trying to reduce my stress levels. You can learn more about meditation and how to meditate by going here.
I personally meditate every night before bed. I find that it helps me to be able to clear my thoughts and to be able to sleep better. It can take forever for my mind to calm down, but once it does, that feeling of calm is incredible.
When you are going through a tough change, becoming more mindful and calm can make a huge difference for how things will turnout. Just having a new perspective that isn’t bogged down with the overwhelm of stimuli that we get on a daily basis can work wonders.
#7: Do Something for Someone Else
This one can feel counter intuitive. “Why would I help someone else when I am really hurting? That’s nuts!”
But when you start to think about it, you realize that helping others makes you:
- Forget about your own problems, at least for a short time
- Feel good because you are blessing someone else.
I always feel great when I give back to someone else. Whether that is writing a card to my mom, reviewing another author’s book, or helping a neighbor move a piece of furniture.
What is something nice you can do for a friend, a co-worker, or a loved one? What is something that would make their day, and would only take a few minutes. You will be amazed at your own potential to make someone else’s day. Sometimes all it takes is a smile.
#8: Be Brave and Smile
Smiling is sometimes all it will take to turn your day upside down. Just the other day I was feeling down, and I told myself to smile. As soon as I did this, the person across from me at the coffee shop smiled wide at me and made my day!
Some of the world’s bravest people always seem to be smiling as well. Despite the pain and trials they undergo, it often seems that children with cancer oftentimes are stronger through it than any adult would be.
Learn to smile, even in the darkest of days, and your ability to deal with change will increase ten-fold.
#9: Ignore Self-Doubt
If I ever needed to follow my own advice it would be right now. I struggle with self-doubt big time. I struggle to believe in myself and I doubt that I will reach my goals.
How silly that is though right? Logically, I have blasted through several of my goals and made new ones. We need to learn to ignore that self-doubt that creeps in. We need to remember what we have accomplished, and that our story is still unfolding.
Philippians 1:6 says “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Be faithful that the good works you are doing are not in vain. Crush that self-doubt into oblivion and never look back.
There is no better way to get through a tough change than to drop down to your knees and pray. Pray to God that he will work in your life and that he will use you for good.
I have started to have a “daily quiet time” where I read the bible and pray to God. Even if you aren’t a believer (which is okay, no judgement here), setting aside time to reflect and think about what is going on in your life can be helpful.
#11: Make a Goal Board
This is one my favorites! Miranda and I (my wife) have white boards strewn throughout our house. We love keeping track of our goals and seeing what we have going on.
When we first moved and were dealing with that huge change, one of the first things we discussed was what our new goals were going to be. We read the book Level up Your Life by Steve Kamb, and have since been hooked on “leveling up” and sucking the marrow out of life.
If you want to set up a goal board and “level up” you can check out that book for the full details, or just wing it. Write down your goals and assign point values to them. Once you reach a certain threshold reward yourself with something that is fun but will also help you to move forward with your goals such as new workout gear.
#12: Read a good Non-Fiction Book
Reading non-fiction books will help you to learn new things, and increase your ability to recognize truth. I love reading books that push me to think about things and that give me new perspectives on how to handle situations. One of the books I recommend often is called Crush it by Gary Vaynerchuck. It was one of the first books I listened to on Audible and I loved it. It is a business book, but it also helped push me to realize that I could accomplish ANY goal as long as I buckled down and hustled. Opening up your mind to the possibilities that are before you is a direct impact of reading non-fiction. Need more? Here are 10 Reasons Why Reading Is Important
#13: Read a good Fiction Book
Okay so maybe it’s obvious now that I love to read? Well, its not just me. Here is why your brain needs to read everyday.
Reading is one surefire way to learn embrace change because your brain will be better able to accept things. You will be training yourself to approach things differently. You will also learn bravery tactics from characters like Neville Longbottom (right!?).
Besides my favorite series, The Inheritance Cycle, I would recommend checking out the Audible version of The Martian. You will not be disappointed, as it is one of my favorite narrated books of all time. 10x better than watching the movie!
Whatever type of series you like, it is in your best interested to read more often.
#14: Experience New Things
I know what you are probably thinking, getting out there and experiencing new things is the last thing you want to do when dealing with a difficult change. But believe me here, it will do you good to try something new.
Find a new place to hike, go dancing with your significant other, or go sailing. Anything that is new will open up new pathways in your brain. Even better, once you start experiencing new things, you will start to become accustomed to doing new things, and thus, change won’t hurt as much.
Its like training the “change muscle” to get used to dealing with change. The more you workout that muscle, the easier it will be to embrace change.
#15: Work on Daily Habits
Building daily habits is a must if you want to be able to deal with change. Our habits are what drive us to either succeed or fall on our faces. What you do every morning affects the rest of your day, and what you do every day affects the rest of your life.
Dealing with change is so much easier if you have a firm foundation to begin with, and creating daily habits is how you build that foundation.
I just recently committed to spending time with God by reading the Bible every day. It’s something I should have been doing everyday, but it wasn’t getting done. I would have said it was important to me, but I wasn’t making it a priority.
The King of habit development is Steve Scott. Check out his book on the subject of Habit Stacking. You can’t go wrong with any of his books.
#16: Write a Letter to Yourself
A really cool idea for overcoming change is to write a letter from your future self. It is a little bit of an oddball idea for sure, but it can help you see where you want to be.
Write the letter using the frame of mind of where you want to be in a year. Tell yourself how awesome it is to be where you are now, and that even though the past year might have been rough, things worked out.
Check out this blog post on the idea for more direction.
#17: Keep a Journal to Embrace Change
Keeping a journal is a great way to learn more about yourself, and in turn to accept the changes that are happening around you. Staying in tune with your own swirling thoughts can be hard to do if you don’t write them down.
You can journal on Evernote, set up a simple word doc on your computer, or go old fashioned and get an old fashioned journal.
If you are little more daring, you could even set up your own blog and write daily updates for all to see. (Like I am doing.) This was is a little less private, but telling the world you are going to do something has a direct effect on you actually doing that thing.
Also see here for some of the best note-taking apps.
#18: Reduce Expectations
Reducing expectations does NOT mean selling yourself short. It just means not getting yourself worked up over a potential outcome. I can say this because I am the king of getting myself worked up before something even occurs.
Take a deep breath and temper expectations. I need to learn to do this better. One thing that I learned recently from reading Tame Your Anxiety by Dan Leigh is to breath deep from your stomach. It is something I kinda knew already but just wasn’t doing. Nowadays, when I am feeling stressed, I take a deep breath from the stomach and I instantly feel better.
#19: Get a Fresh Perspective
Calling a friend or a loved one and asking for help is something you should never be afraid to do. Most will gladly lend a hand to help you out. They will also be able to offer a fresh perspective on your situation and will be able to offer advice.
As you know, not all of the advice will be pertinent, so always run it through your own personal filter first. Even those with the best intentions don’t know everything about your situation.
#20: Commit to Your Personal Growth
If you truly want to become more brave, you must commit to reaching a better version of yourself. We all can grow and learn, but in order to do this we have to consistently try.
All it takes is implementing just one of these suggestions, and then adding more ideas when the first one becomes a habit. Commit to making yourself into the person you truly want to become.
#21: Learn to Love Yourself
You are an amazing person. I know that without ever having to meet you. Regardless of what you have done in your past you are a person with limitless potential.
it is so important to learn to love yourself for who you are. This is the culmination of learning to accept and embrace change. If you can love yourself as you are, right now, with no reservations, you will indeed be happy.
Love yourself, and know that you have what it takes to succeed.
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