Change can be one of the most empowering things in life. It can also be one of the most challenging. Life changes seem daunting when we initially think of them: losing a large amount of weight, starting a new job, moving, starting a business and embracing a new lifestyle are just a few examples of major changes. Whatever the change may be and whatever its magnitude, change is manageable when we take things in small steps.
Below are five tools for taking a big life change and breaking it down into smaller steps, allowing the change to happen in a fluid, gradual process.
1. Clarify the change
What is the end goal? Whatever the change may be, it is important to be clear about what it is you are trying to change. Writing down the change can help clarify what it is we want to accomplish and helps hold us accountable.
2. Get specific with a timeline
Now that we know what the change is, we need to identify how and when we will start the change process. I like to start from the end and work backwards. The first step is identifying when you want the change to occur. It can be five months from now, a year from now or five years from now. Again, the key here is to get specific and write it down. Then write in check-in dates. For example, if you want the change to happen a month into the future, set up weekly check points to evaluate how your change process is going.
3. Determine your action items
This is one of the most important small steps of the larger change because this is where things get set into motion. Large change is usually brought about by a series of small actions. Use this step to go back to the timeline and fill in the action steps. These steps may be as simple as making a phone call, weighing in on the scale or putting a certain amount of money into a retirement fund. The idea behind this step is to identify those little steps that will bring about the bigger change.
4. Fill in the blanks
There will be time between checkpoints. Use this time to make progress in other areas toward your goals. You may complement your change with another venture such as a blog or a journal. The more we are in tune with our intrinsic motivation for change the greater likelihood we will stick to our game plan when life throws us curveballs. Along the way, be sure to find time to enjoy the present moment while working toward change.
5. Ease off the pressure and enjoy the journey
One of the most beneficial things you can do when embarking on change is to enjoy the process. Some of the most valuable memories, lessons and experiences happen on the journey toward the destination. Take each day as it comes, take action toward your change and remember to love yourself. You are doing a much better job than you give yourself credit for.
I am excited for you and your change. Remember, large change is the result of smaller changes over time. Start small, stay consistent and enjoy the journey.