It is true that we are called to create a better world.
But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task:
that of creating our own lives.
As 2018 begins, you may have pondered what will be different in your year ahead. This may be the year you move into or toward retirement. This may be the year that you resolve to do something different with your life....something that better aligns with who you are, what you truly want, and something that you can wrap your heart around for the years to come. This may include finding or finally acting on a new interest and working less, finding work after staying at home for years, going back to school, a new cause, a new commitment to something or someone (including yourself), or downsizing your life.
When Does Change Originate?
Making meaningful change doesn’t often happen when things are going along just fine as usual. It arises out of unrest, when something is disappearing, falling apart, or no longer working or fitting for us. On one end of the spectrum, the ending of a year (and the perception of time ticking away) may or may not motivate change. At the other end of the spectrum, when something about our circumstances was or is about to be disrupted and we are forced into new space, change is more likely .
I once worked in the field of change management (planning and executing smooth, effective change). The truth is, change isn’t smooth by nature. Most of the time, the change itself is not the difficult part. The challenging part of self-initiated change is the time ahead of the change, when our perception of our circumstances grows uneasy, when things don’t fit any more, or when it seems that something in our life is out of step. We don’t know yet what or how things will be, but we know we can’t go back to how it was or even stay the way it is.
Three Ideas for Saying Yes to Change
Here are three ideas for continuing to move forward with resolutions for change you made on January 1…or any other time:
If you know something needs to change or is about to change, get clear about why and how things feel now, ahead of the change. Begin building a path through the small steps before and after the change and not just the change itself, and your life surrounding the change. If you aren’t clear what you want going forward, or aren’t sure how to break it down into steps, I can help you with that.
Sometimes it is necessary to just be present to the ‘space in between’. Change isn’t complete all at once and it can be messy ahead of and after the change. Even if a change happens quickly, the context of your life around the change needs to catch up. Remind yourself that it's okay to be in the middle of a transition. Being in process isn’t how our culture paints the picture, but sometimes simply, patiently being in process is the necessary step.
Give yourself time to reflect and look back along the way during and after a change. Take stock of where you are and what has already changed. Take time to be grateful to yourself for your resiliency in moving forward (and yes, it takes resiliency even for the happy changes). Be aware of and grateful for others who have helped move you forward, even those who introduced changes you didn’t choose. And give gratitude to whatever force you assign the momentum, be it God or a higher power or the amazing world we live in that allows for change and new shape to life.
2018 can be the year you create a new chapter. Embrace the change that comes with it and relish the journey. Happy New Year!
Ruth Tongen helps you take stock, plan and live retirement in a bigger, happier, healthier way. She can help you find an 'aha' and move that to an aspiration and then on to an action. Move past sticking points and begin living on purpose.
E-mail her: firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to explore how she can help you live a great next chapter.
Ruth Tongen helps people plan and live meaningful, fun and healthier retirements.