When is the best time to invest in change for yourself?
Some of us seek change on a regular basis. However, change can also be daunting. When facing changes in your life, sometimes that requires outside help and support.
Like good comedy, it really is all in the timing.
When is the best time to invest in effective change for your life? Also, what kind of support do you need to assist in that change? Of course, everyone is different but I have noticed a pattern, both in my own behaviour and the behaviour of others.
I will break it down to help you pinpoint the timings of change, ways you can help yourself and the right potential source of outside help, if you feel you need it.
When is the best time?
Change occurs because of three reasons: transitions, conditions and decisions.
There is a big shift happening in your life. It could be grappling with a new job or you could be faced with a new and demanding challenge or project. The prospect of transition could be triggering imposter syndrome, could have you stuck in perfectionism, or being overwhelmed by the task ahead.
When you reach a point of transition, you have a choice:
Option 1: Do it the way you have always done it, based on all your conditioning and beliefs. There is nothing wrong with doing it as you have always done it, if it works. However, it might need a tweak or an overhaul. Doing it as you have always done it is referred to as your comfort zone or a fixed mindset.
Option 2: Take a new approach based on the specifics of this current moment in your life. Try a new way. Take yourself just outside your comfort zone, to stretch yourself. This is referred to as a growth mindset.
When faced with a transition, you don’t want to panic but it is an opportunity to grow and move forward. Transition is a time of change.
“I just can’t take it anymore.” This is a very common moment to seek change.
The moment you realise you can no longer tolerate a job you don’t enjoy, that simply coasting from one situation to the next is only leading to an unfulfilled life, that you really are worth more than you are currently earning.
You are so comfortable that you have become stuck. Accepting the status quo results in boredom and resentment. The conditions are no longer tolerable. If the conditions are negatively impacting you, it’s time to change.
Everything you do is a choice. Every moment is a decision. You and you alone have the power to determine those choices.
Victor Frankl, the Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist wrote:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
You might not be transitioning and your conditions might be great, but you might just decide, “I want to do things better. Could I make this better for me and the people around me?”
Most change occurs because of transition and conditions. However, it is possible just to decide, it’s time to change.
Which one applies to you?
Which one of the above relates to you right now? Once you know which one you are leaning towards, here are some questions to build some clarity about what you need:
- What kind of life do I want to live?
- When do I want to have that by?
- What is the biggest obstacle to that right now?
- Is overcoming that obstacle a now problem or a later problem?
The answers might come quickly and clearly. They might need to be encouraged out.
Here are some ways to start helping yourself:
1. Start journaling – it really is the most effective way to unpack your own thoughts.
2. Make specific goals with tangible milestones – with no destination, there is no clear path.
3. Seek outside professional help – outside, objective perspective is invaluable and doing that with support can help you get what you need faster. That could be a counsellor, coach, mentor or therapist.
4. Surround yourself with positive people – we are the product of the 5-7 people we surround ourselves with. Think about that.
5. Change takes true practice and commitment - 1% every single day compounds over time.
If the timing is right and you would like to get professional help, what kind of help do you need? Here is a top-level way to check what kind of help you might need:
You seek support to make sense of the past. This could be best supported by some form of counselling.
You would like to learn directly from someone else’s wealth of experience. This would be some form of mentorship.
You need support and assistance to work through past trauma. This would be best supported by a therapist.
You want to move towards achieving a specific goal in the future. This would be supported by a coach.
Change comes at different stages in our lives. There are many levels of change and ways to get help if you need it. I really hope this helps you clarify where you might be in your timing, ways that you could immediately start helping yourself and if you do need support, what kind might be the best for you right now.