4 Tips you need for scary changes

4 Tips you need for scary changes

100% ready for a scary change in your life but freaking out 100%? I’ve been there.

Big changes in your life that you want, are ready for, and are excited about – can still be super scary. 

There are a number of reasons for this and there are a number of things you can do to ease the transition.

In this post, I have gathered my top 4 tips that have helped me take big scary leaps into the unknown.

1. Accept change is scary

A change in one area in your life can send ripples (or even tidal wives) through the foundations of how you understand yourself in the world.

To illustrate this point, let’s consider the six logical levels of change – used by neuro-linguistic programming practitioners. This proposes the following hierarchy of personal change.

  1. Purpose and spirituality
  2. Identity
  3. Beliefs and values
  4. Capabilities and skills
  5. Behaviors
  6. Environment

These elements are intertwined and a change in one level may result in an adjustment in others. 

So, if you are embarking on a change in your behavior – like quitting your job, you may feel ripples through how you perceive your purpose, values, beliefs, identity, competency and environment.

This change just could rock (your perception) of the world. This is scary by anyone’s standards. But that’s okay. Accept this is part of the journey and look forward to the positive changes that will no doubt come.

Preparing for scary changes in life

2. Understand that scary changes stress your brain out

Your brain is not into change. Scary or otherwise.

Cognitive dissonance is the theory that describes your brain’s quest to maintain the status quo of your attitudes and behaviors (cognitive consistency). A disruption to this state causes brain chaos (cognitive dissonance). This can result in anxiety and stress.

According to a Harvard professor of psychiatry, change, even when positive, creates cognitive dissonance. The main reason for this is uncertainty. This can drive you to retreat to old habits. And, due to your biological impulses, defaults your brain into negative bias. (Glass half empty anyone?)

So, if that voice in your head is telling you to abort your new life mission, ignore. That grey little guy is not excited to co-pilot on this one.

3. Have a scary life change plan

Having a plan in place for your scary changes is your greatest defense against uncertainty (and your stressed-out brain).

The more of your journey you can plan the smoother the transition may be. Make sure you consider planning for the following areas.

  • Plan of action: Plan the steps you are going to take on this journey. The more detailed the better. If you are having trouble, visualise your end goal and work backward to break down the steps to get there.
  • Contingency plan: Scrutinise the road ahead for any potential bumps. And then create a plan for them too.
  • Plan for your assets and resources: Make sure you understand what resources are needed to bring your plan to fruition and get them ready. This could include $$, skills, knowledge, contacts, etc.
  • Plan for your definition of success: To ensure this journey is personally fulfilling – make sure your plan strives for your personal definition of success. This should align with your ideals of value, meaning, and purpose.

4. Think less “scary changes” and more “awesome changes”

Make sure you don’t let the scariness turn into doubt and negatively.

Embracing a positive mindset can help deal with your scary thoughts. Below are a few tips.

  • Remember the glass is half full: It is important to notice when you are slipping into negative thoughts and emotions. Use this self-awareness to reframe these thoughts positively. (eg. don’t think of the unknown as scary – think of it as an exciting opportunity!) If you need a hand stopping your negatively check out this post.
  • Visualise the outcome: Research has shown that visualising your goals can support you to achieve them. So, take the time to visualise your dream goal journey to improve your chances and your mindset.
  • Build a pros and cons list: A solid pros and cons list will help you prepare for change, as well as, creating an inspiration tool to refer to later. 
  • Know the “why”: The key to great goals is for them to be grounded in the understanding of “why” they are important to you. Referring back to this, when things are tough, will remind you why it is worth it.

Now you are ready to rock some scary changes

So – go forth and good luck!

I can think of a bunch of cliches that I could write here to send you on your way…

But, I think the one thing that you really need to know is: You can do it.

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    Have you tried any of these tips? Drop a comment below with your thoughts!

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    Are you feeling discouraged? 15 Tips you need

    Are you feeling discouraged? 15 Tips you need

    15 tips to help you get back on the horse – when you are feeling discouraged with your goals.

    Feeling discouraged or disheartened is something we all experience during our goal journeys.

    When this happens – doubt can creep up on us. We can worry we will never reach our dream goals. We can get concerned all our effort will be for nothing. It can stop us in our tracks. 

    We can find ourselves struggling to tread water, wondering why we chose not to take a bridge.

    I have been there. Honestly – I have been there often. In fact – I find myself today.

    In an effort to paint a picture of what it was like to feel discouraged – I went looking for a definition of discouraged:

    Having had one’s confidence and determination reducedCollins Dictionary

    However, this doesn’t seem to capture the gravity of the situation. 

    So, then I looked up some synonyms

    Crestfallen, depressed, dismayed, pessimistic, beat, blue, dashed, daunted, deterred, dispirited, down, beat-down, caved-in, come-apart, down-in-mouth, downbeat, downcast, glum, gone to pieces, in a funk, in blue funk, in the dumps, lost momentum.

    Bingo! 

    In my glum and crestfallen state today. I am finding myself pessimistic and deterred with my goals. But, although I am feeling daunted and down in the dumps – I don’t want to completely lose momentum. So, I will try to get out of this funk by providing some tips.

    These tips can help you brush yourself off and keep going – if you are feeling discouraged with your goals.

    So, if you are also feeling beat by your goals – don’t feel dispirited and cave in. Check out this list of 15 quick tips – and take the reins back again.

    Tips for when you are feeling discouraged with your goals

    1. Lean into it

    That’s right. Just let yourself feel discouraged.

    According to the research you will benefit from accepting negative emotions and thoughts and just letting yourself feel them.

    This is a great time to start journaling or phone a supportive friend – and vent, process, and lean in.

    (If you are venting to a friend they might like to read this post: Being a good friend – The tips you need)

    2. Remember this emotion is normal

    There is nothing wrong with you if you are feeling discouraged. 

    Remember, it is normal to feel ups and downs during your goal journey. So be kind to yourself.

    3. Avoid catastrophic thinking

    If you are anything like me – this is a tough one. But, don’t let your mind run away with itself. A bump in the road does not mean there is a 100-mile sinkhole on the horizon.

    Just because things feeling disheartening today – doesn’t mean you will never reach your dreams goals.

    4. Look after yourself

    Now, is the time for self-care.

    When you are feeling discouraged – you can feel fragile and down. Take this opportunity to get stuck into your practice self-care. 

    So, whether this means, reading a book, having a massage, or an aggressive gym workout. Do what you need to take a break and look after yourself.

    5. Get a hug

    There are many benefits to hugs that can help you relieve stress. So, find someone to give you a 20-second cuddle. 

    If you can’t get your hands on anyone – don’t worry. You can still reap the benefits by just giving yourself a squeeze.

    6. Help someone else

    Intentional kindness is a great way to get out of your head and embrace some good vibes.

    So, take the opportunity to help someone else. Even small efforts like holding the door open for someone can get you out of the gate.

    7. Remember it’s worth it

    Remind yourself of your ultimate goal. It’s fantastic right!? 

    Being able to reach your dreams is going to be worth a few short-term hiccups (like the one you are experiencing now).

    8. Believe in yourself

    The fact is – you can reach your goals if you put in the work. So, know it – and believe it. 

    It’s important to be your own cheerleader and master of the self-pep talk during your goal journey.

    9. Search for your positivity

    Positivity will help you and your brain to start working on your goals again. So, start thinking about positive things. 

    Take a moment to remember your past successes, listen to your favourite song, or think about your favourite person.

    If you have trouble seeing the glass as half full – check out this post: How to stop being negative.

    10. Practice your gratitude

    Gratitude is another great way to up your feelings of positivity and get you moving forward with your goals. 

    Gratitude increases your positive affect (mood) which research tells us has multiple advantages for you and your successful goal journey.

    11. Ensure your goals are right for you

    Sometimes we can pursue goals that aren’t right for us. It is imperative that you are truly excited and personally motivated to achieve your goals.

    If you are feeling like you can’t get your goals off the ground – check out this post: Obstacles in achieving goals – Is your brain sabotaging you?

    12. Sharpen your goal focus

    Sometimes we can feel disheartened when we are galloping after vague goals. Make sure you have focused and clearly defined goals that are right for your current situation.

    Need a hand focusing on your goals? Check out this post – The life changing goal setting tip

    13. Check your definition of success

    Make sure the success you are trying to achieve – aligns with your personal definition of success. 

    If you are chasing the wrong dreams – you will never feel successful.

    (If you need to recalibrate your definition of success check out this article)

    14. Learn from it

    There is a good possibility that something has led to you feeling discouraged. So, take this as a learning opportunity. 

    Take the time to self-reflect so you can learn from this experience. You might discover something that can help you.

    Related post: Why self-reflection is important

    15. Get back to work

    The best thing to do when you have fallen off the horse is to get back on again.

    If you need some tips for resaddling – this article provides pointers to get you working again.

    So, next time you are feeling discouraged about your goals – use these tips to get yourself trotting again.

    Hopefully, you’ll be feeling the breeze in your hair in no time.

    (End of lame horse riding analogy [pun half intended])

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    Start living a successful life – filled with the right balance of purpose, value and happiness today.

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      Do you sometimes feel discouraged when pursuing your goals?

      Drop a comment below

      (Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash)

      Obstacles in achieving goals – Is your brain sabotaging you?

      Obstacles in achieving goals – Is your brain sabotaging you?

      Do you find obstacles in achieving goals? You are not alone. You might come across them during the goal-building journey or in the process of pursuing them. 

      But, if you have trouble getting started on your goal journey or find your goals forever changing – your main obstacle may be your self-sabotaging brain.

      The key to this problem is to make sure your goals are deeply rooted in your understanding of why you want to make this change.

      Below are two examples of self-sabotaging obstacles you might face and what to do about them.

      Obstacle 1 – Your brain isn’t ready for change

      If you have a goal that you can’t seem to get started – think about whether you are really feeling motivated and ready to make changes.

      I recently asked my friend who is an exercise physiologist (a qualified professional who trains their clients to recover from injury, lose weight or reach other exercise related goals) – whether she can generally see a difference between her clients that are likely to achieve their goals and those that aren’t.

      She told me that she can work out a client’s likelihood of success within the first two minutes of meeting them. The difference between clients is how they talk about their goal.

      For example, if a client says “I am here because my doctor says I need to lose weight” – there is probably a 0% chance they will meet their goal.

      If a client comes in and says “I want to be able to lift my grandchild without pain” – there is a much higher chance of success.

      This can be explained by the Stages of Change concept. This tells us – you will only succeed with your goal journey if you are truly motivated and ready to do so.

      Stages of change - goals

      These are the Stages of Change in a nutshell:

      1. Precontemplation – You do not intend to change (may be unaware of or underestimating issue)
      2. Contemplation – You begin to contemplate change (aware of the issue – may still be ambivalent)
      3. Preparation/Determination – Ready and starting to make a change (Goal setting time!)
      4. Action – Making change & intend to keep going
      5. Maintenance – Sustaining new behaviour & intend to keep going (working to prevent relapse)

      So from my friend’s perspective – she can tell within 2 minutes what Stage of Change you are in and whether you are ready for the journey.

      Can you think of a goal that never seems to get off the ground?

      Ask yourself – Are you feeling ready to make change or maybe you are still feeling ambivalent?

      Obstacle 2 – Your brain is sabotaging you

      If you have decided that you don’t need to achieve your goal anymore – it might not be that your intention or goal has genuinely changed. It might be because your brain has put it in the too-hard basket.

      To make life easier for you – your brain has the (slightly unhelpful) ability to convince you that you are in fact happy with the status quo and the hard work of your goals is unnecessary.

      Example goal – Trying to lose weight

      Losing weight is the easiest thing in the world – said no one ever.

      Weight loss is hard.

      Obviously, there are those people that love to eat healthily and exercise – I’m not talking about those lucky sons of b*ches here. I’m talking about normal people.

      I personally think there are two main reasons this is so hard:

      1. Food is pretty much the best thing ever – so having to reduce things or modify the diet that makes us happy sucks &
      2. Exercise (of the proper weight loss variety) is hard and often not terribly enjoyable – and who wants to do something hard and not enjoyable.

      Now – to make matters worse – our brain can dislike participating in these weight loss activities so much – it can convince us we are in fact happy at our given weight. This way it (and we) can avoid the unenjoyable hard work of reaching our weight loss goal.

      So – regardless of how much your body doesn’t want to play the weight loss game – your brain isn’t that interested either.

      Have you ever found yourself giving up on a goal – because you decided that it didn’t matter anymore? Have you ever decided the hard work required to achieve a goal wasn’t worth it – because in fact the status quo was okay?

      Obstacles in achieving goals

      How to fight these obstacles in achieving your goals

      Before you start taking action on your goals 

      Next time you are setting goals – ask yourself:

      • Do you have the correct mindset to dedicate yourself to this goal?
        • Are you feeling really motivated and ready to make this change?
        • Do you know why you want to make this change?
      • Do you feel excited and ready for the challenge? 
        • What excites you the most about achieving the goal?
        • Will it be worth all the hard work?

      Remember: If you aren’t in the right Stage of Change – you can save yourself the effort (& time & money) because you won’t have the mindset to drive you to your goals.

      If your goal has dropped off the radar

      Self-reflect to ensure that it isn’t your brain sabotaging you – by going back to the beginning of the goal-making process.

      Remind yourself what your goal is and why it is your goal. Ask yourself (again):

      • Why is this goal important to you?
      • What are the benefits for your life if you achieve this goal?
      • What will it feel like when you achieve this goal?

      Re-clarifying why this is your goal can re-invigorate your motivation and this might be enough to spark you back into positive action.

      But if things still feel lackluster… Start again! There is nothing wrong with starting the goal-making process again – if you have lost your enthusiasm.

      So – next time you are struggling to get your goals off the ground. Self-reflect and make sure your brain isn’t being an obstacle in achieving your goals.

      Ready to feel like a better version of you?

      Start living a successful life – filled with the right balance of purpose, value and happiness today.

      Grab your FREE 5-day email course!

        Do you have trouble getting your goals going?

        Drop a comment below and let us know your struggles.

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        How to stop being negative

        How to stop being negative

        Tell your inner negativity bias that the glass is half full!

        Are you guilty of being a Negative Nellie? I think many of us can be. I certainly am.

        It can be a struggle to stop being negative. But, for the benefit of your day-to-day (and the day-to-day of the people around you), it is important to try. If you can manage to start seeing the glass as half full and not half empty – it can make a huge difference to how you feel about your life.

        This glass half empty or Negative Nellie outlook – demonstrates negativity bias. Negativity bias is pretty much what it sounds like – a tendency to focus on the negative over the positive.

        From a caveman perspective, this makes sense – because a pessimistic outlook can keep us safe and away from potential danger for reasons of survival. But, in this relatively safe day and age, it can be problematic and linked to mental health issues.

        Being negative can spiral our moods into serious negative emotions (and, the moods of the people around us). When we approach life like Eeyore (from Winne the Pooh) it can impact our relationships, decision-making and general perceptions.

        How to stop being negative

        This is not to say that negativity, in general, is bad. As a hangover from our caveman days – we are more likely to pay attention to and learn from negative information. There are also health benefits from having mixed emotions. And although there can be benefits to suppressing negative emotions – researchers have found negative health consequences for people who fail to experience the emotions of negative life events. 

        So, being purely Positive Polly – is also not the end game.

        The aim should be to approach life with an open mind and be able to focus on the positives. Not continuously dwell on the negatives.

        So, if you are (also) someone that finds the glass half empty all too often. I wanted to give you a list of the quick & relatively easy tips that can help. Then we can then work on these together!

        How to stop being negative – 5 top tips

        1. Self-reflection & Self-awareness

        That old adage “the first step in solving a problem – is knowing you have a problem” – totally applies here.

        You need to be self-aware and understand that you are doing this – if you want to get on top of it.

        When people ask you about something – do you first go to the negatives or the positives? (I am TOTALLY guilty of being a Negative Nellie)

        2. Catch yourself

        So, you know that the glass is mainly half empty? Great.

        Now, you need to catch yourself when you are paying too much attention to the negative – so you can get onto point 3.

        3. Have a word with yourself

        When you catch yourself being negative – take a step back and assess what is really going on.

        Is there a whole lot of positives involved that you are choosing to ignore? Have a word with yourself and focus on the positive that is there too (and probably in a much greater abundance than the negative).

        Take the opportunity to reframe. No – this isn’t a disaster at work that will delay your project – this is an exciting new opportunity and challenge to rise to!

        Is your inner voice telling you there is something wrong with you? Talk to it supportively like you would a good friend. Train that voice to be more kind and gentle. 

        4. Gratitude

        Have you got a good gratitude practice?

        In this world of gratitude journals and affirmations, there are lots of great habits to get into to focus on the positive in your life and savor those positive moments.

        If you are less inclined to build these sorts of habits (like myself) – I recommend you just spend a second after you “have a word with yourself” (Step 3) and give yourself a mental high five for the positive you can find in the situation.

        Also, when you are feeling down practice gratitude by thinking about 3 things you are grateful for today. This will kick your brain into a more positive frame of mind.

        5. Mindfulness

        Mindfulness is a great practice to help keep out the persistent negativity.

        I am all about mindful breathing and yoga when I need to quiet down those loud negative thoughts.

        How to be happier day-to-day

        So, now you know how to stop being negative.

        Once you are up and running with this more positive practice – you can look forward to more positive vibes in your day (and maybe fewer friends avoiding you).

        Remember to approach this process with a gentle and curious mind. The last thing you want to do is send yourself on a negative spiral for being negative all the time!

        Hello Polly and goodbye Nellie!

        First Published: January 7, 2021

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          Do you struggle with being a negative Nellie?

          Pop a comment below & let me know your thoughts.