Responding to Change

This is a week of change for me: adjustment to a new fitness center and the move of my son and his family to another town. I’m not particularly happy about either of these changes, because like many of you, I’m a creature of habit.

It’s hard to “do different” when you’ve been accustomed to the same fitness routine, people, and location for twenty-five years. It’s also challenging to realize my 30-year-old “baby boy” will no longer be living 15 minutes away from me in the house I grew up in. While these changes may seem normal and inconsequential to some, they herald big adjustments in my life.

However, life is always in a state of flux, and how we respond determines how well we deal with new and different. Change is hard and people respond in a variety of ways. Following are some suggestions to help you adjust and move forward:

Avoid Lamenting What Was

While it’s normal for us to stay rooted in the familiar and dread change, clinging to what used to be creates a backwards focus. Instead of wishing for that which is no more, be thankful you had the opportunities, relationships, proximity, benefits, and that you still have the good memories. No change can take away the positive aspects of your experiences.

Come to Terms with Reality

In the less than two weeks that we knew our fitness center was about to close its doors, it was interesting to see how people responded. Some soldiered on as if everything was the same and change wasn’t imminent. Others ranted and fumed and hoped someone would pull a last-minute rabbit out of hat that would allow the place to stay open. But many, like I, began the process of investigating alternatives, assessing the best option for our needs. Finding a different place to pursue fitness wasn’t what we wanted to do, but reality forced us to move forward with a different plan.

Accept reality as your new normal and don’t allow change to freeze you in a backwards-facing posture, thus paralyzing forward motion.

Find Positives

Change is never easy. We are creatures of familiarity and what we are accustomed to is our default. Fear and uncertainty niggle at the back of our minds when presented with different, but it’s possible to find positives in change. Seeing the pluses involves adjusting your mindset and quieting negative thoughts that wave eager hands, pointing out all that is challenging and not the same. Minimize the negatives by mentally listing benefits and focusing on them.

Accept and Move Forward

Years ago, I remember when our state began observing daylight savings time. A teen, I was determined not to participate! But it didn’t take long for me to realize I couldn’t buck a change that everyone else was adhering to, especially when it involved everyday life and schedules.

To accept means to receive willingly or to make a favorable response. An alternate definition is to endure without protest or reaction. The second definition more closely aligns with how I handle change, but I have learned that changes are inevitable and resistance only increases the magnitude and lengthens the period of adjustment.  I have also learned that God can’t do something new without change.

So if you’re struggling with a change in your life, look for positive aspects. Accept the change with confidence, trust, and anticipation for what lies ahead.

“Abraham trusted God, and when God told him to leave home and go far away to another land that he promised to give him, Abraham obeyed. Away he went, not even knowing where he was going” Hebrews 11:8 TLB

©CandyArrington

Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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