Change is hard. It’s hard when it happens and is out of your control, but it can be even harder to make it happen on your own. Even when you want to do things differently, it can be tough to take those first steps. Once you have begun, it can be hard to stay on course, at least initially. You can follow the steps below to help make changes in your life less difficult.
Identify the Change Needed
Change is usually not easy, but sometimes, it’s even harder because you’ve identified the wrong source of your problem. There are a lot of reasons this may happen. You may be trying to make a change because you think others expect it of you. For example, perhaps you think you need to seek a more prestigious job even though you really like the one you have. In fact, the change you need to make might not be in your job but in your mindset or the people that you spend time with. Maybe you think you’re tired because you need more sleep, but you actually need more exercise or to eat differently. Whatever it is, make sure that you are doing the right thing for the right reasons.
Take Concrete Action
Change can also be difficult when you cannot identify a definite path of concrete action that will lead to results. For example, you might think that you’d like to save more money each month, but you don’t really know how to go about it. To help you save, you should write down some concrete steps you are going to take. Perhaps you are going to bring your lunch to work daily instead of going out. Maybe you want to consider looking at how you can lower your bills, such as consolidating your student loans with a private lender. Look for tools that will make it easier to figure out what your savings will be. You can let them do the math with a student loan consolidation calculator that tells you what your monthly payments will be.
Give it Time
It takes time to get used to change. If it involves creating a new habit, you will probably need at least a couple of months before it feels like second nature. All change needs an adjustment period, so if you aren’t sure whether you’re headed in the right direction, give it a certain amount of time before you backtrack.
Track Your Success
Another reason change can be hard is that it can happen slowly. Even when it’s fast, you may quickly forget where you started and how much progress you’ve made. You may give up and only later, looking back, realize how far along you were. For this reason, tracking your progress is important. You can do it in any form that works for you, whether that’s making regular notes in a journal, using a spreadsheet or getting an app that helps you with tracking. For some people, accountability works too. It can be useful to tell other people or be part of a group online or offline that reports their progress, but don’t let that be a substitute for your own private method of tracking.