Despite sometimes feeling our routines are stagnant, change (or even working towards change) is pretty common in our lives. I’ve noticed during recent catch ups with girlfriends that there’s a lot of change going on around us. Babies, new jobs, moving house, renovating - all big and exciting life events.
Another common theme is the stress and fear that comes with these changes.
We work towards change, then feel overwhelmed with stress, and even panic, when it arrives.
So why do we chase change? And why can’t we handle it effortlessly when it arrives?
The lead up
Most goal-based changes involve a long period of planning or effort before they arrive. Job hunting can feel like it takes forever ... babies take 9 months, house hunting can take years and moving overseas takes a major amount of planning and packing.
During the lead up, we’re often stuck in what I call, ‘future thinking’.
We fantasise about when the change finally arrives, and often feel bored during the planning.
The danger of future thinking
Also common is the continual striving for the next goal or possession to fulfil us. I’m sure many of us have had these thoughts - “I’ll be happy when I get a new car / have an amazing new job / get engaged”.
The overarching message we’re drumming into ourselves is that when things are ‘fixed’, we’ll finally be happy.
Are you missing the moment?
Often these changes we long for arrive in an awful hurry. After feeling fed up with my last job hunt, I attended two interviews, received a job offer and accepted, all within 5 days. Although it was exciting, I was somewhat longing for the boring day-to-day of job hunting by the end of that intense week!
Remember - the change is coming so try your best to stay present. There’s no point wishing time away, so fill your days with a variety of activities to keep your mind occupied if you’ve become obsessed with your change. Spend time with friends, keep up with exercise and be certain things will shift before you know it.
Start your future list
One of my favourite tips is to start a ‘future list’ - whether in a journal or in your phone. Whatever that long term change is, if you can’t do anything about it in this exact moment, get your thoughts or 'to do list' down and out of your head now.
A friend of mine is moving back to her hometown in around a year and was talking to me about options on where to live and work when she returns. I totally sympathised with this future thinking but could also see that if the thoughts took over, she might miss out on the city she’s living in at the moment.
Write it down and remember, there’s a time for everything.
The post-change panic
One thing I’ve learned about change (and I chase change!) is that once it happens, you will be out of routine. It can feel stressful and unnerving. What I’ve also learned is that this time passes more quickly than you realise, and you’ll be back into a routine (and likely thinking about your next change!) before you know it. Again, try and stay present.
Give yourself a break and let your standard routine be as flexible as it needs to be while you adjust.
What big change are you chasing at the moment? Let me know in the comments below!