Autumn’s a time when the landscape changes and there’s that familiar chilly nip in the air, but it’s not just a new season which can unsettle us.
Many of us can feel uncomfortable when we’re aware that, three-quarters of the way through the year, we’re still not achieving what we want out of life, or enjoying the happiness we feel we deserve.
But you’re in a majority if, despite feelings of discontent, altering your life seems a scary, unwelcome suggestion, says Louise Presley-Turner, life coach and author and organiser of International Change Your Life Week, which runs from September 24-30.
Here’s her top tips for successful change:
· Change or be changed
There are two ways of looking at change -– first, that you are in charge of making a change, you can decide what you want and make it happen.
Alternatively, you allow change to happen to you because it’s brought about by events or other people’s actions.
It’s worth considering that if we don’t change, often change is forced upon us.
We may be waiting for that to happen – for somebody else to take the responsibility – or it may happen when we least expect it.
Either way, we’ll have to adapt to the change whether we like it or not.
· Let go of the old
Recognise that change is part of our human growth process.
Sometimes we have to let go of the old to let the new in. In fact, when we’re not open to change, we can shut the door on miracles happening.
· You deserve better
Consider why you’re not making a change, which may often be because you’re reluctant to get out of your comfort zone, confront someone or hurt their feelings.
That’s understandable, but it’s so important that we put our own happiness, health and wellbeing first.
This might seem selfish but actually once we start to become happier, those around us will sooner or later accept the changes you’ve pushed through.
· Stepping stones
Making a leap in the dark can feel so frightening that it paralyses our will to change.
Instead, use stepping stones as a method – so that you progress gradually in small stages, like using stepping stones to cross a river, towards the change that you want.
It may mean you have put your ideas out in the open and reveal what you’d like to change, which may be scary, but then you’ll attract people who may help, give you information and eventually help that big change become possible.
· Work your change muscle
Get more comfortable with dealing with life’s challenges by writing a list of 50 things that scare you.
Start off with the small things such as driving on a motorway, going to a café for lunch on your own and then working up to more challenging things like sky diving or speaking in public.
The aim is to pick one thing off your list every week, starting with the easier items and working upwards.
By doing this, you are building a new ‘can do’ belief, which will help you embrace change and allow you to move forward more easily. Also, you never know who you’ll meet in the process.
· Take a risk
High-risk people are exhilarating to be around as they take life head-on.
We can’t all be those adrenaline-junkies. Some of us avoid any risk and dread the unfamiliar or new – the types that always return to the same holiday resort and never change the colour of their decor. But while that’s safe, they may never know the thrill and excitement of the unexpected or the ecstasy of surprises.
The rest of us probably fall in the middle – occasionally we’ll throw caution to the winds. But it can be hugely rewarding to regularly steel yourself to take a risk, which doesn’t have to be big.
It’s about altering your risk-gauge gradually so that ‘change’ over time ceases to be so frightening.