Exploring New Territory
We are who we are because of three things, the choices we make, the habits we keep and the disciplines we have. ~ Ricardo Housham
When I first moved to Colorado from Texas in 2008, it was one of many major life changes for me that year. I had lived in Texas my whole life and I had no idea that moving would require more from me than just moving my belongings. I quickly learned it would necessitate exploring unchartered territory within myself.
Change and transition interrupts our routines and habits. We reach into our coping toolboxes and grab the “old reliables” and it can feel like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. However, they both can allow us an opportunity to draw upon what has worked for us in the past and reinforce it. They also enable us to learn new skills that will help us in the here and now, and potentially, in the future.
How do you learn to make the unfamiliar familiar? It’s the same answer to the age old question: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice! You may be asking yourself, “What do I practice?” The answer is this: repetition of whatever it is you want reinforced. Remember when you first learned to drive and you were cognizant of all of the steps you needed to take to maneuver the vehicle? You checked your seat position, you checked your mirror positions, maybe you made a point to make sure the seat belt was fastened properly, checked to make sure your signal was indicating you wanted to switch lanes, maybe you even checked more than needed to see if there were any cars in the adjacent lane so you could make the switch. How about now? Do you sometimes forget how you got from Point A to Point B? Driving became an automatic response over time because it is something you have done repeatedly. The same principle can be applied to learning new and healthy coping skills.
Here are 3 important tips to keep in mind as you adapt to changes and transitions in your life:
1.) Understand your basic needs. Check out Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
2.) Take an inventory of what has worked for you in the past and what hasn’t worked. If you know your motivators, you can use them to your advantage. Are you reenergized by being alone or being around others? Are you a planner or do you take a “fly by the seat of your pants” approach? Would you rather give instructions or take them? Are you analytical, creative, or both? In other words,what does it take to make you thrive? There are a lot of online personality tests you can take. My favorite is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
3.) Learn how to change your self talk through cognitive restructuring and practice, practice, practice!
I would love your input regarding skills and tools you have used during times of change and transition!