“People are looking for stability in a shaky world. They want something that they can hold onto that’s firm and sure and an anchor in the midst of all this instability in which they’re living.” – Gordon B. Hinckley
Are you about to embark on a major life change that will eliminate habits, attitudes and routines that have given you security for years? If so, I have some valuable advice that I believe will prove helpful to you.
One of the biggest life changes for me was walking away from my employer without securing another opportunity beforehand. It was a big one for me and I am sure for anyone who has gone through this experience, by choice or force. When it happened I went through so many emotions, but the greatest one was doubt.
When I was faced with eliminating an activity that consumed me, I learned that I needed to take into account how long I had been in this particular routine that I planned to eliminate. This account begun a self-talk conversation about how to best fill the void or not. I know now that it is not simple to pick-up and go, after eliminating an activity that was engrained in me for years. My initial response after I ended my employment was relief and a high off of the fact that I even did it. Soon after I was inundated with questions that had me second guessing my decision, which is natural.
I advise that if you can help it, plan ahead and for half the time you invested in the past routine, invest in a new routine with anchors. Anchors are a necessity, because there no longer exists a sense of comfort, through habitual routine. It does not feel good in the end to go from 8 hour days or more, in which every hour is accounted for, to having hours in which you are trying to figure out what to do. You have to think that for however many years you put in, whether you want to admit it or not, you felt a sense of accomplishment and that was enough to drag you along for years.
Anchors are great no matter the situation. It could be that you are deciding to move to a different state and start anew, the end of a relationship that consumed you, a decision to travel cross-country or a change of careers.
Ahead of your life change I recommend that you consider implementing a new routine to lighten your load for the journey ahead. I had three months to go from a Monday – Friday 9 to 5, to a routine in which I had full control. How I did it? By holding onto something old, adding something new and focusing on my goal.
Something old (A daily routine, a simple pleasure)… allowed me to settle into my new routine a lot easier, so I kept my wake-up time and continued to have a cup of tea and breakfast, followed by writing.
Something new (3 days of social activities in a group setting)… gave me excitement and a great starting point to began letting go of the old me, so I committed 3 days out of the week to social activities to give myself a sense of connectivity. Having spent years in an office setting, I knew I would crave connection.
My goal (A daily commitment)… gave me a sense of direction, and accomplishment. It’s the reason why I made the change in the first place. So I committed every single day of my three month journey to writing my short stories for a collection.
In the end, we all need to feel a sense of direction and accomplishment or else doubt will ask, what is it all for, and fear will have you back to your old ways.
I admit that I still had a bit of anxiety, but it’s natural when you are reprogramming yourself. You are operating from a different set of values and you’re beginning to trust your gut instead of someone else’s gut! Hang in there.