“Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.”                                                                      James Baldwin
New Year’s. A time to pause and reflect upon the events of the past year: What worked; what did not. A new year often represents a time for wiping the slate clean and making a new beginning. And this often requires facing that ominous word, change.
Truly successful people understand that “change” is the process of evolving. Of modeling effective behaviors and attitudes. Of seeking new opportunities that lead to desired outcomes.
The difficulty people have accepting change is a function of how it is perceived. To many, change is a threat. It’s disconcerting. Like being awakened suddenly from a warm, comfortable bed. That bed is most comfortable when it is familiar. How many people sleep as soundly at hotels or others’ homes?
Most of us are comfortable in the environments we have created. We identify with our sets of habits, attitudes and activities. Curiously, even
if they involve pain, adversity, or fail to produce desired results. Change, being unfamiliar, creates the anxiety of ambiguity—an uncertainty about what will happen.
Thus, feeling threatened that change means having to lose or give up something familiar, many people continue repeating the same failings. An endless din of unpleasant comfort!
But embracing change is a healthy aspect of society. Life cycles change, as do customs and technology. To appreciate change, it is useful to consider the benefits. Begin by challenging negative beliefs, changing their meanings thereby creating beliefs that are more encouraging of success in some endeavor. Positive beliefs: An oasis in the desert of thoughts. Truly the pause that refreshes. Are they worth the risk? Positive beliefs could, after all, produce behaviors which lead to a sense of accomplishment. So how can you learn to embrace change, for a change?

  • “Let’s make a deal...” Life often involves trade-offs. You give up some- thing in order to acquire something else. In this sense, the loss associated with a change may not seem so threatening.

  • “…Hmm, what would I be giving up?” Be clear about what is unsatisfactory—though familiar—in your life. The constant anxiety?

Job frustration? Personal relationship conflict? What could happen if I left these things behind?

  • “What could I have instead by changing?” Define a new path or goal. How could you proceed differently this year and in what ways?
  • “How do I get there?” The goals that changing can help you achieve often require the performance of several steps or skills. Allow for flexibility. Sometimes change involves modifying the action one takes toward the accomplishment of a task as new information becomes available. Sometimes that information occurs as feedback either directly from your actions or from others who observe or are affected by you. 
  • A highly useful way to learn a new skill is to find someone who already has mastered it and model that person’s behavior. For example, if you decided to change your career you might want to explore this with someone who has already done so, successfully. How did he (she) overcome fears? Adversity?
  • “Can I get help?” Sure! Enlist the support of family and friends. Get people on board. Who knows? They may view you as an experiment.  If successful, you could be their role model.

So this New Year’s try on a new perception: Resolve to make useful changes a constant part of your life. And if someone should ask you, “Why make New Year’s resolutions? What’s the difference?”
You can simply reply, “…Exactly!”