Every day, you grow into a different version of yourself. You meet someone new, improve a skill, or read a phrase in a book that adds clarity to your life. These small moments may be so ordinary that you don’t realize you take a small step forward each day.
Bigger life changes require more thought and care, like committing to a master’s program, letting go of a toxic relationship, and learning to manage your finances. Amidst the responsibilities of daily life, significant change may seem out of reach or risky. It might feel easier to stay stuck in patterns and cling to a routine’s comfort.
Even when changes seem scary, you’re doing it all the time, and embracing this sets you up for success. When you intentionally embrace change — both small nudges and seismic shifts — you gain more personal development and a deeper sense of fulfillment.
Accepting change positively is challenging work. But taking the time to self-reflect about the person you’d like to be is a way to step back and carve a clearer life roadmap. Identifying your values and natural strengths can give you the tools to change with purpose, even when it’s overwhelming or scary.
The importance of embracing change
Life has few guarantees. But one thing you can count on is change. You can’t stop life’s ebbs and flows, but you can learn how to accept change in your life.
It’s natural to feel cautious about making life-changing choices. After all, consistency feels comfortable, and the unknown offers more questions than answers. When big life decisions fill you with stress and anxiety, just remember that acute stress is a natural reaction to moving outside your comfort zone. But it’s important to take steps forward and make decisions that help you lead your best life.
A study by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt asked participants to make big decisions based on the result of a coin toss. When these people actually went through with the change, they were happier overall in the long run.
And those that decided not to make the change experienced a nagging feeling that they should have. While flipping a coin isn’t the best decision-making strategy, learning to trust your gut and take on scary challenges leads to better self-confidence and satisfaction.
Change is necessary for growth, and this payoff makes the leap of faith easier. You’ll increase your personal and professional development and open up new opportunities for deeper relationships. All that continuous learning can have a snowball effect that boosts your self-esteem and self-efficacy. The more mindful you become of your positive growth, the more you’ll believe in yourself, which will help you embrace change in the future.
6 ways to embrace change
Small adjustments to your habits and mindset can break down any resistance to change and welcome the uncertainty that comes with it.
Here are six examples of embracing change with inspirational quotes to help you leave your comfort zone.
1. Write it down
“You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
When debating a big change, your mind might flood with conflicting emotions, what-if scenarios, and worries. With so much information distracting you, finding the clarity necessary to move forward with optimism and an open mind can be difficult.
Try journaling to better understand your feelings and uncover the limiting beliefs impeding your development. Whether listing out your emotions, describing your doubts, or writing down questions to marinate over, journaling can take on whatever format feels most comfortable.
The important part is to get it all out on paper. Once you’ve written it all down, you can look for patterns or mental blocks you need to overcome to feel safer making a change.
2. Accept your fears
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lord
For many people, fear doesn’t feel good. But that doesn’t mean it’s inherently bad. Often, it just symbolizes that there’s some uncertainty involved. A breakup might cause a fear of future rejection, and leaving a toxic job can make you worry about your financial future. But you can fight off many fears by fostering a positive mindset. Here are a few thought exercises to help you do so:
- Concentrate on the strengths and accomplishments that have brought you to this moment in life. Think about all the times you’ve overcome challenges.
- If you’re afraid of failing, what skills can you lean into to adapt to change?
- Identify the root cause of your fear to avoid creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. After all, if you believe you’ll fail, you likely won’t bring your Whole Self to a new opportunity.
- Consider whether boosting your confidence might help you notice and leverage your strengths to feel more prepared for the unknown.
3. Hire a coach
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
Working with a professional coach is another great way to gain effective support. Coaches can create personalized action plans that break big decisions into a series of small, realistic goals. And regular sessions with a coach will establish accountability that encourages you to perform.
There’s a coach for everything. At BetterUp, life coaches, career coaches, and sleep coaches (to name a few) offer the guidance and foresight necessary to understand that any change is possible, no matter how scary it seems.
4. Embrace creative thinking
“A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of life.” – Muhammad Ali
Life rarely goes how you imagined. Rolling with unexpected challenges and curve balls that come with new routines and experiences requires resilience, which helps you adapt to stressful and adverse circumstances with a positive mindset.
And creativity promotes greater resilience by teaching you to be flexible and resourceful. Consider taking a pottery class, joining a reading group, or sketching your surroundings to promote creativity daily. Whatever activity you take up, curiosity will lead to success in other areas of life, like cultivating a better work-life balance and enforcing new boundaries in relationships.
5. Share with others
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
Being a part of a supportive social network can reduce stress and improve well-being, even if your social connections aren’t providing direct support. Knowing you belong to something bigger than you is enough to feel the positive vibes.
Although your situation is unique, you aren’t alone in dealing with big life decisions and changes. Sharing your experience with your circle and listening to the experiences of others can help you feel less alone on your self-improvement journey.
Whether embracing change in the workplace or your personal life, turning to your support network can help you feel accompanied and encouraged to flip to the next chapter of your life.
And when you bring others into your journey, you become a leader of change, passing the potential for positive transformation around.
6. Consult with a mental health professional
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.” – Haruki Murakami
When fear or worries become too loud to hear yourself think, it may be your signal to seek help from a mental health professional. Whether you fear disappointing others or a prior experience has caused trauma, identifying the root cause is a big first step to living your life with more control over your actions. A therapist can create a safe space to analyze your distress and resistance to change.
How to maintain positive change: 5 tips
You took the plunge and made an important change in your life — now what? Nurturing change can be as challenging as the transition itself. But with intentional action, you can sustain your growth and transformation. Here are five strategies to help:
Don’t lose sight of your goals: Breaking your long-term objectives into short-term, manageable goals helps you see consistent progression. And having daily, weekly, or monthly milestones can remind you of what you’re working toward and reinforce your commitment with each new accomplishment.
Celebrate consistency: Positive change is worth a pat on the back. Don’t just celebrate the major achievements. Acknowledge and reward yourself for daily or weekly consistency.
Rewards can be healthy extrinsic motivators that convince you to push through difficult challenges and nurture sustainable habits. Perhaps new runners offer the motivation you need to lace up your shoes and meet a new fitness goal.
Invest in self-care: Prioritizing your physical, emotional, and mental health is essential to maintaining positive change. A healthy mind and body will help you be energized to invest in your goals. Whether it’s exercise, hobbies, or mindfulness practices, a dedicated self-care routine should be a priority for success.
Use visual reminders: Vision boards, a book of positive affirmations, or journals can help you keep your goals and motivation present. Creating visual cues that resonate with your objectives can be a strong daily inspiration, reminding you of your goals and why they’re meaningful.
Recognize negative triggers: Sometimes, your mind can get the best of you. Identifying and understanding what might steer you off course allows you to proactively avoid or manage mental blocks.
Whether it’s a specific person, hostile work environment, or communication style, recognizing your triggers will help you step back and take action, whether advocating for your needs or taking a moment to pause and recollect yourself.
Learn to love change
Anyone can explore life’s exciting possibilities — including you.
When you embrace change, whether subtle or significant, you invest in your personal growth and fulfillment. While it may be hard work, recognizing your values, setting clear goals, and bringing your community on board will help transform change from an obstacle to a catalyst for self-betterment.