As calendar conscious humans, we anticipate change with the turn of every year. This year has presented lots of changes already. Those that personally affect your life may be surprising, hoped for, or totally undesirable. How you approach and manage a lifestyle change is important.
If you look at a change as something you have to deal with, you are not giving yourself as much mental power as you could. Whether a change has been tossed in your lap or you’re creating your own change, look at it as something you will manage. Attitude and approach are critical to successful changes.
Managing Life. Managing Change.
In your personal life, you manage your family’s activities, food consumption, home care, safety and more. Through the months of pandemic madness, we are all trying to manage our own self-care. At work, the duties you manage are different but equally varied. In all realms, you’ve faced and mostly conquered the pandemic madness.
Now, we are all looking into the future and wondering, “What’s next?”
Are you considering a proactive change such as a different job, changing a child’s school, or moving? Choosing to make a proactive change in an unpredictable world is scary. Fear often ties our feet to the ground or locks our minds in limbo. Involuntary changes are even worse. Some will blindside you. Hello, Coronavirus!
Arm yourself with your management skills and apply them to change. Even when you can’t control an involuntary change, you can control your reaction to it. Breathe. Think. Identify the desirable outcome that could be under your control. Then manage accomplishing it. You survived 2020! You’ve already managed changes.
View any change as a project. Whether you’re looking at a proactive change or one you’ve been dealt with, consider your desired outcome. How can you intentionally manage that change to help move your life forward in a positive way? Think about these four evaluations.
When making a lifestyle change, ask yourself:
What’s the Sensitivity?
- How do you feel about the change you’re making or facing? Will it excite you, delight you, satisfy you or toss your life into the air? Does it scare or unsettle you? Did a half-dozen other emotions come to mind, too?
- How sensitive is the change for the others in your life?
- Will it affect one or all of your family members?
- Will it affect your co-workers?
- How will you explain it to them? How will you justify why you want to make that change and what’s in it for them as well as for you?
What is the Lifestyle Change Worth?
Whether it’s your proactive change or an undesirable change, the question is the same.
- What will your desired outcome be worth?
- How much will it cost in money, time, and/or energy? Do you have enough of those?
- What will it cost your relationships?
- What will be the return on your investment in time, money, or energy?
- Will it save some for now or the future?
- Will it be worth the investment?
- What value could it create?
- Ask yourself: what is the worth of this change?
What are your Opportunities?
Think big and bold. Think outlandish. Then imagine how you could get there if all things were possible. Before you dismiss an appealing opportunity, find a treasured confidant and discuss it. You may discover new ways of defining an opportunity you envisioned. You may learn they have more confidence in your success than you imagine for yourself. Your cognitive biases may be getting in your way.
Research the web broadly with keywords. Then do targeted research in industry publications. Look at lifestyle publications like Sass for inspiration from others who seized unimaginable opportunities. Research in a variety of ways.
We are often accused of not being able to see the forest for the trees. Sometimes we don’t see the trees. Look for and evaluate the details. Just like the trees in a forest, the details have different values, aspects and contributions. Let the broad research, the forest, lead you into the details, the trees. Just stay out of the weeds!
Remember sometimes you have to create your own opportunities. It is possible. You’ve seen the stories. Some of you are the stories. For others, imagine even a small change you’ve envisioned and accomplished. Why stop with that? Keep going! You can do it!
Make a Plan
Now you have evaluated the Sensitivity, Worth, and Opportunities for managing the lifestyle change you desire. Don’t jump right into action without a plan. That’s when mistakes are made and bridges burned. Be cautious. Take time to prepare your plan for accomplishing your desired result.
Write out the tasks you need to do.
- What resources, skills, and contacts will you need for accomplishing each task? Evaluate the order in which they need to be done.
- Determine the time each will take. Lay them out in a timeline. Try not to procrastinate nor be unrealistically optimistic.
With your Tasks and Timing, you have developed a Change Management Plan. Now the question is how that Plan fits into your life, needs, and expectations. How do you make it easier or more successful? What modifications are necessary? What emotions do you need to recognize and manage?
When you answer those questions, you’ve completed your S.W.O.T. Analysis for Change. You have managed your attitude and planned your approach. Open your Plan, start with the first step and manage your change.