Change is an unavoidable part of life and sometimes this means dealing with difficult challenges, setbacks or extreme hardship. At the moment, many people are facing unwanted changes to their lives and livelihoods. Losing jobs, losing career opportunities and unplanned financial burdens are unfortunately commonplace. These changes can lead to a range of strong negative emotions and feelings of uncertainty. Our ability to adapt to these changes in a healthy way is part of what makes up resilience. Being able to rationally evaluate changes and accept new realities is a vital life skill.
How does goal-setting help us manage change and build resilience?
Having a clear set of goals that provide you with a sense of purpose is an important part of being resilient. When we have clear goals to work towards and defined values to live by, we are more likely to work through adversity and setbacks. A sometimes-difficult first step in managing change is evaluating and accepting what we can control. By recognising things outside of our control, it can clearly show how we can take action towards things that line up with our goals.
Once we are clear on what we can control and what actions will help us to achieve our goals, we can then create a plan. While executing this plan, be aware that at times it may appear like little progress is being made. When this happens, we need to stay resilient and trust the process. Being resilient is something we need to maintain consistently overtime. By doing this, it can keep us on track to achieving great things when the inevitable setbacks arise.
How can we stay resilient when change occurs?
A few tips are…
Take time to consider your self-beliefs around resilience.
Do you view yourself as a resilient person? If you believe that you can be resilient when faced with a difficult change, you are more likely to engage in the behaviours needed to achieve your goals and live by your values. Therefore, developing the identity that you are a resilient person is very important.
Develop a healthy relationship with failure.
In times of change, we need to adapt, develop new plans and act on new behaviours. As part of this journey, we will have failures. It is helpful to view failures as part of the process. A resilient person has a healthy relationship with failure. They apply intentional actions, learn, seek feedback, evaluate and move forward. Anything worthwhile to achieve will require a lot of hard work and will include failures along the way.
Make an intentional effort to stay in touch with your long-term goals.
Change might mean you need to reevaluate what you are working towards and the time frame you need to achieve your plans.Once you have clarified your long-term goals, look at breaking them down into monthly, weekly and daily tasks. When looking at your daily tasks, plan your day into 30-minute blocks. This can be very helpful to stay on track. Breaking your day down into bite-size achievable blocks can assist you with achieving smaller things. Ultimately, this will add up to achieving your larger goals.
Change can be an opportunity for self-discovery.
Be on the lookout for ways that new challenges and change can facilitate personal growth. For example, losing your job due to COVID-19 might mean reaching out to your support network and working towards strengthening your professional relationships. Reaching out to people may leave you feeling vulnerable but it also has the potential to open you to new perspectives, new ideas, and create hope moving forward. This can also heighten your appreciation for the things you have in your life.
Be aware of your thinking when you approach change and negative circumstances.
Black & White thinking and catastrophising are common default reactions to negative changes. Look toward utilising a more balanced realistic thought process that will help you identify opportunities even in difficult times. You cannot change certain circumstances but can control your attitude and actions.
Keep asking yourself daily what can I do about the challenges or problems in my life? Taking initiative will remind you that you are capable of taking control and achieving your goals. Even during stressful times in your life.
Life will not always be easy or forgiving. Therefore, we need to accept this reality and work on making ourselves more resilient to handle the changes life has in store.