Three ways to prepare for and navigate life’s transitions

Change is inevitable, and life is a series of both expected and spontaneous changes. It is the most fundamental of natural laws and whether welcomed or shunned, there is no stopping it. Maybe you lose your job, move to another city, or graduate from college. The one thing that stays constant in life is change! Author Paulo Coelho said it best, “When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”

You are not alone in these adjustments—everyone goes through them! It’s hard to remember that change is universal, this happens to everyone, and it’s bound to occur.

Here are three ways to prepare for and navigate life’s transitions:


Acceptance of Change

Change is nature’s ultimate constant. Instead of fighting or avoiding, accept that it is happening. Cultivating an outlook of acceptance can be a wonderful tool, allowing you to handle whatever curveballs come your way. It is an important foundation to build upon.

If a given change seems inherently negative in nature, it may also be helpful remind yourself of past transitions you have gone through and how you came out on the other side. Knowing that you can sail through tough periods of life based on the experiences you have already survived and perhaps thrived through and can be a tremendous source of comfort and even motivation for your future

Even positive change can be a source of stress! Make sure you take time to acknowledge that while transitions for the better can be encouraging sources of personal growth, it can still be hard not to say goodbye to old patterns.

Plan your move forward

We might not have total control over certain changes in our life, but we can always choose how to react. If you are uncertain as to how to feel or behave when facing a given transformation, have a discussion with a close friend or mentor. Be open to feedback and implement the advice given to you. It is important to prepare for change rather than avoid the inevitable. Also consider that taking a step in a different direction may actually be fun and healthy for you! All you have to do is take the first step and commit to the journey. You deserve to feel as confident and prepared to face this adjustment as possible. Reflect on where you’ve been and where you are going or where you want to go. This can pave the way to walking towards your new beginning and help with clarifying which road to take.

If you cannot find people to be of assistance, choose a role model you look up to that can inspire your next steps. Also consider the option of speaking with a counselor! This can be a wonderful resource to help you find clarity on your life path.

Be Positive

Negativity can be draining and ultimately unproductive. Having a positive outlook on your future and reassuring yourself that you can and will get through this will generate more energy and encourage follow-through. You will be more likely to take active steps if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Look out for the hopeful signs in every transition and you will be bound to feel better.

Surrounding yourself with as much positivity as possible may lighten your mood if you are feeling down. It may also help you to embrace the exciting aspects of this change. Be considerate in choosing the people that will encourage your best self and seek to breed optimism and purpose through your relationships with yourself and others.

Conclusion: Celebrate!

When you do get through whatever change you have been facing, do not forget to celebrate! You made it! From taking a breath and acknowledging the accomplishment to throwing a party to calling friends and family and sharing the good the news, make sure to give yourself the kudos you deserve, and the time to reflect and appreciate all your hard work.

Afraid to fight the battle alone? You’re already braver than you know! If you need help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Counselors and therapists are ready to be your support and guide.

Shannon Meyer, MA, LMHC