Managing Transitions in Life

The one thing you can be sure of in life is that there will be times when you’re thrown a curve ball. Something will happen that you aren’t expecting.

Even though you know you’ve got the strength to handle anything that life brings you, you might still be taken aback by an unexpected change in your life direction.

These suggestions will help you successfully handle some of life’s transitional times:

  1. Take a deep breath. Pause for a moment and give yourself time to just breathe.
  2. Process the information. Next, allow yourself some time to think through what’s happened. This might take a few days, depending on your situation. From your perspective, what occurred?
  3. Talk about it. Call a close friend or family member you trust and tell them about what’s going on in your life. It helps to hear yourself think aloud whenever you’re faced with an enduring challenge.
  4. Consider your options. Although you might not be completely ready to move on yet, try to ponder fully your situation and where you could go from here. Be open-minded about resolving the current issues in the short-term.
    • If your situation involves an ending of a relationship, for example, maybe you’ll have to find another place to live quickly. Could you move in with a friend or family member, at least for now? Ask yourself what your possibilities are at the present time.
  5. Take time to adjust. You might feel you have to make decisions fairly quickly to get moving forward, but still, it’s wise to allow yourself necessary moments to adjust to what’s happening.
  6. Tell yourself that you’ll make it through. After the initial shock wears off, you’ll hopefully reach the point of realizing that “this too shall pass.” Thinking positively is the best way to approach any type of challenging situation. Remind yourself that you have the savvy and fortitude to find your way from this day forward.
  7. Begin to formulate a plan. After considerable thinking, you’ll be relieved to see parts of a new plan for your life falling in to place.
  8. Recognize your own strengths. Remember back to a time you struggled through a crisis and emerged better than ever. Maybe you had to drop out of college because there wasn’t enough money. You still made it through and were able to return to finish your studies within 2 years. Realize your strength to help you make it through the current situation.
  9. Look at the recent change as an opportunity. Even though it might take some effort, allow yourself to see you’re being given a chance to change your life. You’re in a position to improve something about your existence.
    • Let your imagination run free. Regard the coming episode of your life as a new adventure and embrace it.
  10. Move forward with a sense of purpose. Now that you have the bare bones of a plan, you can proceed ahead with your new life with greater confidence. As time goes by, you’ll grow even surer of the direction you’re heading. Let yourself feel excited about your new goals.

Regardless of what life brings your way, you’ll still keep going. Allow yourself time to breathe and take in the information. Perhaps even talk to someone and ponder your choices.

You have what it takes to successfully manage any transition in life that appears before you. Openly accept this opportunity to let go of the old and embrace the new.

3 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Spring Clean

Spring cleaning is an annual task that almost everyone dreads. Fortunately, spring cleaning can be the perfect time to help your kids develop a good work ethic and enlist extra hands for the job.

Try these ideas to get your kids involved in your spring cleaning efforts and teach them the importance of hard work:

1. Play an Easter Game. It would be rather cruel to enlist the help of your kids on Easter Sunday. However, you can use the day prior to Easter or the day after Easter to entice them into spring cleaning by playing an Easter themed game.

  • Hide a few chocolate Easter eggs under piles of clothes and shoe boxes in their closets and tell them that if they can neatly pass folded clothes to you to put into the storage bins, they’ll find several Easter chocolates to munch on.
  • To your kids, it will be an Easter egg hunt. To you, it’ll simply be a way to start a new spring cleaning tradition while creating a mutually beneficial situation for both you and your children. Ensure that all the candy is accounted for, lest you have a surprise during next year’s cleaning.

2. Be honest. Older children, especially teens, won’t be tempted by a few pieces of chocolate. Rather than dressing the day up as an Easter egg hunt, be honest. Tell the older kids that you need help getting some spring cleaning done and offer a fun ending to your busy day of cleaning.

  • Offer to end the day by getting their choice of takeout and renting a movie of their choosing. Not only will this give your family time to bond, but you’ll also get some spring cleaning done. In all aspects, this is a winning situation!
  • Refrain from approaching your teens the day of your spring cleaning. They may already have plans. Approach them a few days in advance and set up a day that is convenient for everyone involved.
  • Older children can handle bigger tasks. It’s best to let them choose a task (from a list that you’ve created) and tackle it on their own. By doing so, they’ll feel as if they had a say in the task at hand.

3. Rewards. Kids of all ages respond well to rewards. As mentioned above, a piece of chocolate or a slice of pizza will help entice your kids into spring cleaning. However, a larger reward will have your kids jumping for joy on the day of your spring cleaning adventure.

  • Offer to purchase your child a game for their gaming system if they help you spring clean the house and keep their room clean for a month thereafter.
  • Sweeten the deal for yourself by offering them a subscription to GameFly, a game delivery service which operates much like Netflix. Offer the subscription in exchange for spring cleaning, and offer to keep the subscription active as long as their room is kept tidy and their chores are done.
  • A subscription to GameFly can cost as little as $5.95 per month. Younger kids may enjoy a subscription to Pogo.com (also $5.95 per month) or even a personal subscription to Netflix ($7.99 per month).

Remember, there’s a difference between bribing and incentivizing. Incentivizing consists of providing a reward as motivation for completing a safe and beneficial task.  In psychological talk, we call it contingency management.

Kids respond tremendously well to all types of rewards and only you can judge what rewards will properly motivate yours. Treat your kid to a reward and earn yourself an extra set of hands for spring cleaning.

5 Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

If you have a habit of setting resolutions at the beginning of the year and then abandoning them a few days later, now is your chance to try something different. Imagine how the course of your life could change for the better if you followed through on your resolutions until you achieved your goals!

Change Your Thinking

It’s very possible to overcome your habit of giving up on New Year’s resolutions with a few basic tips. Above all else, avoid regarding your resolutions as something to aspire to and then forgetting them when they no longer seem pertinent or interesting. New Year’s resolutions can be extremely enriching and self-improving if you find a way to maintain them throughout the year.

Here are some tips for keeping your resolutions:

1.      Make a commitment. You must be willing to make a strong commitment to change in order for your resolutions to be successful. Believe that you can, and will, accomplish what you set out to do. If you give yourself unwavering support, then you’ll bolster that belief and achieve what you seek.

  • Choose New Year’s resolutions that you genuinely want to achieve. Make positive resolutions and focus on the positive aspects of achieving them.
  • Tell everyone you know about your resolutions. When everyone knows what you’re setting out to achieve, they can help hold you accountable.
  • Plan ahead rather than choosing your resolutions at the very last moment. The longer you spend planning and preparing for your resolution goals, the better the results will be.

2.      Have realistic expectations. Continued motivation is the key to achieving your goals. If you set the bar too high, then you also set yourself up for failure, which can be profoundly de-motivating for you.

  • Aim realistically, rather than too high. Give yourself a challenge, but not so much of a challenge that you end up setting yourself up for inevitable failure.
  • If you plan on setting similar resolutions as last year, consider first and foremost why last year’s resolutions failed. If your resolutions didn’t work last time, then determine why in order to avoid a repeat performance.

3.      Write down your goals. When you put your resolutions into writing, you make them real. You put your commitment down on paper. Put your goals where you can see them, in written form, so you won’t forget what you’re setting out to achieve this year.

4.      Plan out your goals. Articulating what you intend to achieve this year is a big part of setting resolutions, but planning how to achieve them is a completely different story. Write down a plan for each resolution that you want to achieve rather than simply hoping for the best.

5.      Give your goals flexibility. Not everything is going to work out exactly the way you planned, so be flexible in the goals that you set. Avoid allowing rigid resolutions to throw you off track if something doesn’t go quite how you planned it. Try to predict what challenges you may face, and create a contingency plan for those challenges just in case.

Bottom Line

You can keep your New Year’s resolutions if you do a little bit of planning and preparing ahead of time. Just like any goal setting process, the key is to be realistic about your goals and the challenges you may face in trying to achieve them. The more realistic and flexible you are, the more likely you’ll be to achieve your goals.