Spring Into Change!
Spring is a time of spring-cleaning, graduations, weddings, and newness. Though it never occurred to me before, even good change can be stressful – and needs to be handled with a little bit of change management!
Let me explain…
I’m finishing up my book about accelerated learning and decided to offer a special gift for people who sign up for advanced notice of publication. This special bonus is about about how to stop, reverse, and turn around overwhelm meltdown.
The upcoming book is designed to teach people to how learn faster and manage information overwhelm. So it seemed like a good idea to address the overwhelm meltdown aspect as well. It sometimes happens to people who are working toward big goals AND balancing the rest of life too.
As I was writing, my mother sent me a book about crisis management. Though it was more about handling “major” crisis, it was a great read and on point for me.
It showed me that my own observations and suggestions for resolution of overwhelm meltdown were accurate. I also learned something really valuable: even “good” change can cause extra stress that can lead to overwhelm meltdown.
According to researchers Holmes and Rahe “Life Change Index Scale” (LCIS), marriage is more stressful than being fired from your work; taking out a big loan (as for a house, etc…) is more stressful than foreclosure; and major personal achievement is more stressful than “empty nest” stress. It’s time to rethink stressors!
So why does this matter?
It can have a major impact on your health. One study found that the LCIS enabled researchers to accurately predict how many and which Marine and Navy personnel would be in sick bay on a 6-month cruise. Another study used the LCIS to accurately predict player’s injuries during a football season.
The message for people working toward big goals is this: use change management techniques to mitigate the stress from predictable change so that the unpredictable changes don’t throw you for a loop.
How can you do that?
One way is to spend time each day thinking about how things will be different and what life will be like after you achieve your goal. Begin to create familiar feelings about the upcoming, changed, situation.
Don’t limit this exercise to your goals. If there are other things going on (marriage, graduation, holidays, baby on the way, diet change…), spend time doing the same thing for them.
This simple exercise is called “Future Pacing” in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and it has many benefits. It helps you become familiar with new circumstances before they are realized. It also helps you to recognize kinks in the plan and things you can do to ease the transition for yourself and for people around you.
What I do
I write down my current stressors, any upcoming events, and any goals I am working on. For each one, I write my “best-case scenario” (BCS) and visualize or imagine my desired outcome.
If it is easy to imagine my BCS, I move on the next item. If it is difficult to visualize (hazy, dim, or distant), or I can’t imagine what the achievement would feel like, I investigate.
Maybe part of me doesn’t believe it is possible. Maybe there are outside factors to consider. Maybe my BCS needs to be re-worked.
Whatever the case, I make adjustments until it’s easy to imagine my BCS for each item. If time allows, I create more than one BCS just to remind myself to be flexible.
Life keeps us on our toes. There will be stress, good and bad – especially for people who are always pursuing the next worthy goal!
By mitigating stress from the “known” stressors, we can lighten the effect of those surprise stressors that come along from time to time. Start using a little change management in everyday life and it will be easier to roll with whatever life dishes out!
Cheers and Happy Spring!