How to Successfully Navigate Life’s Transitions

Change is not easy, but it is possible to get through it successfully. Maybe you are moving to a new town, going to college, getting settled at a new job, or are taking a break from school or work. You’re probably nervous about this new venture and are experiencing some doubt, anxiety, or instability. Don’t worry—it’s completely normal to feel this way. Use some of the tips below to help you get through this period in your life.

Set Goals:  When making a transition in life, it’s important to have goals that keep you on track. Goals not only give you direction, but they also keep you motivated. It can be helpful to create a few small short-term goals and 1 or 2 long-term goals. Make sure your goals are important to you, reasonable, and achievable. Look up “SMART” goals for more information.

Reward Yourself:  As you achieve your goals, whether it’s finishing a paper, making it through the semester, or improving your work performance, make sure to reward yourself with something you enjoy. Rewards can be big or small, depending on the goal you’ve accomplished. You could treat yourself to a nice desert, buy yourself those shoes you’ve been eying for a while, or set aside an hour to watch a movie and relax. Rewards help you celebrate your achievements and keep you moving forward. 

Have a Routine:  When life drastically changes, setting a routine can enforce stability in your life. It can be helpful to know what your day looks like, such as when you plan to wake up, eat breakfast, leave the house, meet up with others, exercise, and start getting ready for bed. Write down and repeat your routine to reinforce a structure for predictability and productivity. Having steady routines can make it easier to create a balance of responsibilities and enjoyable free time.

Practice Coping Skills:  As you adjust to the many changes, it can be assuring to know that you have some great coping skills in your back pocket. When life’s transitions become overwhelming, use coping skills to acknowledge your feelings. Some examples of coping methods are expressing your feelings to others (possibly by joining a therapy or support group), engaging in self-care on a daily basis (taking a walk, reading your favorite book, doing something creative, etc.), briefly distracting yourself from negative thoughts or feelings, or engaging in mindful activities, such as meditation.

Making a transition is challenging for anyone, no matter what point in life they’re currently at. Find what works for you during this time and be gentle with yourself. Have confidence that you’ll make it through!