Personal Development, Tools

Five Techniques To Make a Big Change Less Daunting

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{ This guest post was written by fellow joy-seeking blogger, Jennifer. }

Last month, my sister Meredith and her husband went through a big change: they moved their 6 and 8-year-old sons across the globe to China, where they will live for the next two years. Her husband was offered a great job, and so they jumped at the opportunity to be able to move somewhere new and to raise their kids in a new culture where they could learn and experience new things. She packed up an entire house and moved an entire family in under 6 months!  Not to mention she has never been to China and doesn’t know anyone there. Let’s talk about being someone that is brave and open to new possibilities. I’m so proud of her and everything she’s accomplished.

Now the question is, how the heck did she do it? Right? It was important to them, so they made it happen, but that’s not to say there weren’t many challenges and obstacles along the way. We have all experienced challenges that are daunting or overwhelming but with an end goal that is so worth it. When all is said, and done having the right tools in your “tool belt” will make all the difference between a manageable experience and one that leaves you stressed and frazzled.

Take moving, for example. People move all the time and most families have experienced a move at one time or another. If you have made any kind of move at all, you know there are a lot of steps involved just moving down the street or across town, let alone to another country. To begin the process without any sort of plan or strategy is just setting yourself up for frustration. Moving to another country is a daunting task and the idea of leaving your community and your family and your friends could easily be very overwhelming.

My sister used some specific techniques which she greatly attributes to helping her through the process. Whether you are facing a big challenge or dealing with difficult, smaller ones, let’s talk about five helpful techniques she used in order to make the move as smooth as possible.

Be Forgiving with Yourself

I think for many of us, even our day-to-day life can sometimes feel challenging. My sister’s life is no exception. Before moving, she was a mostly stay-at-home mom but also worked as a dance instructor. As a dance teacher, or someone that works in the physical fitness realm, there’s always that pressure and challenge of making sure that you’re eating right, you’re looking good, and everything in between. Not to mention, her husband works a very demanding job and she would find herself on her own taking care of the kids and managing life for weeks at a time while he traveled and worked crazy hours.

Even with a lot on her plate, she has handled it really well and recognized that you can’t do everything. This might mean not beating herself up if the kids miss the bus, and even just planning to drive them instead.  Or, just focusing on what worked for her to stay healthy and filtering out all of the made-up BS diets, fads, and expectations.  She’s learned to be very, very forgiving with herself when it comes to achieving perfection.

Practice Self Care

With this forgiveness also comes the realization of how important self-care is in keeping herself ready and able to properly care for her family and tackle all the challenges of an international move. You can’t pour from an empty cup. One of the ways she focuses on self-care is through fitness. She’s found a great balance when it comes to working out, exercising, and of course caring for her children, her number one priority.

How did she do it? She put some different processes in place and developed some steps so that she could make sure she was able to get the kids to school on time, that they had clean clothes, and something to eat (even if it this meant eating out). She also made self-care fun wherever she could, for example she got really great House cleaners that smelled really great so she’d want to clean her house. I would suggest for some of you, investing in a housekeeper may be a great form of self-care too!  While this may sound simple, time management is a struggle for many people, and that’s why it’s important to have a strategy in place. This leads me to her next tip.

Block out your time & see the value in the little things

You may be wondering about the methods that she uses to keep a balance in her personal life as well as caring for her family. It’s something that I talk about with a lot of people in my fulfillment & productivity coaching. That is blocking out your time and prioritizing the tasks that need to be completed. This is one of the techniques that she mentioned has really helped her. She makes a list of all the little tasks that need to be done, like calling the doctor’s office, getting all the bills paid, all that, and then just blocks out a chunk of time in her schedule to commit to get all those things done, one after another.

She also stopped thinking of all the little things as “little”. It is easy to put off something you see as a little annoyance you can get to later, like swatting away an annoying bug, but instead try looking at the value of the task.  How is this thing going to help you get to your end goal?  Once Meredith started see these once annoying tasks as very important priorities towards her mission and accepted that they would take up a good chunk of the day, she could then allocate the time appropriately and move forward with her loftier goals.  The funny thing was, over time these little tasks didn’t take her that long, it probably took more time thinking about them than actually sitting down and getting them done!

Let go of the things you can’t control

When it comes to taking care of that stuff, she also had to come to terms with how hard it really is for all of us control freaks, and she had to figure out a way to let go of things that were not within her control. This comes up often in all our lives, and it’s important we learn to handle it in a healthy way. Something as simple as trying to change over the insurance required several different companies and a lot of steps. It would involve her husband’s company, along with two different insurance companies, and she knew it just needed to get done before they left.

Her trick for letting go included using one of her blocks of time to do a brain dump, which is also one of my favorite productivity techniques to teach people in my Happiness to Abundant Life program.

The first step of the Brain Dump exercise is to get everything in your brain out on paper.  Once this is done, you can compartmentalize them into groups.

  • To Address Now:
    • Things that must be addressed in the next day, week, month
    • Include tasks that will be delegated later
  • To Address Later
    • Stuff on my mind I need to address, but I need to meditate on before I act
    • Projects, relationships, emotions…whatever.
  • The “Let It Go” list
    • The “what if” worries and insecurities.
    • Could also be awesome wild ideas from her creative mind she knows are not aligned with her mission (aka Shinny object syndrome)

The Insurance example started in the To Address Now column, but rather than worrying about how she was going to make it happen and all the steps required, she sent a note to those involved and laid out the timeline, the deadline, and what exactly needed to be done. And then, she moved it to the “Let It Go” column!  She trusted that it would happen and in the end, it did. It came right down to the wire, to the point that the actual insurance card wasn’t mailed until after they left. Fortunately, my parents are receiving their mail and they took care of it.

Get back to basics & start working on yourself now

Finally, I would add that one of the biggest thing that made the move a success was that even before the idea of such a huge project was on her radar, back when her kids were 3 & 5, and she was trying to manage life at home with two young children she made the decision to get back to basics and really work on the nitty-gritty of what was important. Many would call this mindset, you could also put it in the self-care department.  Whatever you want to call it, when it got to the point to actually take a giant leap to China she had already done the hard stuff, so the actual move was really easy and fun… Well, for the most part.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, five of the techniques she uses: she is very forgiving with herself, practices self-care, blocks out time and sees the value in the little things, let’s go of the things that she can’t control, and got back to basics!

I was inspired and wanted to share these with you. Moving to China may seem like a daunting task, but each of us have our own daunting tasks that we have to deal with every day. Be sure to keep these tips and tricks to in mind so you can use them to help make your life a little bit better today.

Jennifer Frost is a happiness and fulfillment coach, who empowers high achieving women to enjoy the journey, while getting clear on their vision and moving further down their path of abundance & fulfillment! If you are looking for more motivation, focus and drive to thrive in your life, you can follow Jen on Facebook, Instagram, on her blog – or shoot her an email at [email protected].

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21 thoughts on “Five Techniques To Make a Big Change Less Daunting

  1. This was such an optimistic read, I’m a new mama and yet to start being forgiving to myself. Sometimes I see blaming myself if my now preschooler son forgets to take something. I really need to learn from your sis as my hubby travels fr more than a week and I’am all to handle myself, my son & work.

    1. I’m sure that, like so many mommies, you are doing a lot better than you give yourself credit for! It’s super hard when the hubby leaves 🙁

  2. I’m going to try the Brain Dump exercise. That’s a really good idea. Writing it all down is really going to help me organize my thoughts and plans.

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