5 Easy Steps to Making a Change
Updated: Oct 21
Knowing you want to make a change is one thing, but doing it is another. Feelings of overwhelm, lack of confidence and overthinking can mean you just never get off the starting block. If you'd like to make a change, here are five actionable steps you can take to move forward
Written by Emma Waltham | Careers after Maternity Expert
Do you know you’d like to make a change in your life, but feel a bit stuck about to how to make it?It’s common to keep things as they are rather than make a change because of confidence issues, or because we procrastinate or just feel overwhelmed. Or perhaps you just don’t know where to start?
Any of these or all of them can really get in the way of making changes. So if you’d like something in your life to be different, but making the change isn’t really happening, I’ve got five tips for you, to help you get started and keep you motivated.
The first tip is to do something that will make the whole thing feel more manageable. Something I find works well with my clients is visualising the transition you want to make as crossing a river. The place you want to be is on the other side, and a bit like the Billy Goats Gruff, you really want to get to where the grass is greener. To do so, though, you don’t have to take your chances with a scary troll. You can imagine instead a series of stepping stones between you and the opposite river bank. It’s also best to imagine this as a delightful, calm, picturesque scene rather than a raging torrent, so it’s inviting!
Using this visualisation, you’ll be able to picture in your own mind how you can break the change down into steps and take that first step out, onto the first stone. It can be a tiny step, it doesn’t have to be a stretch, nothing too ambitious; the point is that you can take as many steps as you need and every step is moving forward, which is progress.
"Picture in your own mind how you can break the change down into steps and take that first step out, onto the first stone"
Something else I’d like to say while we’re in this visualisation is that you don’t need to be too specific about what the change you want looks like in detail. You might know exactly what you want, so it might be a new job with a particular job description in a certain type of organisation. Or it may just be that you know you want a different type of job, but you have no idea what it is. Either is fine. As you cross the river the steps you’ll be taking will help you firm up the destination you’re aiming for and it might well be beneficial anyway at the beginning not to be too fixed on what that change looks like. As you cross the river and explore ideas, you’ll get inspiration that will help you figure it out.
So the first step is to visualise the change you want to make as a beautiful, peaceful, picturesque river that you are going to cross, at your own pace, on very sturdy and easy-to-walk-across series of stepping stones.
Tip number 2 is to decide on the first step. So what could you do to move yourself towards the transition? Even if you’re not too clear on what the destination is going to be, you can still think up ways of moving in the right general direction. So, if you want to make a career change, but you have no idea what to change to, there are lots of steps you could take. You could, speak to your best friend and tell them what’s on your mind. They’ll be supportive and might have some ideas you can think over. Another really great thing about doing this is that you’re saying that you want out loud. Instead of it being something that’s inside that you are festering over, worrying about or feeling stuck with, now it’s out in the open, you are talking about it, taking the sting out if it and making it real. Something you can work on.
"Even if you’re not too clear on what the destination is going to be, you can still think up ways of moving in the right general direction"
Another example of a small step is to look on LinkedIn to see what your friends and people you’ve worked with are doing now. Is there any inspiration there? Or you could research companies in a sector you interested in to see if any look like a good fit for you or give you any ideas of possible job roles.
There are loads of things you can do to take that first step and it doesn’t have to be a big stretch, okay? It can be in your comfort zone. The key thing is that you’re moving forwards towards the other river bank, and to know and be reassured that you can keep doing small steps like this, breaking it down, breaking it down, until you reach the other side.
The third tip I have is to appreciate what you’re achieving as you take these steps. Each one is an accomplishment that is moving you forwards, so feel proud and happy that you’ve taken that step. Take time to appreciate what you’ve achieved and that will help boost your confidence, your levels of motivation and keep up your momentum.
The fourth tip is now you’re getting used to the small steps, to try taking a step that’s outside your comfort zone. These bigger steps are scary ones, but because they are out of your comfort zone, these are the steps that often make the most impact. They move you forward faster and help you raise the barre for what’s possible.
"These bigger steps are scary ones, but because they are out of your comfort zone, these are the steps that often make the most impact"
So, an example is if you are talking to friends about wanting to return to work and letting them know you are looking for a job, you might find that easy, especially after you’ve tried it with a few different friends. But, how would you feel about initiating a conversation like that with someone you don’t know so well? Would that be outside your comfort zone? Another parent at school maybe, or the person sitting next to you at the hairdressers?
Pushing yourself to do this can be very empowering. Taking the stretch and realising you can do it, will boost your confidence. It also makes you more likely to succeed because you are extending your zone of influence. And it prepares you for the next step out of your comfort zone, which in this case would be talking to potential recruiters.
So, once you’re in the swing of taking comfortable steps, I’d like you to challenge yourself to taking one that's more of a stretch.
My last tip is to keep taking stock of what you’ve found out and what you’ve learned, as you go along. This is really important in helping you work out what the grass being greener really means to you, and also it helps you figure out what the next step you need to take will be and feel confident you can take it. Enjoy the journey because that’s often the bit that really counts! When you’re moving forward, learning and growing more confident, then who knows what’s going to happen. It really isn’t all about the destination or the goal.
"When you’re moving forward, learning and growing more confident, then who knows what’s going to happen"
So, to recap I gave you five, easily actionable tips to help you make a change. They are:
Break down the change you want to make into small steps and imagine those as stepping stones across a beautiful river. You don’t need to be too clear about what’s on the other side at this stage, the key thing is you need to start moving in the right general direction, towards the green grass.
Decide which small step will move you closer to your goal and take it.
Appreciate what you’ve accomplished each time you take a step. This will help build your confidence in your ability to make this change, keeping you motivated.
Try a step that’s further out of your comfort zone, to help you move further faster, and to raise the barre for yourself.
With each step, ask yourself what you’ve learned and use that to work out our next step and eventually your destination.
So, there you go, my tips on how to get yourself out of a rut and start to make changes. If you’d like to tell me about a change you want to make, or you’ve got any questions about these tips, just let me know. I'd love to hear from you.