How to Make the Most of Your Life Transitions

Happy Sunday!

Recently, I have been getting quite a few emails asking about my transition into this whole new me. The new me living on my own, away from my family, single, down south, and a couple other transitions I’ve been adjusting to. To be honest, it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge that will make me much happier in the long run, but one that takes some strength in the meantime. Nothing in life comes that easy. Good things come with anxiety, decision making, and contemplating. In time it’ll all fall into place, but staying strong while that happens is where it gets tough.

I’m constantly going back on my choices and wondering if I’m doing the right thing. Do I want to sign this lease next week? or do I want to spend a year traveling around the world? There are so many decisions that reflect my life that I’m making in a short period of time. I was reading a couple articles on the internet yesterday and came across this one written by Dr. Shannon Kolakowski. She puts a self-reflection guide together to help you feel better about your transitions. I thought it was very helpful and wanted to share it with you all.

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How to Make the Most of Your Life Transitions-By Dr Shannon Kolakowski

Major life transitions — moving to a new city, becoming a parent, retirement — can be an exciting and invigorating part of life. Yet transitions, even happy ones, can also be stressful and bring up mixed feelings.

The best way to prepare for major transitions is to take some time for self-reflection. Use the following guide to help you to embrace change and make the most of your new role:

1. Recognize that transitions are hard because they can shake your sense of identity.
We naturally define ourselves in part by our surroundings. When these surrounds change, it can be disorienting. Getting married changes your identity from a single person to a partner. Having a child changes your sense of identity from wife or daughter to now include being a mother. A new job changes your identity or role at work. Carrie, for example, was delighted to have been giving a promotion at her company. Her new position had more responsibility, which she liked, but as a manager she no longer had the peer team she was used to working with. She missed her former colleagues and felt overwhelmed. She worried, Am I really equipped for this job? Maybe I was better off before. It took some time for her to re-build her sense of identity in her new role. As she became more comfortable in her new duties and with new colleagues, her work identity was reestablished.

2. Being in transition is a wonderful opportunity for growth.
Take a look at the parts of yourself and your life that you most value– how can you bring those parts of yourself into your new role? Next, look at the areas of yourself that you’d like to make changes to. Perhaps you’ve been neglectful of some important area of your life. Transitions are an opportunity to begin practicing new habits and ways of interacting with others. For example, when Tracy got married to Heath, she used the wedding as a time to reflect on what kind of a partner she wanted to be and how she could work to make her marriage strong.

3. Remind yourself why you chose to make the change.
In the midst of feeling a little lost during a transition, it can be easy to regret your decision. Why did I break up with Dennis? I’m lonely and it’s hard to find someone new. When doubt creeps in, review the reasons you made your decision: I broke up with Dennis because he didn’t treat me very well and I wasn’t happy in our relationship. I knew I didn’t want to be with him long term, and wouldn’t be able to move on while I was involved still with him. When you see the big picture, it helps you move from feeling overwhelmed to understanding that this is a temporary adjustment, and while it’s difficult now, you are willing to go through some uncertainty and discomfort for the long term gain.

4. Recall other times in your life when you’ve successfully dealt with transitions.
What helped you get through that period in your life? Looking back, how do you feel about the past decisions you’ve made? What were you proud of, and what would you have done differently? Reflecting on your past can help you to make good decisions as you move forward.

5. When you’re in transition, it’s easy to become overly focused on yourself.
One way to shift your focus is to look at others who may need your help. If you’re at work, it may be a coworker who you notice is having a bad day. If you’re in a prenatal yoga class, reach out to another mom-to-be that seems like she is having a hard time. Making an effort to support others helps you remember that everyone struggles at times, and that human connection can be a powerful aid in helping get through it.

6. Part of what helps you feel secure in transition is having a support system.
Make an effort to stay connected; keep in touch with your family, call up an old friend who lives in the area you just moved to, volunteer or get involved in an organization, ask a new co-worked to join you for lunch. Find people who you can really talk to; whether it’s a trusted friend or close family member, being able to share how you’re really feeling can be a tremendous source of strength for you.

As you prepare for your new endeavors, know that the time you’ve taken to reflect and prepare for your next phase of life will help you live more fully and with purpose.

Follow Dr. Shannon Kolakowski on Twitter

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Think back on your life. What was the biggest decision you’ve ever had to make and how did you get through the transition?

Comments

  • betty

    I just wanted to let you know that you look a lot happier without Jeremy in your life. Your smile is bigger and your words are stronger. I hope he knows how badly he messed up. You are going to find the love of your life one day taralynn.

    Reply to betty
  • Bec

    Thank you for this post Tarlynn! I broke up with my ex-boyfriend 5 months ago and I still think about him everyday and feel so lonely and have moments where I doubt myself over ending the relationship. This post really helped me, especially the quote “this is a temporary adjustment, and while it’s difficult now, you are willing to go through some uncertainty and discomfort for the long term gain.” I wrote it down and will read it whenever I feel those doubts.

    I think you’re an amazing girl and wish you all the best with your transition πŸ™‚

    Reply to Bec
  • Rachel

    Hi Taralynn! I’m so happy you posted this. I’ve been keeping up with your blog for about two years now and I was so shocked (and proud of you) to hear the huge changes you are making in your life. I have recently been going through some tough times with my boyfriend but I’ve always been too scared to do anything about it. Your strength has inspired me to stand up for myself and do what makes me happy. Thank you so much for sharing your story. πŸ™‚

    Reply to Rachel
  • Paige

    This has changed my entire perspective on a transition I will be making in a few weeks. I’m moving completely across the country to Florida, alone. I’m only 20 and have never been on my own before. I know it’s time, and I know I’m unhappy in my current position. All transitions are difficult, I know. Just remember why you were unhappy and rest easy with your decision. Every time I start getting cold feet, I start reminding myself that the alternative to not changing is remaining miserable. Praying for you girl! You’re a rock star and I’m so glad I read this today.

    Reply to Paige
  • Kristin Cook

    Hi Taralynn. I haven’t been online in a while and I got on today and read this post. I am sorry for the breakup and all you are going through. As you said, in the long run, all these changes will be good, but in the meantime, it can be painful. Change is so hard, even when it is good change. If you are anything like me, anxiety comes quite easily and doesn’t go away nearly as quickly. When I read your post, I was reminded of a post you had a few years back about how your grandma (?) always encourages you in your religious aspects of life. I would encourage you to take her advice during this time. Whether times are hard or going great, the Lord is my rock. I hope you are well and I appreciate you and your blog πŸ™‚

    Reply to Kristin Cook
  • Ellie

    Hey Taralynn! I always love your posts! I’ve been having a hard time this summer..it’s weird to be home after being at college for a year. Having all that freedom at school and being in certain routines and then coming home is hard. Plus having a lot of my friends either in different states or at work all the time is hard. I guess I’m still just struggling with what major I want to choose and what I’m really interested in.

    Reply to Ellie
  • Julia

    Thank you a ton for posting this! I feel like our whole age bracket needs to read this, bc we are transitioning all the time. Starting med school this year was awesome but the whole year has been super stressful. I really like the idea about helping others to kind of get out of your head. Lmk if you need any help with health outreach or whatever.

    Reply to Julia
  • Pedro92

    You honestly could not have picked a better time to post this! Thanks for the reminder that everybody gets uncertain and scared sometimes, but we all ultimately come out the other side okay! πŸ™‚

    Reply to Pedro92
  • lauren

    Great post.. im experiencing a lot of transitions lately. Moving, new job, getting married in less than a month. It can all feel very very overwhelming. The biggest thing that has helped me is my support system. I tried moving before with out support and failed miserably lol

    Reply to lauren
  • Kayla

    Moving away from home right after graduation was definitely the defining moment for me. The transition was huge and make or break. I made it. I now have been here for 10 years, have a wonderful husband, beautiful daughter and lovely home. I’ve met so many people and had life changing experiences that all stemmed from that one decision.

    Reply to Kayla
  • Kelly

    About a month and a half ago I broke up with someone after 3 years. We both knew it wasn’t going to end up in marriage but it was still one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog knowing you’re going through something similar.

    Reply to Kelly
  • julie

    is there a way to subscribe to your website so that i can an email whenever you have a new post? I’ve been following you for years!

    Reply to julie
  • Jenna S

    Thank you!!! I definitely needed this. I am one of those people that have commented a couple times already, asking about your life changes. I’m going through a few myself and I can relate to some of the things you described (especially the lease and traveling thing!) This article is really appreciated right now!

    Reply to Jenna S
  • Heather

    Great post! I also really needed this. I have so many changes happening at once this year and it can be really overwhelming.

    This is why I love your page <3

    Reply to Heather
  • Erin

    I can not even begin to tell you how much I needed to read an article such as this, especially at this time. I broke down last night because it’s been 4 weeks since I moved across country by myself and I let a bunch of small things bog me down. I can’t wait to start a new day with this article in mind. Again, thank you!

    Reply to Erin
  • Sarah

    Hi Taralynn! I love your blog. I live in North Carolina and I hope you are liking Charlotte! I wanted to recommend a church that I really love and has changed my life. It’s called Elevation and they have multiple campuses around Charlotte. You can really relate to the activities their and also meet great people. So, the website is http://elevationchurch.org and I would really recommend watching a sermon or even visiting! They have a campus in downtown. Well, have a great week!

    Reply to Sarah
  • Livi

    Wonderful post. Transitions are always hard, but you are doing a great job!

    Reply to Livi
  • Sarah

    I just moved out of state for the first time and this really hit home! I love all your blog posts, I don’t really follow blogs but you are the exception haha πŸ™‚

    Reply to Sarah
  • Ashley

    Thank you so much for posting this. I needed to read this. Im due with my first baby next month and the mass amount of anxiety thats coming with this life change was getting crazy. This post helped!

    Reply to Ashley

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