New beginnings often are exciting, yet terrifying — no one knows what the future holds. Unlimited possibilities lie behind the door to your new beginning: successes and failures, ups and downs, and even some smiles and frowns.
The past is sometimes easier to reflect upon because it is finite, it is done and it cannot offer new surprises in your life. The past, in a sense, is easier to control; the present and future seems mystical and uncontrollable.
Since you do not know what’s behind the next door or written in the next chapter of your life, it is important to utilize transitional life tools at these pinnacle times in your life. These tools give us the strength and courage to aid us in adjusting to a new chapter in our lives. A transitions toolkit for your attitude may be what it takes to make a smooth transition.
- Be positive. Sometimes you may have to “fake it till you make it” with a positive attitude in a transitional time. A new chapter can be terrifying, which brings in negative self-talk. It is common to have doubts and hesitation; however, you cannot let these thoughts win the battle and defeat you. You may want to think of a positive slogan to get you through the tough transition. For instance, “I’ve got this!” may provide you with an additional boost of confidence and encouragement.
- Be open. In a transitional time, it is important to be open to new people and new experiences. To adjust to a new job, new partner, etc. it takes an open mind. You cannot compare your past to your future.For instance, if you are in a new relationship, you cannot compare your new partner to your past, idealized partner, because if you do this you are setting yourself up for failure. Your present and future offers you the opportunity to see things in a new light or try things out in a different way.
The hard part about this task is that it takes a certain level of vulnerability. If you allow yourself to be vulnerable and open, you will learn more about yourself and grow in new ways that will strengthen your character.
- Be realistic. You may have lofty goals for your future, which is great as long as they are also realistic. When you enter a new chapter, it is important to have measurable and realistic stepping stones to get you to your future goals. For instance, if you are starting a new job, you may have the goal of getting an “outstanding” self-evaluation at your three-month performance evaluation.Now that you have established that goal, it is important to break down how you are going to achieve this through your everyday activities. For example, you will be on time every day this week and you will finish the project a day ahead of the original deadline. By setting realistic and measurable goals, you are more likely to achieve them.
- Be persistent. Sometimes it just takes time (which can be tough if you’re impatient). New beginnings are a test of willpower, patience and character. A new chapter may have four or five bad openings that you as the author rip out, crumble up and toss out, only to start again from the beginning. You need to give yourself the freedom to fall, stand up, brush off and try again.It is only through these mistakes that you can learn how to do things differently and more effectively. Persistence pays off because it creates dedication and sweat equity. At transitional times, think about the Pareto Principle, or the 80-20 rule, where 80 percent of the results comes from 20 percent of the effort. Where is your effort? Are you utilizing your effort effectively? How can you streamline your efforts to maximize results? Through awareness and persistence, you can tackle the challenges of a new beginning.
- Seek support. Whether you just graduated from college, you are a new divorcee, or you made a career change later in life, everyone needs support from loved ones when transitioning into a new chapter. Sometimes you may shy away from support because you feel like a failure; however, this is often the time you need support the most.Seek support from your family, friends and colleagues. These people are important in your life and want to help. Through talking to others you can gain companionship; it helps at times when you feel like “you’re the only one going through this” (whatever the “this” may be). If you feel like you need additional support because your support system “just doesn’t understand” then seek out counseling as a resource to add to your support system.
Through utilizing these attitude tools, you will be more mindful and aware of your own personal transition.