Major transitions are one of life’s guarantees. Some changes we choose, other changes we don’t, like layoffs, illness, the death of a loved one, ending a relationship and, most recently, a life-changing global pandemic. Kendra Davies–Life Coach, Positive Psychology Practitioner, and Founder of Stellar Life Coaching–shares some powerful, practical tips on how to establish or reestablish habits, in a post-Covid world, for a lifetime of successful transitions.
“When we experience a life transition, it’s common to feel knocked off-center. The life we previously knew, and the way we lived it, is no longer accessible,” explains Davies. “This is usually when people struggle to connect to a basic, intrinsic motivation to take action toward the experiences they want. Maybe a long-established daily schedule has been pulled out from under them; in turn comfortable but unhealthy, or inauthentic habits have taken over.”
For many of us, who we were and how we showed up in the pre-COVID pandemic world is no longer relevant or useful to our new, collective reality. So how do we reestablish a new ‘normal’ when life throws us a curve ball? “We can either cling to ideas and practices that no longer work or surrender to what is. By dropping all expectations of what we thought life would look like, we make room for recovery, which is where we get to decide how we move forward,” offers Davies. “It’s normal to find ourselves reaching for comforts that may not serve us in the long run. There can even be a complete loss of identity, or sense of time; our decision-making muscles get weak. But, even from here, we can grow and change.”
The Pathway to Your New Normal
Davies believes that the key lies in taking action. “First, let’s reject the idea that any one plan is right for everyone, and that it is only successful if approached rigidly and in a specific order. In order to transform thoughts into action, it helps to be invested in choosing those thoughts, rather than trying to apply someone else’s protocol. In order to start over, or simply get started living the life you truly want, it is absolutely essential to have, and use, an action plan,” offers Davies.
The pathway to your new normal, explains Davies, “starts with the question: ‘Do I want to change?’ If the answer is ‘Yes’, change comes down to transforming thought into action.” That single decision, every time, is the space between imagining and living the life you want. If we wait to feel inspired, or for the conditions to be perfect to begin, we’ll be waiting forever. The perfect moment doesn’t exist; and while our feelings can affect our actions, it works in the other direction, too. Taking action, before we think we’re ready, absolutely impacts the way we feel.”
The comfort zone is named that for a reason, which is why small steps are the best way to build momentum. Begin by writing down one or two easily achievable goals, for example, ‘I will go outside and walk for 5-10 minutes each day’, ‘I will limit my screen time to two hours a day’. Once the goals are set, it’s important to stick to them. That means action. Even one toe outside that comfort zone counts. If you commit to going to the gym, start by driving there. If you can’t bring yourself to go in and work out, that’s ok. Sit in the parking lot for a while, then go home and try again tomorrow. “And, let your best be enough,” advises Davies.
Being teachable is more important than being a master, especially while starting a new habit or knocking the rust off an old one. Be willing to try something new and fall short. It’s important we start celebrating our failures as joyously as our wins, because those are the moments in which we learn and grow. Davies reminds us, “We all start (or start over) somewhere; and we’ve got to find it in our hearts to treat ourselves with as much grace as children learning to walk for the first time.”
“The importance of connection cannot be overstated, especially during times of turmoil. Seek out support from family and friends, or explore new, supportive groups that align with the life changes you want and healing you need. Cultivating a community of people to hold us accountable, through kindness, honesty, encouragement, friendship, and shared goals, we’ll enjoy a lifetime of successful transitions. But only with grace, for ourselves and each other, do we stand a chance of healing our collective challenges, and living the lives we want.”