It Is The New Year – How Much Change Do You Need?

New Year resolutions come into play at the start of every year. We have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and make changes in our lives, so the scenario really boils down to this: what kind of changes and how much change can –or should- a person make at one time? There is no easy answer to this question because the need for life changes and the ability to make changes is unique to each person.

Major changes in life happen at any time of the year and can often be the result of a negative event that has knocked a person’s life out of a familiar orbit and has presented them with a wobbly new orbit that has no precedent in their lives, thus they are suddenly in very unfamiliar territory where previous life experiences do not provide the answers to their current situation.

This situation is not simply a “fight or flight” experience because that scenario will not fully encompass the emotional reaction by many people. Instead other variables like a “freeze” reaction might play into people’s lives in which they are overwhelmed by the new challenge and cannot envision a solution to their problem. They may have been unable to see any realistic path out of their current problem on their own, so they come to a halt and do nothing about the dilemma. The situation does not get better from inaction and may even get worse if no action is taken by the individual.

The onslaught of a major life change that has emotionally boxed in a person may find a solution with the inclusion of another person who can analyze the problem and provide an extra set of eyes on the situation. The emotional shackle between the person and the problem may be too great for the person to see other alternatives that may provide a solution to a period of unwanted change in their lives.

For example, one of the issues that I have seen during my nursing career was a sudden barrage of daily medications for patients who had encountered a health issue that required drug treatment. They had gone from a comfortable daily routine to a brand new routine that required them to take their medication at a specific time under specific conditions. The situation got more complicated by a routine that required them to take multiple medications at varying times of the day or night.

Sometimes the new regimen was too much for them and they simply decided to do nothing and ignore the daily medication requirements prescribed for them. It may seem like an odd reaction to forego potentially life-saving treatment because the changes have overwhelmed and complicated their lives to a point where they simply could not handle the radical shift in their daily lives. But this reaction is an example of the powerful effect of change in our lives and how some of us cope with change.

Voluntary positive changes in a person’s life may become a goal when it comes to personal resolutions to make changes in their world. These are self-initiated changes that are popular when we begin a new calendar year, but they can also complicate lives. The big question for most people is how big a change do I want to make in my life and the simple answer is to stay well within the comfort zone in your life. An example might be radical cosmetic surgery that changes a person who was really quite comfortable with their original appearance and simply wanted a few tweaks. Sometimes a few tweaks are all that are needed when it comes to positive changes in our lives and a radical overhaul may do more harm than good, whether for cosmetic surgery or less complicated changes like diet or exercise programs that go much further than necessary to effect positive changes. A sudden leap into a drastic new routine may actually doom the new changes to failure because there has been too much change done too quickly and it has seriously compromised the chances for success. Sometimes we need to slowly wade into cold water to get acclimatized to the temperature instead of simply diving into the even colder deep end of the pool and immediately climbing out of the pool.

Changes in life actually come in several categories that include good, bad, necessary or unnecessary, by varying degrees. The one constant is that we will all face many changes as we move though our lives and many of them will be delivered by circumstances over which we have limited control. How we handle the changes in terms of decisions is where we regain control of our lives.

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