Colorful Fall Leaves

10 Key Strategies to Navigate Life Changes and Transitions

The Ultimate Guide for Mastering Life´s Turning Points​

by Life Transformation Strategist

Angelika Matev

In this article, I am going to share with you some valuable insight about the nature of change and the difference between change and transition.  These 10 key strategies will help you to navigate life changes and transitions so you can sail smoothly through those difficult times.   

Whether you have already experienced major life changes and transitions, or you are currently going through one, you are well aware of how challenging these times could be. We can´t control all the events that happen to us, but we can prepare to handle the stress and anxiety that come with change.

In my work with coaching clients and through the analysis of their birth charts, I’ve found these strategies to be instrumental in navigating life changes and transitions with wisdom and confidence

With this knowledge, you will be well-equipped to overcome the fear of uncertainty and successfully navigate life changes and transitions so that you can emerge stronger and wiser and move with ease to the next exciting chapter of your life.

Understanding Change

Change is an integral part of life and human history. As paradoxical as it may sound, change is constant and perpetual.  ´Panta rhei´ – ´Everything flows´ said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, recognizing the fundamental transitory nature of all life phenomena in the flow of time.

Our very first experience as human beings is Change: out of the warm, protective bubble in the mother´s womb babies move, through a narrow passage, into another world and in an environment of independent existence.  This transition, according to medical research, is not easy at all for the newborn: different shifts of the body systems occur during delivery to ensure survival, including the first breath and the painful expansion of the lungs with air – the vital component of existence in the outside world.

Newborn Baby
Shutterstock ID : 125008100 From Flamingo Images

Being born is our first transition, and the first radical change that brings us to life.

As a powerful driving force of Nature, change is part of time, birth and death, seasons, growth, transformation, reform, development, reinvention, deconstruction, and rebuilt, to name a few. It is the fundamental expression of eternal becoming and a catalyst for evolution and progress.

Change is also essential to any story, real or fictional. If everything stays the same, there won´t be any twists and turns, conflicts, or character development. 

Stories, legends, and fairy tales all invariably get to the sentence ´…then one day…´ to tell that something happened and altered the initial situation in which the story began; then it gets really interesting, the plot thickens and we can´t wait to hear more… ´What happens next? ´we are curious to know. 

Although the mind doesn’t like uncertainty and prefers to operate with known categories and function in familiar environments, our souls crave adventure.  We are the heroes of our own life story, and change is what pushes us to step out of our comfort zone to move to the next level of our lives.

But If Change Is Such A Vital And Natural Part Of Life, Why Do Most People Fear It And Prefer To Avoid It?

One valid explanation is to be found in the human need for safety and security and the attachment to the comfort of the known. Inertia and the determination to keep things the way they are, even when we are unhappy, are the silent killers of our dreams and authentic life.

Woman Looking at the Ocean
Tides by Frank Park

The ego likes predictability, comfort, and certainty and instinctively resists change. We don´t realize that our security and precious routine could easily become protection through limitation, just like an egg that goes bad if it doesn’t hatch.

Be strong because it might be stormy now, but it can't rain forever.

The inner Self, however, knows that we have nothing to fear and need to embrace life changes with wisdom and maturity.

Arched pathway in garden
Shutterstock ID : 89615176 by De Kongsky

The Difference Between Life Changes and Transitions

These terms are often used interchangeably; however, there is a clear distinction between them.
Change is the event through which a situation becomes different. Transition is the lived experience of that event and the psychological readjustment to the new circumstances.

Change occurs at a specific moment in time; transition is a process. The various categories of change include those made by choice and changes that happen unexpectedly to present us with a challenge, even a life crisis.

Significant Changes (Positive Or Negative) In The Following Key Areas Of Life Affect Us The Most And Tend To Provoke Strong Emotional Reactions:​

The ripple effect of change usually affects other parts of life, such as our perception of personal identity and the world, our relationships, and often our physical and emotional wellness too.

Whether planned or unwanted, all changes require transition strategies to manage our new circumstances.

In the following equation, CHANGE + TRANSITION = DIFFERENT LIFE, we have control only over the transition part as it is our psychological response to the events which alter our reality.

In other words, change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. It is not those events, but rather the inner reorientation and self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture.

William Bridges

I know from experience how hard it is to see the big picture during stress, anxiety and confusion, caused by life changes, especially by those we didn’t want and expect.

The most valuable lesson I learned during these difficult times was that if we work on our ability to adapt prior to the events requiring transition, we will be much better equipped to navigate life changes and shifts with strength and confidence.

Nautilus Shell with Fibonacci Spiral
Shutterstock ID : 599587838 De Lorna Roberts

Main challenges we face during changes and transition periods:

In some situations, these demanding tasks could be even harder for those who have to face significant life changes and transitions in already difficult circumstances such as financial problems, single parenting after a divorce, the care for a chronically ill family member…, the list goes on.

The Chinese philosophy of change, based on the I Ching, Book of Changes teaches that we need to enter the great flow of the Universe and find our trajectory, by adjusting our position and rhythm and by following our inner compass. For that, we need specific steps. 

The 10 Most Effective Strategies for Smooth Transitions:

1. The three A´s formula: Accept, Asses, Act

ACCEPT: The first step is to accept change as a natural part of life and make peace with the new situation.

Express your feelings – it´s normal to feel frustrated, scared ,or angry, but after the initial reaction to the events you must deal with, you need to stop wasting time and energy on negative emotions.

It is essential to remember that everything is always in flux. Take the time to understand that as humans, we are continually evolving, and change is an integral part of that process.

We cannot change anything unless we accept it.

Carl Jung
ASSES: Analyze the changes that happened to you and the impact they have on your life.

Acknowledge what you need to leave behind. Reflect on the different aspects of the new situation and focus on the positive, regardless of how little it could appear at the time.

Major life changes and transitions can shake our worlds, but they also bring some eye-opening experiences, allowing us to see reality differently.

I was quite impressed by the interpretation of a common word by an author of Native American descent: he explained that in their language, the opposite of ´tall/high´ was ´deep´ not ´short´!  

I thought it was a great way to express the idea that anything that grows high needs a solid foundation and deep roots; like those strong trees, storms cannot break.

This interesting fact changed my perception of some mental constructs we hold and showed me an alternative, thought-provoking view on the meaning of some ideas which we need to revise more often.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.

Heraclitus

Another great metaphor on the effect of difficult life changes and transitions is that of the seed in the ground: when we are going through hard transitions we might feel buried under the overwhelming mass of stress, pain and worry but in fact we have been planted to grow and when the time comes, to emerge stronger and live a new life in full bloom!

Change is a blessing in disguise indeed and a chance to move to the next level of our evolution.

Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?

Rumi
ACT: Make a short-term plan with a long-term contingency and follow it.

What are the first and most urgent steps you need to take to adapt to your new reality? What resources do you need to be able to do it? Who do you need to connect with to make it work? What pressing matters need your attention immediately? How will you meet the demands of your changed life?

These questions will help you focus on your most important priorities and will give you a sense of control by increasing left-brain activity, which you need for organizing and managing your daily life in a practical way.

ACCEPT → ASSESS → ACT

2. Develop your own Transition Skill Set

The most effective way to apply ideas is to adapt the advice to your personality and life ; don´t be just a passive recipient of recommendations, instead combine them with your creativity and self-knowledge to develop YOUR individual system that would serve you best.

Go within, explore your inner world, tap into your core strengths, and start trusting your intuition, like never before. The Universe speaks to us through our inner voice more clearly in times of hardship and transition!

Hear that voice and follow the guidance you will receive through synchronicities, meaningful encounters, and even in dreams as our subconscious mind actively communicates with us through symbolic images that could contain important messages.

Digital Mind Image
Shutterstock ID : 218492107 From agsandrew

3. Look back to past achievements

Think about other challenging moments in your life when you showed strong abilities to tackle a problem and found a solution. Believe in yourself and trust your core energy.

4. Find inspiration in stories of other people

Think about people who have managed life changes and transitions with courage and grit while dealing with serious health problems or a major loss. These stories will give you some perspective and help you realize that your situation may be hard, but there are far worse hardships others have to deal with.

Remember your admiration for a member of your family or your ancestors who have overcome major difficulties and survived and draw strength from your roots and family history.

While the predictable path may feel more comfortable, it goes against the nature of change and growth.

Amy E. Dean

5. Reclaim your personal power

Create your daily rituals for empowerment.  Ask yourself: Are my beliefs and thoughts giving me strength or making me weak and bringing me down? How can I re-frame the way I think?

Example:

Dis-empowering Belief
I will never make it through this; I always give up when things get hard.

Empowering Belief
I am fully capable of handling this situation in my life! There is always something I can learn when
I try something new.

Explore your thoughts and beliefs and choose the ones that serve, empower, and nurture you during transition. Work on that daily, and you will soon find meaning in everything that happens to you and will no longer be afraid of uncertainty and change.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Andre Gide

6. De-clutter your mind

Free yourself from negative self-talk, excessive worrying, and guilt. Start writing down your thoughts and feelings and use your journal as a record of your transition experiences to go back to. Stay balanced.

Journal with flowers, horseshoes, and candles
Sassy Styled Stock by Aminta Demadura

7. Take care of yourself

Watch your nutrition, do yoga, reconnect with the healing power of Mother Nature – talk to the sea, hug trees, and enjoy the company of your pets as much as you can.

Vent and release built-up tensions but in a healthy way. Another benefit of taking good care of your physical and emotional well-being during life changes and transitions is that you will associate these times with the positive effect of feeling better, by doing something you probably didn’t do in the past!

Angelika Matev Looking Up at Trees

8. Don´t isolate yourself

Talk to people you trust and feel comfortable with.

Share how you feel with family and friends, but don´t complain and act like a victim of circumstances. Take every opportunity to use positive, empowering language and convince yourself and those who care about you that with each day you are getting better and more comfortable in your new reality.

Consider hiring a professional (counselor, therapist, coach) to guide you and support you further on your transition journey.

Woman talking with a Life Coach, Counselor, Psychologist
Shutterstock ID : 1107423758 From Photographee.eu

9. Give it time

Change could be sudden, but transition is a process that requires a much longer time to complete. Acknowledge your daily progress and reward yourself for every achievement and victory, no matter how small, in mastering life changes and transition.

10. Stay positive

Remember, we need change as part of our evolution, and as hard as it may seem, sometimes, we are always given the right measure of difficulties to deal with, never more than we can handle.

Life is too short to live the same day twice quote
Shutterstock ID : 1617509344 From Nokuro

Summary:

The 10 Key Strategies to finding meaning in uncertainty and navigating life changes and transitions with wisdom and confidence:

  1. The three A´s Formula: Accept, Asses, Act
  2. Develop your Transition Skill Set
  3. Look back to past achievements
  4. Learn from inspiring stories
  5. Reclaim your Personal Power
  6. De-clutter your mind
  7. Take care of yourself
  8. Get support
  9. Give it time
  10. Stay positive
Compass in hand with mountains walking path
Shutterstock ID : 290093642 From Pikoso.kz

In Conclusion:

Now that you understand how to navigate life changes and transitions much better, you will be able to approach the demands of these life turning points with more confidence and strategic thinking.

But as much effort as we put into handling challenges, we must admit that it is not easy to go through that journey alone.  I have been there, and I had to face various changes and transitions throughout my life, so I truly understand what you are going through and the overwhelming stress that comes with it.

{Read More About my Story HERE}

I’ve made it my mission to help people who are at a major life juncture and need clarity, direction, and effective strategies for success.

If you’d like to learn more about my work and methodology and you need more support, reach out and book a free consultation to see if we are a good fit to work together. 

Be strong enough to face the world each day. Be real enough to know you cannot do everything alone.

Author Unknown, Always Be
Red Tulips with White Tips
Shutterstock ID : 1632531826 From April84

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Angelika Matev

Angelika Matev

Angelika Matev is a Certified Psychological Astrologer & Transformation Coach, with extensive experience working with 1:1 clients. It’s her mission to help people reconnect with their authentic self, overcome life challenges, create meaningful relationships and achieve lasting transformation and happiness.

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