Change. I think that one of the hardest things in life is when we transition from one phase of our life to another - some might call it chapters in our life story. When we get to the end of one chapter, it is time to start writing the next chapter, and change can be tough for a lot of us. Any time we leave what is comfortable and step into the unknown, it can be scary.

As I look forward to 2018, I have been feeling a lot of anxiety and fear that I am trying to wrap my mind around. As my children move into adulthood, I am faced with an empty nest and the thought, quite frankly, terrifies me. My identify is wrapped up in my children, so as they get ready to leave the nest, I find myself trying to figure out who I am and what I will do in the next chapter of my life.

As we all move into a new year, some of us are facing big changes for 2018 while some of us may be continuing down a familiar road. Even if we don’t have any BIG changes on the horizon, we will ALL experience some type of change this year. Each change brings both fear and excitement; however, which emotion we choose to cling to will determine our happiness and quite possibly, our success.

We can either look forward with fear due to the uncertainty or we can look forward with excitement due to the possibilities.

If you find yourself facing big changes this year or if you have been considering making a change but fear has been holding you back, I encourage you to acknowledge the fear, but embrace the excitement. Recognize that change is both scary and exciting for all of us, but we have control over our thoughts and how we choose to look at the change.

Buddha once said, “Rule your mind or it will rule you”.

This couldn’t be more true than when we are faced with change. Don’t look at your upcoming changes with fear. Think about all the possibilities. Instead of thinking about what could go wrong, think about what could go right. We spend a lot of time worrying about things that never happen. We “What if” ourselves to death! Even worse, our mind doesn’t know the difference between REAL or IMAGINED threats. Every time we ask ourselves, “What if”, we cause ourselves a lot of unnecessary anxiety and stress. Why worry about things that 1) we can’t control and 2) probably will never happen anyway?

Strategies to rule our mind
So what can we do to reduce unnecessary anxiety and put ourselves into a positive mindset?

1. Positive Self-Talk - Every time a negative thought, fear, or worry creeps into your conscious mind, I encourage you to recognize it and then think of 2 positive things that could go right. Begin focusing on the positive and start quieting the negative. Instead of worrying that you could fail at your new weight loss program, tell yourself that you will succeed and you will inspire your spouse to start making healthier choices as well.
2. Visualization – Visualize yourself succeeding. Athletes have used this technique for years because it works. Close your eyes and visualize your success. If you are trying to lose weight, visualize yourself in the jeans you wore years ago or visualize yourself shopping for new clothes. Before going to a restaurant, visualize yourself ordering a healthier option.
3. Meditation – Meditation improves mindfulness and helps our minds focus on one thing. It helps us to live in the moment. It also helps us get in touch with ourselves and can help make us more successful in school, work, or social situations. It is also excellent for personal goals such as weight loss. A single google search on the benefits of meditation will yield thousands of results. Start with guided meditation to begin ruling your mind.

If you are like me and are facing big changes this year or if you want to make smaller changes, remember that we learn more from change than when we stay in our comfort zone. When we move outside of our comfort zone, we learn about who we are and what we are made of. Embrace the changes in your life and look forward to them. Change is a part of life and how we face change, will determine our future.

Author's Bio: 

Darleen Barnard is a Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist, Behavior Change Specialist, and Life Coach. She is passionate about helping people reach their full potential by focusing on a positive mindset and a healthy body. By working with the entire individual and focusing on mindset, habits, subconscious beliefs, health, and wellness, she has successfully helped clients achieve their goals and reach new levels. To check out all of Darleen's articles and sign up to receive her newsletter, click here: