4 Ways to Cope with Change

Written by BITE Coach Tammy Pennington

When you hear the words, “Let’s talk about the changes we need to make happen,” does your stomach clench as tight as mine does? Does your mind whirl with crazy thoughts? – “What if I can’t do this?” “What if I fail?” “I really don’t want to think about change right now. I have enough on my plate.”

Well, the truth is you cannot move forward without change! How many times have you kept doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? Change helps us to grow and forces us to adapt in ways we likely never anticipated we could or would.

Why is change so uncomfortable? For most of us, change can be stressful because, as humans, we do not deal well with uncertain outcomes or the possibility of failure.

Here are four ways to help normalize the discomfort of change:

  1. Embrace failure. Expect to fail at new things. Let failure be a part of your journey as you find what works for you. Fail enthusiastically and apply the knowledge you gain from failure to keep moving forward. So when your coach comes to you and says, “Let’s cut back on the number of workouts you do each week and change the timing of when you eat your carbs to see what happens,” try it. It may not work out, but trying new things is the only way to find what works best for you.
  2. Be willing to go backward in order to go forward. Success is not linear. An example of this includes temporary weight gain from an increase in carbs or losing some strength as you drop the weight to correct your form. If your mind knows that change is a part of the process, it is easier to rationalize and keep moving forward.
  3. Set small action goals. Big goals are overwhelming for most people. Break them up into small stepping-stones that will keep you going on your path to whatever your overall goal may be. If you want to run a marathon, set a goal of running three miles. Does running three miles feel overwhelming? Then start with running one mile. The key is to just start. Once you accomplish a small goal, you can move on to the next stepping-stone confidently.
  4. Realize that you are capable of handling difficultly. You are strong enough to handle unexpected tough situations. Always continue to move forward. Change reveals your strength.

Tammy Pennington (MS, RD, LDN  NASM-CPT) began her journey in nutrition over 30 years ago as a Registered Dietitian.  Her career includes working with Renal Disease, Diabetes, and other chronic health disorders, including autoimmune disorders.  She is an active NASM Certified Personal Trainer and teaches an online class in nutrition at the University of Louisiana Monroe.

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