Life Changes – How to Transition Successfully

growth_smWhen I work with clients during difficult times, the situations almost always involve transition.

Some are chosen – such as getting married, having children, changing careers, or moving to a new home. Others seem to choose us – such as losing a job, suffering poor health, experiencing rejection, or loss of a loved one.

Colorado State University’s article on Transitions and Changes* states;

Transitions are times of crossing or traveling from something old and familiar to something new and unfamiliar. Most transitions are small and pass by almost unnoticed. Some, however, involve major disruptions in routines and force us to re-examine our values and lifestyle.

We typically expect life to stay on a straight, upward path toward life-long goals. Instead, life is often full of ups and downs along the way triggered by joyful or painful experiences.

Whichever type of change occurs, answering the following questions can help you transition successfully. Take a moment to jot down initial responses to get you started!

What will you keep?
There is comfort in bringing things with you when facing change. The familiar reassures you that you are intact, safe, and secure.

When we moved our family across the country, we packed our truck full of things to take with us. Even when 1,200 miles away, we could still sleep in the same beds, sit on the same couch, and eat from the same plates. Not everything we brought was physical. We kept our love for walks, our sense of humor, and our faith that God knows us and cares for us.

Make it personal: What are your strengths, what makes you content? Keep these important aspects of who you are to move forward well.

What will you keep through your next transition?

What will you remove?
When you go through transition, give room to let go of things that may hinder you. Leaving things behind is a healthy part of moving forward.

Before we packed up our truck, we had a garage sale and decided which items to leave behind. This was a great opportunity to clean out areas that had gathered dust far too long. But there were also the tougher items to leave – friends, family, the familiar grocery store and auto mechanic.  Even positive changes, like taking a new job or having children force us to lose the comfortable and familiar.

Make it personal: Transitions give us an opportunity for personal inventory to help us remove bad habits, attitudes, or expectations of others that hold us back.

What will you remove through your next transition?

What will you add?
Transitions always come with the invitation to add something new. Give yourself a gift that makes it personal, even exciting!

When we moved to Colorado, we started an annual ski trip with our three boys. It was something new to connect us to this beautiful state. Since then we have increased our walks, started gardening, and found a great place of worship.

Make it personal: Thinking about what to add can be exciting, like being more social, sharing your opinions, taking a class, or maybe slowing down to incorporate rest.

What will you add through your next transition?

You are NOT Alone

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV) acknowledges that our inner world can be in turmoil and that God our Father’s love surrounds us and empowers us from within.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Changes can sometimes set us back on our heels, igniting a flight response. Take a deep breath and consider what you can keep, remove, and add to make your journey a successful one.



Chuck has worked with couples and men for over 20 years, focusing on basic communication issues and crisis intervention and restoration. Read more >
He is the author of Marriage Recall, a compilation of helpful topics for couples. Read more at

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