(TNS)—Q: My job is fine, my personal life is fine, but I know that I have a tendency to get bored and restless. What can I do to be out in front of that so that I don’t start making bad choices to force change?
A: Recognizing the risk is a great start to ensuring enough constructive change in your life.
The Inner Game
When you think about it, we’re trained to expect change. Different teachers each year, new schools as we get older…and then we get to adulthood and seem surprised that we get restless when things stay the same. So to start, if you’re judging yourself on this, let it go and accept that change is part of life!
Then do some change mapping. Looking back over the years, what changes have you experienced? Notice which changes have been most energizing and have led to the best outcomes. Also notice the effects if you’ve resisted change.
Take time to identify the signs that you’ve hit a boredom threshold. Do you check out or day dream a lot? Get crabby? Even get silly?
Think about what aspects of your personal and professional life you value the most. Then start to expand your vision so that you can stretch within those bounds. This will help you keep your need for change from wreaking havoc on your life.
Finally, set some short, medium and longer term goals. Again, this will give you structure for managed change.
The Outer Game
Get ready, get set, change! Make a list of things you’d like to try—large or small—then get started. Maybe one of your goals relates to career advancement. Select a skill you’d need to acquire and take steps to make it happen. Or you may have a goal to strengthen your bonds with your family. Pick a step you could take to help move this along: for example, taking your kids to the park after work.
Keep it fun! This isn’t about drudgery and feeling like you “should” be doing more or different things. Your end game is a life that feels engaged, challenging, dynamic, and satisfying. And while some of the tasks may push you, you’re in charge of planning the steps you take. That says, you’ll probably be dissatisfied with yourself if you get lazy about it or make excuses for inaction.
Pay attention to how you’re feeling. If life is getting stale, step up for a new task at work, find ways to re-engage with your spouse, or take on a new hobby. Consider a volunteer commitment that can give you exposure to new ideas and new people.
If you start to let your performance slack (an unconscious way to drive change), own up to that. You could even consider talking with your boss about your need for new challenges. Hearing your conscious awareness of your personal dynamic will likely restore confidence in you as a team member.
The last word
Change is good, and being the designer of your changes is better still!
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