How To Change Your Life In 2020

How To Change Your Life In 2020

Mixing up your workout. Scoring a promotion. Picking a new Messina flavour. Change is exciting, right? But even positive ones can come with some emotional fall out, according to researchers over at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. “We somewhat expect negative life transitions to be linked to heightened stress levels,” says Dr Elise Bennik, the […]

Mixing up your workout. Scoring a promotion. Picking a new Messina flavour. Change is exciting, right? But even positive ones can come with some emotional fall out, according to researchers over at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

“We somewhat expect negative life transitions to be linked to heightened stress levels,” says Dr Elise Bennik, the clinical psychologist behind the research and a specialist in change. “What we’ve discovered is that even positive changes can produce depressive symptoms – especially if you go through multiple changes in a short time period.” So, how can you work through the highs and lows to settle into your new normal?

These stories of navigating change will help you find your way.

“It’s OK to take a career leap”

Genevieve Rosen-Biller, 29, left a decade-long journalism career behind to focus on her side hustle.

“The idea for my business, Bed Threads, came about when I moved into a new apartment and was looking for new sheets. There was a gap in the market for a pure linen bedding set. The idea stuck with me and, for two years, I worked on it alongside my day job until finally launching the brand in 2017. But, after a while, I didn’t feel like I was giving either job my best. I thought, ‘If this business is going to become something, it can’t be an after-hours thing.’ When it came to leaving my journalism job and going full time with Bed Threads, I definitely felt the fear. But I told myself the worst thing that could happen was nothing compared with the best thing that could. The moment I worked out I could replicate my salary just with Bed Threads, it gave me the confidence to resign and turn my side hustle into my main one. I’ve gone from working on the couch at home to having an office and a great team within a year and a half. When it comes to starting a business or embarking on a career change, do your research and due diligence, whether that’s signing up to a course or getting work experience. I spoke to so many contacts, listened to podcasts and read lots of interviews to arm myself with knowledge. That way you know you’ve made the best possible decision with the information you have.” 

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“Don’t let overthinking hold you back from adventure”

Just book the plane ticket, says WH Features Editor Alex Davies, 32.

“I’d always liked the idea of living in Australia, but it wasn’t until I was made redundant from a job in the UK that I decided to make the move. I worried I’d talk myself out of it, so I just kept telling friends and family I was going. In the end, I’d told so many people that I had no choice but to book the flight! It’s been five years now and, while life is great, that first year can be tough. But, whether it’s across an ocean or state border, a location move can reveal strength you may not expect. Strength to put yourself out there when it comes to building up fresh work contacts and making new mates. Strength to do things by yourself (especially when you’re still working on that whole mates thing), from eating meals and travelling to climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. My advice? Save more money than you think you need. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends of friends, or that woman your sister’s neighbour used to work with. One of my closest pals here is someone I met through an editor I worked with only briefly in London. Also, walk a lot – it’s the best way to explore. Lastly, pat yourself on the back every now and then; making any sort of leap, no matter the size, takes courage.”

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“Self-care helped me heal from heartbreak”

The end of a long-term relationship helped Christine Labour, 35, to rediscover her identity.

“My boyfriend of three years had been distant for weeks until, one night, I confronted him and asked if we were done. He said yes. That was it. The hardest part of the break-up? Realising that I was in my mid-30s, had spent years with someone I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with and, now, the goalposts had suddenly moved. But then I started to focus on the things I liked doing before being with my ex-partner, like baking and travelling. When I was having a bad day, I’d sit down and write about it as therapy for myself. I made the healing time about becoming more confident and happy. I’m in a great new relationship now, and if I bumped into my ex on the street, I know I’d be OK.”

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“Try different things to find your purpose”

After retiring from life as an elite swimmer, four-time Olympian Leisel Jones, 34, had to work out who she was outside of the water.

“My last day in the pool was at the 2012 London Olympics. I knew I couldn’t see myself continuing to the next Games, and I had achieved everything I wanted to. In my gut I knew it was the right decision to retire. Still, it took me a really long time to figure out what I wanted to achieve [after that]. I did a few media roles, including working on the Commonwealth Games, which I loved. I tried working nine-to-five in an office, but I struggled with it because I like being physically active. I’ve taken on ambassador roles with FatBlaster and Beyond Blue, and have been exploring opportunities working with athletes and their wellbeing. There are so many things I’ve learnt throughout my career that I would love to extend to other people and athletes. That’s one of the reasons I’m about to pick up my psychology degree again at the end of the year. Exercise and staying healthy is still so important to me. I’ve had to be a bit more careful with what I eat, as my appetite is still the same as it was when I was swimming. I still work out and do strength training three to four times a week – it’s something I like doing for myself. I haven’t been back in the pool since retiring, though – I like to keep my hair dry these days!”

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“Get outside daily as a new parent”

Becoming a first-time mum this year to Lucas, five months, has overhauled 34-year-old Claudia Nand’s mindset as well as her sleep.

“The first few weeks [of motherhood] were a complete blur. I hardly slept and nursing didn’t come naturally, but eventually you learn to relax. I’ve always accepted change, adjusted to it and moved on, and I feel like I’ve taken that approach with Lucas, too. It’s about accepting: that my body has changed completely, and loving it for what it’s done; that sleep will never be the same; and that my house isn’t going to be totally clean. But, I always told myself I wouldn’t allow those types of things to interfere with Lucas and I and the relationship we have. Being at home all the time can be isolating, so I make an effort to get outside daily, whether it’s just a stroll around the shops or going to a cafe. And while it doesn’t happen too often right now, I try to schedule catch-ups with my friends to maintain those important relationships. Navigating this new chapter has definitely been tough, but the love I feel for Lucas is beyond my expectations.”

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Inspired? Here’s how to change your life 

How to have a good change, by Lara Young, lifestyle coach and author of 52 Adventures to Change Your Life

1. Fact-check your fears

“If something feels impossible, work out why. Make a list of the reasons why you feel like you’re unable to achieve your goal, then go back through it and think about whether those beliefs are true or false. Give yourself the opportunity to accept your own potential.”

2. Be your own cheerleader

“Remind yourself of how adaptable you are by listing everything you’ve already succeeded in. Maybe you survived a tricky internship to secure your first job, or got over your ex while finding a new place to live. If you’ve overcome obstacles before, you can do it again.”

3. Prep your tribe

“Whatever the change, you don’t need to live it alone. Seek the counsel of your friends and warn them that you might need to lean on them more than usual in the coming months. Even if they’re not around, they can support you via WhatsApp or FaceTime.”

4. Have a sense of purpose

“Set a long-term goal, then, if you make a change and it doesn’t go to plan, you can adapt your response accordingly. If you moved cities for your career, but you’re struggling to meet people, can you use this opportunity to work harder without the distractions of going out?”

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