Monday, January 4, 2021

Don't Let the Fear of Change Hold You Back

By Maureen Bonatch 

The holiday season is usually stressful for most, but it can be especially stressful for Scruff. I can't blame him. Scruff is like most people. He likes routines. He likes his things to be in the same place and he really doesn't care for change—until he does. But it's that time in between. The uncertainty of what to expect, the fear of the unknown, that causes him much distress. 

Thus, when we began moving things around the house and putting up holiday decorations in November, Scruff was very worried despite him going through this same routine seven times over his lifetime. 

Where were we putting his toys? What is going on? 

He'd gotten very comfortable with how things were all year and didn't think that it could be different, or any better. But once the decorations were out and his toys were still there, even if they were in a different location, he decided he was okay with it. His world didn't end, it was just...different. 

But then he had to deal with Christmas morning and finally those presents that were under the tree were going to be opened. Once again he worried that this was yet another change. He'd just gotten used to ignoring the gifts and accepting that nothing needed to change.

       Here is a picture of Scruff looking a bit apprehensive about these Christmas shenanigans.


Once Scruff realized there were presents for him and that this could be kind of fun, he decided he was definitely good with opening presents. This change was good. He'd much rather open presents than just gather them and look at them and wonder how his world might change if he opened them. 

Then, just this week, he had to endure another difficult day wondering what was going on with his world when we put all the holiday decorations away. But then once we were done, his toys were back where they originally belonged and things were good again. But initiating the change, enduring it and then accepting it is hard, even if it's for the better in the long run. 

Embracing Change for the New Year 

Many of us are thinking about New Year's resolutions and positive changes for 2021. Many of us will forget all about those resolutions and goals within a few weeks because changing a habit or mindset is hard and most of us really want to go for the big pie in the sky changes—and we'd prefer if they happened overnight. 

So if you're like me, you're scouring all the success stories of people who have achieved your goal, whether it's to lose weight, incorporate exercising, paying off debt or being a wild success in their career. Then you try to absorb all of that and lay out an overwhelming amount of plans to make it happen—and usually while looking for the fastest, easiest way —until you realize that the way one person achieves a goal might not work because we only know what's going to work well for ourselves. 

I couldn't tell Scruff (well at least I wasn't sure that he'd understand) that there was nothing to worry about with this change. That maybe he'd like it better once it was done or that he just had to endure a little work and perhaps discomfort or uncertainty for the end result. 

But we can give ourselves that very advice. We can tell ourselves that we've made goals before and often achieved them. It just might take time, persistence and changing some of our habits today to make the tomorrow we envision. The challenge will be whether or not we will listen. 

Author Bio:
 Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. 

Find Maureen on her website, Facebook & Twitter Be the first to know about Maureen’s book sales and new releases by following her on BookBubAmazon and/or signing up for her newsletter


Nancy Gideon said...

Great post, Maureen. Goals and resolutions are made to be broken in my world and when you fail them, you feel like a failure. I've decided to mask my intentions under a different label, as a mantra (or intention) that can be daily, weekly or fluid since even the smallest successes become habits. Like limiting social media to the time it takes to finish that first (or second) cup of coffee, rising a half hours earlier to get posts and email out of the way, reading at least a half hour before lights out, posting a daily page and word count in my journal (I'm very competitive and love to beat those numbers!). Also, making them with time limit (I'll put in my hourly steps on my new Fitbit or This week I'll tidy a room a day) and changing them up make positive activities a challenge instead of a drudge. Identify and quantify.

Maureen said...

Thanks Nancy! I love your mantras! I've done something similar in the last years to have more success by deciding on 'one big thing' for the year and then adding little steps over the months so it's not so overwhelming. Before that, I'd start with a huge list and want everything to happen asap! As you'd expect, I usually failed pretty quickly due to frustration.

Diane Burton said...

Love the way Scruff handles change. About the same way I do--apprehensive at first then settle in and accept. I decided to take baby steps this year to get back to writing. Instead of aiming for 5k words per week or month, I aim for a paragraph a day. Opening the file is my greatest challenge. But I can handle one paragraph. That's not as intimidating as 5k, esp. when I have limited time. Here's to a great year for all of us.

Abigail Owen said...

Such a good point about not liking change. I love to try to pick small things to work on, rather than go for those big things. A little at a time is more effective than a failed attempt at a big thing. :) Happy new year!

Mary Morgan said...

Wonderful post, Maureen. I don't do resolutions or goals. What I try to do is pick a word for the year and build from there. What new journey am I going to face or learn? I've learned to always take the new year with a sense of starting over. And Scruff is adorable! I laughed out loud with all the bows on his back. Happy New Year!

Tena Stetler said...

Loved your post. We have the same type of situation around here. Mystic out dog, likes her routine and change it tough. Taco our parrot is the same, she got so stressed this year that it made her sick. We hope she is on the mend now. Mystic is happy things are back in their regular places. Though like Scruff, she loved opening her presents. I do set goals, and managed to meet them mostly last year. This year, heaven only knows. Set goals I knew I could meet, which were under my control. We'll see. Its so true, that what others attain and how could be completely different from what you are able to do. Thanks for the reminder. Happy New Year!

Nightingale said...

What a precious pooch! And an inspiring post.

Keri Kruspe said...

Loved your post, Maureen. I suspect Scruffs knows exactly what's going on. He's a lot like the rest of us, we may know what's happening, understand why it's happening, but would rather ignore all the changes!
I really appreciate how you outlined one of humanity's hardest hurtles we have to confront.

Maureen said...

Thank you!