We’re all creatures of habit. We like things to stay the same, especially our schedules. While some people can go with the flow, many people don’t like when their calendars suddenly turn inside out.
Of course, life is unpredictable. You can’t control everything. However, you can develop strategies for dealing with change in any form. Below are some ways to cope when plans change unexpectedly.
Look for the Positive
You were so excited to go to the beach with your friends until they changed the date. Now you can’t go with them. Rather than mourn the loss of your long weekend, think of ways that you can make the experience positive.
For instance, maybe you can still visit the beach on your preferred weekend with someone else, or you can do another activity you enjoy. Don’t allow changed plans to completely derail your opportunity to have fun, relax, or enjoy life.
Stop Focusing on Perfect
Guess what? Perfect doesn’t exist. Instead of calling every experience “perfect,” accept that plans can change. Concentrate less on an experience’s perfection and more on the experience itself.
Let’s say you don’t get accepted to the college of your dreams. You can still go to college and your college experience can still be wonderful. While you can grieve or complain about not getting accepted into your preferred university, don’t allow yourself to miss out on great opportunities. What seems terrible now may have a happy ending.
Control What You Can
Why do you always get upset when plans change? You — like everyone else — want to have a sense of control over your destiny. Yet that’s not practical in every circumstance. If you’re going to adapt to change, you’ll have to learn to control what’s in your power and let go of the rest.
Consider an extreme example. You’re about to get married. Without warning, your partner gets cold feet and cancels the wedding. You’re hurt, shocked and embarrassed. However, you can still control some factors, like throwing a party at the venue you already paid for. Alternatively, you might decide to spend your honeymoon week volunteering for your favorite charities. Choose something that helps you regain the control you thought you lost.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Like all habits, developing strategies for dealing with change requires trial and error. Practice your own coping mechanisms and, if you want, work with a professional therapist to help you develop healthy ways to react when plans zig instead of zag.