Changing Your Mind About Change

Take Small Steps to Make Big Changes

Credit: Peter Olexa / Pexels

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

I remember hearing these words as a freshman in college one evening while I was studying in rural Wisconsin. Truth be told, it was closing time in a bar, but don’t tell my parents. The words are lyrics from the band Semisonic’s song “Closing Time,” but the song isn’t about closing down the bar; rather, it is about change.

Almost 25 years have passed since then, but I still find myself referring to this simple phrase.

Let’s be honest. Most of us hate change. Some of us cringe at that word. Don’t move my cheese. I like it where it is right now! The reality is that humans aren’t wired for change. We are hardwired to resist change. Part of the brain — the amygdala — interprets change as a threat and releases the hormones for fear, fight, or flight. This is your body’s way of protecting you from change. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a few things to help make change easier. Enter growth mindset! We must believe people can change, situations can change, and we can change for a growth mindset to be in full effect. 

Beginnings and endings are a great time to observe your resistance to change by breaking patterns and hitting the reset button on how you’ve done certain things that no longer serve your best purpose or values. Here’s a simple one: Think about how you start and end your days. Now think about how you want to start and end your days. Continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Just entertaining the thought that you want something to be different puts new ideas and patterns into motion. 

The changing seasons to fall and then winter can be a guide on how to manage change. Fall is the start of a new school year, which brings on the start of new rhythms and routines. I’ve often said that September is the new January. Both of my kids started new schools this year — one is in high school already — so I’m smack-dab in the middle of figuring out new systems and structures and routines. 

This might be a good time to get a new “second brain” — a notebook where you can make your to-do list, keep track of your done list, and simply serve as a place to write things down. Don’t use valuable thinking space to keep track of your to-do list. You will forget it anyway. 


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Think about your closet and the clothes you don’t ever wear because you hope that one day you will be three sizes smaller again. Get rid of it. If you get to be three sizes smaller in the future, you deserve something new to wear! 

As we head into the final quarter of 2022, this is the perfect time to think about what you want to upgrade, revamp, and make a change around in your life. If you’re wondering how to start, ask yourself: What’s currently working well for me? You always want to build on what is working well and recognize that there is a lot that is going right versus wrong — usually more than you give yourself credit for. After you have considered what’s working well, ask yourself what could be even better. Once you have an answer to this question, write down one small action you can do tomorrow to make that one thing better. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be just one thing.

In the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, he talks about flossing his teeth more often. His goal is to floss one tooth. That’s it, just one. Well, we all know what will happen. We will do more than that and before we know it, we have a flossing habit. The same thing is true with our stuff. Is there a room you need to clean out? How about starting with one drawer.

If that big thing you want to change seems too overwhelming to talk or even think about, narrow it down to the smallest thing possible and then do that, and then do that again, and then keep doing that. A little bit at a time, and you will have changed, whether you believe it or not!


Sara Caputo transforms how individuals, teams, and small businesses navigate workflow and increase workplace efficiency. Her work has been featured in Working Women, Success, and Forbes, as well as other national and regional publications. She can be reached at sara@saracaputoconsulting.com.


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