Is there any time more nostalgic and reflective than the end of the year? As if our own thoughts and memories weren’t sufficient, Facebook will even put together a snapshot of our year’s top photos, allowing us the opportunity to visually relive the highlights in a matter of moments.
Perhaps in reviewing 2016 you find yourself hovering somewhere between the wistful feelings of memories past and the clean slate of what’s to come – not quite willing just yet to let go of what’s been, and yet feeling a glimmer of excitement at just what the turn of that calendar page will bring.
Whether we’re ready or not, time continues its metronomal march onward, and the journey from one year to the next affords us the opportunity to take stock of where we’ve been and take steps towards where we’d like to next find ourselves. But we seem to be hardwired to balk at change, even when that change is for the better. And so we find ourselves needing to prepare to be prepared for whatever changes lie ahead.
Known as the “founder of social psychology,” Kurt Lewin has expanded upon the difficulty of change, creating a change management model that breaks the process down into three major steps:
- Unfreeze: Preparing ourselves that change is necessary and imminent
- Change: The process of transition
- Refreeze: Establishing a new stability once the change is made
Similar in a way to working through the stages of grief, understanding this process of change gives us time to plan, time to adjust, time to feel more in control. In my business of strategic marketing, my mantra to clients has long been, “Start with a plan and then work from that plan.” I’m discovering this to be true for us in all facets of life, both personal as well as professional: Moving from one part of the country to another. Watching my children, and then grandchildren grow and evolve. Experiencing my own aging process.
As we enter this final stretch of 2016, I believe we’ll find a greater deal of peace as we face the inevitable and as-of-yet unknown changes to come if we allow ourselves time to work through the stages of change, learning from our past and proceeding with confidence into the future.
In the words of Carl Sandburg: “It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t; it’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.”