Change, no stress added.

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The danger of not knowing what we want is that we end up letting the days pass by to the point where our days become so similar that we end up living the same weeks, months and years over and over again. Suddenly, you realise you are stuck in a rut.

Perhaps you have experienced a change of circumstances that has made you reflect on how life should be fully lived enjoying all aspects of it. Maybe you have reached a point where you can no longer adapt your life to the desires of others who do know what they want, whether it is a person or a system. It may simply be the fact of feeling dissatisfied or restless knowing that there must be something else than a chain of equal days that follow each other.

Whatever the case is, they converge on the same point: the need for change and the search for what we really want.

All this sounds great. Yet, when we start to ask ourselves what we want, we begin a process that can generate stress.

It is possible that you have been dedicating all your time to other people, that your identity is somewhat blurred because you have not been thinking about yourself for a long time, or that you have never really considered where you want to go, or what is it that you really want. And so when this question is asked, it is not easily answered.

If you find it difficult to give an answer to the question of what do you want, don’t fret. I want to flip this question on its head.


What don’t you want?

The first step, before asking yourself what you do want is to try answering the what don’t you want question.

Think of all those things that, if they changed they would reduce the levels of stress, anxiety or worry in your life.

To begin with, I want you to open the following file and fill it in being very honest with the answers you give, remember that it is just for you. Do not edit any responses, even if you think that what you are noting down is impossible to achieve.


The changes can be exciting, stressful or both at the same time. Therefore, there are several factors that I would like you to take into account when considering a change.

Do not torture yourself about time, time is relative.

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Many people rush to think that they should have started thinking about these changes a long time ago.

This would be great if it were useful to us, but what good is it providing you now thinking about it? Is it helping or motivating you to make that change? Or is thinking that way draining your energy?

They key resides in whether a thought is helpful or not.

I am sure that you will be able to find numerous learning points over the years that you could take advantage of, to achieve your goals.

There is a lot to be learnt from past experiences, your time has not passed in vain.

Stop punishing yourself thinking you should have known before and ask yourself: What have I learned during all this time that can help me with this challenge?


Do not fall into the trap of “why” at this stage of your development

When we ask this question to our brain, it will look for an answer whether it is correct or not.

This can be a problem if you decide to believe that answer 100% , especially if it is not a compassionate response.

Let me explain it. During these exercises or any daily activity in your life, you ask questions and your brain answers:

- You: But why haven’t I done "x" before?
- Your brain: Because you're ****, what were you expecting? You have always been ****.

As surprising as it may seem, these types of conversations are very common in people’s minds.

The problem is that this question will not help you move forward unless your answers are compassionate and involve learning. This usually requires prior training, especially for those who have the tendency to judge themselves repeatedly, who suffer from perfectionism or who have mental health problems.

A very different approach that could help you grow:

- You: But why have not I done "x" before?
- Your brain: Well, before, you did not have the information you have now. Keep learning, and you will keep improving.

If you know you are prompt to have very judgmental thoughts, change the way you relate to yourself first and then go ahead with the why question if you want.


Step by step and don´t forget about the other important areas of your life


It is good that you have a list of the things you do not want in your life, of what you want, of your short and long-term goals, but do not try to change everything at once.

Remember that the day has only 24 hours and that it is not fair to dedicate it to just one area of our life. You need a certain balance between that change you want to make in that area and the others to really feel fulfilled. Your stress levels will not decrease if you try to do everything you have planned in a single day.

Before starting your day, ask yourself: If this were the last day of my life, what would I want to make sure I didn’t forget to do?

This question will not only force you to prioritise the things that will help you achieve your goals, but it will also help you to remember that there are other important things in your life. Do not neglect them.

Making a change is simple but it is not easy, so take one step after the other and take the time to recover on the journey. Everest climbers, when they reach a certain height, need to take a step and stop to breathe seven times before taking the next.

When you decide to change your life, you are facing a new challenge, and only by taking care of yourself and nurturing your needs on the way can you reach the top.

Ask yourself:

  • What can I do today to recover from the step I have taken?

  • What am I going to do to recognise and celebrate the courage to have done it?


In summary, you don’t always have to live the same year, and making a change to improve your circumstances does not have to be more stressful than it already is.

Start by becoming aware of what you don’t want, it's a simpler way to gain clarity.

Other ways to avoid the added stress are: being compassionate and not being harsh on yourself for not having taken the reins before. Avoiding the trap of the “why question” if your brain is not trained to give you answers that will help you move forward. And finally, take the steps needed without forgetting the rest of your life, nourishing yourself along the way.

Lydia García Martín

Confidence & Well-being Coach


::If you want to know more about how to manage stress and keep developing with confidence join the Awakenings Community here::