Even more trip hazards!

Charlotte Sheridan
5 min readDec 10, 2022

Hello and welcome to week ten of my Advent Calendar of Change; 12 bite-sized exercises from Swim Jump Fly: A Guide to Changing Your Life. Last week we covered seven trip hazards and how to avoid them. Here are another seven.

1. Stuck in second gear

Are you driving too slowly, not dedicating enough time or energy to your change project? If you’re not sold on your goal then you’ll need to adapt, pivot, or stop your project. Or is it your personality? Do you tend to get excited at the start, full of ideas and energy, but find the doing bit less engaging? You’ll need to organise frequent incentives to encourage yourself.

2. Gripping too tightly

The transtheoretical model of behavior change says we go through stages when dealing with change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. Sarah is a coach and therapist who says we don’t follow these in order: “People can loop backwards and forwards and it’s important to factor in the possibility of setbacks and how you might deal with them.”

Sarah also says, “Typically people cycle through the process at least three times before a change sticks. Knowing this can help with motivation.” We need to let go of the fixed mindset, the expectation we will always finish on time. It’ll just make us miserable when we miss a deadline.

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” — Fred Lebow, co-founder of the New York Marathon

3. Green shoots

I wrote about impatience during one summer when I planted vegetable seeds and was eager for green shoots to appear. I wrote: “in our modern world we’ve lost the art of patience, we want the upper hand in life. We want to bend things to our needs, to will something into being with the power of our minds.” Are you doing this with your change project? Staring at your seedlings, willing them into existence?

During any change we’re expect to see concrete shifts and observable changes. But we’re often unaware of what’s shifting under the surface. The seed is working hard whilst you can’t see it. When it pokes above the soil it has already travelled some distance. Click…

Charlotte Sheridan

Psychologist, coach, writer, photographer… juggling them all but often dropping balls.