Small Transitions Everyday Have the Power to Transform Your Life
Updated: Apr 8
The Art of Transitioning Your Energy to Match Your Needs
There's a brilliant moment in the Netflix series “The Queen's Gambit”, when one of the chess masters realizes after studying chess with the main character that he no longer loves the game. He sees so clearly that he doesn’t have what it takes anymore to be a champ.
It’s a quick scene and then his character departs, but you can feel the release as he walks away from his past life and heads off to start a new journey.
It’s a beautiful transition.
I started thinking about how important it is to pay attention to these transitions in our lives. How they help move us along our path of honoring ourselves more fully, rather than staying stuck in a past identity.
The familiar is safe even if it’s uncomfortable. New can feel scary.
If you’re feeling off, it may be because you need to transition.
A failure to transition can bring you to a dark night of the soul. I know this because I have been there many times through the years, and if I had just paid attention to my needs it wouldn’t have come to such a dramatic head.
We can often get stuck in the idea of what we need to do or what we think others expect of us. We keep going along a path that no longer serves us. We can get stuck in roles we play. In that case, we may also need to transition our identity.
This is one of the brilliant things that Tiny Habits® helps us do. It can help you accomplish things you thought you couldn't do which is a huge part of transition.
So often we don’t realize how much of what we say becomes our identity. Even when those trusted people around us are telling us it’s not true. You may think of this as an Inner Critic. Ethan Kross calls this Chatter and has a new book of the same name.
I’m too lazy
I’m not motivated enough
I don’t have the energy for that
I’m too old to try that
Our history might show very different results, but if you see yourself as poor, then you shall be poor.
We are too close to who we are that we forget we’ve changed. We forget how far we’ve come and how much of our story isn’t true for us anymore.
So stop playing small by boxing yourself into an old identity.
You must give yourself permission to honor yourself. This can feel tricky when being in a high alert state feels familiar.
Yet it is so powerful to realize that you need transition and to honor it.
Practicing transition helps us see our micro needs that rest below the surface.
We live in an achieving society, so to practice anything outside of that is going to feel unsafe.
You might be feeling tired or lost, but as long as you're achieving everyone thinks you're doing great. Inside you are feeling strung out on ideas and plans put on you from outside responsibilities and repeated visions of who you used to be. Then before you know it you are sitting at a desk working 60 hour weeks in a job you don’t even like.
Not paying attention to your needs is the reason some people wake up one morning and see a partner they don’t even like.
You must pay attention to the small transitions necessary for your own growth so you can love the life created around you through a series of decisions and micro transitions.
Big Transitions are sometimes unavoidable and hit you on a Tuesday afternoon with no warning. Moments that force you to stop and breathe.
But there are also those daily, weekly, and monthly transitions that are so easily overlooked.
Imagine watching a football game. The quarterback just throws the winning touchdown and the crowd goes wild. The team is pumped up. Dancing and high-fiving, and doing crazy football player stuff.
Minutes later they are being asked to calmly talk to a reporter. They need to immediately transition their energy. This is a skill that many of us have a hard time doing.
When I talk at a conference I am feeling alive and wake and energized. So when it’s done I am left with this over-stimulated energy and I have nowhere to put it.
I need transition before bringing my energy to the next thing. My inflow and outflow need a place to go because once that project or client is complete where does that energy go?
For me, I start to mindlessly scroll Facebook looking for satisfaction. It feels like pushing a dopamine button. More, More, More, More, More Have you been there???
What’s really happening is that I need to transition, but I don't know where or how to do it.
A micro-transition needs to happen to help bring stimulation down.
Walk, meditate, yoga, etc. Even just a deep breath or an acknowledgement: Yeah, transition.
A transfer of energy needs to take place to balance your outflow.
Ask yourself what energy do I need to bring to transition.
You can’t land a plane from thirty thousand feet. You have to settle through different altitudes.
I'm not suggesting you nose-dive into relaxation. It's like rushing to yoga class. #no
Sometimes you can step away from the stimulus and into a place of relaxation and have your environment support your change of state. I call it psycho-geography.
An example would be a place of worship. Whether or not a service is in session it provides different energy than the energy you bring to a football game. You leverage the environment to support the inner state you desire. You can do this consciously by creating a space in your home or you may already have a favorite place or a place in nature that naturally soothes you.
Transition helps you support your internal state of being. Mastering the power of transition supports the well-being of our mental state or families or work.
So often we don’t put ourselves in the context or the environment we want to cultivate. We place ourselves in work we no longer like, with people we don't feel connected to, and on social media platforms that aggravate us.
Actively transitioning your energy helps you match your state with whatever is needed on the inside or required by the outside. Helping you to be more present.
For example, If you’re feeling really tired it might not be the best time to do a highly focused project. I know my state of being can’t handle helping my children with math homework after dinner... and I'm really good at math!
Transition helps you be efficient with your energy. It helps you settle at each altitude before landing your plane. Taking the time to free up your brain instead of leaping from one activity to the next.
I love to do the dishes, it allows me to just percolate. It's just enough activity, but not too much. The warm water is soothing and my mind is free to wander and unwind.
Here’s what I do after I know I need to transition
I go to my meditation space.
Take 3 breaths.
Ask myself if I need more breaths.
Ask myself what would be the best way for me to transition.
I’ve created a list that works for me. It allows me to direct my mind to healthy activities for me while I transition my energy from one event to the next. Along with doing the dishes I include...
Go on a walk
Listen to Music
Watch a Show (2 max)
Take out my Paints
Take a Bath
Clean my kitchen
Cleaning your kitchen might not be on a “ways to relax” list for you and that’s okay. The point is to find those helpful activities that work for you.
Here are the activity qualities I look for while creating my list.
The activity should be relatively mindless, something I can do while allowing my mind to wander.
The activity is often involves putting everything in their place and knowing everything has a place.
I can see progress quickly. I can immediately see or feel the difference and feel successful.
The idea is to allow myself to transition in a healthy way. Once in motion I can then ask,
What feels like the next best step?
Allowing yourself some breaths will help you see the landing strip. This kind of transition builds a deep relationship with yourself. Most people don’t honor themselves enough or respect themselves enough to do this. I'm raising my hand here because this is still a practice for me.
I’m too busy is the excuse we commonly hear. Running out of fuel and feeling like you need to do more when the opposite is true. Managing healthy transitions takes this excuse away.
Fill Your Cup
Micro transitions help fill your cup. Taking the time to uncover and discover yourself will position you in a place of alignment. From this space you will feel more balanced. Allowing yourself to show up and give more wholly in your life.