Making Skillful Changes: A Personal Reflection Exercise

You can develop your capacity for making skillful change by reflecting on the following questions and writing your responses in a notebook.

1. Think about the times when you’ve made major changes in your life.

  • Would you say that you’re comfortable with change?
  • Are you slow or quick to react when you realize there’s a need for change?
  • What aspects of change make you most fearful?

2. In which areas of your life (i.e., job, family, friends, relationship with your significant other) do you deal well with change and in which areas are you weak?

“Practice” getting better at making change by choosing an issue from your area of greatest weakness and make it the focus of a daily mindfulness practice.

  • Be curious about how you relate to this area – do you avoid; get argumentative or pick fights; try to please; freeze; go into denial; or collapse?
  • Acknowledge to yourself without judgment that this is what you are doing.
  • See if you have choice to shift your perspective or respond non-reactively.
  • Have compassion for yourself; you can tell yourself “change feels like this.”

3. As you go about your daily life, practice noticing the truth that everything that is based on conditions is always changing.

See for yourself that you navigate in a constantly changing stream. If you persist, you will feel more at ease with change over time.

4. How would you describe your mother and father’s relationship to change?

  • How much does your relationship to change resemble theirs?
  • What values do you hold about change that you’re not currently experiencing?
  • What could you do to alter your response to change that would reflect your values?

5. Think back to a time when you were not skillful in dealing with change.

Did you have compassion for yourself? Or did you judge yourself harshly? Did the harsh judgment serve you in any way? It is crucial that you be able to discern when you are being skillful with change and when you are not. There is a difference between discernment and harsh judgment; can you feel the difference?