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5 Strategies to Navigate Any Situation Successfully

Effective tools to help you master change.

Key points

  • Learning how to successfully navigate through various situations can help you live a more satisfying life.
  • Understanding some essential stages can help you work through situations and create successful change.
  • Be realistic in your expectations and keep a healthy perspective.

Life is bound to throw many changes at you. Early on, you may not know how to manage the new situations that will undoubtedly come your way. But the more experience you have navigating these life events, the more you’ll come to know what to expect along the way. Over time, you’ll become increasingly familiar with the idea of change and how you can respond to various situations as they arise; finally, you’ll become better at creating a more satisfying experience overall. Until you achieve that level of assurance and command, here are some things you can do to help you negotiate your way through any situation you might encounter.

1. Keep things in perspective.

Being able to step back and observe each separate situation within the context of the “bigger picture” of your life helps to clarify how you feel about the importance of a certain event or situation. Learning to keep things in a healthy perspective may help reduce distraction and moderate emotional responses, keeping you solidly focused on the specific situation at hand.

It might help to know that there are essential stages that people go through when it comes to making changes or changing a situation. They are:

  • Contemplation: People are thinking about changing a situation but just aren’t ready.
  • Preparation: People are putting things in order, getting things lined up, in order to change a situation.
  • Action: Real steps are taken to navigate a new situation.
  • Maintenance: Staying the course and seeing the situation through to the desired outcome.
  • Termination: You made it through.

View each situation as a new opportunity rather than a hindrance or an obstacle. Learn to see each change as a challenge to advance you and your life forward in a positive way.

2. Utilize the 5 “P’s.”

  1. Learn patience. Things take time. In fact, it may take a considerable amount of time before the desired outcome is reached. Don’t try to rush the results or force an outcome. Wait it out. Patience will help you arrive at the best possible result.
  2. Persistence pays off. Resist the desire to give up if the outcome doesn’t come quickly enough. The result you want may be just around the corner.
  3. Practice practicality. Go about your life in a way that focuses attention on maintaining balance. Stay present, firmly rooted in the here and now. In other words, create a structure that provides stability and support while you’re waiting for a situation to shift.
  4. Positivity is a plus. While things are constantly shifting, a sense of optimism will help balance the hills and valleys of change.
  5. Have a purpose. No matter how many major changes you encounter throughout your lifetime, having an organizing guiding principle that is vital to you and gives meaning to your life is essential. When you choose to alter a situation in your life, ask yourself what the purpose of that change is. Will that change serve a bigger purpose? Will changing a situation alter the course of your life? Will it help you achieve your goals? Anything that propels you fo ward is worth the change, no matter how difficult or overwhelming.

3. Fully assess the situation before you take action.

Understand all of your options before you do anything. Really think it through. This way, you streamline your efforts so you can fully focus your attention on a situational goal. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time and energy trying to figure things out instead of maintaining clarity for dealing with and accomplishing your desired goal.

4. Maintain realistic expectations.

Situations can change, so understand that things don’t always work out as you planned. In other words, be flexible about the outcome. Even if the change falls short of your expectation, that’s OK. Over time, you’ll be able to course-correct by making other decisions to help guide you on your way to the outcome you originally wanted.

5. Become familiar with how you respond to change.

This is an important point. Early in life, with little or no experience to draw upon, you may feel confused and afraid of making changes and confronting new situations. That’s not surprising. People often fear change and what outcome change will bring. People are often afraid to leave their comfort zone.

But life is about change. So much happens to us in the course of living. We’re not the same people at age 15, 25, 50, and 75. A situation that’s fine for one time in your life may not be right or appropriate for another. Knowing how you respond to change and what to look out for emotionally, psychologically, and physically is essential to gaining comfort with handling new situations.

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