3 Key Techniques for Mastering Change and Boosting Self-Control

Introduction to Mastering Change

A giant tree that is mastering change constantlyMastering change rather than succumbing to change is the topic of this post. 

We have a choice, we can look at change as the world of possibilities, or change as a disrupting force in our safe little world.

Life is full of changes, some anticipated and others completely unexpected. Whether it’s a surprise test, an unforeseen family move, or a sudden shift in friendships, how we handle these changes can define our path forward. Strengthening self-control through positive self-talk is a powerful tool to navigate these changes effectively.

To keep in mind your own experiences while reading this post, think of a change in your life that you fully anticipated and prepared for. Then think of a time when you experienced a totally unexpected change in your life or circumstances. 

How did you react?

A prime example for me, and probably many people was the advent or COVID 19.

Usually, I travel to Panama to escape the winter months in Canada. This trip I planned a move to be closer to the downtown core of David, the little city I lived in. I got the exact apartment I was looking. It ticked all my boxed.

I moved into my apartment, got to know my neighbors, and explored my new surround. Even though it was a big change, it happened just as I’d plan.

However, after only a couple of months in my new apartment COVID hit. The Panamanian government did a wonderful job of dealing with the situation. But we faced extreme restriction in movement. Men where allow out 2 days a week for 2 hours. I think women were allowed out 3 days for 2 hours.

That among many other unexpected changes, I certainly found challenge but I remained calm, enjoy the quiet and silence (you had to have a special permit to use a car, and no busses were running).

What about you? Think about the question before you read on.

Change is inevitable. Sometimes, like a weather forecast predicting a sunny day, we can prepare for it. But often, change strikes without warning, testing our self-control. Imagine you’re suddenly asked to move to a new city. How do you adapt? Here’s where positive self-talk becomes crucial. Let’s explore how you can strengthen your self-control and adapt to life’s changes in three actionable steps.

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”

Mastering Change: The Science Behind Self-Talk

Step 1: Embrace Positive Self-Talk

Your brain is a highly complex organ but surprisingly easy to program. The thoughts you entertain frequently become ingrained patterns. Just like a computer that runs on specific codes, your brain responds to the programming of your thoughts. For instance, if you constantly tell yourself that you’re bad at math, your brain starts believing it, making you less likely to put in the effort needed to improve.

What have you been telling yourself what you are bad at?

Practical Application


Mastering change starts by recognizing the narrative you tell yourself. Are your thoughts generally uplifting or self-defeating? Shift your internal dialogue to be more positive. Instead of saying, “I can’t handle this change,” try, “I am capable of adapting to new situations.” Make it a habit to reinforce your self-control and resilience.


Imagine you have a big exam coming up, and you’re feeling overwhelmed. Instead of thinking, “I’ll never be ready,” tell yourself, “I have the skills to study effectively and succeed.” This shift in mindset can drastically change your approach to studying and ultimately your performance.

Where was this technique when I was struggling with high school math? I didn’t even know you could shift your thoughts in such away.


“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

Step 2: Visualize Success

Your brain doesn’t differentiate much between real and imagined experiences. When you visualize overcoming obstacles, you’re essentially training your brain for success. Athletes use this technique all the time, mentally rehearsing their performance to enhance their actual skills.

When you want to visualize something, start by getting a clear picture of the thing by writing down a list of items that are important to you.

When I visualized the apartment I wanted in David, Panama, I got almost exactly what I had visualized.

Practical Application

Spend a few minutes each day visualizing yourself navigating changes successfully.

Picture yourself handling a difficult situation with calm and control.

See yourself making wise decisions and staying true to your values despite temptations.


If you’re worried about moving to a new school, visualize yourself making new friends and excelling in your classes. This mental rehearsal prepares your brain for mastering change. The result is an increase in your ability to act confidently and positively in real life.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Mastering Change: Why Affirmations Work

Step 3: Implement Daily Affirmations


Daily affirmations are positive statements that can help you challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes.

I’ve done extensive work on positive affirmations. If you want to have a better understanding of how positive affirmations work and how to write effective one request a copy of How to Write and Use Powerful, I AM Affirmations.


Practical Application


Create a list of affirmations for mastering change, that resonate with you. Examples might include, “I am in control of my actions,” “I handle change with grace,” or “I have the strength to overcome any challenge.” Repeat these affirmations every morning to set a positive tone for the day.




Before heading out for the day, stand in front of the mirror and say, “I am resilient and can handle any changes that come my way.” This simple practice can significantly boost your confidence and self-control.

“Affirm the positive, visualize the positive, and expect the positive, and your life will change accordingly.”

Overcoming Common Pitfalls to Mastering Change.

  1. Negative Self-Talk Creep: If negative thoughts start to creep in, acknowledge them but don’t dwell on them. Redirect your focus to positive affirmations.
  2. Inconsistency: Be consistent with your self-talk, visualization, and affirmations. These practices need to be regular to be effective.
  3. Doubt and Skepticism: It’s normal to feel doubtful initially. Stick with the process and gradually, you’ll notice a change in how you handle challenges.

Conclusion: Preparing for the Unpredictable

Don’t wait until change disrupts your life. Start preparing now by cultivating positive self-talk, visualizing success, and using daily affirmations. These steps will help you strengthen your self-control and become more adaptable, no matter what life throws your way. Remember, the conversations you have with yourself shape your reality.

By embedding these practices into your daily routine, you’re not only preparing for change but also building a resilient mindset that can handle any unexpected twists and turns. Start today, and watch how your ability to adapt transforms.


Further Reading

The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale

This classic book explores how positive thinking can transform your life, providing practical advice on maintaining a positive mindset.


Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck


Dweck’s work dives into the power of mindset, discussing how a growth mindset can help you adapt to changes and challenges.


Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear


Clear’s book offers a detailed look at how small changes in habits can lead to significant improvements in self-control and adaptability.

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