Ah, moving. So much to do. So little time. Hopefully, you’re psyched about your move, but maybe you need a quick pep talk. That’s what this blog is all about. My husband, Dan, and I moved ten times in eleven years, so I know what you are going through right now. To have a happy move, you need to figure out thirteen reasons why you don’t want to move. It sounds counterintuitive, but there’s science behind this.
I’ve been a believer in the positive psychology movement before I knew such a thing existed. It’s different than positive thinking. Positive thinking would be telling yourself: “Moving is awesome. I’m going to smile and everything will be fabulous.” Positive psychology recognizes that, in real life, there’s the good and the bad. To make the most out of any experience, we need to focus on the happy times and find ways to deal with the not-so-happy times.
List 3 Reasons Why You DO Want to Move
When I heard Adam Grant speak about his book, Originals, he described studies that show people feel happier when they list three good things in their life instead of listing thirteen. With three you might say you are grateful for your family, friends, and health.
However, let’s say you are asked to make a list of thirteen reasons you are happy in life. By the time you get to number thirteen, you might say “I’m glad I don’t need to get my haircut for another few weeks.” It doesn’t have the same emotional impact as “I’m grateful I have a close friend who listens.” With thirteen items on your list, you start to believe you’re not so happy after all. Instead you think, “Really? That’s all I have to be happy about in my life?”
As you think about your move, pick three (and only three) reasons why you’re excited about the move. Some possibilities to get you started: better commute, closer to family, career advancement opportunities, great schools, proximity to national parks, or ideal weather conditions.
Focus On the Positives
Keep this list of three handy. Any time you feel overwhelmed, remember the reasons you are happy about moving. At that moment when you want to collapse on the tower of moving boxes, the words “a better life for my children” will scroll by stock-ticker style. That’s when you remember, “I can do this.”
Write Down 13 Reasons Why You Don’t Want to Move
Now is your chance to complain about why you don’t want to move. Maybe you’re sad about moving away from family or friends. But, what happens as you go down the list? Can you even think of thirteen reasons? Coming up with thirteen reasons might be tough, but that’s the point. When we left California I thought, “I don’t want to move because I’ll miss the old-fashioned movie theater that plays classic films.” In retrospect, I do miss that theater, but my life is okay without my #13. When you look at your list of thirteen, you’ll see that the move is manageable. You can deal with the reasons on your list.
Compare Your Lists: Why You Want to Move and Why You Don’t Want to Move
Take a look at your two lists. On the one hand, you have three reasons why this move will be a positive experience. On the other hand, you have thirteen reasons why you don’t want to move. Don’t let the numbers scare you. Compare your #1 happy reason to your #13 unhappy reason. No brainer, right? The same will be true for most of the items when you compare the two lists.
How to Deal with the Negatives
We can’t ignore the reasons we’re sad about moving. However, once we know exactly why we don’t want to move, we can come up with a plan to minimize the pain. That might meant planning a girls’ trip in the future to keep in touch with friends or finding a way to ship Chicago’s deep dish pizza to Colorado. With a game plan, a sense of humor, and the realization that things aren’t as bad as you first thought, you’ve got this happy moving thing covered.