What feels more comfortable? Completely changing or shifting your direction or approach. Change can be overwhelming and when you are deciding to do something different in your life, the language you use can be just as important as the behaviors that follow. We often have relationships with language that we have never realized. There are some words that by definition are not positive or negative. That does not mean that hearing the word doesn’t bring a negative connotation to it. Words mean so much more than just their definition.

Change vs. Shift

Although change and shift are similar in meaning, there can be some fear that comes with changing something that doesn’t come with shifting. Change means to do something different. Emotions related to change can include fear, anxiety, or sadness. When the topic of changing something in your life comes up, there can sometimes be feelings of loss related. Even if you know it will be a positive change, there is some comfort in the way things were. An example would be if you decided to change your diet. Immediately you may think about having to do a complete overhaul of your diet even though that may not be what is necessary.

Shift, on the other hand, sounds less threatening. It is just a move in a new direction. Shift sounds like a slight difference as opposed to a complete overhaul. While they may still be some negative feelings related to shifting, they are not as strong. A shift just sounds more manageable like a slight turn to the left. The thing is, even with a shift you can dramatically change the trajectory. So in the example above, you may not completely change your diet but shift towards a new diet that consists of more veggies and less salt.

Why does it matter?

Many experts will let you know that your mindset is the first thing you have to work on if you want to make real modifications to your life. If you want to do things differently than you have been for the last 20, 30, or even 40 years, you have to 1st get your mind right. This means recognizing how language affects your behavior. If every time you decide to change your life you get overwhelmed by the thoughts related to the changes, try something different. Make shifts in your life that will eventually lead you where you want to go.