Well, it’s happened. It’s two weeks until we move into our new house, and I officially have developed cold feet. Have we made a terrible mistake? What were we thinking? How could we have gone through with this? So goes the thought-spiral.
I have a theory about why moving inherently involves a cold-feet stage. Here it is–moving is a zillion tiny decisions all crammed inside a giant, life-altering decision. And inside a human brain, those all conspire to result in self-doubt and second-guessing.
The giant, life-altering decision is of course when you say, “yes, we’ll take it!” You make your offer, it’s accepted, and you’re thrilled. All your thinking is going in the direction of “this is our home, we belong in this house.” But then the zillion tiny decisions start. What colors to paint the walls? Which furniture to keep, which to replace? Which cable company to choose? How to introduce yourself to the neighbors? What kind of drawer pulls to put on the cabinets? Where to put the TV?
Don’t get me wrong – it feels good to be decisive and answer each of these questions. But eventually, you make one too many successive decisions, and ye olde self-confidence starts to crumble. The self-questioning starts with one of the tiny decisions — should we have gotten a straight sofa instead of a sectional? — and quickly creeps up the ladder until it reaches the top and you say, “What have we done?”
Since I’m a big believer in the “the only way out is through” theory of crisis management, I’ve put together some tips for coping with cold feet – useful if you’re about to move, about to get married, about to change jobs, or about to order a cheeseburger.
4 Ways to Get Past Cold Feet
1. Write twin letters. Compose a love letter to your object of feet-chill. Celebrate all of the reasons you fell in love with him/her/it in the first place. List everything positive you can think of, and nothing negative. Now write a missive. Vent all of your worries about the situation, and try to make a case against moving forward. I’ll bet you can’t come up with a single true deal-breaker, but giving your worries some air will feel good.
2. Get an objective opinion. In the case of a house, show it to a friend who hasn’t seen it yet. Watch their body language as they encounter it for the first time, and ask for their honest opinion. Unless they faint in disgust, and I highly doubt they will, you can chalk up your cold feet to an emotional blip.
3. Visualize a joyful future. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Picture yourself in the house/relationship/etc and picture yourself fully content. See yourself laughing, feel the grass beneath your feet, see the meal you’re sharing with loved ones, whatever happy situation you hope for yourself. Repeat as needed.
4. Take a break. Go to the movies. Go for a run. Walk away from the thought-spiral and refresh your spirit before you plunge back into the deep end. Don’t let your worries build up on each other, give each panic-session time to dissipate and release before you head back into the fray. And don’t forget to breathe.
Do you have more cold-feet cures? Do share!