It's hard to make changes at the best of times, such as when the change is relatively easy and you really want to do it. When the change is a hard one and you aren't sure if you're up to it, you can feel like you're trying to roll a boulder up a big hill. You'll need more than the power of positive thinking to get through these types of changes, but the tips below can help see you through.

Write Things Down

What changes do you need to make and why? What are the steps that you need to take to get from here to there? You may be surprised at how much writing these things down can help you clarify and codify them. This also gives you a document to look back at when your motivation lags. When you can't remember why you are making certain sacrifices that will lead to the change you're seeking, look at this document. When you feel lost and don't know what the next step should be, take a look at it and see where you have clearly written down what it is that you need to do next.

Practical Problem Solving

As part of the above process of writing things down and then as an ongoing process, think in terms of concrete problem solving. Often, when change seems frightening, you can actually break it down into a series of practical problems that have solutions. For example, you might be thinking about going back to school and getting a degree. It can be easy to let your thoughts spiral out of control into something that looks like this: "It's going to be really expensive, and I can't afford it, and I will be in debt forever." 

Practical problem solving can help you see that while it might be normal to have these kinds of thoughts, they don't reflect reality. There are many ways to pay for college, and if scholarships, federal aid and your own savings are insufficient, you can also borrow from private lenders. If you are worried about repayment, use a student loan calculator and put together a budget in advance that gives you an idea of what your financial situation will be after graduation. This can soothe your fears about money.

Anticipate Setbacks

The key to meeting the challenges that come with difficult changes is not to try to avoid them altogether but to realize that a few setbacks are inevitable and are not even a very big deal. If you understand that it's normal to have these setbacks and even to try some things that you fail at, you'll attach much less importance to things not working out as planned. Every single successful person in the world has experienced failure, and if you don't know about it, it is only because they don't talk about it and not because they haven't experienced it. You may find it useful to read some biographies of people that you admire or watch a movie or even listen to a podcast about them to see how they handled adversity. If there are some specific fears that worry you, it can be helpful to plan in advance how you will deal with them.