Friday 12th October 2012

Leading a happy expat life

Many people believe that your ability to adapt to a challenging situation is a state of mind and that if you enter into something with the right attitude you will always make a success of all your endeavors. This is, in many ways, true of expat life and it is generally those that maintain an open mind and actively try and make the most of their situation that find their lives overseas are fulfilling and fun. Here are three tasks you can complete to make sure you get the right expat attitude.


Motivate Yourself

Successful expats are those that set themselves goals and motivate themselves to achieve them. When you first announce that you are planning on moving overseas you may find that your friends and family don’t agree with your decision and you will come across some doubters. This can be very demotivating and, where you would usually look to others to recognize your achievements, you may find that this is not forthcoming. To overcome the potential impact that this negativity can have on your emotions, you need to find motivation within yourself. Reward yourself every step of the way for every difficult decision you make or situation you encounter.


Break tasks into manageable actions

When you first move overseas you may find that the task that lies ahead seems impossible. It is very easy to become overwhelmed and feel like you are out of your depth. One way to deal with this is to break up all the tasks into manageable chunks and set yourself realistic goals. For example, one thing on your “to do” list may be to make new friends. However, this is a lot harder than it may seem and you may not know where to start. Instead of making it an objective to make new friends, try listing some of the activities that you will need to do to meet new people and then creating an objective for each one. For example, you may do the following:

  • Join at least one expat forum for your area and introduce yourself.
  • Attend at least three meet and greets or expat events in the first month.
  • Join at least one club that is related to your personal interests.

These types of tasks are manageable, measurable and will give you a firm plan of action. Most importantly of all they will help you to focus your efforts and get on with doing things instead of worrying about them.


Look back on your achievements

We all have bad days and there may be times when you feel that your move overseas is not going well and that you are failing. This is natural and every single expat will, at least at some point, doubt whether they have made the right move. Instead of dwelling on negative feelings, take a look back at the things that you have achieved since you first arrived in your host country. Perhaps you have made a few friends, found somewhere to live, found a hangout that you love… Remember how far you have come. If things are not going according to plan, revisit your objectives and redefine the things that you need to do to transform your life to where you want it to be.

Sometimes life really is a state of mind. Yes, things may not be perfect, but it is the people who recognize that they need to change that are ultimately the ones that rise to success. Don’t be passive to your expat experience, contemplate where you are, where you want to be and set manageable tasks and objectives for how you intend to get there.

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