Making a major life change can be anxiety-inducing, disorienting, and just plain intimidating. Yet, time and time again, we need to make major changes in our lives to continue to grow and evolve as a person. Whether this entails moving cities or cutting out toxic behaviors from your life, the process can be an arduous one. However, Life changing behavior is really as simple as creating small habits that you do everyday.
So you need to be sure that you are making the right decision. But how can you be sure?
Honestly, you can’t. At some point you must answer life’s most daunting questions, and you’ll never have all of the information needed to do so. You will need to choose someone as a life partner, despite not having absolute proof whether this person truly is the one. You must choose a career despite not having enough experience to truly know which career best suits your talents and needs. You must constantly navigate your life with only partial knowledge of the situation, and use this incomplete knowledge to make the decisions that will determine the course of your life.
But, luckily, there are a few things that can make this process easier. I’ll outline 2 action-able tips to help you make the right decision. These 3 tips are motivated by the Becoming a Person philosophy of an intrinsic focal point of values and self-actualization.
FIRST, ask yourself the right questions.
Because there are endless possible questions, I will write three questions that I want to you to take an hour to sit down and answer. Record yourself answering verbally or write out your answer. Then review what you said or wrote.
1. “Are you happy with your current situation? Why or why not?”
If you’re even reading this, then there’s a good chance that the answer is no. However, this question is fundamental. Often, I have felt frustrated in a certain situation due to my own personal flaws. More often than not, the situation has been a call for me to grow as a person and to find some balance in the situation.
Maybe you struggled to make new friends due to my own issues with vulnerability. Or your insecurities are causing your self-image to plummet. Personally, I am too familiar with the desire to “run away”. This cannot be the reason for making a major life change. Your problems will follow you and be laid painfully bare by the lack of support and routine in your new situation.
More often than not, you will want to make a decision from a point of balance. If the source of your issues stem from your own behaviors and limiting beliefs, then do your best to resolve that issue in your current situation.
But, if the source of unhappiness is truly a result of your environment, then you will need to make a change from this place of unhappiness. Take time to clearly identify the “why” in your situation. An unhappy situation begets uncertainty, but trust your feelings and your intuition.
Otherwise, you might just feel the need to grow. Maybe you are happy with your current life and situation, but you feel like it’s time to move onto bigger things. It’s natural to feel this way and feel the impetus to move forward from the familiar when we are no longer being pushed to grow by our environment.
2. “How do you make the change?”
So, at this point, you know that you want to make a change. Also you should already have an idea of what that change will be. This is something that you will feel drawn toward and I cannot assist you with. You have to create the answer. The answer won’t be perfect, and you will never have all of the information, but you have to choose something.
But now, I want you to brainstorm the first 5 steps you can take to start making the change. They should be the very first few actions you can take in the next few days. Even if it is simply:
- Research different neighborhoods in Chicago
- Sign up for a roommate finding app in Chicago
- Buy packaging boxes for moving
- Deciding a date for when you want to move by
- Apply for 1 job in Chicago
These steps should be simple to complete, but are so important to creating momentum and maintaining motivation. Continuing to write out these steps each day or each week will help you stay focused and feel on top things.
3. “What can I do right now?”
This is a great question because building momentum towards an objective is so important. The best thing you can do is the smallest possible action right now. Even if it is simply to write down a to-do list for tomorrow or make a Google Calendar event in your phone. These small actions will add up and eventually become habits that create the difference that you want to make over time. This principle is universal whether it is for fitness goals, eating healthier, or becoming more social. The idea is simple, but the implementation is often hard to consistently do over time.
So I encourage you to not think about how long this will take or the scope of the whole time commitment, but really focus on staying present. This will give you the ability to hone in on what you have the power to accomplish now and won’t freak you out by making you feel overwhelmed. I cannot possibly write a whole book, but I can absolutely write a sentence. Then, I can absolutely write a paragraph. Then, I can absolutely write a chapter. And so on until your project or journey is complete.
There is power in this idea and there is power in being present and focused so that you can utilize your time efficiently.
So what can you do right now? I’m really asking you. If you have an answer, stop reading and go do that. You can always come back to this article, but it is more valuable to take the first and smallest step towards a goal that could truly be life changing. There are many resources that discuss how habits can help you achieve your goals even if you have low willpower that you can read up on AFTER you get started.
While it’s hard sometimes to identify why you want to make a life change, it is simple to implement it once you have decided. I hope you are able to make sure you’re making a big decision for the right reasons, but if you truly can’t be sure then I hope you understand the pros and cons of each potential scenario.
There is no definite answer or magic eight ball that can make these tough choices for you, and that’s scary and amazing. It’s empowering to know that these are the decisions you must make to navigate and steer your course in life. You will never have all of the information, but you will have indicators that will help you.
And one last little note. If you decide to make a change, please do a little bit everyday.
This might go without saying, but I feel like it deserves attention.
Whenever I genuinely commit to a life change or to a new project, this is my strategy. It’s simple. It’s easy to remember. It gets things done. You can’t be perfect when it comes to working on your goal everyday, but you can be good. And when it comes to life, good is all there is.
So go ahead and get started.