Let’s face the facts: change is inevitable. If you live in this world in a physical body, it is pretty much guaranteed that at some point in time you will face change. Sometimes, life just happens and people, places, and circumstances around you change.
Change is synonymous with living and growing if you choose to embrace it.
Then there are the other times when you know change is coming and you have the option to prepare.
Even when you initiate the change, it still may feel scary and overwhelming. You may find yourself wondering: should I make the change or not?
I am a huge fan of the “list of questions” technique. I put together a list of five simple questions to ask yourself to determine if a situation is something you can or need to change. These questions are designed specifically to allow you to feel more in control of your life. They can help you determine which situations might need change, and which aren’t worth your time or effort.
So, here we go!
5 Questions To Determine If A Change Is A Good Idea
- Will this Change Make Me Happier?
The first question to ask yourself before committing to a change is: Will it make me feel happier? Why, because happiness is a very important factor in your quality of life.
To answer this question, you have to have some idea of what you want from life. Do you have a vision for your life? If so, is it written down or recorded somewhere. Or, are you just drifting from event to event. Trust me, there is nothing wrong with drifting if that’s what you’re choosing to do. But creating a visual of what you want your life to look like is a lot more fun. If you haven’t already tried it I invite you to give it a shot. It can literally change your life.
If you don’t know where to start, you can begin by including your beliefs and your core values. Don’t forget to add those dreams you had when you were younger but forgot about as life got in the way.
Even if they seem unattainable, at a minimum you’ll have a reminder of all the things that light you up and bring you joy. Seeing your dreams in living color will help you focus your energy on what matters most to you. You never know where that might lead you.
2. Can this Change Help Me Reach My Goals?
Now that you have identified what makes you happy, it’s time to take a look at your life goals. Start by making a list of some of the goals you want to achieve in life. Then, divide them into a few different categories: wellness, work, fun, relationships, etc.
The next step is to take action. This may come in the form of a baby step, but you are still moving. This process is designed to nudge you to step out of your comfort zone, but if that’s what it takes to make a change for the better, why not? A positive attitude, a bit of patience, and a whole lot of self-love can go a long way. Growth happens outside of your comfort zone. You got this!
Also, keep in mind that your goals may change over time. It’s completely natural as you continue to grow. That’s why it’s important to stay flexible, especially when you’re setting new goals.
3. Is This Something I Want?
We’re programmed to please as many people as possible. It can be exhausting. The emotional labor of keeping others “fixed”, while we juggle their expectations can leave us depleted. A large portion of your day is consumed with wondering if this person likes what you’re doing or if that person is satisfied with your work.
If you’re going to change any aspect of your life, make sure it’s for you and not to please other people. After all, it’s your life.
Also, the only person you should compare yourself to is you. There’ll always be someone who’s better than you or is more successful than you. Life is not a competition. Make sure you’re not basing your ideal life on a picture-perfect Instagram post. Be original. After all, there is only one you.
Don’t fall into the perfectionism trap here. Instead, focus on your progress. Be proud of how much you’ve achieved and concentrate your energy on where you’re going next.
4. Will It Improve My Life?
This is the million-dollar question. After all, you are here to get better, to improve your life. As huge as this concept is, every change doesn’t have to be grandiose. You can use this questioning technique to make smaller changes that will ultimately improve your life. You could be thinking of upgrading your laptop, planting a garden, starting a creative hobby, or buying new linens.
Whatever it is, think about all the ways it can add value to your life. Does this change make your life easier, less stressful, and a lot whole more fun? Many times it’s as simple as that.
5. Am I Letting Fear Hold Me Back?
Feeling afraid is natural when change is on the horizon. There are fear centers in the brain that can get activated when we try something new. Your brain is wired to protect you from pain. So when it perceives change or a new challenge coming it kicks into protection mode. Instead of pushing down the fear, learn to manage and use it to your advantage. We’re all afraid of something: failure, success, uncertainty, change, the future, etc. The list goes on. The strategy here is to not let fear hold you back from the change that you are seeking.
The people that you see as successful, don’t let their fears take over their lives. They learn how to face whatever it is that’s giving those sweaty palms. Then, they take a deep breath and jump into the ocean. You may need to take baby steps but you can start by putting your baby toe in the water. It doesn’t mean that you are less than, it just means that your threshold for change is different.
Whether it’s fear of public speaking, fear of heights, or fear of meeting new people, you can muster up some courage to do it. Once you’ve done it, you’ll come out on the other side stronger, wiser, and more experienced.
Everyone goes through a wide array of changes in their lifetime. You can either join in and embrace all the good that change has to offer, or you can stay left behind.
If you choose the latter, you’ll always be standing on the sidelines of life, always discontent, never fulfilled. It was Gail Sheehy who said it best,
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”
So, take a deep breath and take the plunge. Who knows? You might even begin to enjoy the ride!
Be well + prosper,