If we're being completely honest, life is nothing but a series of scary, big changes. (Isn't that what they say? That the only constant in life is change? Yes, yes it is, and that's because it's true.) It's really not a matter of knowing when to make a big change in your life, but knowing how. The "when" is inevitable, and if you avoid making those changes for long enough, you'll find yourself in so much discomfort that you have no choice but to adjust something (this is the beauty of discomfort, to be honest).
But the other element at play here is compulsiveness, which we are all victim of now and again. People always advise against rash decisions because, well, they aren't well thought out. They aren't thoroughly considered. You haven't thought about the repercussions, and in some very serious circumstances, that can mean long, if not life-long, consequences.
It's important to have an overarching mindset that you can rely on whenever you need to seriously evaluate a decision that needs to be made. You need to be able to ask yourself the appropriate questions without too heavily relying on other people's opinions (you'll make choices for their sake, not your own) and you need to be able to listen to what you want, rather than what you fear (the latter is louder, almost always).
The following are a series of things to ask yourself whenever you're about to make a really big life change, be it a break-up, make-up, job shift, town move, and so on. The point is to be able to think rationally, especially when you're feeling most emotional.
Do My Fear Thoughts About This Choice Come In The Form Of Past, Future, Or Present?
When you feel afraid, is it because you are spiraling and making unwarranted assumptions about the future, or worrying about what people from your past would think? How concerned are you with your present feelings, and can you even ascertain them over the worries about the future and past?
Does My Optimism About This Choice Come From Logic, Or Blind Hope?
You usually need three things to make a life change: facts, funds, and faith. In that order. If you haven't achieved those and are dead set on trying anyway, if might be time to take a step back and evaluate first.
What Is The Worst That Could Happen?
Meditate the worst possible outcome. Prepare for it.
What Is The Best That Could Happen?
Meditate the best possible outcome. Hope for it.
Am I Making This Choice Because I Am Running From Something, Or Stepping Toward Something?
Is this decision rooted in a feeling of wanting to escape from a problem, or move yourself toward a better life?
What Would Happen If I Didn't Do This Thing?
Would there be any serious repercussions? Would you regret it? Would you end up in a far more serious situation because of your lack of action?
What Would This Choice Look Like From The Perspective Of My Older Self?
Imagine looking back at your life in 20 to 30 years from now. What would your older self have to say about this decision?
Is This Financially Sound?
Interestingly enough, this is one of the most important things to consider, because before you make a financially unsound choice for the sake of something greater (for example: quitting a job you hate), you need to have a plan so you don't find yourself in ruin.
Is This In The Benefit Of My Mental/Emotional Health?
Are you doing this because it will make your quality of life better, or because it will make your idea of your life better?
Is My Certainty Louder Than My Uncertainty?
It's normal to feel uncertain, particularly about major life decisions. However, your certainty should be just a smidgen louder than not.
What Do Those Closest To Me Say About This Choice?
Sometimes, the people in your life won't understand what you need and you'll have to follow your own intuition. Most of the time, however, it's in your best interest to listen to those closest to you. They know you and want the best for you, but they're also just objective enough to be able to see things clearly.
Does This Bring Me A Step Closer To Where I Want To Be In Life?
In the grand scheme of it all, does this choice move you in the direction you want to be going, or away from it?
Who/What Does This Choice Benefit?
Your wellbeing, your wallet, your friends' opinions? Some are (clearly) more worthwhile than others.
Do I Feel Fear, Or Do I Feel Unease?
Fear is good. It means you are invested in something. Unease is not good. It means something is wrong and you know it.
Am I Proud To Make This Choice?
This is probably the biggest question to ask yourself of all: whether or not you are proud to make a choice says so much about whether or not it's right for you.
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