Do you ever feel like you just need a change but you don’t know exactly what change to make? So you start to take a hard look at your life to see what’s missing, what area isn’t bringing you as much happiness as it could. Then you locate the problem area and now it’s time to go for it!
We will start with a little background on myself. Back in my high school days you would have never heard anyone describe me as a “risk-taker.” I never really disobeyed my parents (they were pretty cool), didn’t give into peer pressure, would never give my number to a stranger, or even travel outside of my comfort zone very often. I was pretty much considered a “goody-goody” and I was okay with this label. I was happy with the way things were, but that’s because I knew it was temporary.
Truthfully, I knew I wasn’t a risk-taker because my surroundings didn’t really allow for such options. So, once I graduated high school I grabbed my chance. I grew up in a very small town so choosing a college a few hours away in a large town was a major decision. However, once I made the choice and left for college I knew the opportunities ahead of me would be endless, and it filled me with excitement.
I had a lot of time to make up for and I was ready. The first year of college was a huge struggle. Drove home almost every weekend, didn’t know how to make friends, and I wanted to quit. But I refused to let myself quit because I figured things could only go up (I’m typically not this positive of a person ha!). I’m glad I stuck with it. Because the remainder of my college career provided me with some of the best times of my life (we’ll dive into those another time).
As college was coming to a close I felt like I had a million doors open in front of me. While this was definitely a good thing, it made choosing one door that much harder. So, what do you do when you have the rest of your life staring you in the face and you have no idea what your next move is? You take a wild LEAP and cross your fingers!
I determined I wanted to move to a city, chose Dallas, saved money, and 6 months later I had arrived! I had never even visited Dallas, Texas and that thrilled me. But it also terrified me. Choosing to uproot my life and leave everyone and everything I knew, was by no means an easy decision.
It can be nerve-racking when you are faced with a major decision. But what if, as in both of my instances, you create that major decision? Things don’t have to change, but you want them to. You just feel that something is not right and this has to be done. These decisions are high-risk, high-reward, and oh, the rewards can be so good! And if you’re like me, you tend to overcomplicate things…regularly. Multiply this times 10 when I have to make any decision larger than what I’m having for lunch today.
Considering starting a new career? Wishing to move to across the country? Ready to quit your job, travel and live the minimalist lifestyle? No matter how big or small you believe this choice to be, if it’s going to make a substantial change in your life then it’s worth thinking things trough. From my experiences, I will suggest a few things to make this easier:
Jot down a pros and cons list
I know, I know. This sounds so simple, but it helps to see the pros and cons laid out in front of you and how they compare. You’re less likely to overcomplicate this if you get all the thoughts bouncing around in your head written down on paper. Consider how this will affect your life. Buying a house, deciding to start a family, choosing to go back to school. Any decision will have both pros AND cons.
Research like you are writing a thesis
Google will be your best friend. Once I had the idea of making a move to Dallas, I went on a research binder. Chances are you are not the only one that has considered this and there are countless resources on the world wide web.
Come up with a timeline
Need to save up money or want time to consider multiple scenarios? If this does not have to be a rush, then I suggest you draft a timeline and different steps you’ll need to take to arrive at your deadline with a well-planned conclusion. This can always be modified along the way, but at least it’s a starting point.
Speak to your friends and family
You be the judge of this one. If you have a truly supportive family and group of friends that will keep your happiness in mind, then they would be a helpful resource. However, depending on the nature of your choices, they could try to discourage you if they believe it is too risky. Sometimes it is good to hear both sides, so just be prepared if you don’t receive the support you were looking for.
Do a trial run!
Changing your career? Reach out to anyone you know in the same field that can provide insight. See if there are courses you can take to learn more about the field before taking the plunge. Wanting to move to a new city/country? Take a trip there and be armed with a list of questions you want answered, like what area will you live in? What is the typical commute? Does the nightlife suit your fancy?
Making decisions can be truly hard for some of us. It can cause anxiety and stress. Whether you’re making a choice to start a new chapter in your life or a decision to close another (a relationship that just isn’t working?), it’s worth taking your time to ensure you make a choice you are happy with. At the very least the entire experience will be a learning process and you will be better because of it!
Let me know how you handled a difficult decision in your life and what you learned from the experience!