Change is synonymous with living. It may come into your life out of the blue and take you by surprise. Other times you know it’s coming and you have time to prepare.
Yet even though change may be your choice, it still may feel scary and overwhelming. You may find yourself wondering: should I make the change or not?
To help you out, there is a list of six questions to determine if a situation is something you can change. These questions are designed to make you feel more in control of your life. They can help you decide which situations you should change, and which are not worth your time or effort. Asking questions makes the decision easier.
1. Will It Make Me Happy?
The first question you have to ask yourself before committing to any type of change is: will this change give my life meaning? Will it make me feel happy?
Or depending on your values you might ask if this will make someone else happier? One of the human needs is making a contribution. Sometimes we may decide to sacrifice our own wellness to see other people in a better place which gives us a sense of fulfilment.
To answer that question, you must know what it is you want from life. What you want to bring to the world and what to take out. There are many ways you can explore your desires. Start to brainstorm various ideas. You can write them down in your journal or discuss with someone you trust. Another way to do that is to create a vision board for your life.
You can include your beliefs and your core values. Don’t forget to add those dreams you had for your life when you were younger but forgot about when you got older. Even if some seem too outlandish, at least you have a reminder of all the things that bring joy into your life. Plus, seeing your dreams in living colour will help you focus your energy on what matters.
2. Can It Help Me Reach My Goals?
Now that you know what makes you happy or feel fulfilled, it is time to look at your life goals. Start by making a list of all the realistic goals you want to achieve in life. Then, divide them into three categories: short-term, medium, and long-term goals.
For example, you may dream about changing your career so then critical will be to set up a long-term goal of getting a job on a certain position within two years. Your medium goal might be finding a contemporary job providing you with specific training and an immediate goal to complete within a week writing and sending out your cv.
The final step is to act. This may force you to step out of your comfort zone, but if that’s what it takes to make a change for the better, why not? All it takes is a positive attitude, a bit of patience, and a whole lot of self-love.
Also, remember that your goals themselves may change. So, it’s important to stay flexible, especially when you’re setting new goals.
3. Is This Something I Want?
Unfortunately, we are programmed to please as many people as we can. When we try to do so it can be exhausting. Plus, it takes up a large portion of your day wondering if people like what you are doing or are satisfied with your work.
If you are going to change any aspect of your life, make sure it is for you and not to please others. After all, it’s your life. No one is going to live it for you.
Another thing you should remember is that the only person you should compare yourself to is you. There will always be someone who is better than you or is more successful than you. Look back to find out how much you have changed over time and in which aspects of your life. Which ones make you proud and which areas need more of your attention to eliminate disappointment or pain?
The best thing to do is to 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?
Maybe you’re thinking of moving to a smaller house or changing your job. You have reached the point where things seem not to serve you even though they might look as they were the ultimate option. Maybe you changed your values over time or other things sound more appealing today? Maybe you discovered new passion or possibilities as the world alters so we need to follow it and to adapt to new circumstances. How to find your own place in a new situation? What adjustment does it require from you to function effectively in this setting?
Change can also come on a smaller scale. You could be thinking of upgrading your security system, planting a garden, or buying new linens. These minor projects contribute to ease your life, save time, release energy to let you as consequence move to more important decisions.
Sometimes improvement comes from cut off some activities and interests. If your life became too complicated it might call you to examine all commitments and eliminate some of them to save your time and energy. Decluttering and reducing distractions lead to focus energy on the most essential aspects of life. Will you use that sawing machine hidden in a storage to do anything with the pile of fabrics or rather have you lost interest in dressmaking and it is time to give away the machine to a charity? Be brave to say goodbye to unnecessary things that wear you out and get in the way.
Whatever it is, think about all the ways it can improve the quality of your life. Any type of change you pursue must make your life run smoothly, less stressful, and a whole more fun.
5. Am I Letting Fear Hold Me Back?
Change has a lot of unknown factors. That can make it feel risky. Generally, the fear of change comes from not thinking things through. What remains in the dark feels… risky? Shedding light into that darkness illuminates those fears and breaks them down. Asking questions is a lot like blasting a high-powered flashlight into the change-filled darkness.
Being afraid is natural, but letting fear control you is not. We’re all afraid of failing, of uncertainty, and a whole bunch of other stuff.
Yet, there is one thing that successful people do; they don’t let their fears take over their lives. They learn how to face whatever it is that’s giving those butterflies in their stomachs. Then, they take a deep breath and jump in.
Whether it’s fear of public speaking or fear of heights, you have to muster some courage and go through with it, no matter what the outcome is. Once you are done, you will come out the other side a stronger, more experienced individual.
6. How It Will Affect Others?
When you are the one seeking change but someone you care about is not ready for it your plan may create conflict with or discomfort to that person. Be prepared to consider and answer their questions and be open to their concerns or conditions.
If you want to change something and notice resistance from those closest to you, encourage them to ask questions. Generally, their resistance is tied to some sort of fear of the unknown.
Get clear on what their concerns and objections are before proceeding. Be open to making any plans or modifications to accommodate and alleviate threats or concerns.
While you don’t need anyone’s approval to make the most changes in your life, some changes may be too big, too soon. Consider your timing and make certain your ideas fully take all things into account before you make a final decision.
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 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 come to enjoy the ride!
Have you made a change in your life recently or are you in a process of doing so? Which of the above questions do you find helpful? Let me know in the comment below.