Sometimes we feel the need to make changes in our lives, such as ending a relationship that isn't working, starting a new one, changing career or moving to a different town or even country. But although such changes can be very positive, it's wise to consider the ramifications and your own motivations before you commit yourself to a drastic change. Here are the questions to ask yourself before changing your life:
Change can be very positive, but if you're not truly committed to it you could be making a serious mistake, and one that you'll come to regret. For example, if you're talking about starting a family you need to be 100% committed to the idea. After all, you can't take your children back to the shop if you change your mind! Some people have children because their partner is keen or their parents put them under pressure to be grandparents - that's not fair on the child, and will make you resentful.
Timing can be very important. Do you long to start your own business? If you have a number of commitments taking up your time, such as caring for small children, it may be better to wait until your children are in school or nursery. That will give you the time to dedicate to building your business. Perhaps you would like to move abroad. Are you emotionally ready for the change, and is it the right time in practical terms? If you feel strongly that it's the right time, then it's likely a good time to go ahead.
This is very important - if you don't learn from your past experiences you run the risk of repeating the same mistakes again and again. This is common in relationships, which fall apart because of behavior like being too needy, jealousy or getting bored easily. But such behavior can then be repeated in the next relationship because the person is unaware of what they're doing or have learned nothing from the past. The end result is that you'll be unhappy, and probably go on to do the same thing over and over again. Only by learning the right lessons will you break the cycle.
Sometimes when you're about to embark on a major change, you have a nagging doubt that should tell you this change isn't really right for you. At any rate, you should ask yourself if the change feels positive. For example, you might be considering changing career because you're under pressure to earn more or take up a more prestigious career, but you don't really want to deal with the long hours and expected overtime. However, if you're changing career because you're keen to progress, or switching to a less prestigious career that will give you much more job satisfaction, those are much more positive reasons.
Change can often be motivated by a subconscious desire to escape something you're unhappy with, and that may be the wrong reason. It can be better to deal with the issues rather than running away. If you try to escape, the underlying issues won't be dealt with and can pursue you wherever you go. It may also mean that you don't have sufficient commitment to your new life and that it won't work out for that reason.
While it's true that spontaneous change can sometimes work out, taking time to plan properly can mean that you're much more likely to succeed in your new life. Moving abroad requires dealing with bureaucratic requirements, learning something of the language, finding accommodation, and dealing with a period of isolation as you establish yourself. Forward planning will help you handle the initial stages of this massive change in your life, and help avoid or minimize the stress that might otherwise cause your new life to fail.
Making a major change in your life involves a lot of effort. You might really like the idea of a change, but do you really have what it needs to make the change a success? Is your attitude realistic? Let's take the previous example of moving abroad. Living in Spain isn't all about sun and sangria; you will have to find a way of making a living, deal with loneliness until you start to make friends, and negotiate the bureaucracy. Can you handle finding a place to live without speaking the language well, and what will you do when you need to see a doctor? You need to be realistic and remember that life in another country will still involve the normal activities you'd carry out at home, like cleaning, shopping, and laundry.
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