Time for a Major Life Change? 6 Ways to Chart the Course

“Freedom lies in being bold.” – Robert Frost

You’ve made a big decision and are feeling fantastic about it. You’ve decided that it’s time to change jobs, start school, embark on a new career altogether, move to a new home, have a baby, get married or dump the jerk already. Your mind is made up on the major change, but your life has yet to keep up. How do you proceed?

Whether you are starting something new or leaving behind something old, making a major life change is a bold step into the unknown. Use the following tips to chart your course.

1. Be ready for your doubts and second thoughts. Your decision to move forward and change your life will undoubtedly be accompanied by second thoughts. Fear of the unknown is a powerful force, and you are sailing into new waters. Don’t let your doubts surprise you – and surely don’t let them sap your confidence at a time you need it most. Acknowledge your doubts, and then proceed boldly in the direction of your dreams.

2. Write down your reasons for making the change. On your new life adventure, there will be days of exhaustion and fatigue, moments when you wonder what the heck you were even thinking. It’s crucial to remember why you left your old life behind to embark on a new journey, so write those reasons down when they are fresh in your mind and you are filled with inspiration. Keep your list of reasons handy and read it whenever your conviction wavers.

3. Beware friendly foes. When making a major change to your lifestyle, you will no doubt encounter old friends who aren’t impressed with your new direction – in fact, they liked you the way you were. You don’t have to drop friends who discourage you from your dreams (they’re just being selfish humans, after all), but don’t expect everyone in your life to support the changes you make by throwing roses at your parade. Expect some pushback, and you’ll be ready with a smile when it happens.

4. Know your allies. For every ten friends who wish you’d just stay at home and do the same old thing with them instead of going on a year-long journey of self-discovery to Tibet, you no doubt have that one friend who is saying: “Hell YES. Good for you. Have a blast and send me a postcard!” Identify your valuable “cheerleader” friends early, and keep in touch with them regularly anytime you need a dose of “Hell Yes.” Remember to repay the favor with encouragement of your own.

5. Break it down. Major life changes are usually big projects requiring many steps to complete, and trying to handle everything at once can lead to a mental and emotional overload. Break down your big goal into small steps and conquer them one at a time. If you want to move to a new city, your might have steps such as: research your new home, plan a few visits, search on Craigslist for a place to live, set up appointments to view apartments, etc. Breaking projects down into conquerable actions makes it easier to follow through.

6. Be patient. Sometimes big changes don’t happen overnight; instead they take a while to fully inhabit your life and your mind. Accept that the process won’t lead to immediate gratification, and be patient with the world – and yourself.

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