How to Change Direction in Life
Life doesn’t always move in one direction, particularly if you are open to new challenges. Change direction in life by identifying a new path, making a specific plan to achieve your goals, and asking for help when you need it.
More importantly, whether your life changes because of outside circumstances or by choice, perseverance is the key to success.
4 Ways to Change Direction in Life
1. Ask Questions
Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you have no choice but to change. Other times, the path that you are on no longer seems fitting, but you may fear making a change. If you feel the need to change direction in life but lack confidence, consider asking yourself questions to move beyond your fears, suggests psychotherapist.
Nancy Irwin, in the interview “You Turn: Dr. Nancy Irwin on Midlife Awakenings” on Psych Talk. Irwin suggests asking yourself things such as “What would you choose to do if you knew that you could not fail?” and “What would you like someone to say about you during the eulogy at your funeral?”
Identify your passions and plan a new direction in life around those goals.
2. Internal Positive Motivation
You will be happier making changes in your life if you approach a new direction with internal positive motivation, writes psychology professor Jim Taylor in the article “Personal Growth: Motivation: The Drive to Change” on the Psychology Today website.
People who are internally motivated are passionate about the direction they have chosen and are personally attached to the goals they have set for themselves. In contrast, those who change direction to please others may succeed—but rarely feel the same sense of fulfillment once they have changed direction.
For example, choosing to go to college to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a nurse is a positive change, whereas enrolling in graduate school to please overbearing parents is a change worth reconsidering.
Having internal motivation will keep you going when challenges arise or the path becomes difficult.
3. Set Specific Goals
If you want to make a change in life, it is important to set specific measurable steps toward achieving your goals. The hardest part about change is following through once you have made the choice to go in a new direction.
Break your goals down into manageable pieces that you can define and measure, write them down, and keep them somewhere as a visual reminder, as noted in the American Psychological Association (APA) article “Making Lifestyle Changes that Last.”
For example, if your goal is to become a writer, start by planning to write a certain number of words a day, and perhaps signing up for a writer’s workshop.
4. Ask for Support
Difficult life changes can be hard to navigate on your own, so you may want to enlist the help of a friend, join a support group, or even schedule a few sessions with a therapist, as suggested by the APA.
Having someone else involved in your journey will keep you accountable and motivated when life challenges arise.
For example, if your new direction in life involves moving on from a destructive relationship, having the help of a friend or fellow support group member may prevent you from slipping back into old patterns—or worse, slipping back into the old relationship.
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