How to Know When it’s Time for a Change


I recently spent $7.49 on a new mouse that arrived jam-packed with a life lesson. Who knew? Here’s the thing: when there isn’t a coffee mug, a tumbler of water, or a Happy Hour glass of wine in my right hand, my mouse is most likely nestled comfortably in my palm. That small but mighty device is an extension of my appendage, so why didn’t I notice when it started wearing out by acting out in odd ways? I couldn’t grab a line to copy and paste or close a document in fewer than four attempts. Frustrated, I changed the battery and carried on with zero improvement in performance. When my eureka moment finally arrived, I replaced the dang thing and then this happened: First, I realized that my old mouse had been deteriorating for a loooong time. And second, I recognized that my tendency to over-adapt and to “make do” was playing out click by frustrating click. I’m generally good at recognizing when a big change will serve me, but it’s the smaller ones that trip me up.

Everyone has their own way of working with the changes that they initiate, and for many, knowing when it’s time to start something, end something, replace something, or simply add something new into the mix can be the hardest part.

It May be Change When…

You feel like a victim. You don’t like to admit that you’re feeling “victimized” by life, fate, others, whatever. But when you do, pay attention. That feeling may be a significant call to action.

You start asking, “Don’t I deserve better?” or “Is this the best I can do?” No one wants to live in this space. You doubt yourself and feel a loss of agency over your own life.

You notice that your spark is in sputter mode. Whether it’s your marriage, your job, or that volunteer activity you were so keen about, your passion for it and perhaps your commitment to it, have waned. Because you have experienced “better,” you know the current reality pales in comparison. The change you make doesn’t have to be an either/or; the change may simply be a matter of making some adjustments.

You realize that you are overreacting to small things. Setbacks, workarounds, niggling little details that hardly mattered before have become a major source of annoyance. That often means that whatever it is, it is no longer serving you.

You overcompensate and constantly try to make do. This behavior can be exhausting as well as extremely frustrating…just as it was with my mouse. I realized that I had developed a love/hate relationship with it!

You are stuck on the way things used to be. You find yourself lamenting the good old days and replaying old tapes. Your thinking is repetitive and unproductive because it only makes you feel worse.

Tips on How to Make that Change

Okay, so this is another article, for sure, but consider the following three tips a bridge from understanding that you need to make a change to actually taking the steps to do so:

Understand your resistance. Take some time to ask yourself what is holding you back instead of moving forward.

Remember that you have a choice. More often than not, you have more choices than you may realize. Instead of automatically resisting that idea as “Pollyanna,” sit with it and see what happens.

Explore what you have to gain. Talk about an energizer! When you start to look at the possibility, deciding to change becomes so much easier.



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