So you’ve taken inventory of your life and you realize you need to make a change. You’re frustrated, disappointed, hurt, angry, or all of the above. You realize you’ve been stuck in a rut for longer than you want to admit, and for whatever reason you cannot seem to get yourself to make the decision that is going to get you moving in another direction. Perhaps you don’t even know what direction to take. You know you need a change, but you can’t even figure out what to do. You are so lost, you’re emotionally paralyzed.
Acknowledge the need for change.
The first thing that has helped me move past the onset of paralysis for making changes is acknowledging the need for change. It sounds simple, but so many times I’ve been in denial about the fact that something actually needed to change. I’ve told myself over and over that things would get better, and that I just needed to hang in there a little longer. The bad relationship would turn a corner any minute; one more french fry wasn’t going to make my weight problem any worse, I would start my diet tomorrow; one more day without getting my life organized wasn’t going to cause the world to end. The problem is that one more day turns into one more week, and one more month, and one more year . . . and before you know it, you’re still in the same rut, still waiting for things to get better, yet not actively doing anything about it. Acknowledging there is a need for change is the first step. Once you pin-point exactly what needs to change, then you must have the courage to take the first step toward that change.
Decide on a course of action.
After acknowledging that a change is necessary, then what? So many times, I haven’t known what to do about it. I believe in a Higher Power. For you, it may be something different, for me it is God. But I have to be honest here, more times than I want to admit, I’ve wondered why God doesn’t just tell me what to do to fix my problems. Why can’t there be a flashing sign from above telling me exactly what to do? Why can’t there be a manual for these things? Can’t someone just tell me what to do?? But I’ve gone through enough major life decisions to realize that life isn’t like that. Most of the time, we don’t get clear-cut signs about what to do and we find ourselves fluctuating back and forth between this decision and that decision, this path or that path, and just end up increasingly confused and frustrated.
I strongly believe that God helps those who help themselves. So this is what I have done when making major life decisions. First, I have prayed for wisdom. Not just regular old wisdom, but the wisdom of Solomon! God made Solomon the wisest man on earth. Why? Because Solomon asked for it. That’s it! Just because he asked. So I figure, if I ask even for a little wisdom, God will grant that to me too. Second, I tell God the desires of my heart. He tells us that we can do that. Then I pray that the desires of my heart be His will for my life too. Once I have done those things, I make my decision as to what I will do. But there’s one more thing. I tell God what I am going to do, and then I ask Him to stop me if the decision I’ve made is not the right one for me. That’s it. Then I’m ready for the next step.
Act on the decision.
Finally, I take the plunge and act on my decision. Moving forward has made me feel empowered, even when I haven’t felt completely brave about my decision. If things go well for me with the decision I’ve made, I attribute it to being the right path for me. If I hit a wall and things don’t go well with what I have chosen to do, then I know I’m being led in a different direction. Either way, I have left myself open to the leading of a Higher Power and less vulnerable to hurt and disappointment because it’s out of my hands. This sounds so simple, yet it’s easier said than done and it is a process that takes time. But once you move out of the rut you’re in and focus on making progress for the better, you will be on a path to a better life and a better you. There may be pain involved with the changes you are making, but just like when you have surgery, it hurts but it’s all toward a better end. If you hit a wall, go back a step, make a different decision, repeat the process, and act again.
Whether you believe in God or in another Higher Power, the process is the same. Acknowledge, decide, act. Maybe all of this resonates with you, and this is simply a reminder to you of what you already know in your heart. Or maybe you’re reading this and thinking this is a bunch of hocus pocus (if you’ve even read this far). Yet what you are doing – or not doing – probably isn’t working. So what have you got to lose by trying it?
Listen, life is too short to be stuck in a rut. You deserve better than to live a life of confusion, anger, disappointment, or hurt. It’s time to move past those feelings and make changes that will make you happy. So how about it? Start taking inventory of your life, find areas that need change, and make it happen! It’s time to find your joy!