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7 Signs That You Need a Change

4. Your life feels like a blur.

Key points

  • For those stuck in a rut, small changes to routines can increase happiness, energy, and creativity.
  • Approaching regular tasks in new ways can provide opportunities for growth without adding extra to-dos to one's plate.
  • When one's actions and values are disconnected, this produces the sense that life is not "on track."
No Revisions/Unsplash
Source: No Revisions/Unsplash

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut in life, or our sense becomes that our life isn't on track. When this happens, we need a change. Here are seven signs it's time to shake up the status quo.

1. It's been a long time since you picked up a new interest or made a new friend.

People feel better when they're growing. If you haven't developed a new interest or made a new friend in the last six months, that may be a signal to put yourself in more situations in which this could occur.

When we expand ourselves, it benefits us both individually and in terms of our relationships (because relationships grow from partners picking up interests from each other).

2. Life feels permanently chaotic.

Does the way you work, eat, spend your money or time, or run your household feel constantly chaotic? If your activities of daily living always feel chaotic, that's a sign you need to simplify or take other action.

3. You're not enjoying your family.

In both romantic relationships and parenting, when things go south, they tend to follow this typical pattern: Your positive bond erodes, and then problem behavior increases. If your positive bond has started to erode with the family members you live with take steps now to improve it, such as doing more fun, novel, and challenging activities together.

4. Time feels like it's passing in a blur or too slowly.

When we do things that are new to us, like taking on a new challenge, it tends to make time feel more distinct. If you're doing the same things over and over, it can make time either feel like it's passing in a blur (when life is chaotic) or it's dragging (because you're bored).

If it seems like time passes indistinctly, it can be a signal that you need more goals that act as signposts in your life. For example, 2023 was the year I.... [trained for a 10K, or built X project].

5. You have interests or hobbies you haven't done in months or years.

Do you like novels but it has been three years since you read one? Do you like paintball but haven't been in years? Do you like the sauna at your gym but haven't used it in six months, despite going to the gym several times a week? If you never get around to things you enjoy, it's probably that you lack energy or organization more than time.

Instead of always prioritizing work and to-dos, prioritize an interest today and see what happens. Does it give you a big boost of energy, enthusiasm, or creativity?

6. You always approach your work tasks the same way.

If your work tasks don't change, you may have developed routines and now they're the way you always do particular tasks. Even with a task you do regularly, you can try approaching it in a new way. Find a new resource. Work with someone new. Learn a new skill. This way, even your regular tasks can provide opportunities for growth, without adding extra to-dos to your plate. (I've written more about this in Stress-Free Productivity.)

7. You end each day without a sense of having acted on your values that day.

At the end of each day, do you feel like you acted on your values that day? For example, if you value being conscientious, did you act on that? If you value being loving or kind, did you act on that? If you value creative problem-solving, did you do any of that?

When our actions and values are disconnected, this produces the sense that our life is not on track overall. Conversely, acting in valued ways is an easy way to feel back on track.

When you need a change, there are lots of ways to go about it that don't involve blowing up your life or major upheaval like changing jobs, moving, or leaving relationships. If you're stuck in a rut, try some small changes to your routines first. This can have outsized and surprising benefits for your happiness, energy, and creativity.

Facebook/LinkedIn image: Kateryna Onyshchuk/Shutterstock

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