We’re all driven by dreams and ambitions. However, while pursuing our aspirations, it can be difficult to figure out when to keep going down the same path and when to take a different route.

Many people linger too long to their present life without realizing that it’s time for a change. Some even resist it, staying within the realms of familiarity, even if it is painful and not working.

One valuable lesson I’ve learnt the hard way is to know the need for a change, and proactively take steps to make it happen. It allows you to take control of your life and determine your future. Otherwise life will simple force it upon you.

Here are 5 signs that will tell you when it’s time to change direction, in your life. This change might be a major one like, in your finance, career, health, relationships, how you do things, and even what you do. It might also be a minor change, that is, a small adjustment in the way you do or perceive things.

1. You’ve been pushing for a while but nothing’s happening

If you’ve been pushing hard for too long and it’s just not working, then it’s time to take a step back and reassess if you’re going down the right path.

Often we’re going the wrong direction and hit a dead end. Instead of taking a pause, we push harder, only to get frustrated. If you notice that nothing’s happening, no matter how much effort and energy you put in, then it might be time to completely change directions and tread a new path. In some cases, you may be going about things the wrong way, and your new direction might simply be a new approach.

Here are a couple of things that have helped me immensely, in this regard.

Set a time limit for your endeavor. For example, if you’re a chef looking to work in a top restaurant in New York City, give it 6-7 months.

If you’re unable to achieve what you want at the end of your time period, ask yourself, “Is there anything more that I’d try to make this work?” If your answer is no, then it’s better to take a new direction. You can always come back to it later, when you’re bustling with new ideas and energy.

2. Everything is falling apart around you

If you notice that things are falling apart around you and your life’s turning into a perfect storm, then it might be a sign to change your direction.

It might feel like life is picking on you but have faith in yourself and remember, as Marilyn Monroe once said,”Sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together”.

It may not be obvious but life might be helping you clear out the unnecessary things in life and focus on things that truly matter to you.

Even when you’re losing (resources, belongings, circumstances), ask yourself,”Did I really need them in the first place?” You’ll be surprised to learn how many unnecessary things have been cluttering your life.

Instead of worrying about what you’ve lost or what’s broken, focus on things that continue to work well and put all your energy behind it. It will naturally take you in a new, better direction.

3. You just don’t feel good about it

No matter what you do, it’s essential that you ‘feel’ great about it. Only then, you’ll have the enthusiasm and energy to give your 100% day in, day out. If you feel happy and peaceful, then you’re on the right track. Sure, there will be occasional hiccups. But if you’re not feeling good about what you do for quite some time, then you need to do something about it. Otherwise, you’ll end up settling for a mediocre life.

When I had a corporate job, I was constantly stressed out, and used to escape it by going on holidays and partying with friends, only to return back to reality when it was all over. I was even promoted within a couple of years into my job. After four years of unhappiness, I decided to start my own business. It’s been five years since and I’ve never felt the need to go on a vacation. In fact, I love it so much, sometimes I even work weekends, just for fun.

Don’t be judgemental or come down hard upon yourself. Sometimes, you’re stuck in the wrong place or with wrong people, that may not be favorable for your life. You’re not alone. Stand back and tell yourself, “It’s time to face the reality and change my life to let in peace and happiness”.

4. Your body is reacting

If something isn’t right about your life, your body is bound to react. After all, it’s the container for all your thoughts and feelings cycling inside your body.

Difficult thoughts and feelings such as anger, fear, anxiety, stress, tension, doubt, unhappiness will only disrupt your body’s natural rhythm.

But your body is smart too. It will try to cope with these negative energy upto a limit, beyond which it will start giving warning signs that something isn’t right. It can appear as minor symptoms such as regular headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, forgetfulness to serious conditions such as nervous breakdowns and panic attacks.

Ask yourself, ”What’s my body trying to tell me?”

It may be that these apparently random happenings in your body might actually be related to some unpleasant thoughts/feelings or some harsh situations in your life. This is a strong sign that you need a positive change.

5. You’re ignoring your inner voice

If your intuition (also called gut instinct, hunch, inner voice) has been telling that something needs to change, then it’s a sure sign that it’s time for a change.

As Steve Jobs said in his Stanford Commencement speech,

”The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

Unfortunately, most people don’t like change and even try to resist it, if they can. However, change is the only constant in life and resistance is futile.

Don’t try to ignore your intuition or run away from it. Also, don’t try to rationalize your way out of it – by convincing yourself that you’re too busy to deal with it.

Follow your intuition and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and unnecessary pain.

Wrapping it up

Do you experience any of the above signs? If so, it’s time to reflect, and get ready to take some positive decisions for your life.

  1. Write down which signs apply to you.

  2. Determine which areas of your life do they apply to – finance, career, relationships, family, education

  3. Ask yourself if it requires a big change or a small adjustment

  4. Find out the first step you need to take to start making that positive change happen

Don’t think about the whole journey, just focus on getting started, and take one step at a time.