5 Hidden Ways to Know That It’s Time for a Serious Change

Sad woman in a church pew realizing it's time for a serious change
Don't go on like this

Pain is something you can get used to.

If you’re in pain all the time, you can adjust to it until it becomes your reality. You can forget that a better life is even possible.

This is not a mode that anyone would want to stay in. It’s time to stop lying to yourself about how unhappy you are. Here are five ways to know that it’s time for some serious changes:

1. Your Worst Moments Are When You Wake Up and When You Go to Bed

When you wake up in the morning, and when you go to sleep at night, how do you feel? I’m not talking about aching joints or bad backs. I’m talking about what fills your mind when it’s least distracted.

This is how Tim Ferris gauges whether a person is truly successful (and mentally healthy):

“How do you feel when you wake up and before bed and how easily do you fall asleep? The time in bed in the morning and at night tells you all you need to know.”

The pain you carry gets covered up by daily tasks and responsibilities. If your mind isn’t peaceful when your head hits the pillow, then you have things in your life that need addressing, and changes you need to make.

2. Everything Feels Like It’s On Repeat

Every weekend, you end up doing the same things. You see the same people. Go to the same events. Eat the same food. Maybe you like consistency. But if you’re starting to feel like your life is a revolving door of things you don’t care about anymore, then it’s time for a change.

Our habits, positive and negative, have a massive impact on our lives. You need to recognize which habits are serving you and which aren’t. You also need to recognize how your needs and personal definitions of happiness evolve over time.

People grow out of doing certain things, acting certain ways, and being around certain people. You need to be honest with yourself and say, “This isn’t for me anymore. I’m not going to drown in this lifestyle. I need something new.”

If you’re wondering if there’s more to life, then there probably is.

3. Instead of Serious Change, You Focus on Numbing Yourself

We all have ways of numbing ourselves. We eat too much. We put hundreds of hours into video games. We smoke. We scroll down social media feeds. When you become dependent on an activity to distract you from something, it’s safe to assume you are numbing a pain.

The question you need to ask is, “what am I numbing myself from?” What is the thing or the emotion I’m trying to escape? What is my bad habit helping me cope with?

All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone – Blaise Pascal

I understand being self-destructive. I’ve felt that way many times. It feels like self-loathing, self-punishment, and self-soothing, all at the same time. But when the numbness ends, you know what’s going to be there waiting for you.

A little introspection goes a long way. Taking the time to understand why you’re doing what your doing will point you in the direction of the serious change you need to make.

4. At Any Moment of the Day, You Feel Kind of Desperate

It always feels like you’re dragging weight. Deep down, you’re scrambling for a way out of your situation. You catch yourself fantasizing about things you could be doing, and the person you could be becoming.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. – Henry David Thoreau

The fantasies we have point to the things we want. Recurring fantasies, especially.

I used to have recurring fantasies about shooting into the sky and floating up there. Wherever I was, I would picture the roof lifting off the building, and I would shoot up like Superman and be above everything. If that’s not a desire for transcendence, then I don’t know what is.

Watch what your fantasies tell you. If you’re fantasizing all the time, then maybe you aren’t doing enough of the things you really want to do.

5. You’re Accepting Less Than You’re Worth

Other people can rob us of our worth. When you’re around people who degrade you, trick you, or otherwise make you miserable, you slowly lose your self-esteem.

You become less willing to make positive changes because you don’t feel like you deserve anything better. You’re always telling yourself that aiming for a better life better is a bad idea. You rationalize it all away.

You’re too timid to ask for a raise, or to stand up to someone, or to ask someone out, or to try something new. Those things are for others. No. You’ve only convinced yourself of that from being around rotten friends and having bad experiences.

You know better. You know you can do better. You know how good things could be.

It’s Time For Serious Change

This misery has gone on long enough. You have to tell yourself that.

For most of us, serious change will occur over a long period. So the best thing to do right now would be to orient your actions toward the life you want to be living.

That could mean…

  • Moving
  • Meeting new people
  • Starting a new career
  • Doing things you actually want to do
  • Taking risks
  • Leaving/Finding a Relationship
  • Treating yourself differently

There is a profound moment of self-respect when you realize that you won’t spend another minute living a life you don’t want to live. That’s the difference between living and existing. So take a breath, read the signs, and start heading in a new direction.