Dreaming of changing your life? Try these 4 things before taking the leap

Woman smiling in a printed top
Gail Muller shares her advice for changing your life

We all have times when we dream of switching up our lives and starting afresh. Whether we're stuck in a rut personally, unchallenged at work or feel a general sense of dissatisfaction, it's normal to daydream about making a big change.

There are often things that hold us back from taking a leap, though, and life coach Gail Muller spoke to HELLO! exclusively about how to feel confident in switching up your life.

"I’ve learned a lot about hope, resilience and motivation – three things which can help you as you make a switch, whether you want to change your career, take that trip of a lifetime or learn that skill you’ve always dreamed of," says Gail, 41.

woman smiling against a stone wall
Gail says take time to work out what you want

Read on for Gail's ultimate advice for deciding if it's time to make a change in your life.

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1. Tuning out the noise

I often meet clients who feel dissatisfied and want to make a switch – but they are unsure when or how to do this - I spoke about this with Gee Footitt recently on The Switch, a podcast for career-changers by St James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy

The first step is to ask yourself what you really want from life - what brings you sparkle, or that tickle in your tummy? What do you daydream about?

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Changing your life can be hugely positive

Within those thoughts and feelings are the nuggets of what brings you great joy and aligns with your purpose. You can find these nuggets and then pull them gently to the forefront and build a new life around them.

I believe we all know deep down what brings us real pleasure, but we live in a noisy world. The right path forward is always available because it’s already inside of you, but it’s often obscured by the ‘busywork’ of life: what everybody else wants you to do, by who people think you are and by who you have been conditioned to think you are.

READ: How to overcome your fear of the future according to a psychotherapist

2. Train your inner voice

People often write off making life changes before they have even started. They have a strong negative inner voice in their head telling them they can’t, and they give up before they’ve even tried.

Your inner voice can often be more negative than positive. It's there to keep you safe, but it is often loud and shouty and can wear your spirit down more than cheer you on. Its intention is good, but it often goes overboard.

A helpful thing to do is to remind yourself of all the things that you’re good at. Take a moment to write affirmations – they can be brief, with phrases such as, ‘I am kind’ or ‘I am a good egg’ with short, specific examples to make the affirmation concrete.  Remembering how you put goodness into the world will help you to see more goodness in the world, and soon you’re in an upward spiral.

READ: The one piece of advice that completely transformed my life

3. Take micro-leaps forward

When it comes to making a switch in life, women in particular can be anxious about genuine, concrete matters such as being able to pay the bills, pay rent, or take care of family. These reasons are absolutely valid, but there are still opportunities to take what I call micro-leaps forward around life’s responsibilities.

Micro-leaps could be anything that takes you forward in bite-sized chunks, such as making connections with people in the direction you wish to go, watching inspiring YouTube videos, reading books, or keeping a growing log of your learning as well as developing your plans for the future.

woman sitting on the edge of a cliff
Gail shares her advice for making a change

For example, you could write a list of the new things you learned each day that are tied to the life change that you’re dreaming of, note how you learned them and then set a goal for the next day.

If you can be consistent (but don’t beat yourself up if you miss days!), by the end of six months, you’ll be feeling much more confident and knowledgeable about the field you want to move into, you’ll have honed the idea of what you’re really passionate about, and you’ll have done it without making any drastic ‘moves’ that you might have regretted. You’ll be much more ready to make the right switch.

4. A change in environment

A change in environment can be helpful for making changes in life. The more you can take yourself away from entrenched patterns, the better you’re able to think differently and then you’re able to pour that thinking back into your everyday life.

It’s difficult to have a completely fresh perspective when you’re surrounded by the same noise, thinking and people as usual. There are jobs, obligations and all the things that tie you to your current identity.

  DISCOVER: How I learned to dream bigger - and you can too

However, a change in environment is dependent on someone’s physical or financial means, so it doesn’t need to be extreme. It doesn’t have to mean moving to a different country: it could mean a different route to work or going to a coffee shop or park you’ve never been to before on your lunch break. Who knows how this could change your thinking, or who you’ll cross paths with.

When you visit this new place it can act as a regular reminder to think about the life change you’re planning. It can be a safe space to flow, daydream and think about your future without the noise of the now.

Quick tips for making a change

1. It’s okay to take breaks; big or small. True resilience is trusting in your own ability to take time out and know you can get back to it when the time is right. Or choose not to!

2. Closed doors and situations that don’t work out can be reframed as signs saying, 'Not this way'. Trust that you’ll find another way with less resistance.

3. If making one big switch is too daunting, back yourself up with options; plans B, C or even D. This makes your plan A much less frightening and therefore easier to reach for.

4. One of my favourite sayings is, 'Leap and the net will appear.' It’s from John Burroughs – so be brave and take a leap!

5. Things really do happen at the right time. Of course, we might wish we could have done things earlier, but perhaps you weren’t as ready as you thought. The rich life experiences that you’ve gained so far will only make your switch better.

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In the end, making a switch requires hope, courage and a willingness to address desires and dreams you’ve might previously have felt weren’t possible.

It’s important to stay curious, find pockets of time to daydream, and plan your pivot -  trusting yourself in the process. You’re always more courageous and have much greater potential than you think – even when you don’t feel like it!