27 Subtle Signs Your Life Needs Major Changes in 2019
Some years you need to do more than drop a few pounds or ask for a raise.
Change is never easy. Whether it’s something small, like cutting out a bad habit or dropping a pound or two, or something big, like changing jobs or rethinking your relationship, setting yourself on a new path requires diligence, discipline, and determination. But if any of the 27 red flags that follow apply to you, you’re someone who could perhaps use a major life change. Read on for what they are. And to help you with your journey of self-improvement, be sure to read these 40 Science-Backed Ways to Kick Old Habits.
You aren’t living in the present.
Whether it’s regret over the past or anxiety over the future, living outside of the here and now can take its toll. “We all think about the past and future from time to time, but never spending any time in the present moment is unhealthy and holds you back from growth, fulfillment and personal success,” says Vinay Saranga, MD, a psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry.
You can’t change the past or control the future, but you do have a say in your life today. In the new year, try to find closure from the past, and try not to stress about things beyond your control, says Dr. Saranga. All you can do is put your best foot forward. And for more tips on being mindful in the new year, check out the 20 Things to Let Go of to be Happy in 2019.
Going to work never excites you.
Very few people leap out of bed every day excited to get to work, but there should at least be something that keeps you coming back, whether it’s being responsible for revenue growth or the feeling of improving someone’s life in whatever small way you’re able to. But if you dread going to the office and only look forward to leaving, you might be in the wrong job, says Ariane Machin, Ph.D., co-founder of Conscious Coaching Collective.
Swiping your credit card might seem like a great way to make purchases when you don’t currently have the funds in your account, but doing so could potentially be a sign that you are not content. “Pulling out a credit card to sponsor frivolous purchases on a regular basis may be a sign of deep dissatisfaction with your everyday routine,” says financial industry analyst, Sean Messier. Your desire to spend what you don’t have can come from a wish to escape. However, making expenses that you can’t afford will only lead to stress. Instead, find other ways to feel more adventurous.
Work takes up most of our days, so it’s naturally something that comes up in conversation. That being said, if you’re the person who only wants to talk about office gossip at happy hour, work is clearly taking up too much of your headspace. Being involved at work is fine and dandy, just remember to be present in other areas of your life as well.
These days, it’s easy to fall into the habit of never reading more than a headline. We’re constantly being bombarded with news, opinions, tweets and more. The amount of available text to read is overwhelming, so much so that it’s easy to both stare at your phone for hours on end, or just put it down and ignore everything altogether. With that, it’s difficult to remember to read those things we call books. You know, the cute little rectangular guys you see on the shelves at hipster bars? Reading is incredibly beneficial for the mind and soul, so don’t forget to take the time to escape in the pages of a book. And if you prefer audiobooks, check out 22 Amazing Audiobooks That Make Traveling (or Commuting!) Way Less Boring.
You don’t want to be remembered like this.
Ask yourself: What do I want to be remembered for? “If your current career doesn’t in any way align with that legacy, then you’re not in the right place,” says Tiffany Toombs, lifestyle coach and founder of Blue Lotus Mind. To find a fulfilling path that you’re proud of, Toombs recommends making a list of things that you’re passionate about, then making another list of the things that you’re good at. Chances are, there’s a career path where your passions and skills meet, and you can make money doing what you love. If you want to perfect a hobby on the side, flip through these 40 Best Hobbies to Take Up in Your 40s.
You can’t help but be jealous of your friends’ lives.
Everyone envies their friends sometimes, but you might need a major overhaul if you’re always obsessing over how much better other people’s lives are. “You start visualizing other people’s circumstances and feel like you’re in the mud,” says Machin.
If those thoughts preoccupy you, stop daydreaming and start making some changes! Machin recommends asking a few people in your dream field for a phone call or coffee to chat about what that industry is really like. “That can give you a good pulse on what the job entails and what type of person is in the job,” she says. Maybe it will be a less romantic picture than what’s in your mind, but it could also be the perfect fit.
Phone apps that bring food to our doorsteps with the click of a button are both a blessing and a curse. Is the experience of realizing you want fried chicken and then being able to have it without leaving your home absolutely amazing? Yes. Is it healthy? Hard no. Sure, there are some restaurants that offer healthier food options, but are you really choosing those ones? Plus, making your own meals at home is a much easier way to know exactly what is going into your food. Ordering out every once in a while is totally fine, but you should be in control of your diet enough to have your closest relationship not be with the person who brings you Chinese food late at night.
It’s hard to feel proud the morning after a night of heavy drinking, and while it’s good to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle, it’s also essential to avoid getting caught up in blaming yourself for indulging. Even if you are drinking more than what’s recommended, it’s much more productive to look at what in your life is causing you to do so, rather than assuming it’s simply you that is the problem.
“If you consider how frequently you’re drinking lately and can admit that it’s more than you’d like, it’s probably a sign that you’re unhappy with some aspects of your life and you owe it to yourself to investigate ways you can improve,” says writer and blogger Allie McCormick. Once you address what’s making you feel the need to drink so much, you may find you have an easier time knowing when to call it quits.
You’ve been thinking about something for months.
A bad day—even or even a few bad weeks—at work isn’t always a signal to get a new job. But don’t ignore a feeling that just won’t go away. “It’s not having a bad day and then jumping to conclusions,” says Machin. “It’s a pattern—you’ve been feeling like this for a while.” If it’s been months and you can’t get the idea of making a big change out of your mind, listen to that little voice in your head.
“When someone makes excuses that they do not have enough time to engage in activities with friends and family, this is a small sign that they lack balance in their life. It is not a matter of how much time we have, but rather how we manipulate our activities throughout our day to optimize our time,” says life coach Ashlie Walton.
There’s always time to make time, and if you’re claiming that there isn’t, you might be avoiding something and/or someone. The thing about avoidance is that it will always find you, and things are more likely to go your way if you find it first.
You can’t think of an easy fix that will make your job better.
Leaving a job can be tough, especially if it’s a position you used to love. To figure out if quitting is your only option for job satisfaction, Toombs recommends thinking about the realistic tweaks that could make you happier. Consider how your job would change if you asked for a raise, delegated some tasks, or had a say in bigger decisions. If one of those options speaks to you, great! You might have more happy years ahead of you at your company. But if nothing fixable makes your work sound any more appealing—maybe your new boss is a jerk, or your job description changed drastically—it’s time to start applying elsewhere. If too much work is your problem, check out the 50 Top Secrets of a Perfect Work-Life Balance.
If you find yourself saying “sorry” a lot, either you’re taking fault when it’s not necessary or you’re regularly letting people down. Either way, it’s time for a change. Apologizing less means being more confident about your actions and words, and that’s a great way to live. If you feel good about the way you live your life, you won’t have to ask for forgiveness.
Organization is a great way to declutter your mind. That’s probably why cleaning is one of the first things we do when trying to “get our lives together.” Once you’ve put all of your mail in a pile, your files in a cabinet, and your clothes in a closet, you may think your work is done. That’s where you’re wrong, my friend.
Much of our lives exist in the digital space, so we have to keep those files organized as well. Putting computer documents into separate folders will not only make you feel less scattered, it’ll also help your computer last longer. When going through your digital files, you’ll likely find things you can put in the trash, which will clear up space and keep things running smoothly. And don’t forget to back everything up onto a hard drive! Having everything you store on your computer accounted for will help you feel generally reassured and on top things.
You don’t wake up with a sense of purpose.
“Many people don’t have an intentionality to their days—they’re just going through the motions,” says success coach Kristen Battistelli. “Without a bigger purpose, people will not prioritize their self-care, will tolerate being in a toxic relationship, will stay in the unchallenging but busy job for a decade.” Sound like you? Time to do some soul-searching. This might be your year to start a side hustle, escape a fizzled-out relationship, or delve into volunteer work.
You’re a pessimist.
“If you always find yourself thinking the worst, expecting things to go wrong, not believing you are worthy of great things in life, then you need to make a change in your life,” says Dr. Saranga. He recommends building self-confidence by reading self-help books and surrounding yourself with people who are a positive influence on your mental health. If you still feel like negative thoughts are getting in your way, consider professional counseling.
You feel paralyzed.
When the idea of making a big change overwhelms you, that might mean change is exactly what you need. Feeling as if you don’t know what you should be doing or how to get there can be paralyzing, but don’t let it get in your way, says Machin.
“That can be very stagnancy-inducing,” she says. “In the back of your mind you know you have options, and there is something out there for you.” Be proactive to get yourself out of the rut. Visit a city you’ve always dreamed of living in or take a class in a field you’ve dreamt about breaking into.
You’re obsessed with your reputation.
If your decisions are all about winning approval from other people, it’s time to make a change, says Dr. Saranga. Be honest with yourself about who you’re making your choices for, he says. Are you rising up in an industry you hate because you want to look successful? Are you giving up “me time” because you feel the need to look busy? “Follow your heart and don’t worry about other people,” says Dr. Saranga. “If they truly love you and care about you they will support your goals and dreams.”
You’ve changed, but your life hasn’t.
Veering off the path you’ve always imagined for yourself can be scary, but it’s natural for plans to change. “We go through so many changes that you’re not going to be the same person you were five years ago,” says Machin. Your priorities and passions won’t stay the same forever. The field you were so excited about in grad school can lose its luster, or maybe a city that used to feel exhilarating now just gives you a headache. Accept that people change (yes, even you!) and allow yourself the freedom to explore other options.
You’re completely frazzled.
If you have a basic routine down but still feel frantic or unfocused, it might be a sign that you need to give up some responsibilities and start putting yourself first, says Battistelli. “You know you feel better when you have ‘me time’ on the daily and yet you’re still not doing it,” she says. She recommends making this your year to say “no” to other people and “yes” to your own self-care. Try meditating, exercising, journaling, reading, or any other activity that energizes you.
You feel out of touch with all your friends.
Work-life balance looks different for everyone, but it might be time to rejigger your priorities if your FOMO has been extra-strong this year. “If you start to feel left out or out of touch with what’s going on or you haven’t had a conversation with your parents in four weeks, that might be an indication that maybe how your time is spent needs to be reevaluated,” says Machin.
Shifting your priorities can feel like a big deal, but baby steps can help get you there. Machin recommends treating your social life like you would a professional meeting: scheduling it in. Carve out a set time every week to call a friend, or make sure your family eats dinner together a few nights a week.
Your doctor is getting worried.
Major life changes don’t need to involve quitting your job or uprooting your family—sometimes it’s just yourself you need to worry about. If your health is in a downward spiral from bad eating habits, inactivity, and a lack of sleep, it’s time to make some changes. Take note if your doctor or a loved one expresses concern over your weight or other health factors; they might be more on the nose than you want to admit.
“Most people can’t put their finger on it, but it’s this tension—feeling stressed out all the time, not excited about things,” says Machin. Once you allow yourself to dive into a healthy lifestyle of clean eating, full nights’ sleep, and plenty of exercise, you’ll probably find yourself feeling better, both physically and mentally, she says.
You can’t say “no” to anything.
Busying yourself by completely booking yourself up outside of work hours might make your life sound more exciting, but it can also leave you frazzled. “A lot of people who get stuck in that trap of being busy don’t know how to get out of it,” says Toombs. “They have all these commitments and they don’t know what to give up.” If you feel like you keep spinning your wheels and are getting nothing out of it, start by shifting your priorities. Instead of dwelling on time-consuming tasks that don’t get many results, figure out what takes the least energy for the most impact, suggests Toombs. Volunteer at your kid’s school for an hour instead of spending the afternoon making bake sale cookies, or start ignoring unimportant emails that don’t require a response. If too much work is bringing you down, memorize thse 13 Clever Ways to Tell Your Boss “No.”
Being busy is the new being happy, but who’s to say the two can’t happen simultaneously? Even those of us who are constantly on the go have a minute to spare. And 60 seconds is really all it takes to give yourself a moment of mindfulness and serenity. Psychologist Robin M. Deutsch explains, “By quieting your mind and returning to a place of gratitude, you’ll lower your stress levels and increase your happiness.” Try deep breathing exercises on your commute, or simply giving yourself a break in the day to relax with your thoughts.
Meeting with friends makes you anxious.
Breaking up is always hard—and that includes friendships. But you need to be honest with yourself if someone in your social life is dragging you down. “Anybody who creates a high level of anxiety on an ongoing timeframe because of the way they treat you is not somebody that you want to spend time with,” says Toombs. Before cutting ties completely, try talking to your friend about boundaries and the things that make you feel belittled, she suggests. If that person still won’t respect you, he or she doesn’t belong in your life.
Exercise is a great way to stay healthy, but if you only work out because you feel like you have to, you’re missing out on potential enjoyment. “When exercising outside, pay attention to your surroundings, the weather, certain architecture or landmarks, etc. If you’re exercising inside, try to enjoy what you’re accomplishing when you’re in that moment,” says Deutsch.
While the workout itself might not be your favorite activity, there are ways to find a silver lining in the routine. If your exercise regime is already set, you could try one of these 25 Amazing Resolutions that Have Nothing to Do with Weight Loss.
You can’t get up without hitting snooze.
Something’s got to change if your current lifestyle is constantly keeping you from a good night’s sleep. “Sleep is a huge indicator of overall health and vitality; I prioritize it over nutrition,” says Battistelli. “Even cheating yourself of one less hour of sleep causes your productivity and ability to think clearly to decline.” If you hit snooze several times every morning, need coffee to make it through the day, or start falling asleep at your desk, take a look at what’s keeping you awake. Cut out the tasks that are burning the midnight oil, or find ways to de-stress from the thoughts that keep you tossing and turning. For more help reaching your goals, learn the 25 Biggest New Year’s Resolution Mistakes.
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