It’s hard not to compare yourself with other people, especially when their success and happiness is broadcast on social media for everyone to see. Sometimes these things can make us feel even more stuck in our career, relationship, or life path than we already do. If you’re looking to change things but don’t even know where to start, here’s what you should do.
Remind yourself that you’re never too old to change. Would you rather be miserable for the rest of your life in a job you hate or temporarily feel awkward for feeling like the oldest person in class for a few minutes? Who cares what people around you think? You’re never too old to learn, and those who might make you feel inadequate obviously don’t know what it’s like to have a dead end job just yet.
Keep yourself busy with a new hobby that interests you. It could be a class at a community college or a weekly painting group run out of someone’s home. Just taking the action to add something new and beneficial to your schedule will help you feel a little less stuck in life. Perhaps the addition to your schedule is all you need to feel fulfilled again. Or, maybe it’ll serve as the turning point and make you realize that you need a career change ASAP. If you’re sick and tired of being single, it’ll also introduce you to new people that you already share one hobby with.
Don’t give yourself reasons not to put yourself out there. There are a billion reasons why you shouldn’t pursue something new, and most of those reasons are stemmed from fear. If you really want things to change, taking action is necessary. You won’t spontaneously wake up tomorrow with a new life, but stop making excuses and think up a plan.
Don’t compare yourself to your friends. They have a lot of hardships and struggles that they’re just not posting online. If you’re jealous that a friend seems better off than you, remember that she might be looking at your life with similar envy. People only post the good stuff online. Remember, their feed is heavily curated to take out anything that might make them look bad.
Write it out. The best way to organize your thoughts is to do it the old fashioned way—with a notepad and a pen. Make a list of things you want to change. By taking the time to write it, it’ll be more of a serious goal. If you’re just a little bummed by a few bad consecutive days, also use the notepad as a diary. You’ll instantly feel better with all of your worries out of your head and written on paper.
Apply to everything, even if you’re a little worried about the qualifications. Leave it up to your future boss to decide whether or not your lack of Excel knowledge but willingness to learn is a dealbreaker when everything else looks great. You’ll never get the job if you don’t apply. Sure, applying can be a job in itself, but it’s necessary if you’re looking for your next step.
Check on your mental health. It may not be the job or relationship that’s making you miserable—maybe it’s just you. It’s horrible to go through spells of depression, but sometimes the most important thing to change is you and your overall outlook. Don’t be afraid to book an appointment with a therapist. It’s a lot more common than you think and can leave you feeling so much better about your life.
If it’s a relationship, ask yourself if this guy actually makes you happy. Career aside, people can get stuck in relationships as well. If you’ve been together for over five years, you might just be used to being unhappy. That, or you’re just too exhausted to start over again. You only have one life. Why waste your good years on someone you’re not actually in love with?
Look for promotions within the organization. If you’ve been somewhere for a while but feel stuck, see if there are other opportunities within your organization to move forward. Even if it’s the same building, a different job description might end up making you a lot happier.
If you’re down about finances, look into a craft you might financially benefit from. It’s almost like it’s not actually “work” if it’s something you enjoy. Good with taking pictures? Then offer to photograph some local events and improve your craft. Do you like math? Then, let friends know you’ll help out with their taxes for a lower fee than the company they’re using already. Like to knit? Consider opening an Etsy store. There are plenty of ways to earn some extra savings. Even if you’re not creative, there’s always someone out there looking for an odd job to be complete.
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