Change is never easy. Many of us are creatures of habit who love our day-to-day. But despite our fear of change, it’s often just what we need to achieve and experience what we’re craving most, be it a move across the country (or world), a new career or an overdue break-up. “We often live our lives based around regimens that help keep us comfortable and safe, so change can be difficult because it leads to the unknown, which, at times, can mean potential pain or discomfort,” explains Elsie Storm, MA, a transformational life coach and spiritual psychologist. “Because we like familiarity, the unknown is often enough to keep us resistant to change, as we’re afraid of the potential disruption in our habits, routines, and comfort levels.” Experts agree, however, that in times of such resistance, change is just what the doctor ordered. Here, Storm and others share the most common signs someone is craving a big life change, stat.
You’re bored AF
This one is fairly self-explanatory, but if you’re bored with your life, or certain aspects of it, it’s time to shake things up. “There can be different types of boredom — one is short-term boredom with your day, and then there can be a more generalized boredom with your life,” Storm explains. “While we are creatures of habit and routine, we also crave excitement and variety, so feeling bored is a sure sign that change might not be far off.” If you are feeling bored, Storm suggests looking for things you could do to bring more excitement, variety, and joy to your life. “Magic happens outside of your comfort zone, so find ways to get a little bit uncomfortable and watch that boredom dissipate quickly,” she adds.
If you feel unchallenged or unrewarded by what’s going on in your life, perhaps you’re unfulfilled. Seeking purpose is something that’s ingrained in our species, and something you should have in your life, explains Storm. “If you find yourself glued to your phone, social media, and email, this is probably a good indicator that you aren’t totally fulfilled in your life and ready for some type of change,” she says. Ask yourself “What am I putting off or denying by distracting myself right now?” If you need support working through these distractions so that you can live more on purpose, Storm suggests reaching out to a life coach who can help you take more action with your life and create positive change.
You want the opposite
Perhaps you live in the city, but you crave the peace and quiet of nature and wildlife. This type of contrasting desire is a sure sign that you’re craving some change, according to Paulette Sherman, PsyD, relationship expert and author of The Book of Sacred Baths. She suggests trying out another location to see how you feel. Visit a few times a week, and then do a longer stretch of time if you can before deciding to make a move. “Create a flow chart of actionable steps, including finding a job, ways to create community, a pros and cons list, and a list of things you’d need to do to make this move happen in a manageable way,” she adds.
You’re indulging in addictions
If you find yourself indulging in addictive behaviors, whether it is eating, drinking alcohol or spending money frivolously, this is a sign that something is off. “These addictive behaviors could be linked to a deeper emotional issue that hasn’t been resolved, but sometimes it could be because you’re bored and you turn to addictions to bring excitement into your life,” says Storm. “A big life change can sometimes help with these — and if a big change doesn’t work, you may want to look into therapy as a way of supporting you through these addictions, while also creating positive change in your life.”
You’re fantasizing about other options
According to Marni Amsellem, PhD, consultant and private psychology practice, you may be craving a big change when, with increasing frequency, you are fantasizing about other options for yourself, whether that’s a new lover or career. “Try to realistically envision yourself in each of the scenarios that you fantasize about. Can you see yourself in this situation? Do you seem satisfied, fulfilled, or otherwise pleased with this change?” she says. “Assess your own desires in relation to the changes you see going on around you.”
While change can be scary, it’s a very normal part of life that should be embraced. “If you've reached a place where things are naturally progressing or changing, and despite some anxieties, you're pretty certain you're ready for what lies ahead, go with it,” says Dr. Amsellem.