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How to Decide Where to Go in Life

At some point in our journey, all of us are faced with a choice. Will we continue on the path we’re on, or will we choose to diverge and form a path of our own? That’s what life is all about. It’s a series of choices and collisions with our future that make it impossible to predict and hard to navigate. We never know what’s around the next corner. All the same, we still must make a choice when we come to a fork in the road called “life”.

Every journey comes with choices.

We like to imagine that a “good” or an “easy” life comes without choices, but that just isn’t the case. We are all faced with hard decisions at some point in our lives, and it’s up to us to make the right decision for ourselves. No one else knows what the right future looks like for us. There’s no one else who can decide or define what we do with our lives. Have you come to a fork in the road? Is it time for you to pick a direction or a destination?

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

It’s not hard to figure out when life has brought you to a crossroads. When our path’s end, they end hard and the end uncomfortably. Maybe you’ve lost your job or your latest relationship. Maybe you’re feeling desperately stuck, or lost in your comparisons to other people’s lives. When it’s time to choose, we’re usually forced out of the door and into the foyer of opportunity. Do you feel like you’ve got to make a leap before you get pushed? Are you tired of being stuck in the wheel and ready to make a forever of your own? Choices have to be made.

Signs it’s time for you to choose a path.

Have you finally come to a crossroads in life or in your relationship? Is it time for you to make a decision, or take major action in the name of your happiness and your future? We all have a to choose a path at some point, but too many of us miss the turning when it’s offered to us. Has the time come for you to choose your path? These are the subtle signs to be aware of.

You’re ready for forever

One of the best ways to identify the fork in your path is to consider where you’re at in terms of your life. Are you ready to settle down on a personal level? We might show this in a few ways. Maybe you’re getting more serious about your life and more serious about your future too. The vision is there, and you’re getting excited about moving forward. You’re ready to take that next step into planting where you’re meant to be, and you’re looking forward to staying in one spot mentally and emotionally.

Lost in comparisons

Would you consider yourself to be lost in comparisons? Are you always looking at everyone else’s life and envying what they have? Well, guess what? In order for you to get the things you want, you’re going to need to get yourself on the right path too. Comparisons are always a sign we’re unsatisfied where we’re at. Dissatisfaction is usually one of the first road-signs we see when it comes to approaching a fork in the road.

Stuck in a rut

Coming to the start of a new path isn’t always about sensing the comparison, or even the desire to settle down. Far more subtle, you can feel frozen in your life and stuck somewhere that is both immovable and forcing you out at the same time. This is commonly known as being “stuck in a rut”. It’s a sort of dead end in which we are forced to confront our boredom and the things we want next for our lives.

An overabundance of offers

Not all signs of an impending fork in the road are bad. Sometimes, life is kind as it signifies the start of a new beginning. Have you felt like life is raining down blessings on you lately? Have you noticed opportunity opening all the doors to you? Or making it easier for you to survive? It’s up to you to choose which door you walk through, but you have to do it before the right door closes. When life rains down opportunity for us, it’s a sign that she’s happy with the direction we’re heading.

Loss of belief

Would you describe yourself as someone with a high-level of faith in self? Do you believe in your ability to thrive? Do you believe in the environment that you’ve built for yourself? The people who fill it? When you don’t believe in the environment you’ve planted yourself in anymore, it’s necessary to find a new one. We need to feel connected to the people and experiences that fill our lives. Without that connection, we end up hollow and without meaning.

Disconnect from passion

There can be no happy life without passion. This doesn’t necessarily mean a passion that you share with someone else. It’s more that intrinsic sense of connection and drive you feel with the world around you. Does your life feel as though it’s lacking in the passion that motivates you to keep going? Do you feel empty or listless? You don’t know which way to go, but you know you don’t enjoy where you’re at. This disconnect can be a sign of new journeys on the horizon.

A major shift

Is your life undergoing a major shift? Maybe you lost your job, your relationships failed, or you’ve been forced to start over in a new town. All of these are major shifts that can result in some serious discomfort in our lives. Major shifts are a gift, though, because — like a body squeezing out a splinter — these discomforts usually spit us out right where we need to be. In our discomfort, we grow. Are you uncomfortable in your life? It’s time to make a choice and act on that choice.

Missing out on joy

Do you feel like all the joy has gone missing from your life? No matter how challenging things get, we should always be able to come back to core parts of ourselves (and our lives) that bring joy. If there’s no foundation of immovable joy in your life, then it could be a sign that it’s time to make change. Do you need to turn the direction of your life around? Do you need to start somewhere where you’re more present and attached?

What to do when you come to a fork in the road.

So what do you do when you come to a fork in the road? Do you close your eyes and say a prayer? Do you leap and hope that the net will appear? Do you dwell on potential regrets? None of these things are helpful if we aren’t first sure of who we are and what we want. The decisions we make now need to align with the future we want for our ideal selves.

1. Consider all the angles

Before you leap into action or go flying over the edge of the cliff, take your time considering all the angles. We can’t just make a rushed decision based on how we feel right now in the present moment. Choosing another path in life is one which time, internal comparison, and consideration. You need to consider what your best options are and compare them against what you want from your future.

Consider all the potential angles of your decision. What are the pros? What are the cons? What path potentially has the biggest rewards, and what path potentially has the biggest chance of failure? You need to consider the big picture, and what the payoff could be 10, 20, or 30 years down the line.

Don’t select something simply for the “right now”. You need to be aware of your needs and what your vision is for the future as well. The choices we make now feed into the quality of life we have later down the road. Set the tone now. Choose the path that looks most likely to take you in the long-term direction of where you need to go. That doesn’t mean it’s the easiest path, but it doesn’t mean it has the best chance of providing you with the life you want.

2. Keep your wellbeing in focus

As you tread through the waters of pros-and-cons, make sure that you are always keeping your own wellbeing in focus. Too often, we allow ourselves to veer off track as we go chasing the dreams that other people tell us we should chase. Those dreams don’t always equate to our happiness, though, nor should they. We have to make sure we’re choosing the best path for our happiness and not hiding in the shadows of someone else’s desires.

Not matter what decision you make, ensure that you are doing what’s right for you and not just what someone else has told you to do. Those around us may think they know best, but we are the only ones who truly know where our heart and our passion lies.

Keep your wellbeing in focus. Don’t make a decision simply because society, or a parent, told you it was the right thing to do. Make a decision because it’s the right decision for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Make a decision because it’s going to make your life easier and bring your future peace. All through the decision-making process, keep your wellbeing in focus. Any decision you make should feel good inside and out (even if it’s a little scary).

3. Phone a friend

So many of us move through life in bullheaded determination to do it all on our own. We view ourselves as islands and take on more responsibility and work than we can handle — then collapse when it all comes crashing down. That’s not the way to live a happy life, and it doesn’t have to be the way you make your impending decision. You are surrounded by loved ones and friends for a reason. Reach out and let them be the support you need.

Reach out to your closest friends and loved ones. Tell them what’s going on and ask them for advice. Asking for this information doesn’t mean you have to take it as gospel or even act upon it. Simply listen to their ideas and look for new ideas of your own. How did they overcome and thrive when they were faced with choosing which way to go?

Beyond seeking advice, though, lean on them for support. Our loved ones can be a bottomless source of motivation and inspiration when we’re going through the challenges of life. They see us in ways that we can’t see ourselves, and that reflection can be invaluable when we’re seeking to make a decision that will change the course of our lives forever. When you’re scared — reach out. When you’re unsure — reach out. Allow other people to help you.

4. Believe you can get it right

Too many of us expect ourselves to fail. We exist in these low states of miserable self-esteem, and we walk around detonating our lives through self-sabotage and toxic relationships. How are you going to choose the right path in life when you don’t even trust yourself to get it right with a partner or at work? That’s precisely the trick. You have to know you’ll get it right eventually and trust yourself to get there.

Believe you can get it right and establish some faith in yourself. Until you believe in your skills and abilities, you’ll never have the courage to manifest them. We are the number one fan that we need cheering from the sidelines. Everyone else is extra. Believe in yourself and you will find that you have the ability to get it right.

Stop watering yourself down for other people. Stop limiting your dreams or the opportunities you pursue because you expect yourself to fail. Sure, you’re going to get some things wrong. Literally every single person on this planet does. Embrace your imperfection and know that by pursuing what you want, you’ll eventually get it right. Life is a learning sport. There’s always new challenges to overcome, but you’ve got them all beat.

5. Choose to align with the future

Every moment of every day, we are setting ourselves up for the future. The choices you make (or don’t make) right now in this present moment will have an effect on everything you do moving forward. Now that’s a good thing and a bad thing. If you are someone who’s lost in a world someone else has made, this creates anxiety and panic. When you’re someone who always makes choices that are aligned to their future, though, things start to change.

Instead of picking what might feel best for right now, choose the option that aligns best with the person you want to become or the future you want to build. We should always have our future goals in sight. We should always be looking to become that person that we dream of day and night.

Make a choice that aligns with your future. Imagine that future you were standing in the moment alongside you. What would they choose? What decisions would they make for their own future? What choices led them to becoming that person you so badly want to be? Cultivate a vision and then pursue that vision as you approach the fork in the road. Which way is the course of your life flowing? Listen to the future when it calls to you.

Putting it all together…

At some point in this life, we all come to a fork in the road. We’re faced with a major decision or a major change that could bring us great happiness, or potential distress. How do you handle the major decisions in your life? Do you manage these crossroads with grace? Or do you panic and detach? The only way to get the life you want is by manifesting it through action and an awareness of self.

Consider all the angles before making a leap. What path will lead you in the direction of the future you’re trying to build? Which path has the highest chance of success? And which has the highest chance of failure? Keep your wellbeing in focus, no matter what choice you may decide to make. You have to make a decision based on what’s right for you, not what’s right for others. Reach out to your friends and loved ones for support. Take their advice, but mostly rely on them for encouragement and motivation. You can handle whatever challenges come next, so believe in yourself. You can get it right. Take action and choose the path that is going to lead you toward the future version of yourself that you can love and celebrate.

  • Juliusson, E., Karlsson, N. and Gärling, T., 2005. Weighing the past and the future in decision making. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 17(4), pp.561–575.

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