5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Big Change

I’m normally pretty good about not making rash decisions. (If anything, I tend to wait way too long to make a decision because I want to make sure it’s perfect.) But at the beginning of the year, I found myself itching to make big changes. I never felt good about the choices; I was just bulldozing straight ahead. Then it all came crashing down and at the last minute, I trusted my gut (after a very tearful call to my mom) and ultimately backed out. I AM SO GLAD I DID. When you read Maxie’s advice, I certainly fell in the “running away from” category there.


Photo by Carter Fish

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Big Change

Guest Post by Maxie McCoy

There’s something about the downtime that we experience during these summer months of vacations, backyard BBQs, and long evenings that tends to cause a stir – within us. I find major decisions are oh so normal during this time of year because we finally get a little bit of space to breathe. And when we give ourselves that gift, so much clarity can shine through.

And clarity is important. With it, occasionally, comes truth that we can’t unsee. And when we see that truth, sometimes changes are needed. This can be changes to anything and everything that feel important to us at the time. Like, maybe a college major we don’t want to pursue anymore, an internship that we want to switch, a career path we want to take on, a relationship we want to end, a city we want to try, a lifestyle to explore… or maybe even just a major haircut!

Changes, big life ones, or just this feels significant to me now ones, can be scary. They can cause us to get super in our heads. However, with a few clarifying questions, we can analyze our change from a place of clarity rather than a place of self-doubt. One of the biggest changes of my life was to give up my apartment, give away almost everything I own, and move to Bali for most of a year. And you can be SURE this was the process that helped me (and thank goodness, because that was one of the best decisions of my life!).

Here are a few things to consider if you feel a big change brewing:

What’s your gut say?
That first feeling you had about the change, what was it? Did you listen to it or did you mask it with other thoughts, feelings, and activities? What you first felt, instinctively, when you thought about the change is often a guiding piece of information. See if you can tune back into it and see what it’s saying. And often, your body will feel a decision that your head is confused about when on the cusp of change.

Are you running towards something or away?
When your decision has major implications, and when it involves putting yourself in a new situation or with new people altogether, take the time to clarify if you’re running from something, or if you’re running to something. The latter is where we make good, powerful decisions. The former is escapism and eventually, what we’re running from will indeed catch up.

If it goes south, way south, can you deal?
Thinking about all the possible outcomes is important. And when we’re nervous about the change we’re taking on, but sure of it, a great way to deal is by thinking about the worst case scenario, if we can handle it, and what the plan would be if it did indeed happen.

Is this fear real fear or just major discomfort?
Only you can tell the difference between an intuitive warning telling you not to do something, and the fear that creeps into our mind which always comes with expansion. If you need some help handling your uncomfortable feelings that aren’t warning signs, this worksheet can help you figure out your way through the discomfort!

Is it aligned with what’s most important to you?

When you’re making a change, have you considered if the new situation you’re about to step into is getting you closer to what’s most important to you and your values? Maybe that’s flexible time, important people, financial abundance, creative freedom, adventure, etc. Assessing if it is or if it isn’t will help you make the best decision.

Big changes mean big decisions. And you’re totally going to make the best one if you take the time to intentionally contemplate it, no matter the outcome.

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This was so helpful! I just applied for a Doctorate program and it will completely change my day to day. I go back and forth between completely excited and ready to terrified. When I calm down and think about these questions, it provides so much clarity and brings me back to the excited and ready feeling.


This post was very inspirational! I recently made the decision to get out of a relationship I had invested a significant amount of time in (3.5 years), a week before we were scheduled to move in together! Making that decision was terrifying, especially because it seemed so much easier at the time to look past his *ahem* “one time infidelity” to settle into the future we had been planning for – a new apartment and an engagement down the line – than to start completely over. However, I definitely was running away from the truth that had been right in front of me for months that we just weren’t right for each other anymore (clearly), and I wasn’t being honest or fair to myself by staying.

I have since taken a job in a new city, have a fabulous apartment, and am dating someone I really care about. Change is definitely scary, but as Maxie says, it’s important to trust your gut and to consider these questions! Especially with relationships, it can be difficult to know if you’re making the right decision to end something because it seems as though most people shy away from fully talking about the issues in their relationship since it leaves you vulnerable. However, proper self-understanding can really help provide you clarity – thanks Maxie!


Completely unrelated, but your picture is getting me so pumped for fall. Too early?


I love this post. I’m in the middle of wanting to make a big change in the next year so I really need to dive in deep and think about it. It would be a new city and job so it wouldn’t be something I could do out on a whim either. Great pointers though!

Abby Rasmussen

Thank you for this!! When I’m unhappy in my life, I have a tendency to want to make a big chance and FAST. Making sure I’m not just running away from something is crucial- and something my mom always helps me see!