Admit it. You've been contemplating a small, medium, or biiiiig life change in your head for awhile.
Maybe you want to quit your job and find another that suits you better.
Maybe you want to move to a new place.
Maybe you want to start a business.
Maybe you want to start working out regularly, or start running, or train for a triathlon.
Those are great goals. (spoiler alert, 3 of the 4 are/were mine, so of course they're great goals ;) )
Why haven't you started working on your goals yet? What is holding you back?
Is it Fear of the Unknown?
If you're scared of taking the plunge into a new venture, I'm here to tell you that it's never going to get any easier to start than it is RIGHT NOW. Yes, doing something new is really scary. Yes, it's going to suck to tell your boss and coworkers that you're quitting. Yes, moving away from your family is going to be really, really hard. But no matter when you quit your job or move away from home, it's always going to suck. Staying put an extra month isn't going to make it any easier. In fact, I think staying put an extra week, month, or year is only going to make it harder to eventually make the plunge. You'll put down more roots. You'll accept more positions at work. You'll make more friends. It's going to be more difficult the longer you wait.
You know what the great thing is? Most big life changes are reversible. If you quit your job, you can find a new one. If you move to a new state, you can always move right back to where you started. If you start a business, you can shut it down if you decide you don't like it. If you start training for a marathon but discover that you hate running, you can stop and sell your bib to someone else. None of these oh-my-god-this-is-so-scary situations are permanent. (disclaimer here: if your big life change is having a baby, that one isn't really reversible... you'll be living with that one for at least 18 years ;) )
Is it Fear of Failure?
Now that we realize that none of these situations are irreversible, are you ready to take a leap of faith and try something?
No? Are you still scared? Maybe you're worried about failing. That's normal. It's embarrassing to try something and fail at it. You might try to start a vegan bubble gum company but you fail spectacularly because no one wants to buy bubble gum that tastes like tofu and beans. That's okay though. Do you know what's worse than failure? Not trying.
You're never going to look back on your life say "man, I'm still so embarrassed that everyone hated my company". You're going to remember the good stuff. You're going to remember the fact that you quit your job and tried out something new, no matter how scary it was to leave the security of a job. You're going to remember the feeling when you first became your own boss. You're going to remember that the next time you tried to start up a business, you used all the information you learned in the bubble gum company and that your second venture became a smashing success.
Is it Too Late?
Alright, maybe you aren't scared of the unknown and maybe you aren't scared of failure. (bravo to you! can you give me some lessons?) Maybe you just think it's too late in life to try something else.
Let's take education as an example. Say you went to a great undergrad to major in accounting, then got your Masters in accounting, and after a few years in the workforce you realize that accounting actually isn't your thang. Yeah, that sucks. Yeah, you're going to be bummed that you spent so much time and money on a field that you now don't enjoy. But you know what will suck worse? If you stay in that field for the rest of your life and make yourself miserable.
Economists talk about something called a "sunk cost". Basically, a sunk cost is something that you've invested time/money/energy into but is irreversible. In our example, your education is a sunk cost. You can never go back and get your time and money and effort back from that schooling. No matter what, you've spent thousands of dollars on that education and no one is going to give you a refund. It's a sunk cost. Here's the important thing... you cannot use that sunk cost as a factor when making any future decisions.
Unfortunately, it's human nature to act upon emotions. And the fact that you spent mucho dinero on higher education for a degree that you now don't want is some huge emotional baggage. But we need to ignore the emotions and act more rationally. If we know that we're never going to get our money back, why do we take that into account when we contemplate making a major life change?
Another thing to remember is that you will never be as young as you are right this very second. Are you telling yourself that you can't change career fields because you're too old? I hate to say it, but you're never going to get any younger ;)
Just do it.
As scary as a big life change can be, the scarier thing is looking back in a few months or years and realizing that you could have done it. You could have gotten out of your job sooner. You could have moved to a new place. You could have trained for that race. But your fear won out and you didn't take the plunge. THAT, my friends... that is the scariest situation of them all.
Life is short! Don't waste a second of it talking yourself out of a decisions because you're scared.