Well, actually, you do have to spend things. Time, money, energy. But it’s worth it. (And, yes, I totally chose that title to try and increase my as-of-yet-nonexistent SEO rankings. So what?!)
My very short but worthwhile guide to turning your world upside down (in a good way) in 6 months:
- Get dumped by your boyfriend of five years. (Bonus points if it’s for the second – or, gasp, third – time. It should sink in this time. Extra bonus points if you find out he was chasing other skirts. It should really sink in this time.)
- Write down five specific goals you want to accomplish in the next 12 months. Think big. Don’t worry about the logistics. Don’t censor yourself. Then, get detailed and write what it would really look like to achieve those goals. All of the tiny actions that would lead to them. How you’d feel. What you’d see around you. Go soul deep, even if it brings up doubts. Then, start checking in on those goals every month. Write about them. Figure out where you’re slacking. Make changes. (Be a good student!)
- Say yes and sign up. For happy hour. For weekend trips. For classes. For a sports team. You’ll feel like a lonely turd when people go, “Oh, are you here because you’re new to the city?” And you’re like, “No, been here for a while. Just trying to shake things up.” But, then, pretty soon, you will have shaken things up. And those new people around you will be wise and fun and wonderful (and gentle with your fragile emotions).
- Quit your job. I’m not going to say this one’s required, but I will say it’s necessary if you realize you’re no longer growing or being challenged – and don’t have an opportunity to, even when you lay it all out. People will raise their eyebrows at you. There will be questions about security and being smart and how will you ever afford insurance. Smile politely and ignore them. You’re taking charge of your destiny here, and you will figure it out.
- Devise a plan. That’s right. Don’t quit your job without something else motivating and challenging lined up. Quitting without a plan is reckless (especially in this economy, blah blah blah). Quitting with a solid plan is empowering as hell. (And it doesn’t need to be a new job. Just a new direction. Something concrete that’ll feed your passions.)
- Go running. Or biking. Or climbing. Or yoga’ing. Just get moving. Your head will be a mess of ideas and worries and wonderings while you’re figuring out your plan, and sweating it out really helps.
- Don’t re-sign your lease. (This could also be titled Sell your car or Cash in your bond.) You need a bit of solvency. I mean CASH MONEY, PEOPLE! What you’re about to do likely costs money. You’re probably scared about this part. Maybe you’ve always been financially responsible and dumping a bunch of money in a new direction feels rash. Or maybe you’ve never had much of a savings to speak of, and it feels like a bad move to put that savings on hold any longer. Stop. Realize there are ways to get a hold of a little bundle of cash. When you’re no longer paying monthly rent? Well, now you’re paying yourself. When you sell some belongings? Hey, that’s money. When you take on freelance projects on the side? Money, money, money. If you paid attention to tip #2, you’ll be okay once you get here.
- Buy a plane ticket. This is another non-required step, but one I wouldn’t underestimate. (I’m a big fan of seeing new vistas, especially when your life is in transition.) Maybe the plane ticket is part of your New Plan, maybe it’s just a short side trip on the way. Whatever the case, get out of your comfort zone. Have a new experience, grow a little more.
- Start talking about it. Yep, it’s time to make this shit real. Up until now, you’ve probably not shared your plans broadly. Either because you haven’t been certain you’re moving forward with them, or because talking about them could jeopardize them in one way or another (e.g. if you want to quit your job at a particular time, you usually have to wait to make that public). Now, test the waters. Tell a few people. See how they react. More importantly, notice how you react. It might bring up a lot of giddiness, as well as some fresh doubts. Sit with those, walk ’em out.
- Learn to not give a fuck. Really, truly, it’s time. You might have a gift of dancing to your own beat already, but most of us think we do, then secretly care an awful heck of a lot about pleasing people. We get wrapped up in what other people think, if they approve, and it colors what we do and say and feel. Well, it’s time to let go. I don’t mean to suggest you’re going to turn into a cranky, smelly cave-dweller who throws tantrums and tells everybody to mind their own business, but you are going to disengage from other people’s opinions. Be honest. Tell them what you really think. (It might feel prickly at first, but they’ll appreciate you for not brown nosing.) Be confident in your decisions. Trust yourself, damnit. You’ve. got. this.
- Get excited. As your new plans and new goals start to come together, stay present. It’s awfully tempting to play the What if? game and mentally jump ahead to where you’ll be next week or next month, wondering how your life will change, who you’ll become. Hold up, sista. Relish the now. It’s a pretty trippy time, isn’t it? Savor how it feels to be right on the edge of something new. Realize how lucky you are to be taking the reins. Get all warm and fuzzy and stinkin’ proud of your accomplishments.
- Take the leap. BOOM. Do it. Follow through. Wave goodbye. Wave hello. This is your life, you goofy, brilliant, crazy fucker. :)
I realize I still haven’t told you what MY LEAP is, but I’ll be writing about it very soon. Stay tuned.