Knowing When to Change Course

Most likely you have had the experience of things not going as you planned or hoped. It could be a fitness plan, a mental health support plan, an educational plan. Pretty much anything. How do you know when to implement another plan, to change course?

I’ll use a couple personal examples:

  1. Several months ago I pursued a certain type of meditation. I would do this technique in the morning and in the evening. It didn’t take long to start to experience a low-level nervousness throughout my day. I was determined to keep up the plan, but after a couple weeks nothing was shifting for the better. I decided to reduce my practice to once a day. Then to every other day. Soon, I started feeling much better and was able to experience peace and calm. This change in course that I chose made all the difference.
  2. I recently began a nutrition and fitness plan. In the first week I noticed I felt stronger and I was also looking forward to my weekly weigh in. I felt so much lighter! Well, wouldn’t ya know…I got on the scale and I had gained 2 pounds in the first week. Huh?!?! I researched aka Googled to see if this was an isolated experience. In this case, I can choose to change course, tweak my program, or continue a little longer.

Now, these aren’t earth shattering examples, but you get the drift. Perhaps, your examples would be:

  • Are my coping skills helping?
  • Am I trying to make a relationship work, and it’s just not?
  • Am I doing/reading/watching things that are entertaining, and also increasing my anxiety?

Some things can be obvious. For instance, the news always stresses me out so I avoid it. I still have a basic inkling about what’s going on, but for my well-being I cannot indulge. Some things take time to ascertain what is contributing to positive or negative results. There might be several variables so you have to experiment.

I think the clue to knowing when to change course is if this “something” is not adding, and at worse, decreasing your well-being.  Weigh the benefits, is something adding to your stress, are there some improvements? While it makes sense to give it time to see if your plan is moving you in the direction you want, it isn’t helpful to continue with something that has minimal or no benefits despite your efforts.

Above all, don’t give up altogether and don’t consider yourself a failure. Most things in life take time to learn. I like these two quotes by Thomas Edison:

“Nothing is impossible. We merely don’t know how to do it yet.”


“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.”

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