Summary: Are you reconsidering your goals in life? What you thought you knew was right for you is no longer resonating. That's when you know it's time for a change, and there are ways of going about it.

Did it feel like you were on the right path, only for it to change and you feel lost and confused? If so, it may be time to reconsider your goals in life. You may live much of your life thinking you know what’s best for yourself. You may have found a great job, spouse, home, and so on. However, something happens and you no longer feel fulfilled. Perhaps information has come to your attention that makes you question the validity of what you were taught before, causing massive cognitive dissonance.

Young man standing at crossroads

Cognitive dissonance is when you have conflicting thoughts and actions, making you feel lost and confused. If you worked at a job that you loved and thought was making a positive impact on the world, only to uncover information that perhaps many people already knew that what you were doing was actually harming the world, people, and animals, then this creates cognitive dissonance. How could you continue to work at this job, knowing the truth about the negative impact on the world you are contributing to, and still claim to be helping the world? The truth is, you cannot. You can either live in denial and be ignorant to the facts, blocking them out and refusing to look at information, or you can face the cognitive dissonance head on.

You may have thought you were on the right path before, but now it has changed since the entire situation has changed and the information you now have helps you make a more informed decision about where to go from here. At this point, you’ll be having an internal battle to try to make sense of what you thought life was in the past, compared to how you view it now. This will take some time since you will likely feel very bad and miserable, or perhaps blaming yourself, for the damage you have unknowingly caused.

Female suffering from low self esteem, anxiety, anger issues

During this process, you’re going through a transformative phase. This is a sign of major growth and development. Instead of having so much negativity about what happened in the past, the better thing is to realize that what you did in the past, and your beliefs back then, was reasonable and justified. You made the most out of the limited information you had, and enjoyed what you did. Now that you are armed with the truth, and your goals have changed, it’s time to let the past be a learning experience. View it as a positive sign of growth and realize that you’ll get through this feeling of cognitive dissonance.

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Initially the direction you should take is unclear, as many paths open up to you. If you still have cognitive dissonance, this is where a clear direction is unclear, which is why it’s important to face the feeling head on to make the best decision that is best for you, which could be the complete opposite of what you initially thought was best.

Once you have come to terms with the path ahead, start exploring each path a little and see what one feels right. Perhaps you’re changing careers and need to learn more about your interests to see which one resonates with you the best. This is a big change, so make the most out of this time to explore your options fully. Once you have found something that works and feels right, go for it and start learning, changing, and growing.

When you’re faced with a challenge and have to reconsider your goals in life, the feeling can be overwhelming, and you may be upset with yourself for not seeing the signs earlier. However, life is about learning and growing, so instead of bringing yourself down about the mistakes you made, learn from those mistakes and venture forth with your new skills to grow and become even more successful. You are never on the wrong path in life, but you must learn from the past to grow and prosper.

Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!

Additional Info

I have had moments in my life where my entire way of life shifted and I had to make a drastic change. The feeling of uncertainty about where to go next, as well as feelings of doubt and even anger and regret consumed me. I would constantly think and ask myself why I was so dumb to not notice sooner that I was on the wrong path. However, I didn’t realize that the path I was on was right for me at the time, but shifted. I learned and paid more attention instead of being in denial.

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