Why It’s Totally Okay to Change the Direction of Your Life in the Pursuit for Happiness

Why It's Okay to Change Your Mind

The other week I was curled up in bed at 10pm (okay, 8.30pm) reading Stylist magazine’s brilliant new book, Life Lessons From Remarkable Women. The stylish little hardback contains 25 “tales of triumph, failure and learning” from incredible, accomplished women – including Bobbi Brown, Pandora Sykes and Katie Piper – and it’s the perfect motivational read to dip in-and-out of.

I was in the middle of Laura Jane Williams‘ essay, ‘The Art of Loving Yourself’, when a paragraph practically jumped off the page and slapped me in the face. It was like a gift from the universe. And I knew it contained a truth I needed to acknowledge, because as soon as I read Laura’s words I paused, read them again, then reached for my phone and copied the quote down in full. Here is what Laura Jane Williams wrote…

“Don’t make life more difficult than it is. The biggest lie we tell each other is that if it’s a struggle, it’s probably worth it. That hard work means a better payoff. That if it’s ‘too easy’, it can’t be real. That’s bullshit. What if we believed life wanted us to be happy? Because she does. Life wants us to have all that our heart has dreamed of, and more. If you’re pushing for something and it isn’t making you content, ask yourself: ‘Am I doing this because I must, or because I want to?'” – Laura Jane Williams

Single in Your Thirties


Why It’s Okay to Change Your Mind

Those are some truly powerful words, right?

If you’re pushing for something and it isn’t making you content, ask yourself: ‘Am I doing this because I must, or because I want to?’

I think this soundbite resonated so deeply with me because I often forget it’s totally okay to change your mind and take your life in a completely unexpected direction.

Your twenties are a confusing decade, because it feels like you’re constantly discovering something new about yourself. Just when you think you’ve finally peeled back all the layers, another quirk, fear or passion presents itself. And, as a result, it’s only natural that the goals you were striving towards in your early twenties no longer feel relevant (or fulfilling) as you approach your thirties.

Developing the clarity to re-evaluate your path as you progress through life – and the courage to change course when you sense you’re on the wrong track – is a skill we all have to nurture. And Laura Jane Williams’ wise words brought to mind two other quotes by my favourite writers:

“Don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I’ve had four careers and three husbands.” – Nora Ephron

“Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.” – Cheryl Strayed

Ella Gregory Coco's Tea Party

And the best thing about Laura Jane Williams’ advice is doesn’t just work with the BIG life choices. It can also be applied to smaller, everyday thought-processes. Like whether you continue to pursue the guy who always takes days to text you back; or equate your value to the amount of “likes” your Instagram photos generate.

So next time you’re stubbornly hustling for something that makes you completely and utterly miserable, remember these words…

The biggest lie we tell each other is that if it’s a struggle, it’s probably worth it. That hard work means a better payoff. That if it’s ‘too easy’, it can’t be real. That’s bullshit.

Laura Jane Williams has cracked the code to happiness. And it’s simple: “life wants us to have all that our heart has dreamed of, and more.” So step out of your comfort zone. Make a change (big, or small. And go and find your joy!

So now it’s time for you to have your say and explain why it’s okay to change your mind. Have you recently waved goodbye to something that wasn’t making you happy? And how did you find the courage to make a change? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts…

P.S. Inside my struggle with perfectionism