Steps to Take Before You Leap

Prevention Magazine . March, 2005
How to prepare for a major decision

Buying a house? Trying for a baby? Taking a new job in a different city? Stop and think before you go ahead with your plan. Follow these four steps to make sure you’re fully prepared to deal with your big change:

Take your time.

There aren’t hard-and-fast rules about how long to wait in different situations, but consider: How difficult would your decision be to reverse, or if it were irreversible, how would it change the course of your life if it turns out to have an undesired outcome?

Get data before making your decision.

If you want to get pregnant or adopt a child in your late 40s, for example, get a reality check by listening to the experience of older mothers who have preschoolers. They’ll help you evaluate the pros and cons.

Assess the risk.

Some choices are riskier than others. You can always sell a house for less money than you paid for it without necessarily compromising your future. But the birth of a child, especially if you’re older, will upend your life for decades—and there’s no turning back.

Honor your emotions.

If your mind says “go,” but your gut says “wait,” let them catch up to each other before you make a leap.

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