This is a very nuanced topic, but something I have a lot of experience with so I'd like to share my thoughts.
I will start by saying that I don't have the right answers for you. Only you can know what's right for you. My hope is that my experience of navigating this territory will provide a more detailed map so that you can more effectively arrive at your destination and enjoy the journey along the way.
In my experience, just as nature has cycles and seasons, so too does life. And for this reason, it can be helpful to study the cycles of nature so that you can better understand the cycles that pervade life and ultimately this whole experience -- as we are a direct product of and in connection with nature and the Universe as a whole.
The only difference is us humans have been endowed with the unique ability to consciously choose against our nature..
Consequently, we've been indoctrinated into ways of living and ways of thinking that are linear instead of cyclical.
"You're either getting better or you're getting worse."
"Progress at all costs."
Personally, I've found that the more I align myself to the nature of Nature, the more in tune I am with the natural rhythms in life. Some seasons are fast while others are slow. Some seasons are spent deepening my roots while others are spent enjoying the fruits of my labor. Some seasons are for planning; some are for execution; some are for celebration; and some or for rest and reflection.
Some cycles are short while others may span years, decades, and even lifetimes. And there can even be many micro cycles within one macro cycle.
But how do you know when it's time for one season to end and another to begin? How do you know if it's time to make some changes or if you just need to stay the course?
In my experience, the first step is to allow yourself to be open to the possibility of change. Too often we become fixated to one season or one way of living or one way of being that may have served its purpose at the time, but no longer is supportive of our growth.
Change is inevitable, but you get to choose if you resist it or not. Allowing the space and giving yourself permission to be willing to change if needed is the crucial first step that is so often neglected.
Beyond this, it really just comes down to (re)connecting with your heart center and navigating life through that space. Your head (thinking) is an amazing tool to keep you moving on your journey, but your heart knows the way.
Sometimes it's necessary to switch directions before you even get going or when it seems like you're at the height of your success. Sometimes it's necessary to stay on the course even when it's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life and it seems like almost any other path would be much easier and efficient.
I've realized that while the head is typically concerned with ease and efficiency, the heart is concerned with what's going to help you grow into who you have the potential to be.
So the questioned I've learned to ask is not what's the easiest path; but rather what's going to lead to the most growth?
Often this is the very thing we're most afraid of. And no amount of weighing the "pros and cons" or rationality is going to be able to tell us what the right decision at any particular moment. In most cases, you're either damned if you do or damned if you don't.
Another sign that it might be time to change is that what was once working is no longer working, and (this is the kicker) it seems like the reasons for it not working are things that are "outside of your control."
Remember: your unconscious will meet you on the outside to the extent you're not conscious of it on the inside.
Either way, and lastly, recognize that all change starts with you. As you change it may be necessary to physically change your external appearance and environment to match your internal state. The reverse is also true: if you're experiencing many external changes, it may be time to change your internal state to match.
All while remembering that change is inevitable. And no matter how difficult or fruitful one season may have been, day follows night and night follows day and summer follows winter to be greeted by winter again.
The answer to every question is implicit in the asking. You always know what the right answer is; and to the extent that you don't is the tension that provides the charge that becomes your opportunity for growth.
Intention is dreaming matter into tension,