We all dream of improving ourselves and improving our lives. We talk about traveling down the path of self-discovery and self-realization. Yet, many of us seem to find “reasons” to push it off and never get started. So how can we overcome this procrastination and avoidance and finally change our lives for the better?
Here are 30 simple and practical steps you can take to effectively change your life for the better.
Surround Yourself With the Right People
Whether it’s family, friends or work colleagues, you want to associate with people who respect and appreciate you. People who challenge you to improve various aspects of your life. People who bring out the best in you, challenge you to change the worst in you, make you feel alive and who will stand by your side during tough times.
Face Your Problems
Your problems don’t define you. How you react to them, however, defines and shapes you. Avoiding your problems won’t make them magically disappear. You must take action. Do your very best every time, take responsibility for your choices and accept the outcome. Things won’t change overnight but by taking small, conscious steps in the right direction you’ll eventually make progress.
Be Honest With Yourself
Recognize the things you’re doing right and the things you need to change. Be honest about the changes you want to make in your life and the person you want to be. It’s hard work but absolutely necessary because you need to be able to rely on yourself for the rest of your life. Do some introspection and search for the answers that lie in you. As you start to uncover your true desires, you’ll have a better understanding of your present and your past. This will make it easier for you to move forward and get to where you want to be.
Make Your Happiness A Priority
Start prioritizing your needs. If you don’t value yourself, or don’t look out for your needs or don’t stand up for yourself, you’re heading down the path of self-destruction. Taking care of your needs is not selfish. In order to help those around you, you must help yourself first. Only then are you grounded enough to be of service to those around you.
Trying to be anyone other than your true self is a disservice to you and those around you. Be you. Be proud, but not arrogant, when it comes to your strengths, beauty and other gifts. Always strive to be the best version of you. Never compromise your values and principles just to please others because each time you do, you’re lying to yourself and giving away a piece of your true self.
Enjoy The Moment
The present moment is a gift. This exact moment is the only thing that is guaranteed. This exact moment is when life is happening. Anything else that is to come is in the future, unknown and without a guarantee. Stop living in the past and stop telling yourself that you’ll be happy in the future. Work on being happy in the present moment because your life is unfolding right now, as you read this.
Appreciate The Difficult Lessons You’ve Learned
Everyone makes mistakes. No one’s perfect or flawless. Mistakes are the stepping stones of progress. If you’re really giving it your all, stepping outside of your comfort and opening yourself up to learning, you’re bound to fail from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up. Recognize that you’re human, dust yourself off and try again. Every time you fall and stand back up, you become stronger. By so doing you overcome your fears and actually fulfill your desires.
Speak Kindly To Yourself
Watch the words you use towards yourself. Would you use those same words towards someone you love? If the answer is no, then change things. Start treating yourself with kindness and in accordance with how you want others to treat. Remember, you set the standards and you must love yourself before anyone else can love you.
Appreciate What You Already Have
Do you find yourself thinking “I’ll be happy once I lose 20 pounds,” or when you change jobs or move to the right zip code? All of these thoughts rely on external things to make you happy. And when you finally do relocate to that new zip code, you may not find it to be all that impressive. Rather than delaying your happiness, start appreciating who you are and where you are right now. Each morning take a quiet moment to appreciate how far you’ve already come in life.
Take Charge Of Your Happiness
Choose to smile right now. Because you can. Choose to be happy right now. Because you can. Choose to be content with what you have right now. Because you can. That’s how much power you have over your own life. So, exercise that power and start turning things around. You can find happiness just about anywhere you look. You just have to choose to see it.
Start Taking Chances
In life, the only way to know how something will turn out is to give it a try. Not doing anything guarantees that you will get nothing! So if there’s a business idea you’ve been wanting to try, now’s the time to give it a shot. Whether you succeed or not, you will learn a lot and the lessons will be priceless.
Believe That You Have What It Takes
You’ve come so far already. You’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. You have everything you need right now to take the next step toward the life you’re seeking. Welcome the opportunities and challenges that come your way because they are gifts that will ultimately help you grow.
Start New Relationships For The Right Reasons
Your relationships influence and shape you. As you make new friends or get into a romantic relationship, choose people who are dependable and honest. People who reflect the person you want to be. People who love and respect you and whom you love and respect as well. Pay close attention to people’s actions because they really do speak louder than words.
Let Go Of Old Friends And Welcome New Ones
As you make changes in your life, your values and priorities will change. This may mean that you have to let go of old friends who no longer align with your new values. This is inevitable. But also know that as old friendships fade, new ones emerge. In either case try not to resist what is happening. Just stay open and appreciative. Welcome the change as an opportunity to learn and to meet someone that might change your life forever.
Set High Standards For Yourself
Competing against other people is futile. They have a different purpose and destiny. Focus on your purpose and destiny. Start competing against yourself. Always challenge yourself to be a better version of yourself. Break your own personal records.
If someone in your circle is making progress in any aspect of their life, congratulate them. Cheer them on. The more you can appreciate another person’s success, the more people will also return the favor and start cheering you on as you make progress. It’s about paying it forward.
Always Look For the Silver Lining
No doubt, there will be some gut-wrenching periods in your life. That’s when it pays to stay calm, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining. No matter how thin the lining, it’s always there! Remind yourself that you’ve been through hardships before and you survived. So you can survive this one too. Focus on your blessings and accomplishments thus far.
Forgive Yourself And Others
Being hurt by your own decisions is a very tough reality to face. So is being hurt by others. And while the pain you experience in both cases is legitimate, we can sometimes carry it around for too long. We relive the pain over and over in our mind, refusing to let it go. The only way out is forgiveness. It doesn’t mean you forget or ignore the past. It means you let go of the resentment and pain, choosing instead to learn from the experience. This is what will allow you to move on.
Help Those Around You
Start putting more energy toward others and figuring out how you can help them. How you can use the tough lessons you’ve learned to benefit someone other than yourself. The more you give freely and generously to others, the more they will want to do the same for you.
Trust Your Inner Voice
Although you have a trusted network of people around you, always comes back to your intuition. Always set aside some quiet time during which you can tune in to yourself and listen to your deepest desires and your inner guide.
Slow Down And Monitor Your Stress Levels
When you get busy, take a moment to breathe slowly and deeply. Take a break from whatever you’re doing and clear your head even if it’s just for a few minutes. When you’re at your busiest, a quick break can re-energize you and increase your productivity. Taking several mini breaks throughout the day helps you regain focus to make sure actions and decisions are in line with your goals.
Appreciate The Beauty In The Small Things
You can spend your life waiting for big events to happen – marriage, big promotion, winning the lottery – in order to be happy. Or you can start to find joy in small things like watching the sunrise on a fall morning as you sip on a fresh cup of organic coffee. Or the joy of watching old Charlie Brown episodes with your best friend as you discuss your favorite characters. Making time for these small pleasures each day and taking the time to appreciate them makes a big difference in the quality of your life.
Embrace “Less Than Perfect”
Let go of the notion of “perfect”. Because it’s just that: a notion. Real life isn’t perfect. Learning to accept this less than perfect reality will make it much easier for you to navigate life and see the beauty in all things. There’s no benefit in fighting what is. This doesn’t mean you have to accept mediocrity either. It’s about valuing and appreciating life even when it’s not exactly as you’d like.
Work On Your Goals Every Damn Day!
Before you can run you have to walk. Before you can walk you have to crawl. Every little step counts. So whatever it is that you want out of life, start taking those little steps. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get there. Nothing worth having comes easily. It takes consistency. The good thing is that the harder you work the luckier you will become. But you must get started.
Be Honest About Your Feelings
If you’re having a bad day and are totally down in the depths of depression, give yourself the time and space to feel everything that is going through you. But don’t keep it locked in. Talk to someone you trust. Open up. Let them listen. Just by talking about it you’ll gain more clarity and start to feel better.
Own Your Choices And Decisions
It’s not easy admitting that you haven’t always made the best choices in life. But doing so is the first step toward making sure you make better decisions in the future. You must take responsibility for your life, otherwise someone else will. And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their notions, values and concepts. You won’t have a say in anything. So take ownership of your life, your mistakes and your obstacles. Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of servitude.
Nurture Your Most Important Relationships
Make a point of telling those you care about just how much they mean to you. Do it on a regular basis. Don’t wait for a birthday or other special occasion to come around before you do. It will bring more joy to their life and to yours. Remember this is for those select few who really matter to you. Treat them like royalty.
Focus On What You Can Actually Change
Not everything is within your control. But many things are. Rather than dwell on what you cannot control, shift your time and energy to the things you can affect. Doing the opposite will simply make you frustrated and miserable.
“Think positive” may sound simplistic but the mind must first believe that something is possible before it can actually execute on it. So make a conscious effort to counter negative thoughts and emotions. Replace all your internal negative talk with positive affirmations. Focus on what you do want instead of what you don’t want. Repeat these affirmations over and over so that you brain starts to believe it. You have the power to build your future and it starts with your thoughts and beliefs.
Recognize How Wealthy You Already Are
Henry David Thoreau once said, ‘Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.’ When times get tough, it’s important to take a step back and get some perspective. Do you have a roof over your head? Yes. Do you have food in your stomach? Yes. Are you healthy? Yes. Do you have water to drink? Yes. Did you have a pair of shoes to wear today? Yes. Many people don’t have these basics and for them all of that is wealth. Be grateful for all that you currently have and you will be blessed with even more.