You can learn how to change your life and live the life of your dreams. It might not seem possible, but it is.
If you look around, there is always someone in the world who grew up in a similar place, time, and situation as you but managed to change their life for the better.
But the fact that you can change your life doesn’t mean that it’s easy.
More times than I can count, I’ve made big changes in my life. And every time I changed my mind, my job, or the country I lived in, I learned the same thing: to really change my life, I had to change myself first.
Not as easy as it sounds, right?
Still, this is the book for you if you want to get motivated, be your own boss, or, say, move to Italy, learn Italian, fall in love, and open a restaurant.
How to Make Big Changes
Step 1: Decide to make a change.
Even though it may seem obvious, this is probably the hardest part of changing your life.
During my travels, I’ve talked to a lot of people who say they want to make big changes in their lives, but they never seem to. Why is that?
Because changing your life is hard. It’s really hard.
In fact, changing your life might be the hardest and most painful thing you ever do.
My friend had an epiphany and said, “Oh my God – if I want to change my life, I have to change my life.”
This can be very scary at first.
Depending on why you want to change your life, your dreams might lead you to move to a city or country where you don’t know anyone. If you want to make room for new friends, you may have to let go of old ones. Or maybe you’ll have to give up a steady job for the ups and downs of being your own boss.
In other words, if you want to change your life, you have to make some hard choices. So, how much do you really want to change? What are you willing to do, and what are you willing to give up, to make it happen?
Once you make up your mind to change your life no matter what, almost anything is possible.
Step 2: Get used to being uncomfortable.
If you want to learn how to make big changes in your life, you’ll have to leave your comfort zone. Getting better is all about going beyond what you’ve done before.
You have to start something new.
Jimi Hendrix’s bass guitarist, Billy Cox, once said, “Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone.”
So, make it a habit to step outside of your comfort zone whenever you can. For instance:
- Don’t place two orders of the same food.
- Listen to music from different styles.
- Watch documentaries that open your eyes.
- Join a challenge to get fit.
- Try another way to get home.
- Send a message to someone you haven’t talked to in years.
- Accept change everywhere you go.
Step 3: Figure out why you want to change.
When figuring out how to change your life, it’s often easier to start by figuring out what you don’t want before looking at what you do want.
So, write down the things you don’t like about your life.
Do you hate your job? Do you usually dislike where you live, who you hang out with, or how you feel? Do you want to get rid of bad habits or change bad situations?
Don’t think about these things too much or let them bring you down. Write them down and move on quickly to the next step.
Step 4: Figure out what you want to change.
Now it’s time to think outside the box: How do you want your life to change? Perhaps you’d like to:
- Start a company
- Change where you live.
- Change jobs.
- Go traveling
- Make new friends
- Start something new.
- Let go of the past and stop putting things off.
- Get more sure of yourself.
- Follow a routine in the morning.
Whatever it is, as soon as you have an idea, there may be a voice in your head that tells you all the reasons why your idea is “stupid,” “unrealistic,” or “will never work.”
Don’t pay attention to it. This voice doesn’t like change.
Anything can happen. Madonna once said, “No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”
Step 5: Figure out what might hold you back.
Next, think about any habits, thoughts, or people that could stop you from making changes in your life. As an example:
- Do you procrastinate?
- Do you have a problem with sugar, alcohol, social media, porn, or games?
- Do you put yourself down by saying bad things to yourself?
Are there people in your life who are negative and make you not want to try?
- If you’re having trouble seeing what could stop you from changing your life, ask a close friend or family member you trust for help.
Know what could go wrong so you can avoid it. Again, don’t spend too much time thinking about the bad things. Just write them down and move on to the next step.
Step 6: Pick your “One Thing”
When you’re learning how to completely change your life, it’s important to remember that it won’t happen all at once.
If you try to make too many changes at once, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed, burn out, and then go back to the way you’ve always done things.
What you should do is: Focus on one big change, such as moving to a new city or getting a new job. Or just pick one “keystone habit” to break.
A keystone is the middle stone in an arch that holds all the other stones together. Keystone habits help people form other habits that are similar.
Charles Duhigg says in his book The Power of Habit that exercise is a powerful keystone habit:
“Most of the time, people who exercise start eating better and work better. They smoke less and are more patient with their family and coworkers. They use their credit cards less often and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a habit that changes a lot of other things.”
Giving thanks is another example of a keystone habit.
Emmons and McCullough did a study in 2003 that found that keeping a daily gratitude journal can make us feel better, help us sleep better, ease physical pain, and, get this, make us more open to change.
What big change or key habit are you going to work on first?
Step 7: Make your goal SMART.
Here’s what’s up: Set a SMART goal if you want to reach your goal:
Specified: Make it clear what your goal is.
Set a deadline so you’ll know when you’ve reached your goal.
Make sure your goal is something you can do in the time you have.
Set a goal that will help you make the changes you want in your life.
Time-bound: Give yourself a deadline to push you to reach your goal.
Instead of saying, “I want to start a business,” you could make a SMART goal like:
“I will start a dropshipping business and make my first sale (something that can be measured) within one month (Time-bound and Achievable). I’m dedicated to this goal because I want to make more money, give myself more power, and learn something new.”
Then, use your smart goal as a way to find your way. If you get lost, keep going back to your SMART goal to get back on track and make a change in your life.
Step 8: Get ready for storms
Deepak Chopra, a spiritual teacher and author, once said, “All great changes are preceded by chaos,”
To put it another way, you may get stressed out and tired of trying all the time. There may be voices in your head that say things like, “you’ll never change,” “I’ll do it later,” and “what’s the point anyway?” And there may be people in your life who want to keep you from changing.
In the end, things are going to get worse.
So, if you really want to change your life for the better, get ready for the storms before they hit.
For example, you could join an online community of people who want to make the same change you do. This way, when you need more help, you can get it. You could also make a vision board to keep you focused on your goals.
You can also get rid of things that make you do bad things so you don’t fall into bad habits. For example, if you want to eat better and get in shape, you could get rid of all the unhealthy food in your house.
Even though no strategy can replace your inner motivation and drive, you can help your future self ride out the storms until clarity and motivation return.
Step 9: Enlist the help of your friends and family
Nobody does anything great by themselves.
Don’t forget that you need the help of other people as you learn how to change your life for the better.
You also have to deal with people who actively hold you back or try to stop you from making changes in your life. As the writer John Eliot said, “Take someone off your guest list as soon as they tell you to be “realistic.”
Look, most people won’t like it when you start making changes in your life. That doesn’t make them bad people, though. Remember that change is scary, unsettling, and uncomfortable.
Still, if you want to change your life, you may need to protect yourself from people who unintentionally try to pull you back to your old self.
So, if you change your life, you may have to change your friends.
“If you hang out with chickens, you’re going to cluck, and if you hang out with eagles, you’re going to fly,” said motivational coach Steve Maraboli.
Don’t forget that the people you spend time with have a huge effect on your life, no matter what you do.
Do what’s right.
Step 10: Stay the Course
Let’s be honest: if you try to figure out how to change your life in 30 days, you won’t be able to do so in a meaningful way.
People who do well tend to think ahead.
Bill Gates, who helped start Microsoft, said, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” In other words, Gates doesn’t think in terms of days, weeks, months, or even years. He thinks in terms of decades.
So, buckle up for a long ride and be patient.
Also, pay attention to the steps, not the end result. Here’s what I mean: If you want to climb Mount Everest and all you think about is reaching the top, you’ll never make it. Don’t worry about getting to the top. Instead, spend your time training, preparing, and climbing, which can take years.
If you take it one step at a time, or one keystone habit at a time, you’ll get there in the end.
Questions about “How to Change Your Life”
How do I start to make changes?
One of the easiest ways to start changing your life is to think about and decide what you don’t want it to become. Then you can figure out what needs to change (e.g., a new job, a new relationship, or a new way of eating) to stop that from happening. By getting rid of the bad things in your life, you may get closer to the life you want, even if you don’t know exactly what that is.
Why is changing your life so important?
In the end, the best chance of getting the life you want is to change yourself. Even though it’s not easy to change your life, the best way to get the life you want is to change the things you can. Since you only get one, you might as well work hard to make it what you want.
How to Make Things Better in Your Life
It’s not hard to learn how to change your life for the better. But actually making changes in your life and in yourself is much harder.
Here are 10 steps to take if you want to completely change your life:
- Make up your mind to change your life no matter what.
- Step out of your comfort zone and get used to being uncomfortable.
- Figure out what you want to change in your life.
- Figure out how you want your life to change.
- Find everything that could stop you from making changes in your life.
- Pick one big change or habit that you want to break.
- Set a SMART goal to keep you on track.
- Prepare for hard times now to help your future self stick with the plan.
- Find ways to deal with difficult people and get the people in your life on your side.
- Think about the long run, have patience, and pay attention to the process, not the results. Lastly, don’t wait to start.