How to change my life?

A man with his hand on the cheek thinking about changing his life

Do you want to make some changes to your life?

Then you may find inspiration in following words of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button screenplay adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel by Eric Roth starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett that says:

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” 

If this is indeed is your desire, here are five important steps that can help you:

1. Know yourself


First and foremost it is important to acknowledge that, just as the famous writer Ernest Hemingway once wrote :

you can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.” 

Why? You are the raw material for what you want to be.

The new you must be built by changing the old you. So you must first accurately know yourself so as to define which aspects of your behavior you would like to change.

How can this be done? Another writer C. JoyBell C. gives some insight:

The person in life that you will always be with the most is yourself. Because even when you are with others, you are still with yourself, too! When you wake up in the morning, you are with yourself, lying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself. What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself, and it's your responsibility to be that person you want to be with. I know I want to spend my life with a person who knows how to let things go, who's not full of hate, who's able to smile and be carefree. So that's who I have to be.” 

So you will have to reflect on yourself more like looking at the mirror to look for the changes needed.

After this reflection, you need to decide on what you want to be. That is the next point of discussion.

2. Decide What You Want to Be


For the changes to be worth your effort then make sure that, what you want to be is better than what you are now.

Also, make sure that this is what you want or you will be trapped in such a merry-go-round of indecisiveness.

The book Overcoming Indecisiveness, by Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin, points out:

It almost always is the decision maker and not the particular choice that makes the decision work. . . The failure of the decision has little or nothing to do with the choice. The failure is directly traceable and proportional to lack of dedicated commitment.” 

Yes, your decision to change will only succeed if it is tenaciously pursued.

For example, in most cases, decisions you make will have both positive and negative consequences. No matter what choice you make, there will be something to sacrifice.

Some sacrifices may include changing your environment or even friends. Will you be ready to make these sacrifices for your general well-being?

Why is this important to you? Let us discuss these in our next point

 3. Seek worthy associates


Much of our behavior is molded by those who we spend much of our time with. So, if you desire to make changes on yourself as a person you may be forced to make some too on your associates.

Consider what Rumiko Takahashi a manga artists did when she decided to make some changes in her life; she passed on this message to her friends:

Helloooo? I just made some changes in my life, and if I don't get back to you as soon as possible, then guess what? You were one of those changes.” 

Why not, then, find worthy associates, look for those who will be supportive of the changes you wish to make? Then, associate with them.

This might be the spark you need to turn around your life as writer Allan Hamilton states in his book The Scalpel and the Soul: Encounters with Surgery, the Supernatural, and the Power of Hope:

No one accomplishes anything in this life on his or her own. Even when we stare in awe at what might appear to be a solitary feat - like climbing to the top of a mountain alone - there is invisible support. There are loved ones at home who cherish the adventure. A mentor to teach. A colleague with whom the experience can be shared. And unseen magic too.”

It is indeed comforting to know others are willing to support you in making the necessary changes, but remember only you can make those changes.

This might not be easy as you may be addicted to your former self. Furthermore, some your former friends will undeniably not make it any easier on you.

So, how can you cope with this pressure? Let’s see this in the next point.

4. Master courage


Why is courage essential to your endeavor to change your life? Ralph Waldo Emerson, a leader of the Transcendentalist, a nineteenth century reform movement said:

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them."

Merriam-Webster defines courage as a mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

The word “venture” carries the idea of someone undertaking a risky journey or decision. Indeed, your decision to make changes is like a sailor who decides to sail through the sea.

What will he do if he encounters a storm? Lose hope and wait for the consequences or will he fight to the bitter end? Well, it all depends on what attitude he will cultivate, courage or fear.

So, master the courage to fight to the bitter end any obstacles that may occur on your path to effecting meaningful changes in your life.

One common obstacle you will certainly encounter is a relapse. Let us expand on it further.

5. Coping with Relapses


What if you suffer a relapse of your old ways? Do not give up on yourself entirely.

Do not think that this was your only chance and you blew it, and there is no hope at all.

 If you do so you may find yourself slipping into a much worse state than before you even tried to make any changes. Start by setting a goal that is within your reach.

For example, making changes for a month, a week, or even a day. At the end of each period see how far you can go without a relapse.

After a relapse renew your resolution again to change. Learn from your slip-ups and be more determined than ever before not to relapse again.

Stay with it as if you were training for an athletic race. Look to long-term results rather than immediate results.

Just as an athletic improves his time with every attempt he makes, you too can get better if you persevere in your cause. Remember your success depends on you not quitting on yourself.

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