Do you ever wonder why some people’s lives just seem to work? There are those people that are generally happy and content while others seem to constantly struggle.
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Yes, everyone has their moments of struggle, but there is a general difference between a happy person and a discontented person. Happy people actively work at improving their situation and making their life better rather than sitting by idly and letting things go from bad to worse.
Happy contented people realize that change can be scary, but it’s also necessary. They know that without change, you can never grow.
So how do you change your life and make a real and lasting impact? Begin with these 8 steps and continue pursuing them to bring about lasting change. Whether you want to pursue a simple living or minimalist lifestyle, declutter your home, save money or get out of debt, or simply bring more peace and joy into your life, these are the key principles that will guide you to effectively change your life for the better.
1. Determine Your Why
Even when we are seeking to make positive changes, change is hard. Because change is hard, even a positive change is going to be way too easy to give up on without a compelling reason to stick to it.
This compelling reason is your “why” it is the reason why you want to change your life for the better. Moreover, your “why”, is your motivation for fighting through those hard days.
Any effort to change your life is about taking control of your life. Keep this in mind as part of your “why” You are seeking to take control of your life and live with intention, knowing this as part of your “why will make it so much easier to stick with your positive changes.
While there may be times we instinctively know that things need to change but we’re not always sure why or even what needs to change. This is when it is the most important to stop and think through your “why”.
Take some time to figure out why you want to create positive changes in your life. Once you’ve determined your “why”, write it down on paper and keep it in a place you will see often. Use it to keep up your motivation to make these positive changes.
It really is true, starting is often the hardest part. But the truth is, Nike had it right, “just do it”.
I remember when I was initially thinking about starting this blog. There is no way I can count the number of times I talked myself out of it. I would read or listen to something, get motivated and be excited about the idea then quickly talk myself out of it. I would come up with excuse after excuse for not starting.
By doing this, I made the excuses legitimate because I was focusing on the end result, where this new change would take me, rather than just starting.
However, when I shifted my focus to the present everything became easier. If no one ever read this blog, my life would go on the same as before. In that moment I knew the only thing I would really regret was not trying. I took that leap of faith and just started.
While I knew absolutely nothing about what I was doing, I just started and learned as I went along. Eventually, I figured it out and I’m so thankful I did.
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Stop talking yourself out of these positive changes and just start. Begin somewhere, begin anywhere, it really doesn’t matter, you’ll figure it out along the way.
The more you start the more you get good at it and eventually you’ll get great at it. We learn by doing not learning to do. You figure out the most important things on your journey.
If you want to change your life for the better, the key is just starting.
3. Slow and Steady
One of the most invaluable lessons I have learned about change is that for lasting change to take place it’s best to go slow and be consistent.
Tiny Steps allow you to fully focus on just that step until you are consistently taking that step over and over.
This is important because consistency is what brings about lasting change. When we try to change everything at once it’s impossible to work consistently on everything at the same time. What happens is we become overwhelmed and then give up.
However, when we consistently put one foot in front of the other we continue to move forward.
So don’t try to change everything all at once slow and steady is what will bring lasting results.
4. Recognize Change is Hard
So much of what I do and the choices I make are motivated by a deep desire for a peaceful and comfortable environment. I don’t know about you but I find being uncomfortable hard. In fact, there are times when I avoided it at all costs, after all, who really wants to be uncomfortable.
The problem is that our comfort zone, the one we work so hard to stay in, is actually what keeps us stagnant. Even more than that, staying in our comfort zone holds us back.
As tough as it is, the only way to move forward is to leave that comfort zone.
If you want to change your life for the better, plan to be uncomfortable, don’t shy away from it when those feelings come. Recognize those feelings as a good thing, they mean you are moving forward and growing!
5. Do What’s Best For You
A big reason we are not able to achieve lasting positive change is we spend too much time looking at others. Don’t get me wrong here, I get a lot of inspiration from looking at others. I’ve been so blessed to have so many positive examples in my life.
But, I’ve also learned that I can’t copy or compare my journey to anyone else. We are all in unique and varying seasons of life. Copying just doesn’t work and comparisons almost always miss the mark.
You must chart your own journey if you want to change your life for the better. Put those blinders on and do what’s best for you!
6. Mix Things Up
We’ve been talking all about creating lasting positive change. But how do you know if the changes you are making will have a positive impact on your life or even if it’s something you really want to last?
The only way you can ever fully answer this question is to mix things up, by experimenting with different avenues to the path you are looking for.
For example, I’m trying to save some extra money so I can do some fun things with my kids over the summer. I know that certain things like meal planning, cutting coupons and cooking at home can all help me save on my grocery budget.
But what if cooking is not really my thing? If the idea of making a bunch of meals from scratch does not appeal to me, I need to experiment with other ways to save money. I might find it a whole lot easier to save by making homemade cleaners or building a capsule wardrobe.
The key is to experiment, try new things and challenge yourself on this journey to bring about lasting positive change.
7. Mindset Matters
Let’s go back to where we started for a minute. Change is hard. Even in the best circumstances, it’s hard. No matter how highly motivated you are it’s hard. Change takes us outside our comfort zone and that is hard.
This is why our mindset is so important. You need to believe in yourself and know that you can do it.
Start seeing yourself as an expert now. You’re the authority that people come to for advice. When you start seeing yourself as the authority, you begin to realize that you need to set an example for those looking up to you.
Being this example moves you to make positive changes in your own life.
For Further Reading: The Power of Positive Thinking
8. Keep The Right Company
Change can be hard not only for us but also for the people around us. Because of this, not everyone will be supportive of the changes you are making despite how positive they are. In fact, some may even seek to sabotage your efforts.
Be prepared to hear complaints. I remember when my son was having some behavior issues and I wanted to change our diet. I told my family that I was going to be eliminating certain unhealthy foods they were used to. Everyone was on board and willing to make the changes until I actually started making the changes.
It wasn’t long before I started hearing complaints about the new healthier food choices.
Honestly, it was tough and I was tempted to give up. However, because I had the support of a couple good friends, they were able to encourage me through it. Not only that but the encouragement got me excited and would have a renewed motivation.
If you have no one close who is like minded read blogs or listen to podcasts on the subject. You can also try joining Facebook groups where you will interact with others who share the same passions as you.
As you seek to change your life for the better, do what is best for you. Making positive changes is about taking control of your life and living with intention. Don’t wait, use these 8 steps to start today!
As always, live simply, live intentionally and make each day your Favorite day!