Everyone wants to change their lives for the better, but not everyone dares to make the decision and do it.
Jack Ma once said, “Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be beautiful.”
When you decide to change, it will be hard at first. However, once you have got used to it, things will start to flow and become smooth.
Sadly, most people never dare to make the change. And most of them who did, they give up half way because they feel uncomfortable going out of their comfort zone.
There is a saying in one of my favorite Pixar films, The Good Dinosaur, “Sometimes you gotta get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side.”
You have to dare to lose sight of shore if you want to discover new land.
I know it is hard changing your life. It is a daring adventure. And in this article, I’m going to share with you 10 simple steps how you can change your life in 30 days…
1. Define the change you want
The first and the most important step to change your life is to identify and define the change you want.
You have to understand what you want to change before you can change, right?
Most people never make this decision. They feel inferior, and they know they have to change, but they did not define what it is that they want to change.
And when you have no idea what to change, you cannot change.
It is simple, when you want to lose weight, the first step you need to do is to weight yourself and then identify how much fat you want to lose.
Before you can embark on a journey, you must set your destination first.
It is the same when it comes to change. So what do you want to change?
What area or which part of your life that you feel unsatisfied and want change?
Or is it that there is a certain habit that you wanted to let go? What is it?
You must name the change you want; then you can craft a plan or come up with a strategy to change.
Make Your Decision And Commit To It
Once you have identified the change you want, you must make the decision for it and commit to it.
Again, this is what most people never do. No wonder they fail to change, or the change doesn’t last.
They fail to understand the meaning of decision. Making a decision means that it is final. You will never think of another option anymore. When you say you decide to lose 10 pounds, that’s it; you will achieve it no matter what.
Sadly, most people never practice the power of decisions and commitment. And that includes me, at times. I feel guilty myself when I decided on something, but somehow I did not manage to follow through.
Never let this happen to you. Once you have decided, it means you have made up your mind, and you must commit to it.
The more you practice your power to stay with your decision, the more self-esteem and the more decisive you will be.
Take out a piece of paper and write down your decision to change. Write down what you want to change.
What you don’t want anymore in your life and what is your ideal life?
More importantly, write down why you want to change. Your purpose will be the driving force behind to support your change.
People fail to change because they don’t have a strong and emotion purpose behind. When the reason is strong, you will do whatever it takes to achieve what you have decided to do.
2. Harness the power to control
You have to understand that you are where you are right now because at some point in your life, you chose certain decisions and that is why you ended up where you are today.
We all have the power to change our life. Anyone has the power to change if they wanted to.
We are the one that created our own lives. Why are you reading this article right now? Because you decided to read this. Even if someone shared this article with you, it is your decision and your action to choose to read it.
Therefore, we all have the ability to choose how we want to live.
If you are not satisfied with your life right now, you can make the decision to change. If you don’t like your job right now, you can leave and do something else.
Well, you may say that you have commitments and family to feed, or it is easier said than done. You are right, but you are the one who chooses to stay because change is difficult and challenging.
Most people are afraid of change. They don’t know what will happen, and they scare what if things don’t go their way.
Take Full Responsibility
One of the most powerful lessons I learned from Jack Canfield is to take full responsibility for my life.
In his book, The Success Principles, the first and the most important principle introduced by Jack is to take responsibility.
Most of the things happened to us because of what we did previously. Of course, there are things that out of our control, such as rain, economy downturn or death of someone.
However, it doesn’t mean that our lives will be controlled by those events. We can choose how we want to respond to whatever happens to us.
Learn this formula, Event + Response = Outcome.
When you stuck in the jam, choose to respond in a positive way. You can take responsibility for going out late or fail to properly plan your trip instead of blaming the traffic and complaining about it.
When you are fired from your firm, take the responsibility that it is your fault and tell yourself that there are many better options for you out there.
Most people choose to avoid the responsibility and respond in a negative way.
They choose to complain, and they play the blame game. They blame the traffic for their late; they blame their wife for stopping them, and they blame their boss and every other thing except themselves.
Thus, learn to take full responsibility today. Learn to control your responses instead of letting the situation define you; you choose to define the situation.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
When you fail in your business venture, choose to respond in a positive way. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”
The key here is to take responsibility for your life so that you can have the power to change.
When you blame, deny, complain or avoid responsibility, you are giving away your power to control and change the situation.
Think about it, what can you do if you keep blaming and complaining about how bad life is?
Instead, take full responsibility and choose to respond in a positive way.
Tell yourself that this is just where you are right now. Where you are right now is not your life. The situation you are facing right now is not your life.
When you understand that you are the one who has the power to change and create your life, things will start to change because you have changed.
Things will not change unless you change. And for you to change, you must take full responsibility for your life.
Decide today that you will take 100% responsibility for your life.
Make the decision that you can choose to change and respond in a positive way to whatever happens in your life from now on.
Whenever you want to think negatively or something bad happen, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this” or “What is good about this.”
Remember this quote from Napoleon Hill:
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
3. Ask life-changing questions
The questions we asked ourselves every day will shape our destiny. If you always ask yourself, “Why does this has to happen to me?” guess what, you will get answers why all the bad things always come to you.
Our mind will work as to how and what we ask ourselves. Just like what Anthony Robbins said:
“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”
Do you know that Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs used to ask himself one powerful question each morning when he looked into the mirror?
He asked, “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to be doing what you’re doing?”
Jobs told his experience in a commencement speech at Stanford. He then said, “Whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
If you want to change your life, you must ask yourself life-changing questions and listen to your inner voice.
Everyone knows what they want deep down in their hearts. The problem is whether they are going to accept and listen to their hearts.
Try to ask yourself this, “Is this the work or job I enjoy doing?”
If you answer is a no, you know that you need to change. Sadly, most people never do anything to change their current situation because they are too afraid to change.
Please understand that the questions you ask will determine your focus.
When you ask lousy questions, you will get lousy answers. When you ask empowering questions, you will get empowering answers that will drive you forward.
If you have a task you need to do right now, and you ask, “Should I do this right now?” What answer will you get?
Well, it depends on your willpower and state at that moment.
If your willpower is strong at that moment, you will take action right away. If your willpower is low, there is a high chance that you will procrastinate and do something else.
Therefore, choose to ask a better question. Ask yourself, “What one small step can I do right now?” and not “Should I do this right now?”
The 6 Life-Changing Questions
Get ready with a paper and a pen; there’s some writing we need to do right now.
Answer these 6 questions and write down your answers:
1. Where will I be 3 years from now if I keep doing what I do today?
2. If I have 20 million dollars cash and I only have 2 months to live, how will I live these 2 months?
3. Am I living the life I want right now? From these areas: physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially.
4. What is stopping me from changing and succeeding in life?
5. If I can change my life right now, which one area I’m going to change and what one goal will impact my life the most?
6. Where can I start and what one small step can I do right now?
Remember, there is no right or wrong answer here. You want to discover what you truly want in life and you want to find out what motivates you to change.
So just write down whatever answer you have in your mind when you ask these 6 questions.
Answer the above 6 questions by writing down the answers.
If you are serious to change and truly desire for success, you must do this right now because it gives you clarity on what you want and where to change your life.
You may want to take as much time as you wish. Get yourself your favorite beverage if you want to.
Plus, you can revisit these questions and do this exercise again after a few months.
4. Set clear goals and expectations
Changing your life has everything to do with your goals and expectations. How can you live a successful life if you don’t know what you want in life, right?
Goal setting can be a powerful tool to you, but whether goal setting works or not, it does not matter because the most important key you want to set goals is because you want to constantly remind yourself what you want and to identify your destination.
When you ask people what they want in life, they will give you general answers such as they want to be happy or they want to get rich.
You seldom hear a clear and specific answer like I want to earn $100,000 from my internet business through selling my products on Amazon by the end of 31st December 2017, at 5pm.
No wonder most people fail and live in mediocrity, simply because they are not clear and specific enough with what they want.
Goal setting is powerful because it gives you a clear direction in life. Your goal tells you what you want, by when and whether you are moving in the right direction.
If you don’t have a goal, most likely you will be distracted by other things that you come across in life.
Imagine going through the weekend without anything to do. You feel bored, and you don’t know what to do to kill time. Suddenly your friend calls and asks you for a drink.
Most people will accept and go out to meet their friends over a drink. They don’t have anything to do anyway.
What if you have a clear goal like to lose 7 pounds within a month because your daughter is going to get married next month and you want to look fit in your suit?
You might end up rejecting your friend for a drink and get to the gym to workout.
This is the power of goal setting. It gives you a clear direction and if you are committed enough; your goals can help you focus on doing what matters most to you.
Instead of being distracted, you will attend to things that are more important to you, which are your goals.
Goal Setting Builds Positive Expectations
When you set your goals, you feel confident and more positive because you created an expectation and hope.
Of course, your expectation will decrease, and your hope will be thrown into the drain if you did nothing to work on your goals.
Studies have shown that old people who are at the end of their lives tend to live longer when they have a goal, such as to wait until their birthdays or any big celebration.
When you have good expectations, you will do something with better commitment and drive.
Why do you think successful people are able to wake up each morning feeling excited and beamed with energy? It is because they have a clear goal to achieve.
They know what they want to accomplish in life, they are excited about it, they look forward to it, and they can’t wait to do it.
Your goals create motivation and able to change your life.
This is why goal setting is important if you wanted to change your life.
This exercise may take a longer time to complete. What you need to do is to write down at least 100 goals you want to accomplish in life.
It may be easy in the beginning. However, once you reached 20 or 30 goals, you will need to use your creativity and think hard about what you want in life.
And this is where you will connect with your inner self and find out what you really want in life.
Many success gurus such as Jack Canfield and Brian Tracy suggested this exercise because it works.
And one more thing, every morning when you wake up, write down the top 10 goals you want to achieve within 12 months.
Practice daily goal setting and review your goals every day. Your life will change faster than you imagine.
5. Build the environment
We have all know that if we wanted to change, we must change our environment as well.
Successful people mix and network with other successful people because they know that their environment will shape them. Who they mix around will influence their beliefs and their mindsets.
That is why successful people often make friends with other successful people.
You have to do the same. Build a supporting environment that will motivate and inspire you to change.
Try to read a book in a noisy area; you will find that you cannot concentrate and you will be influenced and distracted by the noise.
Thus, if you want to read a book, go to a quiet place where everyone else is also reading, you will be influenced by their energy and read too.
“The apples never fall too far from the tree.”
It means that you can never be too much different from where you come from; unless you make a change.
If you mix around with people who drink every night, you will develop the bad drinking habit and drink every night too.
If you mix around with people who work on their dreams day and night, you will tend to do the same because you want to fit in.
Therefore, choose to mingle with the right group of people.
There is a research saying that our income is the average of our five closest friends. So if you want to increase your income, join others who are doing much better than you financially.
Change your environment, or create a surrounding that will support you to change for the better.
Are you working in a firm that has a bad culture? Does your company encourage learning and improvement?
If your workplace culture is negative, your colleagues always talk bad about others, they play the blame game, pointing fingers at each other, your boss is not helping, etc, choose to change.
You can either change the group you mix with, or just spend less time with negative people, or just leave and change your job.
It may be a hard decision and a challenging one, but nothing will change unless you do.
Build an environment that supports you to change and drive you to achieve your dreams. If your house is in a mess and you often feel like procrastinating on your work, clean up your table and declutter often.
Mix and network with the right group of people who will inspire you to achieve more.
If you want to fly with the eagles, stop swimming with the ducks. Have you watched the Jungle book? The little boy, Mowgli tends to act like a wolf because he was raised by wolves.
You will become who you mix with, and your environment will shape you. Hence, change your environment if you want to change your life.
6. Ignore the naysayers
There will be people telling you that whatever you are trying to do is impossible, or they will tell you that change is just not possible.
So how do you deal with them? Just ignore them.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to chase his dream of becoming the champion in bodybuilding, people laughed at him and told him that it was impossible.
He ignored them and went on to chase his dream. And he succeeded.
After that, when he told people he wanted to become an actor, again, people laughed at him and told him all sorts of reasons why he will fail.
Some people told him that his name was too difficult to pronounce and remember. Some people told him that his body was too big and it was impossible for him to fit into any film.
What did Arnold do? He ignored all of them and went on to chase his dream of becoming a Hollywood superstar.
The rest has become history. You watched his movie and you have heard about him.
There will be people telling you that it is impossible or too difficult to change.
There will be naysayer along your journey to success, and you just need to ignore them. In fact, naysayers are important because they remind you of what you need to do to prove them wrong.
And like what Arnold Schwarzenegger said, he loved it when people say that it is impossible to do it, or no one has ever done it before.
Why? So that he can become the first person who does it.
You have to adopt the same thinking and act like what Arnold did. Just ignore the naysayer and people who tell you that it is impossible.
There Will Be Naysayers Everywhere
You have to understand that naysayers are everywhere my friend.
This is just part of life because everyone’s experience and thinking are different. You cannot find two leaves the same in this world.
So most people will say that it is not possible to achieve what you want, only a small group of people will support and believe in you.
And this is fine because that’s how the world is. You just need to believe in yourself and keep your eyes on your dreams.
People will tell you that it is impossible to change; it is too difficult to change; the competition is too tough; there are no more opportunities left; etc.
Instead of feeling down and discourage, turn those words into positive energy that drives you forward.
People will tell you all kinds of reasons why you can’t, but never let their words discourage you.
When they cannot do it does not mean that you cannot do it too.
You can be the change you want. Mahatma Gandhi said:
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
And do what Steve Jobs often said:
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”
Ignore the naysayers and never buy into the ideas of people who tell you that it is impossible. Nothing is impossible until it is done.
It is impossible to fly until Wright Brothers successfully invented the airplane. It is impossible to connect and speak to one another across the world until mobile phones come to life.
Things may seem impossible now, but with your persistence and determination, your dreams will eventually become a reality.
If no one believes in you or shows you the support, it is alright, just lock yourself and work hard on your dreams. Someday, somehow, you will make it.
Nobody believed in Jack Ma when he first presented his plan on e-commerce in China. Today, everyone knows about Alibaba, and Jack has become one of the richest people in the world.
“The first step is you have to say that you can.” – Will Smith
7. Follow your intuition and listen to your heart
If you want to change your life, you have to listen to your intuition and follow your heart.
There are just too many distractions in lives. Never let the outer voice drown out your inner voice.
I believe that you have come across a situation where someone tells you that you are not good or probably you should do this or that because it seems to fit you more.
Never listen to them, instead, follow your heart and intuition.
Here’s a profound quote from Les Brown:
“Never let someone’s opinion of you become your reality.”
If you fail in school, and people tell you to get a job in the post office or sanitary department, don’t listen to them.
Choose to listen to yourself and your inner voice. What do you want?
If people feel that you did not do well academically and they suggested you work in the post office, don’t buy in because if you do, you will be living other people’s reality and you let their opinion determine your life.
Choose to believe in yourself and do what you want.
If you fail in school, that does not mean that you cannot do well in life. It does not mean that all you can do is a janitor or a postman.
While I’m not saying that being a janitor or a postman is not good, but you should follow your heart and do what you want in life.
I’m saying that you should listen to your intuition rather than letting others pointing your life and telling you what to do.
Never let people’s opinion of you becomes your reality.
Taking Other People’s Opinion As Consideration
I passed my schools with great results, and my parents told me that they wanted me to be an engineer or a doctor. This is a typical Asian Chinese mentality.
I ended up being a real estate negotiator for 7 years and right now I’m venturing into doing my own internet business, because this is what I love doing.
I did not suggest you to dump whatever people tell you, but you have to know what you want and listen to your inner voice.
If someone tells you that you should be an engineer because you did great in school, should you listen?
You can take it into consideration and as a suggestion. There is no need for you to follow through and live up to his expectation or live his opinion as reality.
You should listen to yourself and your heart.
If other people’s opinion about you is good, you can listen and accept their compliment. However, this is not the case most of the time.
Often, people will tell you something that is not encouraging.
They will tell you to stop working on your business and get a real job. They will tell you to work with your hands because you did not do well academically. They will tell you to follow the crowd, study well, get good grades, become a doctor, work and then save your money.
Follow your heart. Listen to your inner voice. What do you truly want? What kind of change do you want in life?
Never let other people’s opinion of you become your reality. You should be the one who creates your own reality because this is your life.
If you want to make a change and be different, you have to follow your heart.
Find out exactly what you want to accomplish in life. What is your passion and what motivates you? What do you love doing?
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs
8. Practice the 30-day challenge
In this step, this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where you are going to take action to change your life, in 30 days.
Most people just think about changing their lives, but they never did. Things will never change until you act and do something about it.
You are what you do, not what you say you will do.
Now, identify just one thing, one area or one habit that you would like to change.
You should choose only one because we want to put in full focus and concentrate all your energy on changing this one thing in your life.
It can be your smoking habit; it can be to lose weight or it can be to develop a habit of reading or exercising. Your choice, but choose only one.
Now, take out a piece of paper, write down the change you want to see. Write down why you want to change, your motivations, what is stopping you and how are you going to do to achieve the change.
By now, you should have understood the power of making your goals tangible. When you write things done, it tells your mind that it is something important, and you are serious about it.
After you have written down the change you want, commit it to the public. Well, you don’t have to go around shouting to everyone what you want to do or what you want to change.
What you can do is to identify at least 3 people who will support you and share with them your goals.
They can be your spouse, your parents, your siblings or your close friends. If it is work related matter, you can also share it with your superior or your manager.
Tell them your plan and what you are going to do to achieve the change. Ask them to check on you from time to time if possible.
You want to make it so committed that you have no other option but to accomplish what you have decided.
At the same time, tell these people that whenever you are down or feeling frustrated, you will look for them and get their support. Get their permission and ask them to support you and remind you of what you want.
Most people will agree to help and support you. So don’t worry and just do it.
Once you have an action plan, follow through for 30 days.
If your change is to stop smoking, don’t ever pick up a cigarette for the next 30 days. If you want to lose weight, develop an exercise plan for the next 30 days. If you want to build the habit of reading, time block the time to read every day.
You must do it every day because there is power in consistency. In fact, if you were to ask me the secret to success, I would say it is the consistency.
You cannot have a slim body if you go to the gym once this week, twice next week, stop for one week and then get to the gym again once for the following week.
You have to do it every single day. Think about it, working out in the gym every day has a more impactful result than to work out once in a while.
It is the same in every area of our life. Be it in work or business. If you are a blogger, it is better to write and publish a blog post consistently than to publish something 5 days straight and stop for a week and then do it again.
What you do once in a while is not as important as what you do every day.
Now, once you have taken the action, reward yourself.
For example, every time I have written an article, I will reward myself by listening to my favorite music or grab some snacks.
You have to reward every little success you receive. You want to encourage and train the discipline in yourself to take action.
So reward yourself whenever you have taken some form of actions.
Remember, you will have to do this for 30 days straight. Don’t give yourself excuses.
If you think that it is just not possible to do it straight for 30 days, think again, you are giving yourself excuses.
You can say whatever excuses you have in your head right now, but they are still excuses.
If you are seriously committed 100% and truly desire to change, you will find a way to do it.
Do you get it?
Follow through and create your 30-day plan to change. You don’t have to start strong or be great, just start somewhere.
Things will never change unless you first do something about it. No matter if it is a big change or a small one, just do something each day and build the habit.
9. Focus on the progress
Do you know why most people quit and give up half way? The answer is because they choose to focus on the wrong thing.
They focus on the result rather than the process.
Imagine if you want to do 50 pushups each day, and if you did not reach the 50 pushups or if you miss out a day, you will feel like a failure.
Instead of focusing on the result, try to focus on the progress. You are considered a success as long as you are doing something to move forward to reach your goals.
Focus on doing the pushups regardless of how many times you want to do it.
The first day you may end up doing 30 pushups. The second day maybe you will do 35 pushups. And after a few weeks, you can do 50 pushups in one go.
The result will come slowly and gradually.
So choose to focus on the progress and not the goal. However, you will still need to have a goal or a target you want in your head. Why? Because your goal tells you what you need to do and it gives you direction in life.
Change is about taking small steps one at a time. When you take the small steps, change will happen, slowly, but surely.
Unfortunately, most people choose to focus on the result. When they took small actions, and they don’t see the result, they doubt themselves. They started to feel frustrated and down.
And then they will think of some other ‘creative solution.’ They will stop and jump into another so-called opportunity.
You can change your life in an instant when you decide for it, but the result will never come in an instant.
You can decide that you are going to exercise 30 minutes each day, but the effect of exercise can only come after a few weeks or months.
The same goes in business. Some people decided to change their job and get into business, but they don’t seem to understand that things take time.
They work on their businesses, but when they don’t see the result in weeks or months, they choose to give up.
Please allow time to work its magic.
Focus on the progress and develop the habit. What makes you change is your habit, not the result you get.
The result is just the by-product of your habit and action.
Always remember this:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
10. Appreciate your life
Finally, to change your life in 30 days, you must learn to appreciate your life.
Things will change when you started to appreciate and be grateful for whatever you have in life.
You will become more positive and happier. You will have more confidence and feel better because you feel like you already have it all.
When you appreciate, you will become a better person, a better father, a better student, a better employee, a better boss, a better teacher, a better lover, a better son or daughter, and more.
Imagine someone who owns everything but he does not know how to appreciate it, deep within him, he will feel like he owns nothing because he always feels he doesn’t have it.
On the other hand, if you feel grateful and appreciate whatever you have, you will be satisfied and happy because deep within you, you have it all.
Anthony Robbins once asked Sir John Templeton what is the secret to wealth. What Sir Templeton answered amazed Tony Robbins.
Sir Templeton said:
“It doesn’t matter how much money you have if you don’t have gratitude.”
If you are not grateful for what you have, you will feel broke even if you have $100 million in the bank.
Conversely, if you are grateful, you will feel wealthy when you have only $100 in the bank.
Thus, be grateful and appreciate all that you have with you right now. Even if you are broke or in debt, be grateful that you are still alive and able to turn the table around.
Appreciate those people who are with you right now. Be thankful for the car you have, the computer or the phone you have and use to read this right now.
Feel the energy and feel the gratefulness within you.
Practice the 2-minute grateful activity. Take 2 minutes each day to think about things that you are grateful for.
You can also choose to write down 10 things you appreciate each day.
Always be thankful for what you have. Use the word “Thank you” more often from today onward.
Changing your life can be hard and challenging. However, it does not mean that it is impossible.
You can choose to change your life for the better right now. All you need to do is to build up the courage and decide.
Follow these 10 steps to change your life. And remember, things will not change unless you change.
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