Sometimes, making changes that you want to see in your life feel nearly impossible. It takes a willingness to step outside your comfort zone to make significant changes that will transform your world. If you want to change your life, these subtle changes can be the beginning of a happier, healthier life.
Listen to Your Intuition—We like to think life is linear and rational. But more often than not, we make blind decisions based on what we know at the time. But what if you started following your intuition more often than your brain? Often, the right choice is the one we don’t fully understand at the time. Your intuition can lead you down a path you least expect, but that can change your life in exciting ways. Worry less about connecting the dots and spend more time riding the wave.
Understand Your Why—You want to make changes but find year after year, you have yet to make it happen. One reason for this is because you don’t understand why you want to make the change. Or you understand it, but you focus on how hard it will be to make the change. Look at the big goal you have and ask yourself why you want it. Will it free up time, make you healthier, or make retirement more comfortable? If the answer is yes, you should keep your thoughts on how much better your life will be when you will change your life, and then take action. Always start with your “why.”
Take Action—Often we humans wait until the time is right to do something meaningful. And for this reason, many of us have regrets later in life. What do you genuinely want? If you can answer that question automatically, it’s time to take action. Any action. It doesn’t have to be the “right” action. But making that first step will lead you to discover the right next steps to take that will change your life and you will go where you want to go.
Stay Shortsighted—Have you ever thought you’d like to significantly change your life but then thought yourself out of it? When we consider too far into the future, we can get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. Ask yourself what the first step would be to make that change. Then the next level. And the next one. Most successful people didn’t know where exactly they’d end up. They just knew they wanted to change their lives, and so they did, step by step. Don’t let the fear of the unknown future steal your happiness today by keeping you paralyzed.
Read more 10 Ways To Self-Improvement
Change your life in these different areas
Too often we charge in when it would be better to assess where we are first. It can be painful to look back to see our mistakes and shortcomings. And yet, it’s the best way to determine what we need to do to make significant changes in our lives. Before you prepare to change your life with loads of new resolutions and goals, take some time to reassess your life in these different areas.
Obligations—Ever wish you had more time for what was genuinely important to you? Now’s the time to make that change. And the first step is by looking at all the things you’ve taken on that no longer feel important. Consider each committee, sponsorship, extended family and friend obligations that no longer feel fun. If they feel like a burden, it’s time to unload them. That may feel challenging. After all, no one wants to let others down. But this is your life, and it’s time to change your life and choose you instead of others’ wants.
Finances—If you wish you had more money but can’t or don’t want to work more to get it, take a careful look at your finances. Quite often, little wants turn into needs. Scan through last year’s bank statements and make a note of any recurring payments. You may wince when you see how much you’ve spent on unnecessary things throughout the year. Having occasional treats for you and your family is okay. But if “shopping therapy” has become a burden, now’s the time to fix it. Make a list of all the ways you could cut back without feeling deprived. For example, could you eat out two nights a week instead of four? Is it essential that you shop for clothes every month? How much could you save if you took your lunch to work three days a week instead of getting take-out? Do you find it fun to have four bazillion TV channels? These are just a few ways you can trim expenses, so you can save for things that matter to you instead.
Dreams and Goals—Many people site not enough time or not enough money as the reason why they stay in dead-end jobs, don’t pursue their passions, or make real changes in their lives. If that was you and you’ve taken our advice and reevaluated your obligations and finances, those excuses should no longer be holding you back. So, how real you want to change your life? To go back to school and start a new career? Turn your side-hustle or hobby into a business? Purchase and cook homemade, whole foods that support your health and wellness? By choosing to make those two changes in your life, you’ve now opened up a whole new world for yourself. Grab it, and don’t look back!
Now’s the time to do a little bit of planning to make the coming period a financially fruitful one. By taking some easy steps, you can ensure you end the period on a happy financial note.
- Complete a Financial Review
Many of us avoid looking at our finances, which leads to more over-spending and less saving. It can be painful to look back to see what we could have done better, but without that review, we’re likely to continue in the same vein.
Take a good look at how you spent money till now. Where can you do better ? Find the consistent money drains, so you know where to focus your attention. Did you start too many mornings with an expensive coffee treat? Do you wish you wouldn’t have spent so much on dining out? What about those memberships that auto-renew each month or year? Are you using them? If not, now’s the time to make a note and change that spending behavior. Once you know where your money drains are, plug them by coming up with a solid plan that you can stick to all year long.
- Figure Out How Much You Need to Retire
It’s another one of those things we avoid looking at too closely. We tend to set up a retirement account and hope for the best. Taking control over your finances means taking a hard look at where you stand now. When do you want to be able to retire? How much do you want to have saved before that time? Talk to a trusted financial advisor to see how you can make changes to your savings plan, so you can retire when and how you want!
- Set Up a Special Savings Account
If you cringe when you get your credit card bills after the holidays, why not set up a plan for paying for next year’s holiday gifts now? It’s easy to create a savings account for big-ticket items or planned expenses like gift-giving, purchasing a new car, or even much-needed clothing or furniture. Once you have it set up, ask your employer to put a percentage of each paycheck into the account, so you don’t even have to think about savings.
- Increase Your 401 (K) Contributions
Saving for your future doesn’t have to be painful. If you increase your retirement or 401(K) contributions only by 1%, you’ll be surprised how much that will add up by the time you’re ready to retire. And since it’s such a small amount, you won’t even miss it!
Science has proven that micro-habits are much more effective than big, hairy goals. Using micro-habits to change your life sets you up for success because of the consistent progress you see. Try these three easy strategies to make your goals doable and rewarding.
Choose One Thing—one reason we rarely accomplish any of our New Year’s resolutions is because we make a lot of them and they are all massive. So, instead of a laundry list of changes, decide which goal is the most significant to change your life. For example, since our health impacts everything we do, you may decide that getting healthier is the one area which deserves your focus.
Break It Down—another way we make things hard for ourselves is by stating our goal as something ambiguous and undefined. Like in the example above, “Get healthy” as a goal is sure to fail. Why? You’ll fail because the goal is too vague. Instead, you may want to start a list of all the steps you could take to become healthier. You could include things like drinking eight glasses of water per day, exercising for twenty minutes each day, eating a salad for lunch five days a week, drinking only two cups of coffee or soda per day, and getting at least eight hours of sleep per day. Then, choose just one of those to start. Starting with the easiest one is okay. Once that becomes a habit, you can move on to the next one on the list.
Another important aspect is to make the action toward your goal doable. If drinking eight glasses of water each day sounds impossible, how about drinking two? Once you’ve reached two glasses each day, you can step it up to three. That’s how we make even challenging goals stick.
Choose a Prompt—the easiest way to make sure you include the action steps you need to take to change your life is by taking them immediately after you do something that you already do each day. For example, if your goal is to drink eight glasses of water per day, choose prompts to help you remember to drink water. Maybe you decide to take three big gulps of water after hitting “send” on each email throughout the day or a whole glass before each meal and on each break you take during the day.
Connect it to a Positive Feeling—how do you feel at the end of the day when you stay hydrated? Sure, you might not enjoy drinking water all day, but by connecting the action to still having lots of energy after you’ve worked all day, for example, it’s easier to get up and do the same thing again the next day too. Before you know it, drinking enough water each day has become a positive habit—a goal you’ve reached. Once that’s in place, you’ll be ready to take on one of the others on your “Get healthy” list.
You’ve decided to change your life. You’re going to start it right and accomplish the big goals you have for yourself. Whether your focus is on building up your savings account or losing weight, there may come a time when you lose the motivation to stick with it. But motivation can be rediscovered. Try these simple ways to refocus anytime you’ve lost that loving feeling about your goals to change your life.
Remember Your Why—Let’s face it, building new habits to meet your goals can get boring. If it weren’t, we’d all be in perfect physical, emotional and financial health. When you feel your resolve weakening, come back to the reason why you want to change your life in the first place. Imagine the home you’ll be able to purchase when you’ve saved that down payment. Think of how much energy you’ll have when you’ve lost those twenty extra pounds you’ve been carrying around. A great way to do this is to close your eyes and imagine yourself there in your new home or body. Feel what it will be like to live in that new reality.
Seek Out Inspiration—The easiest way to retain motivation is by not losing it in the first place. You can do this by inspiring yourself each day. You might find images of clothes you’ll look great in when you’ve lost your bulge. Or window shop for new furniture you’ll buy when you have the house of your dreams. Find people who have accomplished what you are working towards and read their inspirational story. Use an app to track each little “win”—each time you chose to add money to your savings instead of buying a new shirt you don’t need. Track each time you select a salad for lunch instead of a burger and fries. These small, consistent boosts of inspiration can keep you going strong throughout your goal to change your life
Focus on the Feel-Good—Rather than thinking about how much you loathe going to the gym, concentrate on how good you feel after a workout. Instead of thinking about how much you want to buy that fun item in front of you, consider how amazing it will feel to own your own home. These feel-good moments of concentration can bring you back from the brink and make it easier to keep your eyes on your goal to change your life.
Visualization – What do you think of when you hear the word “visualization?”
Many people think of visualization as just sitting around daydreaming. The truth is, visualization can significantly accelerate the achievement of your success.
The practice of visualization, and intentionally imagining the outcomes you want to achieve, create fundamental tension in mind.
Your subconscious mind then seeks to resolve this tension by figuring out how to achieve it.
So, if you make it a daily discipline to imagine the result as already achieved, you’ll find yourself making decisions that move you in the direction of your goal – even if you’re not consciously aware of it!
Best of all, visualization is a natural skill to master. All you have to do is close your eyes and imagine yourself experiencing your desired outcome:
What goals do you want to achieve?
What will your life feel like when you achieve it?
Where will you be?
What will your surroundings look like?
What sounds will you be hearing?
What will it smell like?
Once you make visualization a non-negotiable part of your daily practice, you’ll find yourself naturally inspired and focused, making decisions that align with your real purpose.
I challenge you to commit to doing visualizing your ideal future every day for seven days and you will begin to see results!
Read more How to Stay Motivated Every Day
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