Last night I had a dream.
It was Christmas Eve. And I was receiving presents.
At that time, all I could think of was “I don’t want these. It’s just more stuff I won’t use.”
Looking back, I can see how much I’ve changed. I almost haven’t noticed the change, because it sneaks up on you, until it’s impossible to ignore.
It’s like when you were a kid. You got taller, but you didn’t notice until you stood up against the wall with the marks.
The same holds true for life changes.
You are constantly changing, but it’s hard to notice until it pokes you in the ribs.
It’s not even a question of if you’re changing; it’s a question of how you’re changing.
Most people want change because they want to escape. But it doesn’t work.
It is by facing your inner demons that you heal yourself, and change your life for the better.
Below are the 21 things you can do to change your life. It’s a hefty and spicy read, so grab your beverage of choice and enjoy.
1. Take Tiny Steps
A baby learns to crawl before it can walk, and it learns to walk before it can run.
Most people expect rapid life changes. If they’re wasting their time at a soul-sucking job, they expect success and fame within six months.
It’s not impossible, just unlikely.
People who need life changes right away don’t realize that it’s not going to make them happy anyway.
All they want is their dream of a problem-free future. When they get there, another goal is set.
And the wheel keeps turning.
So realize that there will always be problems in life. It’s not our job to eliminate them. Our job is to do our best, take tiny steps, and see where life takes us.
2. Take Quantum Leaps
This may seem contradictory to what I said above, but it isn’t. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and.
We don’t live in a black and white world.
Quantum leaps are tipping points (as Malcolm Gladwell, the author, likes to call them).
As you keep taking one step at a time, you eventually reach a tipping point where your thinking shifts.
The problem is that most people never get to those shifts. They stop drilling when they are about to hit gold.
3. Accept Where You Are
When I was 18, I started playing poker professionally. I didn’t want to do the whole 9-to-5 thing.
Poker helped me realize many things, and one of them was that if I wanted to be happy, I had to accept where I was.
Things come and go. People live and die. Your life feels good, and it feels bad. The more you accept this, the easier it is to change your life.
In fact, it seems as if life changes itself when I stop pushing so hard.
Here’s a video I recorded on being in the present moment:
4. Be Patient
I’ve been building my online business since 2009. I say building, but what I really mean is learning.
I stumbled a lot in the beginning. I made mistakes, I failed, and I gave up in frustration more times than I care to admit.
I began seeing results when I became absolutely determined to succeed, which only happened after a lot of trial and error.
It was a big lesson in patience. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. There will always be problems. That’s okay.
Be patient with your progress. Stay true to what resonates with you.
You can change your life. Sometimes it just happens in its own time.
We all have memories—painful memories.
What you may not realize is that the person hurting you with those memories is you.
You are the director of your mind. While the event may have happened in the past, it’s you who keep replaying the memory.
Reliving the past will get you nowhere. That’s why it’s essential to forgive and forget all those people in your memories.
You don’t even have to forgive. All you have to do is pay less attention to those thoughts and memories.
Once you see that the only one suffering is you, the grip begins to loosen.
Healing yourself goes hand in hand with point #5. When you know that you can let go of past memories, fears, and obstacles, your self-confidence grows.
Most people aren’t ready for life changes. They avoid any and all solutions, because they are comfortable where they are.
And that’s fine with me, but if you make that choice, you have no right to complain or make excuses.
You either choose to be where you are, or you choose to change your life.
Healing starts with seeing that you don’t have to believe every thought that sneaks into your head.
7. Face Your Fears
Fears don’t disappear, they simply become less important as you become more powerful.
And remember, this is not about comparing yourself to someone else. This is about following your inner GPS, and living the life you were meant to live.
Here’s a short video on how to stop comparing yourself to others:
8. Kill Your Excuses
You may have excuses about why you can’t do what you truly want, but are they really true?
If you really wanted to, you could take one tiny step forward.
One tiny step.
Then see what happens, re-assess, and take another step.
9. Take Responsibility
Since talking with more and more readers, clients, and people in general, I’ve started to notice a scary pattern.
That pattern is the lack of responsibility. I see people wanting to change their life, but they aren’t willing to take responsibility.
They wait for a external force to sweep in to save the day and make change effortless and comfortable.
Again, not impossible, just extremely unlikely.
The good news is that you don’t need to wait for anything. You can start with what you have, where you are.
Learn to make decisions from your inner authority. Here’s a video where I share how I do this:
10. Follow Your Heart
And what would an article of mine be without me telling you to follow your heart?
If you’ve been reading my articles, you know that I keep writing about following your heart, and there’s a reason for it.
The longer I’ve lived, the more I’ve grown to trust my heart.
And when I say following and listening to your heart, I mean it in the broadest sense of the word. It can mean anything, such as following your gut, intuition, feelings, or going with the flow of life.
When you begin putting the pieces together, and taking responsibility, and healing yourself, you naturally begin to follow your heart, your inner GPS.
11. Follow Your Passion
If you drive to a gas station, and fill your car with the wrong kind of fuel, it won’t run very well, if at all.
That’s what most people are trying to do in life. They are listening to outside influences, and that’s when all the “shoulds” come in.
It’s the belief that you have to focus on money in order to build a successful business. I did this in the beginning, so I know what it’s like.
You want to do your research and know whether or not your idea is viable, but if you don’t do something you enjoy, your car will run out of fuel sooner or later.
It is your passion that will fuel your journey for the rest of your life.
The problem is that you may not know how to even start finding and following your passion. I had the same problem when I was starting out, but eventually things clicked.
And here’s a video on how I follow my heart and passion:
Ever had the experience of your mind racing out of control? It almost feels like you’re going crazy, doesn’t it?
A great remedy is to meditate. Even five minutes of meditation can do wonders.
Meditation has taught me to see through the dance of thought. I have thoughts. I have worries. And I have fears.
But I can observe them without getting involved. It’s not always so simple, but knowing that I am not my thoughts is a tremendous help.
What’s important is not to just know it intellectually, but to see how you create your experience of life.
If you’re interested in diving deeper into how we create our experience of life, check out this video:
13. Express Yourself
I find writing therapeutic. It calms me. It’s inspiring, and it infuses my life with serenity.
I recommend you experiment with journaling or just writing down your thoughts after every day. If you’ve tried to solve problems in your head, you know it doesn’t work.
You can have a conversation on paper, freewrite, and solve problems easily. It has the ability to change your life completely.
A great book on freewriting is Accidental Genius by Mark Levy.
14. Kill Your Comfort Zone
If you want to change your life in the most positive sense, get comfortable with being out of your comfort zone.
When you’re learning something new, you’ll bump into the walls of your comfort zone.
Your spirit yearns for freedom. It’s when you put yourself into a little box that your spirit feels the need to rebel. You start feeling bored, and restless.
You don’t have to suddenly infuse your life with discomfort. All you have to do is dip your toes from time to time.
Let’s face it. You don’t know what you want.
Most people think they know what they want. They make five and ten year plans, acting as if they know all the variables of life.
I’m on board with making plans and setting goals. But I don’t rigidly stick to them. You will miss opportunities if you disregard the whispers of your heart, if you trade the present moment for the future.
You miss life.
It’s like driving with all the windows painted black except the front window. You see where you’re going, but you miss everything else.
Accept that life brings you possibilities. You don’t always know where life is going, and that’s okay.
In order to change your life, you have to change your focus.
If you don’t take control of your mind, it will run amok. You will focus on the negative. You will imagine the worst possible scenarios.
It helps to remember that these are suggestions.
Your mind presents possible scenarios of what could happen.
Since you have those thoughts, you get to feel them. But that doesn’t mean that they will become true.
Here’s a quick video you might enjoy:
I love reading.
We live and die by stories. My life has changed several times by reading a book.
The stories you read have a profound effect on how you view the world. You can be stuck on a problem, and the solution can pop into your mind while you’re reading.
Your mind does not work sequentially. You can be reading something, then something goes click, and your life transforms before your eyes.
If you’re looking for something to read, you might want to check out my books: Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself and Do What You Love: Essays on Uncovering Your Path in Life.
18. Befriend the Unknown
You never know what you need. Remember point #15, going with the flow?
When you’re open to the unknown, which is another word for possibility, you begin to see that you’re in a dance with life.
You don’t know what’s coming, and you don’t need to know. You simply need to notice and pursue what resonates with you.
That’s how I live my life.
You just never know what life will bring, so you might as well become curious.
19. Reclaim Your Personal Power
Stop looking to others for approval. Just like taking responsibility (#9), you have to reclaim your personal power.
You know what to do. You can feel it. You just haven’t been listening to that inner voice until now.
It’s easy to give the decision to someone else, but it’s your life.
What do you want to do right now?
If you don’t know, then start somewhere, anywhere, because action brings clarity.
20. Accept Failure
And you won’t know if they are mistakes when you make them, because mistakes and failures have the potential to transform into wisdom.
You learn what doesn’t work, which makes you more likely to do what does work.
Step by step, you uncover your path.
You discover that failure isn’t so bad. Yes, it may sting, but it doesn’t kill.
21. Remember Who You Are
And above all, remember that you are always more than you think you are.
The reason is because each thought we have is narrow. We focus in on one thing, which makes us forget this dance we call life.
You are unique. You have strengths, and yes, weaknesses.
You are here to reach your full potential, because why not?
People may have told you that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, successful enough, and whatever else.
But all of that doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you reconnect with your innate interests, and put one foot in front of the other.
You don’t have to eliminate your fears. You don’t have to become someone else.
All you have to do is take one tiny step at a time.
Enjoy your day!