There are plenty of obvious ways to change my life. I can eat right, exercise, quit my day job, and so forth. The ways to change my life listed here are meant to be less obvious, yet actually easier to do.
Following through with just one of the methods is quite likely to create some new and interesting ripples in day to day reality. Or if you’re considering a full life make-over then go ahead and implement all the methods.
1. Do a 30 Day Challenge
The secret in 30 day challenges is that 30 days is long enough to create or break a habit, yet short enough that it is fairly easy to commit to. Just about anyone can make it through 30 days of something without slipping up. (If you can’t, then that is all the more reason to challenge yourself, because your self-discipline muscles are weak and need training.) The secret reward of a 30 day challenge is that in addition to whatever benefit you get from the challenge you choose for yourself, you also get to improve your self discipline! And self discipline, a.k.a. will power, comes in very handy when I want to change my life.
It is important to choose a challenge that is meaningful to you and has the potential to give you lasting, long term benefits (just in case your 30 day trial leads to a permanent change!) What is your worst habit? Give that up for just 30 days. What habit do you most wish you had? Try creating that habit by doing it for just 30 days. Here is an example of one I completed recently: 30 Day No Sugar Challenge
2. Read Life-Changing Book
Reading a book is an easyier thing to commit to than deciding outright that you are making a huge change in your life. I’ll be reviewing some powerful books in the Best Books to Change Your Life series. In the meantime, here are some recommended books to get you started. I’ve actually known people who own these books and are afraid to read them because the information contained in these books might cause them to change their behavior. The key is to commit to just reading the book, no matter what. You aren’t committing to changing any behavior, just to finishing the book from beginning to end. You aren’t afraid of a book, are you?
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health
This book has the potential to add years to your life. If you have health problems or weight problems of any kind, or you just want to have more energy, read this book.
Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking
If you smoke or drink, read one of these books, read both if you do both. Don’t worry, you can still smoke or drink all you want, just read the books and see what happens . . .
3. Make a Plan
Writing down your goals and objectives is one of the most important steps towards making them your reality. It is almost as if there are little invisible gnomes in the world that peek at people’s written goal lists and then secretly help arrange the universe so that the stuff people wrote down comes true. But seriously, writing down goals and objectives is a simple yet powerful way to get organized, focused, and committed to creating the life you want. I am always amazed at how quickly I can change my life by the simple act of writing down intentions. Here are some tips on how to make plans and set goals and objectives.
4. Audit Your Time
Think about how you spend your time in any given week. Are you spending too much time doing some things and not enough doing others? Do you have any bad habits that are taking up precious hours of your week? Let’s say you watch a little TV each evening, maybe an hour or so. That might add up to over 7 hours a week, or a full-time day’s work. What else could you do with an extra day’s work time? What can you change about how you spend your time that would improve your life? If you’ve decided to set goals and objectives, is the way you spend your time supporting your goals? Think about ways that you can use your time more effectively. Perhaps there are some activities you can combine to achieve more than one thing at a time, such as jog to the grocery store and then carry your groceries home (exercise and errands – done!)
5. Create a Routine
Humans are creatures of habit. Use that natural tendency to your advantage by creating a routine for yourself that supports your goals. Planning out your week and how you spend the hours of your day helps you stay focused, organized, and balanced. A good routine should include time for all aspects of life that are important to you, from a cup of coffee, to work, to time with loved ones. Check out my article on how to live a balanced life.
Imagine that every time you are about to respond to anything (an event, a conversation, whatever it may be) there is a magical “pause” button that stops time just enough to allow you to think about several possible responses so that you can then choose the most optimal one. The most optimal one may not have been your first instinct or even your habitual response, but you had extra time to think things through and choose what is wisest. Well, meditation is one of the ways of acquiring this superpower. And all you have to do is just sit. Thoughts will come, just observe them and let them go. Just sit.
If you are frightened by the prospect of just sitting for a few minutes, then start small, maybe 5 or 10 minutes. Then try working your way up to 20 or 30 over time. Meditation is one of those esoteric habits that only people who do it everyday can understand how absolutely vital it is for well being.
7. Let Go
You can only control yourself (and sometimes even that is hard to do). Relinquishing control is one of the most liberating things you can do in life. If you are one of those people who think things should be a certain way and then tries to mold reality to fit the little picture you painted in your mind, then this challenge is for you. People don’t behave how we want them to, and life does not unfold exactly the way we planned. A tremendous amount of energy is wasted by trying to exert our will on anything other than ourselves. Learn to notice the times you are trying to control something or someone, and give yourself the opportunity to let go instead. Just breathe, release, and notice the energy you save.