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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever

10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever

The one constant thing in our life is change. We cannot avoid it and the more we resist change the tougher our life becomes.

Trust me, I know this because I was very skilled at deflecting change in my life.

We are surrounded by change and it is the one thing that has the most dramatic impact on our lives. Change has the ability to catch up with you at some point in your life. There is no avoiding it because it will find you, challenge you, and force you to reconsider how you live your life.

Change can come into our lives as a result of a crisis, as a result of choice or by chance. In either situation we are all faced with having to make a choice – do we make the change or not? I believe it is always better to make changes in your life when you choose to rather than being forced to.

We however cannot avoid the unexpected events (crisis) in our lives because it is these events that challenge our complacency in life. What we can control when we are experiencing these challenging events, is how we choose to respond to them. It is our power of choice that enables us to activate positive change in our lives.

Acting on our power of choice provides us with more opportunity to change our lives for the better. The more opportunities we create to change our lives the more fulfilled and happier our lives become.

So, how to change your life? Here are 10 things that you can do to make changes in life for the good, forever:

1. Find meaning in life

Spend some time trying to sort out what is important in your life and why it is important.

What is it that you want to achieve in your life? What are your dreams? What makes your happy?

Nancy’s story will remind you the importance of finding your purpose in life, or else you may live a miserable life.

Your meaning in life gives you purpose and sets the direction of how you want to live your life. Without meaning you will spend the rest of your life wandering through life aimlessly with no direction, focus, or purpose.

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2. Create a dream board

When we were children we would daydream all the time. We were skilled at dreaming and visualizing what we would be when we grew up. We believed that anything was possible.

As we grew into adults, we lost our ability to dream. Our dreams became hidden and once we started to feel like achieving our dreams was impossible.

A dream board is a great way for us to start believing in your own dreams again. Seeing our dreams every day on a dream board brings our dreams to life. Our dreams become real and we start to have believe in the possibility of achieving these dreams.

3. Set goals to achieve your dreams

Once you know what is important in your life and what your dream life looks like for you, you need to take action and set your long-term, medium, and short-term goals. It is acting on these goals that enable you to achieve your dreams

Remember your goals may change. Always be flexible with setting and achieving your goals as things in life change and your goals need to reflect these changes. It’s the small steps that you take that create the momentum for change to happen in your life.

4. Let go of your regrets

Regrets will only hold you back in life. Regrets are events of the past and if you spend all your time thinking about the past you will miss the present and the future.

You cannot change what you did or did not do in the past, so let it go. The only thing you have control over now is how you choose to live your present and future life.

I had a heap of regrets that were holding me back in my life. I came across the “Balloon Exercise” and got rid of my regrets for good.

What is it? It’s simple — blow up as many balloons as you need. On each balloon write a regret and then let the balloon go. As the balloon drifts off into the sky say goodbye to that regret forever.

A simple and powerful exercise that works and can change how you live your life.

5. Try to do the really scary things

This is all about you choosing to step out of your comfort zone and see limitations from a different perspective.

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Public speaking is one of the most frightening things anyone can do. I was petrified of public speaking, however, I knew that I wanted to be a motivational speaker. So I joined Toast Masters to overcome my fear of public speaking.

My first speech was terrible, my knees were knocking, I broke out in a sweat and I couldn’t stop shaking. But I did it and the feeling of completing this speech, even though it was terrible was great.

I chose to keep going and now I earn a living as a motivational speaker. I am still nervous when I get up to speak however it is an excited nervous and I love it.

Make a list of scary things that you would kind of like to do but are too afraid to. Put a plan in place and then go do them. Never stop doing scary things because if you do your life will become one of complacency and comfort.

6. Start living a well-balanced life

Our health does not remain the same. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual state changes, as we get older. What we can control however is how we feed our minds and our bodies.

Living a balanced and healthy life builds our resilience to the physical changes of our body. Exercise is the best way in which we can attain a positive and optimistic attitude toward life.

Living a healthy, well-balanced life with lots of exercise is a lifestyle choice that without a doubt will give you a happier more satisfied and fulfilled life.

If you’re wondering how to ensure a well-balance life, take a look at this guide:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

7. Face your fears

It’s easy to ignore our fears and hope that they will go away. Unfortunately, it does not work like that.

If you want to change your life, learn to master your fears so they can’t control you any longer. Our fears are only thoughts in our minds that are not real but over time we have become to believe that they are true.

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It is our fears in life that stop us from living our life to the fullest. We know when our fears are controlling our lives because we feel discontent, dissatisfied and unfulfilled.

Once we face our fears we take back our power to choose how we want to live our lives and when we do this we change our lives forever.

Learn how to face your fears with this guide:

How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

8. Accept yourself

The only person who is going to create change in your life is you! And to create that change you have to like yourself.

There will be times in your life where you will face rejection and there will be people who will not like you that much. Accepting who you are and loving yourself helps you to move forward in your life.

Putting yourself down all the time and wishing you could be better will only lead you to a life of unhappiness and discontent.

Find your courage, love yourself and step out and do something crazy. Don’t worry about what anyone thinks or whether it is the right thing to do. In your heart if it feels right, act on it and go create the life you love.

9. Live in the moment

Many of us tend to think that the grass is greener on the other side. Often, we get to the other side of the fence we find that this is not so.

The motivation to change our lives comes from our desire to be happy. We are often so busy focusing on our pursuit of happiness that we miss the joy of actually living in the moment.

Our desire to have happiness in our lives is a desire of a future state not of the present. We become so consumed with all our problems and discontent in the present we miss the precious beauty of the moment.

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Sitting on the beach eating an ice-cream with your best friend or partner is a moment of happiness. Appreciating and showing gratitude on a daily basis is experiencing happiness in the moment. Helping those in need brings joy and happiness to us.

This is what living our life in the moment is all about – don’t miss these moments because you are too busy focusing on your pursuit of happiness.

10. Experience the joy of learning

Each time you learn something new, you gain more knowledge and with more knowledge comes more confidence.

Learning helps us to be more adaptable and flexible to new situations. Learning encourages us to be more creative and innovative in our thinking and we are therefor more comfortable with the unknown.

Reading books is a great way for us to learn. To fully embrace the joy of learning, never stop reading nor searching for more knowledge.

Learning gives our life meaning and this is what makes our life worthwhile.

You have a choice to make as to how you want to change your life. Choosing to act on these 10 things will, without a doubt change your life forever.

So what are you waiting for? Go do these 10 things now!

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever If You Don’t Know What to Do with Your Life, Read These 5 Strategies How to Stop Being Sad and Start Feeling Happy How to Always Choose Happiness Even During Tough Times Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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