Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 16, 2018

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

7 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown And Get More Out of Life How to Persevere (And Get Ahead!) When the Going Gets Tough Anxiety Coping Mechanisms That Work When You’re Stressed to the Max If You Don’t Know What to Do with Your Life, Read These 5 Strategies 10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever

Trending in Mental Strength

1 7 Signs You’re Ready to Change Your Life (And What to Do Next) 2 7 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown And Get More Out of Life 3 Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 4 10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter How Old You Are 5 6 Mental Exercises For Busy People To Calm the Hectic Mind

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence

How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence

To have negative thoughts is to be human. The story of humanity is the story of an epic battle with negativity.

This is perhaps the most important question in existence: How do you conquer negative thoughts that are stifling your confidence and bringing you down?

You’d be surprised to know the answer to this question is much simpler than it seems.

Yet even the simplest things can easily drown beneath the roar and constant cascade of negative thoughts that seem justified. If you could ignore that roar, what would you do? Pursue a new career? Make new friends? Go on a date and begin a relationship with a person who seems unattainable?

To read on is to know you can do any of these things, and more — but at the same time, this is a dare: to read on is to accept the dare and choose a confident approach to actions that terrify you.

This article will help you stop negative thoughts by teaching you strategies to cope with them in actionable ways. You’ll learn how to view your thoughts differently, how to calm your mind, and how to be confident in your actions. Most importantly, you’ll step away from the page empowered and ready to pay attention to the world around you in a non-judgmental way.

1. Uncover the Root of Negative Thoughts

Here’s a revelation: four different studies showed that people who are unskilled tend to grossly overestimate their abilities. The studies measured humor, grammar, and logic. Participants who thought they were great were in fact incompetent.[1]

This shines a light on the root of your negative thoughts about your own abilities. Your self-doubt is a result of your intelligence. Instead of assuming you’re good, capable, skilled, and born ready to tackle any challenge, you analyze yourself and the situation. Past failings come to mind.

You think — you don’t just act — and when the brain gives itself time to think, any number of unwanted thoughts tend to pop up.

Advertising

There’s a good reason why: early humans evolved in a dangerous environment. We had to think about what could possibly go wrong almost all of the time. We were threatened by wild animals, natural disasters, rival tribes, and competitors in our own camps. Our brains are hardwired to look for danger, and when a challenge arises, instinct tells us to either fight or flee.

You have negative thoughts because your intelligent brain is considering all of the possibilities. Although the challenges you face may not be anywhere close to the extremity of a wild animal attack, they’re challenges nonetheless, and a muffled version of your fight-or-flight instinct kicks in.

2. Value Your Emotional IQ

We’ve established that your intelligence is contributing to negative thoughts, the type of thoughts that can kill your confidence if you focus on them. But have you ever thought about your emotional intelligence?

Otherwise known as EI, this is a quality that goes a long way in the professional world, where it’s extremely important for people to possess it. In a survey, 71 percent of hiring managers said EI is more important than IQ, and 58 percent won’t even hire somebody with a high IQ and low EI.[2] The University of Maryland identifies the following important aspects of EI:

  • You recognize your emotions.
  • You register the emotions of others.
  • You can figure out what’s triggering your emotions.
  • You “manage emotional info,” meaning you don’t just react when emotions flare, you are able to control yourself.

We’re taught to value the intellect from a very young age. We don’t place very much emphasis on the ability to recognize emotions and use them in effective ways. It’s this lack of balance that leads many of us to stumble.

Negative emotions cause negative thoughts, and emotion is triggered by something you can’t control. Likewise, the internal verbalisation of an emotion happens almost instantaneously — you don’t even notice when it happens. You feel sad because you didn’t get invited to a party. Suddenly, you start thinking you’re inadequate, and then defensiveness kicks in and you think, “I don’t like those people anyhow.”

Instead of reacting to emotion negatively, cultivate your EI. Recognize the emotion and understand that an emotion of this type is likely to cause negative thoughts. Also, recognize that the emotion is natural — it’s not right or wrong, it’s just a feeling you have.

Be there with the emotion, give it a name, give it a color, find a way to express it externally. Be creative, and if your expression feels sad, that’s because it’s authentic.

3. Recognize Unhealthy Actions That Reinforce Negative Thoughts

We thrive on stimulus. Basically, this means you seek out things to help you feel good. A lot of times, when kids are very young, parents do them a disservice by offering a stimulus at the wrong times. This carries through to adulthood.

Advertising

For example, when you were a kid, you were sad because kids were making fun of you at school. Negative thoughts surfaced almost immediately, like buoyant objects on waves of emotion. Instead of sitting with you in your sadness and helping you express it, your parents gave you something to eat, sat you down in front of the TV, and then put you to bed.

What’s wrong with that? The first thing to provide comfort was an external stimulus in the form of food. The psychology of food[3] is such that,

“We can form unhealthy relationships with the thing that is supposed to aid in our well being.”

Food — especially processed, sugary food that delivers a dopamine kick — is a powerful substance that engages all of the senses. When you learn to turn to an external stimulus like food as a way to make yourself feel better, you create a negative feedback loop. Down the line, you develop a stimulus habit, and then when you indulge in the habit, you get down on yourself after the initial satisfaction is gone.

Identify unhealthy habits and remove them as an option. They’re confidence killers. Replace them with healthy habits such as exercise, art, journaling, and caring for a pet or visiting relatives and old friends more often.

4. Make Regular Deposits in Your Confidence Account

You need to do little things that increase your confidence. That way, when discouraging thoughts rear up, you have a reservoir of confidence to rely on.

Here are some confidence-building activities:

  1. Make a list of your strengths and things you’ve done (or are doing) that you’re proud of. Keep adding to the list regularly.
  2. Do a power pose every day. According to psychologist Amy Cuddy, simply standing in an open, broad stance with arms raised like you scored a touchdown will train your brain to develop confidence.[4] Do this for about a minute each day in front of the mirror.
  3. Challenge yourself with a new activity that isn’t out of reach. Take up yoga, learn how to sew or to cook a new type of food, memorize a poem or lyrics to a great song.
  4. Exercise and get enough sleep.
  5. Do the 100 days of rejection challenge. Jia Jiang, the owner of Rejection Therapy, desensitized himself to rejection and built courage by making crazy requests of people for 100 days.[5]
  6. Make self-affirmative statements in your mind and out loud. Use your list of strengths. Say, “I am a good communicator, I am smart, I care for other people.” When your inner critic speaks up, counter it with self-affirmation.

Doing confidence-building exercises regularly pays off in the long-term. You’ll feel better physically and mentally, and negative thoughts won’t have the confidence-killing effect they once had.

5. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

This is a huge one. It’s incredibly easy to compare yourself to other people in today’s social media environment. A study showed that the more time people spend on Facebook, the more depressed they are.[6]

Advertising

People tend to share their achievements via status updates and post pictures that are flattering. It’s easy to compare yourself to your friends’ Facebook façade and come up lacking. Then, you decide to post an update that makes you look good, and if it doesn’t get a ton of likes and comments, you get the impression your Facebook friends don’t like you.

This applies a great deal to people who are in relationships as well. A study showed that when people are in a serious, dependent relationship, they tend to advertise it on Facebook.[7] Oftentimes, they do so because they’ve seen their friends do the same. If you’re not in a satisfying relationship, seeing someone’s positive status in the artificial environment of social media can be a serious downer. You end up comparing yourself to them without even realizing it.

University of Texas professor Raj Raghunathan recommends an alternative approach.[8]:

“Become a little more aware of what it is that you’re really good at, and what you enjoy doing. When you don’t need to compare yourself to other people, you gravitate towards things that you instinctively enjoy doing.”

Focus on what you enjoy. There will be no room for negative thoughts. You’ll get closer to mastering what you enjoy most and you’ll be confident in your mastery.

6. Practice Mindfulness as a Way of Life

Our Western mode of thought frames things in terms of problems and solutions. It’s tempting to say, “If negative thoughts are the problem, mindfulness is the solution.”

Mindfulness meditation isn’t a solution and expectations for mindfulness creates frustration. All you can expect of mindfulness is to be mindful.

Mindfulness is a way of life. It’s the practice of paying attention, it’s the practice of noting phenomena and releasing phenomena in the same way the lungs take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide.

How does mindfulness help you cope with negative thoughts? The mind takes note of the thought and then releases it.

Advertising

That’s all, there’s no magic here. There is the recognition that your brain and its thoughts are a functioning part of a phenomenal universe. At the risk of sounding cliche, a rolling stone grows no moss. The mind that releases thoughts and lets them go in the universe does not brood on them, therefore that mind remains fresh and ready for new challenges.

7. Judge Less, Do More

When we judge other people and gossip and make negative comments about them, we give negative thoughts power. We vocalize them and let them resound. Soon, this type of thinking becomes a habit, and it turns on the speaker. It’s like a dog biting an owner who trained the dog to bite people.

Don’t give negative thoughts about other people a foothold. Don’t make these thoughts an authority. Instead, practice loving-kindness meditation or something close to it. With loving-kindness, you sit and direct thoughts of well-being and unconditional love first to yourself, then to a friend, then to an acquaintance, and then to someone you don’t like.

Next, start writing down specific, achievable checkpoints, tasks, and goals for yourself. Write down dates and places and get as hyper-specific as possible. Make sure your checkpoints and goals revolve around what you enjoy doing. Keep a laminated copy of your to-do list in your pocket. Check things off: do more and enjoy the act of doing.

By focusing positive thoughts on yourself and others, and by focusing on your object of enjoyment, you’re training your brain. Soon, you are used to thinking positively and getting things done. Oh how good this feels!

The Bottom Line

Confidence is a habit. Like any habit, you need continual practice to build confidence. It’s easy to develop bad habits because you’re not thinking of some distant goal. You’re just engaging in an action repeatedly. Hand takes donut, puts donut in mouth, mouth chews, throat swallows, repeat. Why can’t positive habits be the same way?

Build your confidence by repeating routine actions that build confidence. Go to sleep with enough time for eight hours of shut-eye. Wake up, stretch, and hold a power pose for a minute while thinking self-affirming thoughts.

If you have time for exercise in the morning, exercise in the morning. Set a realistic goal to challenge yourself in some way that day. Then, with knowledge that you will tackle an achievable challenge, go through your day with mindful indulgence in each moment.

More Resources to Help You Stay Positive

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next