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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.

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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.

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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 Resilence Coach who is passionate about thriving and growing in a complex world

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

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

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

She could hear her beautiful baby crying but was frozen in the doorway unable to move. The crying got worse and she knew that unless she comforted the infant soon the baby would be inconsolable, and yet her feet wouldn’t move. She didn’t look at the cot but the floor in front, where the venomous hairy monster sat before her…. .okay it was a UK spider so not likely to kill her at all, and yet still her body was frozen as the tears fell down her face. “What a useless mother you are” she berated herself.

That awful mother was me 14 years ago. My fear of spiders had not been controlled for years and I was at the stage where I wouldn’t open a newspaper until my husband had read it and removed the images of spiders. I hated houses that had wooden floors or skirting boards because every knot in the wood could be a spider about to crawl across me.

At the height of my fear, I tried to get out of a moving car. Clearly this harmless 8-legged creature had massive levels of power over me but now that fear is gone, I’m never going to love spiders but I’m not going to leave the room because of one and I can read the word without freaking out and sobbing.

If you think that fear is irrational, what about the fear of going to airports? Or the fear of not asking for help?

Today I want to look at how our irrational fears impact on us, how they can destroy (and I don’t use that word lightly) our success. They can damage our health and even stop us from living our lives. And then I’ll share the benefits of fighting that fear and most importantly how you can fight your fears too.

How irrational fears impact your life

The thing about irrational fears is that we are not keen to look at them. It makes us feel inadequate, weak and daft because we can’t do things that it seems everyone else can. That gives the fear power.

Fear loves negative emotions and saps up yours making your fear bigger and uglier and even more powerful. Not ideal to say the least. Fears can cause us to:

  • Avoid situations where that fear may have to be faced. Dodging parties, new jobs, new experiences where we aren’t sure we will be able to protect ourselves.
  • Stop us from sleeping for fear the thing we fear will “get us in the night.” For me this was massive, and I stopped sleeping which had massive implications when my job was to look after a toddler and a baby. I felt half dead most of the time!
  • Feel ill with the stress. Stress can be the cause of wrong decisions. Drinking alcohol when we shouldn’t, eating chocolate because it makes us feel better, the list of excuses is long that we hold on to so that we can avoid the cause of our stress.
  • Cause more distress as our minds overload us with negative thoughts of inadequacy. This can damage our confidence. Having coached thousands, I know that a lack of confidence is usually the underlining impactor on most people’s success across all areas of their lives.
  • Risk looking aloof or arrogant because we won’t participate like other people. Our fears can even isolate us in our personal and professional lives too.
  • Feel debilitated. Needless to say, these fears may look irrational and shouldn’t exist to the outside world but to the sufferer they are debilitating. Even impacting on their earning potential, love life, hobbies, travels and personal and professional success.

Why bother to fight the fear

Couldn’t you just ensure you live your life in way that you don’t have to deal with your fear?

I had a client that was so scared of flying that they couldn’t even take their partner to the airport, another who had avoided public speaking for over 20 years and yet now at the height of their profession they had no choice, what were they going to do? Quit? There was another who could never ask for help and another who feared people finding out who they really were.

All these fears and many more can be fixed but only if we can appreciate the benefits of fighting the fear.

Let’s look at the benefits of fighting your fears:

If you’re going to change the way you do something, something that has impacted on your life, thoughts and actions for years, it can be hard to believe change is possible.

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The first thing you must do is give yourself a big enough reason why. Go back through your life and remember all the occasions that this fear was there.

I can still see the spider trapped in my hair because it had obviously been on my hairdryer. I also remember that I probably looked ludicrous in the South of France in my underwear running down the lane screaming and flinging my hair everywhere. The poor spider had not only been flung a long way from my head but was probably destroyed in the flight.

Remember the feelings, the actions, the negative feelings you felt afterwards, for me it meant that every time I picked up a hairdryer I could see a spider crawling towards my ear in my hair. Guess how helpful that was for reinforcing my reactions and irrational fear?

Really experience the fear. Make it so painful that you probably notice your heart racing, your shoulders drawing up and your breath changing. That fear is causing physical change in your body, doesn’t feel good does it?

When the irrational fear is challenged and destroyed, it can’t have power over you. So new opportunities can come your way and instead of fearing them and what people will think of you for your choices, you can be open to;

  • New hobbies
  • New travels
  • New opportunities
  • More success
  • Financially more secure
  • Happier
  • Healthier
  • Confident

The list is long so what can you do to get rid of your fears?

How to fight your irrational fears

In my book Fight the Fear: How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life, I cover 12 of the biggest fears that I see impact on success and happiness. Not all of these are obvious but they all have far reaching impacts on our lives.

Here are some of those ideas to help you fight your fear and get more of what you want out of life:

Why did this happen?

For some people they really need to know why the fear started, for others all they want is to get rid of it. If you need to understand yours then don’t skip this tip. Learn how your fears are made and appreciate where yours came from. If you don’t care how it arrived, you can jump to top tip 2.

I’ve seen some clients who are not prepared to look at how to get rid of the fear until they’ve understood how it got here in the first place. It’s not my place to tell them that is right or wrong, just to help them find the right steps to lead them to a happy path.

When a fear first starts, we don’t acknowledge a fear has entered our lives. It is only after a few occasions that we begin to notice that there’s a strong negative emotion connected to this “thing”. That’s how fear is allowed to grow because as humans we have in-built responses that have kept us safe for our entire existence. This means we are meant to perceive fear and either run or fight, either way our bodies jump into action creating physical responses to the perceived threat.

Look for when you first noticed the fast heart beat, the shallow breathing, the shaking hands, the redness. You have created an automatic way of dealing with this fear. It could be that it felt sensible to fear this because you had an unhappy outcome, although it is usually the case that your head has the facts and your heart is not prepared to hear them as it creates a version of the event that is far scarier than it actually was.

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Learning how to remove the emotions and feelings will help you to change your body’s response. The first time I fixed someone’s fear of public speaking, they told me that it physically closed their throat, I worried that was it possible with words to change our physicality? The answer was yes! With the tools and techniques I share below.

The tool kit

From the many people that have contacted me after reading Fight the Fear to my clients, I know for even myself creating a tool kit is a must. This is not a bag that you physically must haul everywhere. This is about learning tools that really resonate with you so that when you can feel the fear start to impact on you, you’ve got your kit ready to take it on.

I don’t have the space in one article to share all of those tools so let’s visit a few:

1. Why I’m awesome

Creating a 2-page handwritten document of why you are awesome can help. This document will be packed with achievements, successes, overcoming adversity and all of those will be full of positive emotions, actions and feelings. It is not easy to write, and I get many messages telling me so however it is a powerful reminder that you can stand up and accomplish.

2. Draw out your emotions

Earlier we looked at how irrational fears can damage every aspect of our lives. If you were to follow the negative spiral down you can follow the positive spiral up again.

I draw these individually for clients and with each action, thought or feeling we put an arrow between them. Each arrow is an opportunity to do something different. If we know that irrational fear is an automatic thought process, then we can start to see that we need to think, do or feel something different. Top tip 3 will help with that.

3. Acknowledge that you need to change

It’s not easy to change, and that is a belief that many hold. Top tip 4 could assist further, however for this tip, remember that when you want to do, think or feel differently, you’ve already achieved the first step and that is recognizing something must change (you don’t need to know what). But if you aren’t sure yet if there’s really something different you want to do, this story about Nancy may help you to figure it out.

Then it’s about acknowledging it. That means not only accepting it but feeling that it is yours to take on and change.

Then for 2 weeks, decide that you won’t allow the thought to be in your head. There are usually some negative thoughts allowed to fester in your head. At this stage, just say “No I’d like you to stop.” After 2 weeks choose a new thought that you would prefer to hear in your head, maybe “I can cope with situations that scare me” or “I am stronger than I know”.

There will be times when you fail. Don’t berate yourself because that is another negative thought you are allowing your head to process. Just start again and at times like that have a read of your “Why I’m awesome list”.

4. Choose your words carefully.

I’ve heard many clients tell me that “It’s going to be hard to change” “I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t petrified” or “This is a lot to ask”. Any thought that gives power to your fear takes away power from you to fight it. Therefore, choose how you word your goal to overcome your fear carefully.

Think thoughts like “I remember when I achieved xxxx and that reminds me I’m far tougher and more capable than I give myself credit for”. (Take the xxx from your why I’m awesome document.)

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5. Believe that you have the control power

The only person that can control what we think and feel is us. I know it can feel like other people are impacting on us, however they can only do that if we give them permission to do so.

If you really think about that for a moment, can you see that you have the right to think and feel anything you want right now? I’m certain you wouldn’t choose pain, fear or anxiety. So, what would you choose to think about your fear?

6. Put up physical reminders

Working one to one, I can find the fear, work through it and create a tool kit of thoughts, feelings and actions that will help them fight that fear and get rid of it. For some, they don’t need physical things to help them; others do.

For example, the CEO who was petrified of public speaking but could handle a conference call with 300 without a second thought, imagined the microphone was a phone when they spoke in front of 400 people to help reinforce the positive thoughts and ideas we’d created.

Or the client that always worried that they were an imposter and “someone else can do this better” pinned on their office wall a tag cloud of all the words that made up their “Why I’m awesome document”.

So they had a daily reminder. They were the right one for the job and they could do it. These daily reminders all come down to one key point — help you to Hack the Habit Loop.

What would be your visual clues to remind you that you can overcome this?

7. Physical supports

Music, environment and even smells can impact on us. Know the music that makes you feel alive and ready for anything. Try aromatherapy oils to feel positive and energised. Even choose your work environment or clothing to empower you.

Changing these things is physical and giving yourself physical ideas to action can help power up your emotional state too.

8. Don’t go it alone

The fear to ask for help is very real (and has a whole chapter in my book) so I know people really struggle with this. The fact is we all need people. We are not insular by design and as such it can be tough to admit that you have a fear impacting on you.

However, by sharing your fear with a trusted friend, colleague or loved one can mean that when you are feeling the fear. you can talk to someone. It could be that you share with them the contents of your tool kit and ask their permission to be added to it. That way they know what works for you and how to best support you.

It’s not a sign of weakness to tell people about your fear. It takes massive levels of strength to say, “I have this fear, and I want to get rid of it.”

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9. Get physical

One of the reasons that a fear can escalate is because we have come to accept that response. Our body reacted in a certain way, once repeated the behaviour and it became a formed habit that was accepted.

Challenging a fear can be done using our body too when we appreciate that fear is actually a reaction inside our bodies. We don’t need to understand where in our brains or what chemicals are racing through us to use our physicality to help us challenge our fears.

When I was writing my book, the Cuddy Superhero pose was proved and disproved by various researchers around the world 3 times. Whether it’s real or not, the fact is the way we stand, the way we breathe and even the speed at which we speak can impact on us as well as those around us.

If you have a fear of public speaking or a fear of people thinking you are stupid or a fear of what people are thinking you can look at how you speak, stand and move. If you compare these with people you deem confident and happy in these situations, how do you look? What can you learn?

The research around placebo’s reinforces us that if it feels like it is working, then keep doing it! What could you use to help reinforce your power and fearlessness?

A little fear can be good

As someone famous once says:

“It is not fear, it is performance energy.”

Despite having an absolute hatred of public speaking 10 years ago, I now love an audience and yet I have a healthy level of fear. That level of fear says “Are you well prepared?” “Do you know your audience?” “Have you rested your voice?” “You really want to deliver to this audience what they need” And those thoughts are sensible.

And just remember, it’s never ever too late to face your fear and do what you desire most! It’s even possible to start over your life no matter what stage of life you’re at. Here’s the proof:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

So as you reduce your fear, be aware of a good level of fear.

Featured photo credit: Isaiah Rustad via unsplash.com

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