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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

Why It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Life and Live Differently

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Why It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Life and Live Differently

Everyday we live our life in constant motion, and with that motion, there will always be a flow or some kind of change that follows. Some changes we welcome open heartedly, while others we might find ourselves pushing aside to avoid them.

Now, it’s time to ask ourselves the honest question – how often do we limit ourselves from opportunities, experiences, and even give up certain dreams because we’re digging up the most used excuses in the book? How often do we cross things off of our bucket list not because we’ve completed it, but because we’re too fixated on how we’re not able to or capable of doing them?

One time is already too many times.

There is no other force stronger than willpower, and it’s the willpower to either look beyond the obstacles that lay ahead of you, get through it, or walk away not because you are unable to complete it but because plans change.

Plans are meant to change, and so is life. And it’s never too late to change your life.

Here’re the steps to getting rid of the mindset roadblocks and how to achieve the life you’ve always wanted.

3 Mindset Roadblocks to get rid of

1. “I’m Too Old to Start.”

As the saying goes, “age is just a number” and it’s actually just a measurement of time lived.

We often associate our age as a timeline for our goals.

I want to move to the city by 25. I want to have a successful business by 30. I want to own a house by 35. I want to have traveled to 20 countries by 40…

It’s when our goals aren’t met that the instant feeling of failure comes trickling in. The essence of time is not to be used as a set goal, but instead a guideline.

Life happens all the time and at a different pace than everyone around you. There’s a huge difference between getting distracted with life’s curve balls and letting those moments define you versus becoming aware of them, and finding an alternative route.

At the end, time shouldn’t be the essence of what to accomplish by when, but instead a guideline to show us if we’re on track and if that bucket list is still in alignment to you.

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2. “I Don’t Have Enough Money.”

How often do we say, “I don’t have enough money” versus “I have more than enough money?” The phrase “I don’t have enough money” is so common and easily integrated in our daily conversations that we don’t notice the negative effect it has in return. It’s time to change that money script,[1] also known as money blocks.

The relationship and conversations we have with money is actually more impactful on our being than we think, and having a positive mindset about it is key to living the life you truly desire.

We often let money dictate the way we live our lives, and over time, the yearning and hunger to change our lives becomes more prominent – if not urgent.

An abundance mindset means to focus on what you have now instead of what you don’t have. By focusing your energy on being grateful for the opportunities money can already provide you – including the smartphone or computer which you are currently reading this article – it already changes the conversation you have with it.

Everything in life requires energy. It takes the same amount of energy to talk negatively or positively about your circumstances, so why not take the latter.

3. “I’ll Start Tomorrow.”

Starting tomorrow is always the greatest set back, and by pushing your personal goals to the side, you are subconsciously letting your brain know that it’s not of importance. Your goals always matter and hold value.

First, look and see if it’s a particular habit that is preventing you from going forward with your goals or reflect where you are spending most of your time:

  • Are you saying yes to everything and taking on other people’s projects more than your own?
  • Are you burnt out?
  • Are you feeling overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start?

The first step is always self-awareness.

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How to Live Differently

1. Define the What and Why

Think about what’s important to you and why this is the make up of your core:

  • Are you looking for a change in career? If so, then dig deeper into why you want this career change and what are negotiable and non-negotiables in your new career.
  • Are you looking for more free time to take on creative pursuits? Think about why this has significant value to you, and what you’re willing to give up in your current situation in order to make room for this freedom.
  • Are you looking to start completely new and move to an unfamiliar place? Think about what you like about that particular place and how it taps into your emotions.

In order to live differently, you must be comfortable enough with yourself because it all stems down to the confidence within you.

Your confidence and self awareness is the drive that will push you to make the uncomfortable decisions and navigate uncommon grounds when life tests you. Digging deep and getting to the core of it all can reassure that these new paths are in alignment to your values.

2. Show up as That Version of Yourself

If you want to live differently and feel more successful in your life, you must first begin to show up as that version of yourself.

You have to play the role[2] and you can do this by picturing someone you highly admire. It can be their leadership qualities, how they deal with certain situations, or how they present theirselves and show up daily.

Showing up in this different lifestyle also energetically brings this vision into your reality.

3. Little Makes More of an Impact

When you want to change your life, it’s doesn’t have to be this grandeur moment. Often times, small steps and changes make more of an impact and return.

For instance, if one of your goals is to be healthier and shed some pounds this year, the common route would be to get a gym membership, establish a diet plan, and commit to exercising x times a week. While these are great ways to start, understand that good habits also take some time and patience to form.

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In the meantime, healthier living isn’t only limited to dieting and exercising. It’s taking smaller bite size steps such as cutting sugar from your coffee that can stretch far in the long run.

For example, you usually have your coffee black with one sugar packet. You drink two coffees in one day – one before work and another during work. One sugar packet is equivalent to about four grams of sugar, times the two cups you have daily. In one month alone, you are easily consuming 240 grams of sugar.

Little changes like cutting out sugar in your coffee intake can easily make a greater impact in the future.

Final Thoughts

Remember that it’s never too late to change your life and factors such as age, time, or even experience shouldn’t hinder your yearning to pursue your dreams, projects, and live differently.

As our life continues forward, always remember that you are in constant motion and also in constant control. You are always more ready than you think you are. It comes down to the one life we live and it’s always worth making it a great one.

More Resources About Making Changes in Life

Featured photo credit: Joseph Barrientos via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

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How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. Some people quit smoking a thousand times in their lives! Everyone knows someone with this mindset.

But this type of change is superficial. It doesn’t last. For real, lasting change to take place, we need to consider the quadrants of change.

Real change, the change that is fundamental, consistent, and longitudinal (lasting over time) has to happen in four quadrants of your life.

It doesn’t have to be quitting smoking; it can be any habit you want to break — drinking, biting your nails, overeating, playing video games, shopping, and more.

Most experts focus on only one area of change, some focus on two areas, but almost none focus on all four quadrants of change. That’s why much of change management fails.

Whether it is in the personal life of a single individual through actions and habits, or in a corporate environment, regarding the way they conduct their business, current change management strategies are lacking.

It all stems from ignoring at least one part of the equation.

So, today, we will cover all four quadrants of change and learn the formula for how to change fundamentally and never go back to your “old self.”

A word of warning: this is simple to do, but it’s not easy. Anyone who tells you that change is easy is either trying to sell you something, or they have no idea what they’re talking about.

Those who want an overnight solution have left the article now, so that leaves you, me, and the real process of change.

The Four Quadrants of Change

There are four areas, or quadrants, in which you need to make a change in order for it to stick. If you miss or ignore a single one of these, your change won’t stick, and you will go back to your previous behavior.

The four quadrants are:

  1. Internal individual – mindset
  2. External individual – behavior
  3. Internal collective – culture/support system
  4. External collective – laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

All four of these quadrants of change may sound like they could carry change all by themselves, but they can’t. So, be sure to implement your change in all four quadrants. Otherwise, it will all be in vain.

First Quadrant — Internal Individual

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of an individual, and it concerns itself with the mindset of a person.

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Our actions stem from our thoughts (most of the time), and if we change our mindset toward something, we will begin to process of changing the way we act.

People who use the law of attraction fall into this category, where they’ve recognized the strength of thoughts and how they make us change ourselves.

Even Lao Tzu had a great saying regarding this:

“Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.” [1]

One of the most impactful ways you can make a change in this quadrant is to implement what James Clear calls identity-based habits. [2]

Instead of prioritizing the outcome of a change (ex.: I want to lose 20 pounds), you prioritize your identity as a person (I want to become/remain a healthy person).

Here are a couple of examples for you to see the strength of this kind of resolution:

I want to watch many movies = I am a cinema lover
I want to clean my apartment = I am a clean person
I want to harvest my crops = I am a harvester (farmer)
I want to swim = I am a swimmer

This quadrant is about changing the identity you attach to a certain action. Once you re-frame your thinking in this way, you will have completed the first of the quadrants of change.

Second Quadrant — External Individual

This quadrant focuses on the external world of an individual and concerns itself with the behavior of a person.

This is where people like Darren Hardy, the author of the Compound Effect reside. Hardy is about doing small, consistent actions that will create change in the long run (the compound effect).

You want to lose 30 pounds? Start by eating just 150 calories (approximately two slices of bread) less a day, and in two and a half years, you will have lost 30 pounds.

The same rules apply to business, investing, sports, and multiple other areas. Small, consistent actions can create big changes.

This works — I’ve read 20 extra pages a day for the past two years, and it accumulated into 90 books read in two years. [3]

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Here, you have two ways of dealing with change behaviorally: negative environmental design and positive environmental design.

Negative Environmental Design

This is when you eliminate the things from your environment that revert you to the old behavior. If you want to stop eating ice cream, you don’t keep it in your freezer.

If you want to stop watching TV, you remove the batteries from the remote and put them on the other side of the house (it works!).

Positive Environmental Design

This is when you put the things that you want to do withing reach — literally!

You want to learn how to play guitar? Put your guitar right next to your sofa. You want to head to the gym? Put the gym clothes in a backpack and put it on top of your shoes.

You want to read more books? Have a book on your nightstand, your kitchen table, and on the sofa.

You can even combine this last trick with my early advice about removing the batteries from your remote control, combining the negative and positive environmental designs for maximum effect.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

If you just change your behavior and leave your intentions (thoughts) intact, your discipline will fail you and the real change won’t happen.

You will simply revert back to the previous behavior because you haven’t changed the fundamental root of why this problem occurs in the first place.

That is why you need to create change both in the first quadrant (internal individual — mindset) and the second quadrant (external individual — behavior). These quadrants of change are two sides of the same coin.

Most change management would stop here, and that’s why most change management fails.

No matter how much you focus on yourself, there are things that affect our lives that are happening outside of us. That is the focus of the two remaining quadrants.

Third Quadrant — Internal Collective

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the culture of that collective.

There are two different distinctions here: the Inner Ring and the Outer Ring.

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The Inner Ring

These are your friends and your family. The Inner Ring is the place where the social and cultural norms of your friends and family rule.

So, if everyone in your family is overweight and every lunch is 1,000 calories per person, then you can say goodbye to your idea of becoming healthy.

In this case, the culture of your group, the inner norms that guide the decisions, actions, thoughts, ideas, and patterns of behaviors are all focused on eating as much as possible. [4]

You need to have the support of your Inner Ring if you want to achieve change. If you don’t have this support, the the best way to proceed is by either changing your entire Inner Ring or distancing yourself from it.

Beware — most Inner Rings won’t accept the fact that you want to change and will undermine you on many occasions — some out of habit, some due to jealousy, and some because supporting you would mean that they have to change, too.

You don’t have to cut ties with people, but you can consciously decide to spend less time with them.

The Outer Ring

The Outer Ring consists of the culture of your company, community, county, region, and country. For example, it’s quite hard to be an open-minded person in North Nigeria, no matter how you, your friends, and your family think.

The Outer Ring is the reason why young people move to the places that share their value systems instead of staying in their current city, county, or country.

Sometimes, you need to change your Outer Ring as well because its culture is preventing you from changing.

I see this every single day in my country, where the culture can be so toxic that it doesn’t matter how great of a job you have or how great your life currently looks — the culture will change you, inch by inch, until you become like it.

Fourth Quadrant — External Collective

This quadrant focuses on the external world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the systems, teams, laws, and rules of that collective.

This quadrant is about the external manifestations of the collective culture. If the majority of the environment thinks in a certain way, they will create institutions that will implement that way of thinking.

The same rules apply to companies.

One example for companies would be those managers who think that employees are lazy, lack responsibility, and need constant supervision (or what is called Theory X in management).

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Then, those managers implement systems that reflect that kind of culture– no flexible work hours, strict rules about logging work, no remote work, etc.

Your thoughts, however, may be different. You might believe that people want responsibility, that they are capable of self-direction, that they can make good decisions, and that managers don’t need to stand on their necks if they want something done (this is called Theory Y in management).

Then, you would want to have flexible working hours, different ways of measuring your productivity (for example, not time on the job but work produced), and remote work, if possible for your profession.

This is when you enter into a conflict with the external collective quadrant. Here, you have four options: leave, persevere, neglect, and voice.

Leave

You can simply leave the company/organization/community/country and go to a different place. Most people decide to do this.

Persevere

This is when you see that the situation isn’t good, but you decide to stick at it and wait for the perfect time (or position) where you can implement change.

Neglect

This is where you give up on the change you want to see and just go with the flow, doing the minimal work necessary to keep the status quo.

These are the people who are disengaged at work and are doing just the bare minimum necessary (which, in the U.S. is around 65% of the workforce).

I did this only once, and it’s probably the only thing I regret doing in my life.

Voice

This is where you actively work on changing the situation, and the people in charge know that you want to create a change.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your company, community, or your country; you are actively calling for a change and will not stop until it’s implemented.

Putting It All Together

When you take it all into account, change is simple, in theory, but it isn’t easy to execute. It takes work in all four quadrants:

  1. Internal individual — mindset
  2. External individual — behavior
  3. Internal collective — culture/support system
  4. External collective — laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

Some will require more work, some less, but you will need to create a change in all four of them.

But don’t let that discourage you because change is possible, and many people have done this. The best time to start changing was yesterday, but the second best time is today.

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Featured photo credit: Djim Loic via unsplash.com

Reference

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