Advertising

Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How Do I Change for the Better? 11 Little Things to Start Doing

Advertising
How Do I Change for the Better? 11 Little Things to Start Doing

Look around you – how many people do you think are actually happy with the way their lives have shaped up? Chances are very few of them.

Most of us are filled with regrets and angst. We wish we did things differently. If we could go back in time and change our actions or reactions, we would. But the truth is, what’s gone is gone.

What you have is the present moment and the good news is that it is never too late to change. After all, we hold the reins of our life and have the power to change its course.

So, stop complaining and asking, “how do I change for the better?” because it is time to act. Here are 11 little things to start doing today and become a better version of yourself:

1. Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Everything that life throws at us is not in our control. The only thing we can control are our thoughts, attitude and reactions. Would you rather be cynical about the world or adopt a positive mindset and live a more peaceful life instead?

Being optimistic is not as easy as it sounds. It requires practice and a lot of mental conditioning but it sure is a step forward towards a happier you.

So, stop feeding your brain with all the pointless, negative self-talk and replace them with these positive affirmations instead. Start a gratitude journal too, it’ll help.

In this imperfect world we live in, the least you can do is have hope and believe that the best will happen.

2. Focus on What’s Working

Ask people what’s not working in their lives and they can go volumes; but ask them what they are grateful for and they will pause to think.

Advertising

“How do I change for the better by doing this?”, you ask? Well, there is a lot of change you can bring about by just changing your perspective. When we focus on the negatives and obsess over what is not going right, we miss out on everything we need to be grateful for. This just adds to the stress and hinders growth.

Try focusing on what’s going right for a change and you will realize how you end up attracting more of it.

3. Take Ownership

When things don’t go as planned, we are quick to blame the situation, our surroundings and even ourselves but how does that change anything?

Holding on to failures and resorting to blame games are futile. When you take ownership of your actions, you realize that it is so much easier to let go and move on. You are able to look beyond ‘failures’ and overcome them to start the next chapter.

By taking ownership and responsibility, you feel empowered to bring about a positive change in your life – it motivates you and encourages you to push yourself and act on the situation rather than sulking or indulging in self-pity.

Take a look at this article and learn to take responsibility of what happen to you: Recognizing the Distinction Between Blame and Responsibility

4. Be Open to Learning

We are constantly evolving and there should never be an end to learning. From your career and social life to relationships – having a flexible and open mindset is essential to thrive in every aspect of your life.

A close-minded person can never grow because they act from a place of arrogance and superiority. They build barriers around them and have a one-track thought process.

On the other hand, being lifelong learners opens you up to so many possibilities, it makes life exciting and lets you look beyond your preconceived notions. You look at situations objectively, are not afraid to challenge your thoughts and show your vulnerable side.

Advertising

Here’s How to Train Your Brain to Crave Lifelong Learning (And Why It’s Good).

5. Live Your Own Life

Most of our problems arise when we compare our lives to those around us without realizing how baseless these comparisons are.

Everyone has a unique journey, and no one is better off than the other. Comparing your life to other people’s makes you anxious and stressed.

Accept where you are in life, embrace the imperfections and focus on your life because the grass is greener where it is better taken care of. Instead of competing with your peers, compete with yourself and strive to grow and become better with every passing day.

This article will help you focus on yourself instead of always comparing yourself to others: The More We Compare, the More We Lose Ourselves

6. Build a Strong Relationship with Yourself

Being a better person isn’t just about being good to other people, it’s about being good to yourself first.

Work towards building a strong relationship with yourself. If that foundation is strong, you tend to be a more secure person and don’t let other people’s thoughts become your life’s reality.

Practice self-care, learn to put your needs first and accept yourself the way you are. Nobody is perfect but perfection should never be the goal. Treat yourself as work-in-progress and learn along the way. The only thing that matters is growth and self-improvement, no matter how old you are.

This article will inspire you how to love yourself more: How to Love Yourself, Even if No One Else Does

Advertising

7. Treat People with Respect

We have all heard the phrase, “treat others the way you want to be treated”.

Treating people with respect and empathizing with them sows the seeds of a healthy relationship. You surround yourself with positive people who genuinely love and respect you and that certainly is a blooming environment to be in.

Find it hard to respect people you dislike? This may change your mind: Could You Still Show Respect to Someone You Dislike? Would You?

8. Learn to Forgive

Forgiving people for their mistakes is a tough job and doesn’t come easy to anyone.

How do you let go and forgive someone for wronging you? It takes immense effort and courage to do so but it is important because if not for that, you will just be holding on too much anger and hurt which is impacts your mental health.

So, set yourself free and learn to forgive – you will be glad you did. Here’s how: How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)

9. Lead a Healthy Life

A healthy mind and healthy body make a happy and better you.

Be mindful of what you’re eating, your sleeping habits and exercising. Adopting a healthy lifestyle leads to better productivity, lesser stress and adds discipline to your life.

Start leading a healthy lifestyle with these good habits: 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect of Your Life

Advertising

10. Set Healthy Boundaries

Not everyone around us is a well-wisher. There are some people who are nothing but a source of negativity. Don’t feel guilty about keeping them out of your life.

Self-care is of utmost importance and setting healthy boundaries with toxic people lets you protect yourself.

Remember – it is not your duty to make it work with everyone. If there is someone who is making you feel terrible or unhappy, you are better off walking away from that relationship.

If you find yourself hanging out with toxic people, it’s best to distance yourself from them: 10 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of

11. Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

Many of us take life too seriously – we get bogged down by failures, we consider rejections to be the end of the world, we beat ourselves over our mistakes and we get too caught up in the drudgery of everyday life.

Thirty or forty years down the line, how will it feel to look back and see that you lived a life of sadness, fear and regret?

Don’t give rise to such a situation. Seize the day and enjoy the present moment because these days won’t come back.

Here’re 34 Ways To Live in the Moment And Grow in the Moment.

Final Thoughts

The fact that you’re asking “how do I change for the better” is the first step to steer your life in the positive direction. So, make these small changes in your attitude, perception and habits and you will be surprised to see how the road ahead clears out for you.

Advertising

Life is what you make of it – the choice is in your hands.

More Tips to Help You Change Your Life

Featured photo credit: Nicolai Berntsen via unsplash.com

More by this author

Adela Belin

Writes about motivation, mental health, personal development and shares stories inspired by her personal journey.

The Importance of Self Improvement No Matter How Old You Are How to Cope with Stress When You’re Overwhelmed by Responsibilities 16 Best Podcasts on Motivation to Help You Reach Your Goals How Do I Change for the Better? 11 Little Things to Start Doing How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated

Trending in Life Potential

1 How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change 2 How to Live By Design, Not By Default 3 What Is Intentional Living (And How To Live Intentionally) 4 How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career 5 Can People Change When Changing Is So Difficult?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

Advertising
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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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).

Advertising

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.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: Djim Loic via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next