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Last Updated on December 23, 2021

How Do I Change for the Better? 17 Things to Start Doing

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How Do I Change for the Better? 17 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.

Are you often wondering “How do I change my life?” but not sure how to do it?!

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.

What Does Changing Mean?

Traditionally, to change would mean to alter something or replace an existing thing with a new one. When it comes to change as a person, the meaning doesn’t diverge from its essence either. Changing as a person means altering how you behave and how you are.

Most voluntary changes are for the better. You see something wrong in yourself or your behavior, you address it and remedy it. Sometimes external factors such as traumatic events, financial situations, and other things may change a person through changing their circumstances.

Changing can look like combatting negative thoughts, losing weight that always bothered you, reaching your goals, and stepping out of your comfort zone to make sure your life is the best life you possibly can live. The important thing is to make change long-term and sustainable so that you stick with the ‘new you’ for good. This is because the mere desire to want to change can take a turn for the worst if not followed through with positive action. [1]

Can a Person Really Change for the Better?

Changing for the better is not hard. It is simply the motivation to do better in life that makes all the difference. It means to set specific goals and then achieve your goals. However, if you wish to continue committing to achieve, you need to remember that setting realistic goals is key when you want to set a goal.

For example, if changing yourself for the better means losing weight then you must remember that it does not happen overnight. To make the change long term you have to eliminate bad habits and start living your best life. The first step would be to get better eating habits. [2]

“Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone.” – Billy Cox

Changing for the better requires patience, discipline, and self-control. Progress is not always a straight line and can have many ups and downs.

So, stop complaining and asking, “how do I change for the better?” because it is time to act.

How To Begin and Reach Your Goals

Changing yourself is only as effective as you intend it to be. To begin changing yourself, you need to make up your mind. Address what you do not like about yourself and make a plan of action. You must make a mental map of how you wish to change before you embark on the endeavor. This will help you be more guided and more likely to do better.

One of the most important things that people get wrong about change is their approach to it. Let’s take a person who is unhappy with their weight, they want to change themselves e.g want to physically lose weight. However, they do not consider changing their actions like eating junk or not getting enough exercise. They see the problem at face value but fail to consider how it is a consequence of their own actions.

Changing yourself doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. There are some simple steps you can take to make a world of a difference.

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17 Things to Do When You Want to Change

Here are 17 things to start doing today and become a better version of yourself:

1. See Yourself From Outside Yourself

Try and look at yourself from the outsider’s perspective to get an objective opinion about you and what you need to change.

When you do this, you remove any bias or privilege you apply to yourself and understand what really needs to be done in order to make a difference.

2. Cultivate Self-Love

When self-love is cultivated, the challenging work of changing yourself is softened by the balms of patience and self-compassion.

Change is hard enough on its own, especially when you know that you’ll inevitably face obstacles along the way. Cultivating a healthy sense of self-love will allow you to be gentle with yourself as you navigate any unavoidable challenges. Knowing you love yourself unconditionally will anchor you when your journey gets tough.

Getting unstuck can be uncomfortable. You might feel vulnerable as you confront the things about yourself that are contributing to the status quo. Change is a process, one that requires you to exercise patience and compassion with yourself. It’s okay to be vulnerable with yourself; it means you’re being honest.

3. 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.

4. Set Achievable Goals

Setting achievable goals is one of the most important things in life when it comes to making a difference. This is because you want to give yourself the positive affirmation that you can do it. If your goals seem too cumbersome they can become intimidating and hard to achieve. This is why you should set achievable goals that are easier to manage.

5. Bolster Your Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is fundamental to not only believing that you’re capable of change but also that you are worthy of the effort required to achieve what you truly desire.

To change yourself for the better, you have to not only believe that you can change, but you must also believe that you are worthy of the life that positive change will bring. At the core of that belief is your self-esteem.

Put plainly, self-esteem is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Trying to change yourself could cause you to have some negative feelings about yourself, which is why it’s important that we do the work of cultivating self-love first. It is advantageous to be anchored in a knowing that you will patiently, compassionately, and unconditionally nurture yourself through the tough spots as you are in the process of starting to implement change and holding yourself accountable.

A strong sense of positive self-esteem is critical. Your sense of self-esteem is based on the evidence you’ve gathered from your experiences and connections. You did a good job at work, thus you feel good and you believe you can do it again. The positive experience provides you with evidence that naturally bolsters your self-esteem.

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Your relationships are another well spring for positive self-esteem when you maintain healthy relationships with people who you believe in and admire. When those people then believe in you, their belief makes you believe in yourself a little more.

It takes a lot of courage to follow through with and maintain new behaviors that will sustain a long-term change. If you don’t believe that you can or that you’re worth it, then you’re fighting a losing battle.

6. 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.

“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.

7. Journal Your Goals and Progress

Logging your goals and progress helps you keep track of things. It can also be a very healthy way of coping with slipups and relapses. It will also help you draw progress charts and you feel gratification for achieving your goals.

8. 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

9. 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.

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

10. Use Motivational and Helpful Social Media Apps

Social media can be your best friend when it comes to making a change. You can log your progress online and have proof in the form of pictures. Or, you can use various management and goal apps for weight loss, productivity, mindfulness, better sleep, etc.

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11. 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

12. 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

13. 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?

14. 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)

15. Lead a Healthy Life

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

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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

16. Set Healthy Boundaries with Toxic People

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

17. 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.

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

Reference

More by this author

Adela Belin

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

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