Does life feel like it’s passing you by? Things may not be terrible, but you know you’re capable of more – more happiness and more meaning. If this sounds familiar, you’re right – you are capable of more. But if you’re like most people, the reason you’re not living up to your potential right now is that your daily actions aren’t aligned with your true potential.
As the author Mark Batterson said “Show me your habits and I’ll show you your future”, so let’s start there. Follow the six steps below to find out how to change your life for the better.
How to change your life
Stop saying the word ‘should’
As the Buddha said, all human discomfort and suffering comes from attachment – attachment to specific outcomes that are usually different to the reality you’re living.
You should be happier than you are.
You should get on with X person better than you do.
Your work should feel more meaningful.
And so on…
But the word ‘should’ is one of the worst for bringing about change. It makes you focus your time and energy on resisting reality instead of implementing change.
You don’t spend days or weeks berating yourself about not winning the lottery if you never bought a ticket. And that’s because it’s common knowledge that you have to buy a ticket to win the lottery – you either buy a ticket and hope for the best or don’t buy a ticket and focus your attention on something else.
The same is true for ‘shoulds’ – they trick you into thinking tirelessly about a nonexistent third option for all situations. The truth is that in life you can only change what you can change and accept what you can’t. Trying to do anything else wastes energy and brings completely avoidable misery.
Do something that scares you every day
Have you ever heard the saying “Nothing changes if nothing changes”? That’s the sentiment of the second action point on this list. You may be wondering how to change your life right now, but the answer is pretty obvious – be the change you’re looking for. Step outside your comfort zone at least once a day and see what happens.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone every day and you’ll open yourself to new opportunities that could take your life in a completely different direction and it will also show you you’re capable of much more than you currently give yourself credit for.
You don’t have to jump out of a plane or walk on hot coals to achieve this. Less dramatic actions like speaking to strangers, asking for help or admitting you don’t know what you’re doing can lead to big change.
To help you get started, we’re running an exciting year-long challenge called the Year of Risk. It’s free to join and if you do, we’ll send you a bold action to take every single day for a year. Find out more about it here.
Act on your instincts
Remember the 90s film Sliding Doors? If you haven’t seen it, the plot is that a woman is fired from work in the middle of the day and goes to catch a train home. Viewers are shown two versions of her life from that point on. In one version she catches the train, gets home earlier than expected and catches her boyfriend in bed with another woman. In the other version of her life, she misses the train and gets home after the woman has left.
We’re mentioning this film because it shows how taking (or not taking) one tiny action can completely change your life. Your gut instincts give you a little nudge in the right direction, but you’ll only move in that amazing new direction if you act on those gut feelings.
Have you ever had a bad feeling about something and ignored the feeling only to later catch yourself saying “I knew this would happen”?
Similarly, have you ever acted on that bad feeling and then later found out that doing so saved you from ending up in a bad situation?
Your intuition tells you what’s best for you. It may not be aligned with societal expectations or within your comfort zone, but it’s your inner wisdom speaking. Listen to it more often. And if you have trouble following your intuition because of the expectations of others, here are some easy ways to strengthen your intuition.
Get crystal clear on what you want from life
The quickest way to get frustrated on a journey is to have no idea where you’re trying to get to. The most important journey of all is your life, so if you feel stuck in a rut and desperate to find out how to change your life, the chances are you’re living like you’ve been blindfolded and bundled into a car instead of like you’re the driver.
If you’ve never really asked yourself how you’ll know you’ve had a worthwhile and fulfilling life on your deathbed, it’s worth doing so now.
Forget about the superficial game-of-life stuff like finding a job you love, a house you like and having X amount of money in the bank, and think about the bigger soul-level stuff.
What’s your ultimate goal in life? What do you want to be remembered for?
Not sure? Take a look at this article on how to find your purpose in life.
Pause and reflect every day
Once you know your ultimate goal in life, you need to stay on track with that goal if you’re to find the fulfillment you’re looking for. You can do this by checking in with yourself daily to see if the decisions you’ve made and actions you’ve taken throughout the day are aligned with your ultimate goal.
All you need to do is set aside 10 minutes at the end of each day and reflect on how the day went. Jot down the aligned things that happened and where they came from (did you take action in some way or was it something initiated by someone else). Then jot down the things that weren’t really aligned with your ultimate goal and where they came from.
Don’t judge things as good or bad because sometimes what looks ‘bad’ turns out to be ‘good’ and vice versa. Just pay attention to the things that felt aligned with your life purpose and make an effort to do more of those things in the future.
Also, pay attention to how often you listened to and acted on your intuition. As mentioned above, gut feelings are usually your inner wisdom speaking and they will ultimately lead you down the path that’s meant for you.
Stay in your lane
Have you ever been happy with something and then you discovered someone else had a ‘better’ version of it and suddenly, the thing you were happy with lost its appeal… even though it hadn’t changed in any way?
This is our long-winded way of saying that no good comes from constantly longing for what others have (or what you think they have). It’s a habit that makes you unhappy, distracts you from your life, and can make you screw up your own journey. How can you effectively run your own race if your eyes are fixed on the lane to the right or left?
You can dramatically transform how you feel about your life by focusing on your path and your path alone, so stay out of others’ business as much as possible and watch what happens.
So, are you ready to transform your life for the better? Let us know which of the six habits for changing your life you’ll be putting into action today.