The day you wake up and say, “I want to change my life,” is a special day. You’ve acknowledged something’s missing. You’re ready to take action.
Perhaps you woke up today and thought, “I need to change my life.” Things are so bad you are dying for a fresh start. The need to change comes before you can embark on a quest to learn how to find your purpose in life – think change and then purpose.
Either way, I’m glad you’re here.
Wanting change is the first step in any transformation. But desire without action doesn’t work. You need practical steps to make it happen.
These 21 tactics have the power to transform your life — by changing your situation, your habits, and even your luck.
Read through, pick one, and start today.
Change your situation
Taking a hard look at your life, the most urgent problems are likely situational:
- The place you live is making you miserable.
- You hate your job and dream about a career change at 40.
- You’re facing a challenge with finances, health, or a bad relationship.
When these aspects of life are out of control, they are the first things you think of changing. But how do you know which direction to go?
The next steps will help you gain a better understanding of where you are — and clarity about where you want to be.
Where you erase ambiguity and doubt, you make space to move forward.
1. Write in a journal
A daily writing habit helps quiet the distracting thoughts that keep you stuck.
Journaling is like talking out all the ideas spinning in your mind. Whether these thoughts are positive or negative, they distract you from doing any real work to change your situation.
Writing also helps you clarify your goals. When you see everything written down, you can choose priorities — concentrate on those, and let the rest go.
Your journal can include anything on your mind:
- Dreams and plans
- Free writing your thoughts
- To-do lists
- Worries and anxieties
Morning, when the day is full of potential, is the best time to write. In the evening you can revisit what you wrote with a fresh perspective.
2. Clear clutter
Studies have shown that clutter causes a significant decrease in life satisfaction. Clutter also goes hand in hand with procrastination.
Clearing clutter is a quick win to improve your living situation. You’ll not only feel better about your life and your living space, but you’ll stop wasting time and energy on stuff.
Whether it’s piles of unopened mail, toiletries scattered in the bathroom, or clothes you don’t wear, tackle clutter one mess at a time.
Once it’s done, stay mindful to keep new clutter from creeping back in.
Do you feel like you’re locked in your way of living like you’re stuck? You may have done one thing for a long time, or many things that just haven’t panned out.
Great news! You’re still alive, so there’s still plenty of room to experiment. And the reality is that you can change many aspects of your life, but not by standing still.
When you don’t know which direction to go, the best way to learn is to try new things. Start small, with little experiments. Take a course, volunteer in a new field, or take up a new hobby.
Transforming your life is about finding purpose. Experiments help you discover what makes you feel more like who you want to be.
Meditating is a powerful practice that helps bring clarity to every area of your life. It has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress while improving focus and memory.
It’s like a daily reset for your brain that’s even more powerful than sleep.
Simply sit quietly for a set amount of time. Five minutes is a good start. Many people find that 20-30 minutes is perfect once they’ve had some practice.
Quiet your mind, but don’t be surprised if all kinds of thoughts float to the surface. When you’re meditating, observe thoughts passively. Don’t give them your attention. Let them float away to leave peace behind them.
5. Forgive your past
Dwelling on past transgressions ruins your happiness in the present moment. And when you hold on to old pain, it’s hard to see a brighter future.
Experiences like childhood trauma, divorce, losing a loved one, even job loss — these things cause lasting pain.
It’s your responsibility to yourself to heal and move on. It’s the only way to empower yourself to change. You may not be able to forget, but you can forgive.
It may not be as simple as saying, “I forgive you.” Support groups, therapy, even self-care can be helpful as you process old hurts.
Forgiving the past can mean forgiving a specific person that hurt you or forgiving yourself for poor choices. Forgiving allows you to let go of the emotional ties to those events so you can move forward.
6. Be honest with yourself
In order to change your life, you need to understand why you’re in this situation. It’s also essential to know why you are seeking change, and what it might look like.
- What got me to my current situation?
- Why do I want to change?
- What will changing my situation do for me?
- What am I good at?
- What makes me happy?
These aren’t easy answers, and there’s not always a fast solution. The goal is to shift your life around to include more things that make you happy. You can’t do that when you’re always doing what makes other people happy.
For example, it can be hard to face the fact that your job is making you miserable, or admit that a marriage isn’t working. Shine a spotlight on what’s wrong, what’s missing, to get a clear idea of the changes you must make.
7. Identify self-sabotaging behaviors
Patterns of behavior can sabotage your long term goals — without you even knowing.
For example, procrastination, addiction, and even lack of confidence can derail efforts to change your situation. This becomes evident when you start trying to change, but never seem to follow through. Routine thought patterns and bad habits keep blocking any progress.
You’re living your life from the inside which can make it hard to see your own patterns. Ask people you trust. Friends, family, and co-workers can provide an outside perspective.
Identifying your patterns can be a light-bulb moment. You can finally see how you’ve been shooting yourself in the foot every time you take a step towards change.
The next phase of transformation is learning strategies to break your bad habits and establish better ones.
How to change yourself
To transform your life, you must, in some ways, transform yourself. Below are seven ways you can change your habits and your mindset.
The path to life transformation is long and winding. These practices will help you become the person you need to be to see it through.
1. Learn persistence
Failure is part of any worthwhile endeavor. From learning new skills to starting a business, you’ll have to work through failure and rejection regularly.
No dream was ever achieved by giving up at the first sign of resistance.
There are a lot of hard parts to transforming your life. Having the grit to keep moving forward will be a huge advantage.
To embody persistence, you must have an unwavering focus on your goals. When you hit roadblocks, find a way over, around, or through them.
2. Become action-oriented
Learning skills and processes is essential to creating the life that you want. Unfortunately, many people get stuck there. They don’t move on to the “doing” phase.
You can keep learning all you want, but that information won’t do you any good unless you use it. There is never a perfect time to start. You only have right now.
Make the most of the time you have by committing to actions. Stop thinking about it, talking about it, dreaming about it — and just take the actions required to make your life happen.
3. Establish a morning routine
The most successful people have a morning routine. They follow the same rituals every single morning. This isn’t an arbitrary choice. They know that their first actions of the day set them up for success.
Your morning routine should include a few key elements:
- Silence: Start with meditation, or just sit quietly and clear your mind. Don’t rush into checking your email, reading news, or anyone else’s agenda.
- Movement: Include a physical practice in your morning routine. This isn’t necessarily a workout. It’s a way to prime your body and mind for the day. Some people do a short HIIT workout while others do yoga.
- Plan: Spend a few minutes planning your day. What are the major items you want to finish? What interruptions are you likely to face? How will you handle them?
4. Visualize your ideal self
Most people run their lives on autopilot. They never question the path of their lives. They see themselves as a ship tossed around on rough seas.
Visualizing is a powerful tool to take back control of your ship.
With a strong vision of who you want to become, you are well on your way to achieving it. You’re better able to “see” the person you’ll be.
Hold this vision in your mind each day and embody an ideal version of yourself as you go about your tasks. You’ll become more and more like this version of you.
5. Plan how to change your life
You must have a plan for how you will change your life — or it will never happen. Without a plan, procrastination, uncertainty, and inertia will always win.
When you already know what step to take each day, progress becomes tangible, achievable, and real.
The best way to plan for a big change is to break your goal into smaller projects. For each project, make a list of every small task involved. Most importantly, get those tasks on a timeline.
Whether you use a planner, a checklist app, or project management software, create a plan, stick to it, and adjust as you go.
6. Learn how to take criticism
Criticism is a valuable gift. If you live your life avoiding it like the plague, you will never take the risks required to make a big change.
Since you must live with it, learn how to handle criticism. These are your three options when you receive negative feedback:
- Lash out defensively.
- Ignore it.
- Learn from it.
If you react defensively, you not only fuel conflict, but you miss out on potentially valuable information. Receiving criticism offers you a way to see what the rest of the world sees — and identify areas in which you have some work to do.
Criticism often feels like an attack. It can be difficult to hear, but still helpful. On the other hand, it can be intentionally hurtful and untrue.
It’s your job to contemplate criticism, without spiraling into anger and shame. Decide if there is something valuable to learn. If not, simply ignore it, and go on learning how to be a badass.
7. Avoid procrastination
When you want to accomplish something, but can’t seem start, what’s really happening?
Usually, procrastination is an attempt to avoid discomfort. Paradoxically, it causes even more pain, as you delay doing the work.
There are many ways you can feel bad about important tasks. For example, you want to get in better physical shape. But you feel awkward at the gym, you don’t know what exercises to do, and you get anxious just thinking about it.
Most of us are subconsciously wired to avoid discomfort. We will do anything to avoid it.
Here’s the trick. It’s OK to feel uncomfortable, nervous, frustrated, or in over your head.
Even when you’re feeling bad, take just one tiny little step forward. Just start. You’ll soon see that the fear of the thing was worse than the thing itself.
How to change your luck
Luck isn’t random. You can hand-craft good luck by stacking the odds in your favor. It’s not cheating. It’s giving yourself every possible advantage.
Working your luck will skyrocket your opportunities for success. You’ll easily elevate your situation into the life you desire.
1. Expand your network
You absorb the traits of the 5 people you spend the most time around. Choose carefully!
When you’re working on how to change your life, don’t surround yourself with:
- People with no ambition or drive.
- Negative people.
- People who want to see you fail.
Instead, choose friends and associates who have a positive attitude. Be surrounded by innovators and those who you see as a success.
How do you define success? Find people who reflect your vision of what you want for yourself, and seek out opportunities to connect with them.
This may mean spending less time around old friends and actively seeking new ones. Take this step outside your comfort zone. Push yourself to grow.
2. Show up
A big part of transforming your life is simply showing up. Accepting invitations, attending classes, going to meetings — even if it’s uncomfortable.
For example, joining a mastermind group or attending a new class might be part of your plan to make a change. You may be anxious about meeting new people, or feel like you don’t belong.
Do it anyway. Nothing happens in your life if you don’t make it happen.
Showing up for your life also includes paying attention to your surroundings and your conversations. Be present and fully participate without distraction.
3. Say yes
Have you ever been presented with a great opportunity, said no, and instantly regretted it?
If your first instinct is to say no, think about why. Most likely, it’s self-preservation — fear of taking a risk.
Transforming your life demands that you try new and unfamiliar things. You won’t have all the skills you need right away. You’ll be afraid to fail, afraid of judgment, and afraid of the unknown.
But if the idea excites you, do it anyway. It could be the moment you look back on as the beginning of a major shift in your luck. Opportunities lead to more opportunities. Not surprisingly, learning to say yes is also one of the characteristics of a leader.
4. Say no
Say yes to opportunities that excite you, and move you closer to your goal. Say no to everything that distracts you from your goal.
You can’t do everything at once, and you absolutely can’t make everyone happy. People pleasing won’t lead to transforming your life. In fact, not being able to say no to others means you’re saying no to yourself.
Having clear priorities will help you to say no to things more easily.
5. Stay in your lane
Everyone achieves success in their own time in their own way. From JK Rowling to Steve Jobs, every story is different.
It’s great to be inspired by success stories. Hearing how others have transformed their lives is incredibly motivating. But it can also be discouraging.
The only story you are writing is your own. Your path won’t be exactly like theirs.
Most of the time, you only see the highlight reel of someone else’s success. You don’t see behind the scenes — each person’s unique, personal struggles. You don’t know in what ways they’ve failed or grown.
Focus on writing your story. Face your struggles and stay focused on your goals. Learning how to improve focus is the surest path to reaching your own happily ever after.
6. Believe things are working in your favor
Your mind is your most powerful tool.
Positive thinking without action doesn’t get you far. But if you believe you will succeed, you will find ways to succeed. If you believe you will fail, you’ll find ways to fail.
Maintaining a success-focused mindset is key to becoming the person you want to be. You have to be aware of your thoughts.
Focusing on ways things can go right will strengthen your hope and your resolve. You’ll see the world as full of potential. Your path of transformation will be made lighter.
7. Practice self-care
Striving and working hard on changing your life is a good thing — it’s necessary. But humans need to rest and refuel.
It’s easy to forget to take those breaks. And it’s difficult to make time for the deeper self-care you will need to get through your transformational journey.
Self-care is a little different for everyone. It’s not a luxury, though some people like to feel luxurious. Here are some ideas:
- Time alone in nature
- A day of reading
- Choosing healthy food
- Getting enough sleep
The road of personal transformation is long. Plan your self-care to maintain good mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Ways to change your life: Begin by starting
You are unquestionably capable of making your dreams a reality. Now that you’ve learned lots of practical steps you can take, you’re ready to start.
Transforming your life is a winding and bumpy road. Keep your goals in mind and keep working every single day.
With dedicated effort, you’ll make progress faster than you can imagine – but you have to take action of these 21 simple ways to change your life.