Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.—Jim Rohn
Ever since I can remember, I believed that something amazing was going to happen to me at 27. When the day finally came, I sat there wondering what it would be.
After my birthday passed and nothing happened, I became alarmed. What went wrong? Where were my lottery winnings? My book contract? Where was the shiny key to unlock my amazing story?
Then I began to really look at things, and I realized my life wasn’t nearly as lovely as the façade I’d created. Several of my habits were well beyond their expiration date. At the time, I drank a bottle of wine a night, smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, had gained about 15 pounds in the course of a year and had fallen into a place where I would casually think about how death wouldn’t be so bad.
I was depressed, and no book deal or million-dollar check was going to change that. So I made a promise to myself: This year I am going to be the best person I can be. All of that meant a lot of big changes, and I had no idea what I was doing. Looking back on it five years later, I still don’t have everything figured out, but my life has changed drastically for the better.
Here are 12 important lessons I’ve learned about making positive and lasting change in this precious life of ours and making a difference in our personal world.
1. Be Honest with Yourself
Don’t underestimate the power of denial. We’ve all got an amazing capacity for it, but that doesn’t mean we need to use it. Shine some sunshine on the parts of your life that need exposing. If you have a close friend you trust, ask that person to give you some help identifying things you struggle with. However, many of us surround ourselves with people who are similar to us, so be aware of that. Sometimes those around us don’t always have our best interests in mind.
For instance, I worked in a bar and so did most of my friends. No one was going to tell me I drank too much because many of them drank more than I did. In order for me to be honest about that, I had to look outside myself and this circle of friends.
If you’re concerned you have serious issues to iron out or don’t have anyone to talk with, consider seeking a counselor’s advice. A few sessions can give amazing perspective.
2. Perform a Personal Inventory
Putting something on paper brings it into the physical realm; it makes it real. This is especially helpful if you’re dealing with denial. Reading it out loud helps as well. Spell out the things you struggle with. Call them by their name. Get comfortable with them. Then write down why you’d like to change. For me, some of the answers were obvious: for example, my physical health was in danger.
There can be so many reasons—spiritual and mental health, friendships and marriages, financial responsibilities, children. Identifying them helps you find your motivation. Remember that your primary motivation for change should be yourself, or your will may falter or you may inadvertently resent someone for “making” you change.
3. Visualize Peace & Health
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