Two Things Need to Happen if You Want to Change Your Life

photo credit: petrichor via photopin cc

photo credit: petrichor via photopin cc

I’ll get right down to the point. The way I see it, there are only two things you need to do if you want to change your life. It doesn’t matter if “change your life” means losing weight, changing careers, finding love, quitting smoking, getting off of sugar, reducing anxiety or most anything else.

The two things that need to happen are:

1. You have to really want it.
2. You have to continuously take steps towards that goal.

I don’t mean to trivialize how difficult changing your life is, because it’s definitely not easy and we certainly can’t take steps to change until we are ready, but so many people give up before they even start because they see where they are now and where they want to be as two points that are miles apart. They can’t see how they can get from one to the other so they don’t do anything about it.

No amount of wishing your life was different or being envious of others success will change your life. No amount of ignoring your situation will change it. No amount of complaining about it will make a difference. And there will be no perfect time in your life to make it happen. Life doesn’t slow down and suddenly become more convenient. A special opportunity when all things are aligned won’t show up.

It may sound harsh to lay it out like this but I’ve noticed that the difference between most people who are successful at changing and those who aren’t is often as simple as being willing to continuously take action, even when they’re busy or feel like giving up. They don’t give excuses a moment to take root.

No, changing your life isn’t easy. It’s usually hard work and sometimes you feel like you’re taking a lot of steps that don’t really seem to be going anywhere. But if you keep taking action you will move forward. It may not be as fast as you would like and you may need to revise your goals along the way. You may even realize during your journey that you want to head in another direction. That’s okay! That’s still growth. You’re still changing your life!

If you feel like you are taking action and working towards a goal but nothing is happening, ask yourself if there is something you could be doing towards this goal that you’re not already doing. Also important, is your goal a S.M.A.R.T. goal (S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Realistic – Timed)? Goals that are well defined are easier to reach.

If you have clearly outlined the steps to reach your goal but are not making the progress you would like, is it possible you are self-sabotaging? Maybe you’re unconsciously afraid of this change so you’re finding ways to not move forward (been there!) or you’re not really sure how to change something (been there too!) so you end up spinning in circles.

Another possibility is that you don’t really want to reach this goal to begin with. Many of us think we want to achieve something because it is what society expects of us or it’s a story we’ve told ourselves for many years. If you don’t really want it, there is no amount of goal setting or coaching that’s going to make it happen.
Goal Setting Blog Post (1)

If you’re just getting started with change, try to not take on too much too soon. It’s the fastest way to get overwhelmed and discouraged. Start with small changes first and build on them as you gain confidence and momentum.

For weight loss, try adding in an extra vegetable each day to start. When that becomes easy, consider starting an exercise routine (if you’re not already – and with your doctor’s approval). It can be just 10 minutes a few times a week to begin. Start there and keep building!

If you want to change careers and know what you want to do but don’t know what it takes to get there, start by doing research on your dream field and reach out to people already working in that field that you know already (or find them on Linkedin) and ask if they’d be willing to tell you how they got their foot in the door. Get the ball rolling and get excited about your future and your next steps will appear.

For increased chances of success, consider sharing your goals with a friend and asking them to hold you accountable or hire a coach who can help you navigate roadblocks. Having support can go a long way towards your progress.

For true change to happen you have to want what you’re after and continuously take action towards it. If you do those two things we’ll be celebrating your accomplishment in just a matter of time. I’ll buy the champagne!
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2 thoughts on “Two Things Need to Happen if You Want to Change Your Life

  1. seedofinfinitepotential

    You really hit the advice on the head, Andrea! I finally quit smoking about eight years ago after multiple attempts. I always tried to do it for my kids….someone else. It wasn’t until I deeply desired this for myself that I was able to walk away from a 26 year habit. I have a similar story for weight loss. I like that you mentioned the S.M.A.R.T. goal. We’ve all most likely tried to “eat less and exercise more”. That never worked for more than a few pounds for me….which I always put right back on. Weight loss has always been a challenge for me. My needle never moved until I had a SMART plan in place that I followed. Thanks for breaking it all down into baby steps!

    Reply
    1. Andrea Quigley Maynard Post author

      Thanks Chris! Congrats on being 8 years smoke free and the weight loss! Absolutely agree that your motivation has to come from the inside or it will feel like you’re just treading water. My husband quit smoking just 5 months ago after 20 years of smoking – he was finally ready and wanted it for himself.

      Reply

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