Whether you're fed up with what you're doing now or you really want to improve a mediocre existence, you can make an instant decision to change now so that you can enjoy a better, more rewarding life. Sometimes, you just need to act first and reflect later instead of continuing to pile up dreams without doing anything more about them. Changing your life around is a journey, but you can handle it. Take the first steps toward your new life now.
Part 1 of 3: Writing Out a Plan
Write out what you'd like to change. Sometimes change is so big, so amorphous and so scary that you simply don't want to contemplate it at all. But you can do something about that, and you can do it right now. Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Write down the following things without doing too much thinking:
What's working well in my life right now? You need to be aware of what you like as much as you're aware of what you don't like so that you don't end up wrecking the positives in your life. You can also list some of your strengths here so that you know what you have to draw on as you go through the change process.
What do I dislike about myself or my situation? Do you hate your job? Are you in an unhappy marriage? Write down the parts of your life that are making you really unhappy.
Pick out the top 3 to 5 things you'd like to change. Again, quickly and without too much thinking, write down the steps that you can take to make changes. Do not overwork this––there is plenty of time for fine adjustment later.
Read everything that you've written. You've just created a quick, personal road map for change. Over time, you can refine this road map, For now, you've broken down those large and looming "it's all too hard to change" feelings and turned them into some concrete steps.
Break the steps on your list up into actionable items. For example, if you have decided that you hate your job and want to quit, figure out the steps that you need to take to get started.
Transform general statements into something more active. For example, instead of writing something generic like "find my passion," pick something actionable and specific. You can instead say, "visit a career coach" or "take an aptitude test."
Turn big projects into small to-dos. For instance, instead of writing "find a new job," break it down into steps like "update my resume," "create a LinkedIn profile," "research new companies" or "write a letter of resignation."
Part 2 of 3: Taking Action
Figure out what you can do within the next 48 hours. If you need to, take some time off of work or ask someone to help you by watching your kids. Perform as many of these small action steps as you can within the next 48 hours to put yourself on the road to change. Here are some examples:
To get out of an unhappy relationship: Talk to your partner, line up a new place to stay, pack your belongings, ask friends to help you move
To make yourself more healthy: Throw out all of the junk food in your cabinets, join a gym, talk to people who will support you, get some new sneakers
To move to a new city: Find an apartment in the new place, list your current house or condo for sale, start throwing away things you don't want to take with you, call your friends and relatives to tell them the news
Stop waiting for the right time to get started. Tell yourself that it doesn't matter what time of day or day of the week or month of the year it is. Scheduling your changes for later will only serve as an excuse not to make them. Make the most of today and get started with your new life.
Avoid letting yourself get mired down in reflection. Sometimes, you should think long and hard about making big leaps such as a career change or a move to a different city. At other times, too much ruminating turns into an excuse to not ever do what you're longing to do. Put yourself in the mindset to take the plunge and think about it later. It might be an approach that sets you free.
Part 3 of 3: Coping with the Changes
Tidy up your environment. Nothing can clear your head like getting rid of the stuff that's holding you back. Ask yourself if you really need those piles of papers, unwatched DVDs or unworn clothes. Clearing things away to create openness will also help to free up space in your mind.
Start with your desk, your bedroom, your bag, your digital distraction or another small clutter problem. Start in 1 corner or with 1 shelf in a room, or tackle 1 pile of papers.
Come up with solutions to keep the clutter from happening again. For example, decide to spend 20 minutes a day straightening your house or apartment.
Take good care of yourself. Taking good care of yourself goes hand in hand with making any successful transition. It's a way of saying to yourself, "You really matter and I am taking the time to care for what matters." It's also a way to make yourself feel more confident in your new situation.
Look great on the outside. When is the last time you got yourself a great haircut or a pedicure or manicure? Do you need new clothes? Part of creating the new you may include changing the way that you look. Investing in looking good is an investment in yourself.
Get regular exercise and eat healthy foods. When you're scared about making a life change, you may be tempted to hole yourself up inside your home and engage some serious emotional eating. Instead, take care of yourself. Go for a 30-minute walk every day and eat foods that make you feel good.
Go for some checkups. When did you last go to the dentist or have a physical? Your body may need some fine-tuning to be at its best in your new circumstances. You don't want to have an unknown problem brewing with your physical health.
Start a journal or a Blog. Journaling can help you to privately sort out your thoughts about your new situation, while Blogging can allow others to share the journey with you.
Find support. Call on your friends and family to support you during a time of transition. Join a support group or talk to a therapist if your life changes make you feel really anxious or depressed.