Life is a lot like sailing. When you aren't steering the boat, you will simply drift off to sea and eventually make landfall, but where you end up landing may not be where you were hoping to be. Even if you are steering and have an exact destination in mind, unforeseen circumstances can arise, throw you off course, and send you in a different direction than the one you initially hoped for.
Many people find themselves in a less than optimal place in life, which can evoke feelings of being stuck and dissatisfaction.
Feeling helpless is not uncommon in these situations, but the silver lining is that there is always time to change the trajectory of your life and move forward. This may seem easier said than done, but many very successful people were late bloomers and didn't find their life's passion until later in life. Some of these individuals include Vera Wang, Giorgio Armani, Steve Carell, and many more.
The first steps are always the hardest when it comes to implementing change in your life, and below is a closer look at some ways to initiate change in your life and move forward with a fresh start.
How can I find direction?
The chances are that if you are reading this, you are ready for a change in your life. This is a great first step, but you also need a plan before you go out and try to change your life trajectory. Going out aimlessly trying to change your life is synonymous with going back out onto the open water without direction, which could lead you to a place where you may be worse off.
Whether you are seeking to learn new skills, become more in touch with who you are, or grow more in tune with certain areas of your life, there are many ways to find direction.
Valuable life change tends not to be a quick journey, and as such, developing a plan and determining the direction you want your life to go is essential. Below is a closer look at some ways to help you find direction in the changes you wish to initiate in your life.
Determine what you value
The first step in finding your direction is to understand what you truly value in your entire life.
Many people are dissatisfied with their current life situation because they feel they lack something. For some, this may be lacking time with family and having a good work-life balance; for others, this could be having job satisfaction or having the means of traveling and exploring the world.
Once you determine what it is that you want more of out of different aspects of your life, you can go about planning the best way for you to achieve that.
Self-reflection and understanding exactly what you want to change are important to ensure that when you enact positive changes, they will enable you to have a better life. An example of this would be jumping to a higher-paid position that takes away from your time with loved ones. While it may seem like a good idea to get that higher-paying job, ultimately, the life change didn’t change your life in the way you wanted.
It can be helpful to start small, make small changes, and implement small steps toward your ultimate goal.
Create a plan
Planning is another crucial step to providing yourself with direction. Once you understand what matters to you, you need to develop a game plan for how you will achieve those things.
When it comes to planning, there are two ways you should plan. The first is to create a general overview of what you need to accomplish to reach your end goal. An example of this could be something like changing careers to nursing. A general overview of things you would need to do might include taking an entrance exam, getting into a nursing program, passing your classes, passing your licensing exams, and getting a job.
Once you have created a general outline of the steps it will take to achieve your goals, you can go into each and create more specific smaller steps for you to achieve. This process may seem daunting, but when finished, you will have a clear path to follow. If you have trouble, don’t be afraid to seek help from people who have already gone through what you are trying.
How can I maintain accountability?
When it comes to changing your life, it can be quite difficult as most people tend to cling to what is familiar. Why brush up on your resume or go to the gym when you can follow your normal routine or procrastinate? The psychological resistance to change is something that is seen time and time again in people, and it tends to be a large roadblock to overcome. The comfort zone is one of the largest barriers to overcome when it comes to changing your life; that is where accountability comes in.
You can think of accountability as staying on top of the changes you set forth, which is important when you are looking to turn your life around. Below is a closer look at some useful ways you can stay accountable and ensure you maintain your momentum
Get friends or family involved
One of the more powerful motivations for people is social pressure and accountability. It is much easier for you to set a goal and fall short if you are the only one disappointed, but if you have others that hold you accountable, it is harder not to achieve your goals.
Accountability partners are an excellent tool if you find that someone you know wants to initiate change within their own life as well. A great example of this would be if you and someone close to you had a goal of getting into shape. Doing it together or simply holding each other accountable for going to the gym or getting exercise regularly can make it more likely that you both follow through with your commitments.
Many people have goals in life, but far too often, they are plagued with a lack of some kind of timeframe. When initiating change in your life, it is important to set a reasonable timeline and stick to it. That isn’t to say that roadblocks don’t happen and plans change but generally, having deadlines helps keep you on top of your goals and achieve them.
Many different apps can help you set deadlines, which can be quite the productivity hack when it comes to implementing change in your life.
Track your process
When it comes to conjuring up the motivation to make big changes in your life, it can be quite difficult, especially if you have a long road ahead of you. Keeping track of your progress is a great technique to help you stay motivated and on top of your work. If you want to change your career, for instance, there is likely a long road until you achieve that end goal. Taking the time to track your progress and celebrate the small wins throughout can make it much less daunting and easier for you to follow through.
Be kind to yourself
It can be easy to fall into the bad habit of thinking you should have done something differently in the past.
Maybe you should have majored in something different in college, maybe you should have taken better care of your health, or maybe you could have prioritized your personal life over work. These negative thoughts can lead to feelings of helplessness and pose a real problem towards attaining your goals and changing your life.
These can all make you not feel the best, and the best way to answer these internal debates is to treat yourself with kindness. Below is a closer look at ways you can treat yourself with kindness to enable you to stay positive and make real changes.
Take care of your health
When people embark on making changes in their lives, it can easy to become tunnel-visioned on achieving that one goal that other things tend in your life tend to suffer. For many people, this tends to be your health. Staying up late working toward your goal, foregoing healthy food for fast food, and not taking the time for your mental wellbeing.
The go-go-go attitude can yield a lot of short-term benefits, but in the long term, overworking can lead to burnout and, in the long run, slow your progress. Taking care of your health is important no matter what your goal is. When your body is supported mentally, physically, and nutritionally, it allows you to work efficiently and sustainably. Make time in your day to support your body at a cellular level with nutrition, and try to add some cardio or any exercise where you can.
In summary, turning your life around or setting off in a new direction of life can be daunting, but it can also be one of the most rewarding things you do.
Life is too short to have regrets and ponder what could have been, so there is no time like the present to start implementing change. Finding direction, staying accountable, and being kind to yourself are some of the best ways to implement real and meaningful change within your life. If you are at a crossroads in life and are feeling stuck or unsatisfied, it’s time for a change.
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