How to Use Change to Improve Your Life

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“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

Thomas Jefferson

Gaining something means you lose something else to make room for it.

Do you want to improve your life?

Yes? Then the question to ask is this:

Are you willing to do something different?

“If you want things to be different, you have to be willing to do something different first.”

For many of you, the answer will be “no.” And that’s your decision. That’s a personal choice that you’re making because you’re in charge of your life—no one else is. But the truth of the matter is that you won’t improve your life at all if you aren’t willing to try something new—to change what you’re doing. To try something different.

But if you are willing to do something different, congratulations! The door to your future has just opened wide.

Understanding Why Change is Beneficial

You’ve heard the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Many people use this as an excuse to keep doing what they’re doing, even if it doesn’t “work” right all the time. They don’t want to take the time to improve things because their current reality isn’t “broke”.

But we were not meant to be stagnant humans. We were meant to grow, learn, and change throughout our lives to learn lessons and help others along the way.

That all being said, we are also, as humans, resistant to change because change is uncertain. Change is uncomfortable. Changing means we need to venture into the unknown and risk comfort for something else.

Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, says it like this:

“Growth and comfort do not coexist.”

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably interested in improving your life. You’ve reached the point where you’re uncomfortable in your comfort zone.

And that’s great! That’s a surefire signal that you need to do something different.

Are you ready?

Step 1: Accept Your Reality

Acceptance is the first step to recovery/change/improvement (or whatever you’d like to call it).

You got to your present, current reality because of all the choices you’ve made throughout your life. No one else is responsible or “to blame” for your place now, regardless of how much it may feel like it.

Accepting that it all rests on your shoulders is scary, but also totally freeing. It means that no one else controls your future—you control your future. No one can hold you back—only you can hold yourself back.

It’s a lot of responsibility yet such freedom because you keep all your power.

Step 2: Identify What Needs to Change

Ask yourself the #1 Self-Development Question everyone should ask themselves: “Would you choose this again?” The answer is a window into identifying exactly what you need to change going forward.

Some people will know exactly the things they want to change, but others will only have a vague sense that something needs to be different but they don’t know what.

Once you know what you need or want to change in order to improve your life, move on to Step 3.

Step 3: Be Willing to Do Something Different

Accepting your reality and being willing to change it are different things. I can fully accept where I am in my life and have no desire or willingness to do something different (even though I know some things aren’t working).

The willingness to do something different is your ticket to actually improving things.

People who are willing to do something different don’t come up with excuses as to why something won’t work. They don’t look for the way out when it gets a little uncomfortable or tough. They recognize that the hard work that comes with change is also the driving force behind the amazing feeling when you accomplish that which you set out to accomplish.

Embrace the willingness to do something different, because whatever you’ve done so far hasn’t worked.

Step 4: Do Something Different!

Now that you’re willing to do something different, it’s time to actually do that different thing!

Try something new. Ask for help. Take risks, and dare to surprise yourself with what you find.

This blog and my business are perfect examples of “doing something different.” For the longest time, I felt like something was missing in my life. It was essentially a creative void. Going to work every day, spending time with my (then boyfriend, now) husband, and maybe spending some time writing halfhearted Fanfiction did nothing to fill it. I clocked upwards of 400 hours in Skyrim, too—but that didn’t fill the void either.

I knew I needed to change it up, to do something different, and going all-in with a commitment to this was that leap. This is my something different, and it led to finally writing the book I’ve always wanted to write, helping others with mental health and self-development, and encouraging people in the way I wish I’d been encouraged back then.

Doing something different is the only way to find out what you really love doing. It’s the only way to find out what things fill the gaps in your life—even the gaps you don’t really know exist until they fill up.

Change is scary, uncomfortable, and yet the most important thing to do if something is not working. Want to improve your life? Leverage change.

Step 5: Improve Your Life, Incrementally

Of course, it’s not an “all-at-once” kind of thing. It’s easy to look at where others are in their lives and compare our beginnings to their middles.

But remember: comparison is the thief of joy! It takes people years, sometimes decades to reach the level they’re at right now.

For you, and for me, we need to take it one step at a time. Small baby steps. For a framework on those baby steps, read this post on the 6 Best Ways to Achieve Your Goals.

Improvements in your life build upon each other. Just like you can’t expect to go to the gym once and have perfect physique the next day, so too is it with our lives in general.

Consistent, long-term habits make the difference in the long run. That’s why I took eight weeks to prepare for running a 5K race, and I had no problems with it. I even clocked a personal record time!

Periodically Change it Up

Doing something different now can point you in the right direction. But don’t be afraid of continuing to change it up. Once something stops working (or doesn’t work at all) you need to be able to try something different again. And again.

Life is made up of pivots and new things. You can do something different all the time if that’s what it takes to improve your life, bit by bit.

Variety is the spice of life!

So spice it up a bit.

Are You Ready to Improve Your Life?

Which of these steps is the hardest for you? Have you followed this kind of framework before to make changes in your life? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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