How to Change Your Life and Create Happiness
My name is the French word for reborn. I have to say I have been aptly named. Change has been the only constant in my life and I tend to embrace it rather heartily. This may be partly because of my childhood. In the Maritimes where I grew up, the summer temperatures change frequently throughout the day (cool and sometimes damp mornings, warm sunny afternoons and chilly evenings with lots of flies). I guess you can say I was born into an environment that necessitated being flexible and prepared for anything. The weather made it necessary for me to change my clothes about three times a day in the summer. The economy in the Maritimes has always been frightful, so most East Coasters know they are more apt to move away from home than anyone else in the country. I, personally, never even considered remaining there for that very reason. Like the weather, change is always in the air, and we east coast Canadians seem to know intuitively that change is where the greatest opportunities lie.
As I grew into adulthood, I changed my religion and way of life. I changed again when I abandoned my religion a dozen years later. I got married and divorced twice. In the last 12 years, I have lived in four different houses and will be moving again soon. I even made three career changes. Am I flighty? Those who know me would probably not make that assessment of me. They might say I am courageous, however. It takes a lot of guts to be willing to go against the grain, to do something uncomfortable and have no guaranteed outcome. Most people aren’t willing to take a chance on stepping into the murkiness of uncertainty. Somehow, I have always been able to embrace it.
People often resist change because they are afraid of failure and of not being able to control the outcome. They tend to want to have all the answers in place, but more often than not, change brings great uncertainty. I know plenty of people who endure sexless marriages that are filled with acrimony only because they fear the change called divorce may cause loneliness, poverty and general upset. People put up with careers they hate but make no effort to find a way to improve their lives. They could take a few courses, they could speak to someone at work about doing things more aligned with their interests, but no. They don’t even bother trying to have a better life. They refuse to do more or to be different in any way.
I am at a loss to fully understand how anyone could think being permanently miserable is better than being temporarily uncomfortable.
Perspective is everything. In change I see possibility, and that is what always excites me. I never focus on what could go wrong, but rather, on all that could go right. I don’t wait for others to come running to help me, I persevere and anticipate that solutions will present themselves when I need them the most. Ultimately, and quite miraculously, they actually do.
I am offering these tips for changing your life based on what I have learned over the last 30 years, or so. At 53, I find I’m starting to get really good at this! If you are stuck in a rut and not sure how to get out, then you should really embrace what I am teaching you here.
Tip #1 for taking control of your life:
Take responsibility for your circumstances. Life is all about decisions. You made specific decisions that put you where you are today. Acknowledge your personal role in your life. You are not miserable because of anybody else. You are miserable because you chose to be a victim of circumstance, life, or whatever… You chose to be where you are. Own it, forgive yourself for it, and move forward. If you want to change your life, then you must give yourself permission to make new decisions and go forward with your life. If you are in a rut, it is likely because you haven’t made a new decision in a very long time. Figure out some actions you can take to change your circumstances and get to it!
Tip #2 for taking control of your life:
Get excited about all the good things you are going to make happen. Just as fear begets fear and doubt begets doubt, joy begets joy and accomplishment begets accomplishment. Tap into your desire for positive change and believe the best is yet to come. Without a burning desire to change your life, nothing will happen, so let it burn and be the fuel that empowers you. Trust me when I tell you that your new life is going to be as exciting as you allow it to be.
Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. - Carol Burnett
Tip #3 for taking control of your life:
Avoid people who do not support your ambitions. People who are negative, complaining, and have no goals are bad for you. Those who never believed in themselves, will never believe in anyone else. Seek out better company. Meetup.com is one place you may be able to network with positive, ambitious people. If you have nobody in your inner circle who has the right mindset, then it is imperative that you look to other places. Taking control of your life means taking control of your relationships first.
Tip #4 for taking control of your life:
Be content that change is an evolutionary process. As you move toward your goal, the fields around you are dynamic and often bring surprises (both good and bad). We cannot always know the answers and even the best laid plans can go sideways. Resolve to keep moving toward your goal and to slay each dragon as you approach it. You do not need to have all the answers! In fact, you don’t need any answers. You just need to start moving and working toward a goal. The resources you need will appear as long as your head is focused on positive outcomes. Hold onto that feeling of knowing you will always be okay.
Tip #5 for taking control of your life:
Understand that happiness is the result of things you do to feed your soul and connect with your inner being. No amount of change can make you happy if you are looking for happiness in external places. You will not find happiness in one place by leaving another. It is not the movement or even the change itself that makes you happy. Happiness is a choice that starts with your thought process. Choose good feeling thoughts over bad feeling thoughts. When you are standing in line at the grocery store and getting frustrated with the person who is holding everyone up, take your mind to a happy place. Don’t allow yourself to remain feeling annoyed. Think about how happy everyone will be when they see you bought groceries. Think about anything that creates a better feeling than what you are currently experiencing.
Developing the habit of happy thinking and behaviour is the pathway to actually being happy. The other is gratitude. Focus on all the good in your life and never mind what is missing or imperfect. Read uplifting books, watch uplifting movies, listen to uplifting music, take walks in beautiful places and feel the joy of life. Listen to the birds sing, appreciate the weather (even when it seems nasty) and insert good things into your day. Don't seek change in order to find happiness. Pack it in your bag and take it with you!
Tip #6 for taking control of your life:
Treat yourself with respect! Taking control of your weight, your fitness level and your overall appearance is a great way to help you envision a new and improved version of you! Get a new hair style, a more fashionable and current wardrobe, new glasses, etc. Nothing says you’re stuck in a rut like being overweight and sloppy looking. Never accept that in yourself. It’s bad for your frame of mind.
Also, if other aspects of your lifestyle indicate that you are not being kind to yourself (smoking or too much alcohol, etc.) then do whatever it takes to get yourself under control. Again, life is about choices, so choose to treat yourself with respect. You will like yourself more and will be much happier in the long run if you do.
I'm a big believer that life changes as much as you want it to. -Martin Freeman
Certainly, I could write more tips for changing your life and finding happiness, but this is a good way to start. If you need a little encouragement, send me a note and let me know how your quest is going!
I am a former public relations professional, adult educator and published author. My life experiences have been rich and have led me to the work I am doing to bring success and fulfillment to people all over the world.
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