8 Things I Did to Change My Life Forever

change my life

I had a stark choice. Learn to change my life or die before my time! That was the clear message delivered by my doctor when my health collapsed and I ended up in hospital unable to breath. This very abrupt yet clear message was the turning point that led me on a journey to transform my life forever. Up until this moment I thought I new everything about life. If anything went wrong I searched out a band-aid fix which made me feel better for  a while. My health crisis was the tipping point that forced me to look at every aspect of life. It led me on a journey of discovery and personal development.

These ideas are unconventional because they don’t include anything about physical fitness, healthy diet. I meet so many people that try to stay fit and healthy but are still stressed out much of their lives.

So, as another year begins, I would like to share eight unconventional things I did to change my life forever. No, this is not about making new year resolutions that will fade away in a few months. In fact, these ideas are about exploring powerful ways you can use to transform life forever.

change my life

1. Quick Fix?

As humans we all suffer in different ways. In my case, my early view of the world was based around being driven to succeed. So, if things went wrong I simply worked longer hours and doubled my efforts. Short term this worked well.

However, long term it was a recipe for chronic stress and then stress related health problems. After my health collapsed, I simply looked for any quick fix that would restore me to full health and previous success. Also, chronic stress also led to very powerful negative emotions that were very difficult to manage.

In fact, we human beings are impacted everyday by strong emotions both constructive and destructive. Over time these emotions directly influence our view of the world and how we act in it. If we feel worried or anxious we simply want to feel better.

The Silver Bullet Myth

At the beginning of my search I was looking for a ‘silver bullet’ solution or  a quick fix to make me feel good. Some ideas worked briefly, only to leave me back where I  started feeling despondent about my situation.

After some time, I finally realized that quick fixes were not going to heal me. It became clear I needed to make fundamental changes to the way I dealt with life, my emotions to move past the life where I felt trapped. I finally new I had to change many aspects of how I lived rather than keep searching for an escape that gave me brief periods of feeling better.

Finally, I learned the secret to feeling better long term. To be better I had to be willing to change my life. So, to ‘feel better’ I had to ‘be better’.

change my life - mindset

2. Mindset

Another moment of change for me happened after I saw the movie ‘Life is Beautiful’. If was the story of an Italian named Guido who was imprisoned in a concentration camp with his son Giosue. The movie portrayed the human hell of living in a concentration camp during the second World War.

The inspiration for me came from the fact that every question that the boy asked his father about their situation was met with humor. By choosing humor and the beauty in life, Guido was able to create a positive reality for his son. He was able to re-frame every dreadful situation for his son in order for them to cope with a living hell. This movie reminded me of a famous quote by John Milton that also resonated with me at the time…

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”  –  John Milton, Paradise Lost

It’s All a Matter of Perception

I recognized that my life was driven by how I perceived and dealt with the world in my mind. I had allowed my heaven to turn into a hell. It was then I new I must study the mind so I could learn to change this.

For the first time in my life I accepted that I (my mindset) had created a negative view of the world. To change this I new I must become aware of how my mind was limiting my life. It was this self acceptance and then ongoing self-awareness that allowed me to begin a journey of personal transformation.

change my life - self-awareness

3. A Long Letter to Yourself

Mind and body stress were major factors in my old life. It was one of my doctors in hospital that suggested I use a writing journal as it was a recognized stress reduction tool. In fact, my planner and journal have become key tools I use to change my life.

Journal writing works on multiple levels. Firstly, I used a journal to unload my mind in the evening which improved my ability to sleep. Every night as I tried to sleep, my mind would just keep running, going over all the activities of the day. My mind did not want me forget any important issues, so just kept going around in a very stressful loop.

Breaking the Mind Loop

The solution was to spend ten minutes each evening writing all these thoughts from the day in my journal. Also, I was able to write down everything I needed to remember to follow up at a later date.

By doing this each night, my mind slowly accepted that I was not going to forget these important issues. Before long, my busy mind was willing to let go of these repetitive thoughts. In turn, this allowed me to relax and fall into a deep and healthy sleep.

Your Are What You Think and Feel

Secondly,  a journal is a great way of monitoring our thoughts and emotions and how they impact our behavior. With this self-awareness comes the opportunity to explore the traits and behaviors you may want to adapt or change. Over time, it becomes possible to see those areas of your  life where you are not reaching your full potential.

Self-awareness brings the ability to understand how our beliefs are formed and how they influence our choices both positive and negative. In order to be better, we must be willing to confront those aspects of ourselves that we would like to change.

So, self-awareness leads to the  powerful opportunity for self-review. When we explore the inner workings of our mind and emotions, the more we have to face ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ of human nature. It takes a degree of courage to explore your thoughts and emotions and how these shape our life.

A Word of Warning

The realization that we create our own limitations in life can be both confronting and overwhelming. However, the good news is that with the right tools we can learn to control our thoughts and emotions. by using the tools outlined below it becomes possible to reshape and transform our world from the inside out.

Finally, I use my journal to create a mobile, personal source of inspiration. My planner is full of extra pages which are loaded with quotes and affirmations. It’s a great way to capture new ideas and to capture brainstorm material. I cover more ideas on using inspiration for change in section six about Inspired Living.

Armed with this new tools of journal writing and self-awareness, it becomes possible to look at personal change. In fact, these allow us to define our limiting beliefs and comfort zone. Then, armed with this new understanding, we can begin  expand the way we live by using the tools below.

change my life

4. Stretching the Comfort Zone

If you want to change your life you need to learn to live beyond the comfort zone. As the name suggests, the comfort zone is the very safe space that we all create to keep ourselves safe. Hurts and failures from the past and perceived fear of the future often drive us to limit our life experience.

If you feel trapped by the comfort zone you are not alone. As humans, we are hardwired to seek pleasurable experiences and avoid painful experiences.

I found that there was always an underlying urge to break out of the comfort zone to change my life. However, feelings of fear and hurt limited my confidence, courage and ability to act boldly. In my heart I knew I shouldn’t be limiting my life just to maintain a general feeling of comfort or safety.

With patience its possible to see that most of our limiting beliefs are shaped by perception created in our mind. In turn, these perceptions control our willingness to act in the world.  Over time, all our choices are influenced by previous perception of experiences being classed as painful or pleasurable. Just like  Guido in the movie Life is Beautiful, we have the ability to choose how we respond to events.

change my life

5. Mindful Living

One of the most powerful ways I have used to change my life is mindfulness practice and mindful living.  In fa, I call mindfulness my personal super power. I have written many posts about understanding mindfulness and mindfulness exercises.

Without mindfulness,  our mind can become overwhelmed by thoughts that create negative emotions. Most of our fears and strong negative emotions come from allowing our mind to dwell on these fears.  We live our lives focused on a loop of past hurts and fear of the future.

Mindfulness is a powerful way to strengthen and focus our mind away from dwelling on the hurts of the past or fear of the future. So, mindfulness is a practice where we shift our minds focus into the present. By making this mind shift it becomes possible to reduce the mind stress created by living in a mind full of negative thoughts. With practice, mindfulness allows us to become the observer of our thoughts rather than getting stuck inside our minds.

Change Your Mind

Over time, fear of the future and past hurts drop away and no longer impact how we live. As we learn to practice mindfulness each day we become focused more on the present and planning for a powerful future. We are no longer trapped by our mind, but are able to use it in more powerful ways to create the life of our dreams.

Here are some of my posts about understanding and using mindfulness.

Understanding Mindfulness in Plain English

3 Simple Mindfulness Exercises.

How to Practice Mindfulness for Health

change my life - inspiration

6. Inspired Living

When the conquer the power of mindfulness we are able to focus on the present moment. The stress caused from fear and anxiety steadily slip away.  As our stress subsides, the mind is able to stay more focused in the present moment. This creates periods of flow where our mind is able to work at its peak state. This is the state where we can become creative about our life, our beliefs and what we want our future life to look like.

Mindful living allows us to take charge of designing what we want to have, do and be in the future.

Make a habit of giving yourself a daily dose of inspiration. Have your sources of inspiration around you. My favorites include powerful images, affirmations and quotes. I have a vision board in my home office that I add to regularly. Psychologists call this process “hetero-suggestion”.

Spend some time every day focusing on your vision board. This is a great way of feeding your subconscious mind. The subconscious acts like a missile guidance system. It will work in the background working you steadily towards the future result you imagine for yourself. Everything we have in our life right now was first processed as thought and emotions by our subconscious.

So if you want to change your circumstances in life, firstly get inspired and imagine what this would be like and dwell on this vision every day.

Here are some related posts you may enjoy.

14 Daily Affirmations for a Great New Year

Using Life Quotes to Inspire Change

Visualization for Personal Success

10 Inspirational Quotes on Life for Powerful Living

change my life - goals

7. On Target

In order to change my life I also learned the power of smart goal setting. In fact, this process allows you to filter your dreams to clarify if they are really attainable. Using smart goals taught me the power of micro-action.

One reason we fail at big goals is that we bite off too much and lose inspiration along the way. So, by breaking goals down into tiny micro-steps, it’s possible to maintain inspiration for the long haul when achieving big goals.

In fact, Smart goals are about a simple process that allows us to to look objectively at our dreams. In fact, this process produces real clarity about whether your dream is truly achievable. Also, it helps you create an action plan to turn your goal into reality.

Here is a post about goal setting you may find useful.

Smart Goals- Unleash the Powerful You

change my life - meditation

8. Mental Strength

Finally, one of the most powerful things I used to change my life was meditation practice. At it’s essence, meditation is a practice in mindfulness as highlighted above. In fact, we can learn to be mindful throughout the activities of the day. If I ever feel stress creeping up on me I also use mindfulness exercises wherever I am to reclaim my calm focus.

Mindfulness exercises are a great way to deal with stressful moments during the day. For profound mental strength and wellness mindfulness meditation is the gateway. Hundreds of university studies have researched the benefits of meditation on health and well-being. These health benefits include reduced mind stress,  lower blood pressure, reduced rates of aging as well as improved brain function and performance to name only a few.

If you would like to learn more about meditation you may like to explore these posts and resources.

Learning How to Meditate Saved My LIfe

How to Do Meditation at Home

www.makemeditationeasy.com.

You can also look inside my book on Amazon …How to Meditate for Beginners- Secrets to the Powerful You

 What next?

” A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.
So,rather that making another standard new year’s resolution, pick one of these ideas that resonates with you and take little steps every day. Set a goal to change something in your life and commit to taking little actions every day.
Therefore, learn to control and strengthen your mind and your life will steadily transform. Stress and anxiety melt away and are overtaken by calm focus and creativity. This is the space where transformation of health and happiness begin.

 

 

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