We all want to enjoy life and feel better about ourselves.
Change can be very hard and sometimes scary, but patience and practical skills can help reduce the stress change causes. So, with that in mind, here are four simple ways to change your life for the better: identify problems, set specific goals, create change gradually, and use techniques to make change stick.
Identify and Track What You Want to Change
The key to making change in our lives is to first be honest with ourselves. What is not working? What do we want to improve? Most of all, what is the real problem that's stopping us? Reflect on the issues and try not to blame yourself. When we get into the habit of identifying ourselves as the problem, we create a defeatist thought pattern.
Try to view the aspects of your life as just that—aspects that can be changed when you're ready to. Create a list of things that don't support your current goals and set a few fresh ones. Having a list and notes to refer to will keep you on track by providing a constant refresher.
Focus in On Details
One simple way to change your life for the better is to focus on details. What are you really after? When we pick vague goals, the path towards them tends to also be vague. For instance, if we have a vague goal such as "I want to save money," that doesn't real mean much. Try to decide what you are saving for, the exact amount you want to save, and when you want it by. When we look at the real heart of the matter, a goal becomes tangible and easier to reach for.
Make New Habits Slowly
A major reason resolutions fail is because we jump into them too fast. Once we see the problem, it's easy to think, "I'll just stop!" But habits are often rehearsed for years, and they typically came about because of other habits. Instead of trying to change a habit, look at what is causing the habit.
For instance, just quitting coffee will probably result in headaches and irritability. Instead, dig into why you drink coffee, why it's a problem, and what you want to do instead. Take baby steps by drinking less coffee and switching to tea rather than having another cup. By taking smaller steps, we give ourselves a chance to build into a better habit.
Make a Change and Stick to It
Thinking positively about ourselves and using tools to identify and strategize problems is great! But all that won't add up to a hill of beans unless we make them permanent. Lots of people want to change their lives and themselves but they struggle with the psychology behind change.
Don't get frustrated at yourself if change just never seems to stick. Change really can be a hard thing. That's why most of the resolutions people make at the start of the year never stick around for too long. Luckily, we can apply similar techniques to keep New Year's resolutions going throughout the year.