02 Jan How to change your life in 2018
Would you like to change your life in 2018? For real? I don’t mean setting goals and getting nowhere. I mean creating a really compelling vision for your life and making signifiant changes to build your dream life?
Let me break down the process of change for you to give you a better chance of success in 2018. in this blog, I’ll show you what it really takes to change your life but first, if you really want to change your life in 2018, there are three truths I need you to consider and accept.
Three truths to accept to change your life:
Change takes time:
Change take times, not just days, weeks or even months but years. Yes, you can make a change right now and start seeing results quite quickly but if you’re talking about dramatic and sustained life changes (like quitting your job to start your own company, getting over depression or improving your health) then you’re going to need to extend your timelines. A lot.
When working with people on Make Your Move (my online course) or in 121 coaching sessions I recommend taking the view that it will take two – four years to truly see and live out the changes you want in life: to truly transform your life to the point where you’re living your dreams and there is no going back. (Clue – I’m not about one-off changes…I’m about life transformation.)
This is because you will have spent years and years (and then some) building the habits that have created the life you’re living right now and in order to change your life need time to ‘write over’ those habits and form new habits – habits that stick, habits that become us. Plus, you’ll need to build new infrastructures for your new life – new routines, new patterns, new friends, new influences.
It’s easy, for example, to set a goal of getting in shape and go to the gym five or even ten times and cut out sugar for a few weeks but what does it take to build exercise into your life? It takes commitment over the long term – it means exercising three times a week for a year – that’s 156 workouts! It takes a change in values: valuing being fit more than that lie in…day after day. It takes a new infrastructure – buying new workout outfits, changing your food shopping habits, learning new recipes, joining new classes, turning down wine on the night out. Do you see? It’s a whole life change and this takes time to build in to your life but if you keep your vision in focus and work on this every day then eventually it will become your reality.
Here’s an example for you. The fitness one is a big one at this time of year, right? People want to ‘lose weight’ after the indulges of Christmas. I’ve always wanted to be in shape but could never quite manage it. The truth is I wanted ‘comfort’ and ‘the treats’ more than I wanted to be in shape because that’s what the results showed time and time again. But this past year has been different for me. I stopped trying to ‘lose weight’ and instead focused on ‘generating energy’. I wanted to feel healthy, fit, strong, lean and ENERGISED! To hit my dream of being a world leading transformational speaker I need to be as fit as Beyonce! So this time, I ran over Christmas and minded what I ate. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on the comforts or the treats but I would have felt I’d be missing out on my dreams if I lapsed. And this is why change takes time – it’s not just new habits: to change your life you must build a whole new mindset.
It’s all on you:
This is brutal but no-one can change your life but you. No-one. Not me, not Tony Robbins, not your partner or your dad. You’re the only person who can change your life.
With my clients I see a lot of excuses in the beginning and, hey, I’ve used them all myself so I’m not criticising. It’s just what happens when we first try to change our lives. The results come in slower than we expected and so we find excuses to slow down our efforts too – it’s not working so what’s the point right? But it’s true what they say: ‘you can have excuses or you can have results’. You can’t have both.
Blaming an old injury for the fact you can’t work out, blaming your parents for something they didn’t teach you or blaming the economy for your financial situation won’t help you. In fact, it will lock you where you are forever and I don’t want that for you: I want you to change your life because when you change your life you’ll change the fricken’ world and we all need that. And so it’s time to let go of the excuses and start taking FULL responsibility for the life you live: every single aspect of it.
You’re the only person who can change your life. You are where you are today because of things you did or didn’t do, things you did or didn’t say. As Les Brown once said ‘every one of us is self made but only the successful amongst us care to admit it’.
My life changed dramatically when I accepted this fact. ‘I’m overweight because I eat too much junk food and don’t exercise enough – that’s on me and that means I can change it’. ‘I’m in debt because I spend more than I earn – that’s on me and that means I can change it’. ‘I’m unhappy because I ignore my true feelings and do too much of what other people expect of me – that’s on me and that means I can change it’.
Do you see? As soon as you admit it and own it you can change it but you can’t change anything about your life until you accept and realise just how powerful you are. You can have, be, do anything you want in life when you realise that it’s all on you. You have the power! And no-one can do it for you.
You know, I realised a couple of years ago that I didn’t have a clue about money. I knew how to make money, I was good at that, but I couldn’t hang on to it and in fact I ended up in a lot of debt. At first I was upset with my parents for not teaching me how to manage my money (despite all the other amazing thing they did teach me) and then I was angry we didn’t learn about it in school. It’s laughable now. I was blaming forces outside of me but here’s a clue…as soon as you realise you don’t know something you have the power to change it if you accept you can.
My solution was to buy eight books on money, wealth and debt management. For months and months I read and consumed everything I could about money, money management, investment – everything! I even engaged a personal advisor and spoke to my accountant about what I could do. What I learnt, in time, was that it wasn’t just the mechanics of money I had to master but I had to change my association with wealth and what I thought I deserved in life. This understanding came from more spiritual books on abundance. But I learnt this last key from going on the journey – from buying the books, from looking around, for intending to change. People who blame the banks, the credit card company or the economy for their situation will never enjoy wealth. You’ve got to take full control and accept it’s all on you.
You do have to change:
I’ve heard people say ‘you don’t need to change, you’re perfect as you are’ and I don’t entirely agree with that. I think that to change your life, you need to change yourself first. This means we need to change what we think about, what we focus on, what we do and how we act. We are a sum of those things – what we think about, what we do etc. – and so it follows that to change our lives we must change those things. For example, if you want to get fitter and have more energy, you’re going to have to change your relationship with food, you’re going to need to muster up the discipline to exercise, you’ll need to learn more about health and nutrition. That’s changing who you are. It’s changing what you think about, what you focus on, what you do and how you act.
I used to have severe depression – as in couldn’t get out of bed and lived with that fog of despair 24/7. I reached breaking point when someone took me to the doctors for it and the doctor said ‘it’s time for medication’. I said no. I knew medication wouldn’t help me feel better: changing my life was the only solution and so, on his advice, I started up running again. On my runs, I started listening to motivational content. I switched the business books for books on how to change your life. I sold my six figure business (and paid off 1 fifth of the debt) and started again…with just a blog! I wrote an affirmation to read first thing in the morning to drown out my negative self talk. I honoured my heart and became a vegetarian then vegan despite the criticism and worries of my family. I started to express myself more by cutting my hair, buying new clothes, writing talks.
Bit by bit I changed what I focused on and what I did day by day. In truth, I changed who I was and the result was ‘this new version of me’ built a new life.
To take this one step further, I believe that deep down we all know exactly who we are, what we want and what we’re capable of but we’ve been heavily conditioned to fit in, to seek approval and to ‘get a job and settle down’. I’ve had to muster up a lot of courage over the years to go against the grain and build a life aligned to who I truly am. The changes I made felt like shedding skins – shedding the expectations of others, shedding values imposed on me, shedding the status quo – to build a life that reflects who I am deep down.
And this is why I say that to change your life you have to be prepared to give up who you are now to build who you can truly become; who you truly are deep down. I faced complete ridicule when I gave up my marketing agency and recruitment agency, told the world I was depressed and in debt but on a mission to change. I documented the whole journey in my vlog because I want more people to find the courage it takes to give up now to build a better life for tomorrow. Tomorrow belongs to people who are willing to do the work today!
How to change your life:
I love this part. To change your life, don’t start with goals but with vision. Set a bold and compelling vision for your life. It doesn’t matter if it seems impossible right now. Your vision must be audacious, ridiculous even. It’s a five – ten year end point.
Ask yourself: Where would you love to be in January 2023? What would you love to be celebrating? What do you want access to in five or even ten years?
I don’t care if you’ll be 30, 60 or 80 years old in that time. It doesn’t matter! It’s about building the life you want without delay.
I can tell you, in ridiculous detail, what my life will look like by January 2023. I can tell you where I’ll be living (a villa in LA backing out on to the beach), what I’ll be doing (I’m a world leading transformational speaker running events with 5,000 – 10,000 people), what my villa looks like (I have an open plan kitchen and dining area, my kitchen has an island, there are full width patio doors which open on to the sea…I even have pictures from magazines), I even know we have two sandy colours dogs and there are two cars on the front: a black Range Rover and a dark silver Mercedes SLC.
Even when you think you’re clear on your vision, revisit it and add more detail. This is so important because study after study has shown that we take the action we need to take to make our external realities match our internal realities. This is why pro golfers and athletes visualise the win before the game or race begins. To visualise it is to experience it. Experiencing it is to transcend into that moment. In that moment, you know who you need to become and what you need to do to make it happen.
So see if you can get just 5% more clarity each time you visualise your dream life. Really hone in on the details of where you are, who you are, what you have access to, how you feel, what a typical day feels like. This vision is your focal point. It’s where you’re going and, if you do the work, it really is where you’ll end up.
Next, set your intentions for every timeframe possible. Start with your intentions (or goals) for the year. What do you need and hope to accomplish this year to bring you closer to that vision of your life? Maybe it’s draft one of your book? Maybe it’s learning a new skill? Maybe it’s leaving that relationship (it does happen).
When you take a longer term view of change, like this, you allow more time to get things done and you’re less hard on yourself. Suddenly it’s not ‘too late’ to learn that new skill or launch that new business; you’ve got all year to get it done so set the intention and start now.
I have three goals for 2018: (1) Complete my book manuscript and secure a publishing deal, (2) Take 150 people through my online course Make Your Move and (3) Go on four holidays with Alice. Everything I do this year (every single day) will be aligned to those goals and hitting those goals will help me achieve my vision. Next year, I can set new goals but right now, these are the goals that matter.
Next, ask yourself this question: Who do I need to grow into to make this dream life possible? If, for example, I want to be the world’s leading transformational speaker I’m going to need to develop my speaking skills, my ability to host a world class event and my time management. I’m also going to need to build a stronger infrastructure around my business and my marketing.
With this in mind, I now know what learning and development I need to plan into my time. Could I join a speaking club? Could I start hosting much smaller events to develop those habits and learn new skills? Could I plan to hire new skills into my business this year?
To change your life, you must grow into the kind of person who can get the results you want and this means learning a new skill or developing a new practice.
I always find that the best place to start is to find someone who has the results you want. Find a speaker who is at that level, find someone who is running a successful business in your industry, find someone who is in shape and start following them online. Read their content, follow their stories, join their free courses. They have obviously figured out how to get those results so learn and apply their methods. Grow into their habits and activities. Learn what they know and soon you’ll be enjoying similar results.
This is why I now exercise so much. All of the pro speakers I’ve seen rave about exercise and meditation. They’re doing both almost daily. By introducing those elements into my daily routines, I access what they access and I bring myself one step closer to my dream life.
Ooh – this is the best bit! Start taking action, small steps every single day. It’s not so much about the big steps you take but all of the small steps you take consistently. It’s better to workout five times a week than to do one massive run once a week isn’t it? It’s better to do your dished and tidy up every day than leave it to the weekend, right?
You are what you do consistently so each day when you wake up, read your vision and ask ‘what one small step can I take today to bring me one step closer to my dream life?’ and do it. This might mean getting up earlier or going to bed a little later. It might mean reprioritising your time to finish work on time so you can get home to work on your dreams.
The critical thing to remember here is that your life reflects the actions you take. If you keep saying ‘I’ll do it tomorrow, I just need to finish this task’ then your life will never change. Our desks, inboxes and lives are filled with ‘to dos’ given to us by other people. Do them, by all means, but do what will change your life first – make that the priority and do the ‘to dos’ next. That is how you change your life: by making the actions that will change your life the priority.
Guess what? Your first attempt is very unlikely to get you the results you want and this is why so many people quit so quickly! But if you take the approach, instead, that you’re willing to try five or ten or even twenty ways to get the result you want then you will succeed.
People don’t often talk about their failures or how hard it was until they’ve made it and that’s why I’m documenting my journey of change in my daily vlog – I want to show you behind the scenes that realising your vision takes time, it takes lots of new approaches and it takes a commitment to the outcome.
I’ve tried loads of things that haven’t worked! Did you know that DARETOGROW is my fourth business? I had a recruitment company, a coaching company and a consultancy before I landed on my true passion and learnt how to make a living doing what I truly love rather than just making money in a business.
It’s not about getting it perfect first time. It’s about trying one approach, evaluating it and continuing or changing depending on the outcome.
Keep your vision in mind and turn up every single day for your dreams because one day you will wake up and your dream life will be your reality.