Have you ever wished that some aspect of your life would just change, overnight?
We often want change – but it can be hard to accept that it’s even possible. Do any of these look familiar?
- All my family are overweight, so it’s no surprise I’m fat…
- I’ve never been any good with money…
- I just don’t have any willpower…
- I hate exercise…
All too often, we rule out possibilities. We adopt a fixed rather than a growth mindset, convincing ourselves that hey, this is just the way we are, and we can’t change.
But I don’t believe that’s true. I believe that whatever your circumstances, whatever your bad habits and struggles, you can work towards the life that you really want.
First, you need to…
Get Out of the Victim Mindset
I came across the idea of the victim mindset in a writing course by author Holly Lisle (How to Think Sideways). She was using this concept primarily to encourage writers to stand up and take responsibility – but, of course, it applies to any area of your life.
When you think of yourself as a victim, you’re giving up the power that you have over your own destiny. You end up:
- Blaming other people for your problems (the government, your parents, your boss…)
- Creating limits where there really aren’t any (“I could never run five kilometers”)
- Feeling helpless and despondent about your chances of change
I’ve been lucky in my life – I’ve had a supportive family, good health, and a great education. I have a huge amount of sympathy for those who’ve not been so lucky, and I know that many people genuinely are victims of injustice, ill-health, or other problems outside their control.
But … whatever you’ve been through, don’t let those experiences sap your power. Unless you’re currently in a life-threatening situation, you do have the ability to change things for yourself.
So now, I’m hoping you can…
Recognize the Possibility of Change
Instead of hoping to win the lottery, or wishing you had a magic genie, look for the ways in which you could change your own life.
Get a piece of paper and jot down some ideas. They can be as tiny or as huge as you want – you’re not committing to anything, you’re just trying to open yourself up to possibilities.
Challenge yourself a little bit here. Any time you think “no, I can’t do that,” ask yourself whether this is really true. Some items on your list will sound incredibly difficult, but most will be possible.
Here are a few popular examples:
Take Back Responsibility for Your Life
Now, it’s time to take back responsibility.
Pick something on your list of ideas – something that really would change your life for the better. Maybe you’ve been telling yourself “I can’t” for years … it’s time to change that to “I can”.
Let’s say your finances are in disarray. You’re in debt, you struggle to control your spending, and you don’t know where to begin. Look for things you can change, things that are within your control:
- You can’t change the amount of tax you pay, but you can move to a smaller apartment and pay less rent.
- You can’t rely on getting a promotion at work, but you can find a Saturday job.
- You can’t stop paying the electric bill, but you can cancel your cable TV.
Now, you might not want to do some of these things – but you can do them. Often, the first step is simply to get educated: to find out more about whatever you’re struggling with. For personal finance advice I recommend The Simple Dollar.)
It’s your life: you can choose to change. It might not be easy – but it will be worth it.
Are you feeling stuck in any areas of your life? What do you wish you could change – and how could you start going about that? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo by Uqbar is back