I had a conversation with someone earlier today about something they want to change about their life. We got to talking about what steps this person was taking to realize that desire and I noticed they weren’t really doing much to get them closer to their goal. I wanted to ask them why they weren’t working harder; why they weren’t doing what they needed to do to see the change. Why are they just sitting there while their life passes by, living the same life day to day that they are unhappy with?
I consider myself very proactive and driven when it comes to setting and reaching for my goals and while I know not everyone is of the same mindset, I get frustrated just the same when I see someone slighting themselves or making excuses for why things haven’t turned out like they envisioned. This situation often makes me think the person is lazy and passive – like they’re sitting idly by hoping things will change without their needing to do any actual work, but maybe they’re actually just uneducated. Maybe they don’t know how to make the changes they long for. Maybe this lack of knowledge is what has them frozen in their current position. Maybe they need someone to help them along. Maybe there needs to be a class on how to change their life…
Welcome to Life Change 101, an abbreviated overview on making a life shift happen.
Whether you want to go back to school, lose some weight, reach a fitness goal, get pregnant, improve your mental health status or start a new career, one thing remains true through it all – you have to actually work for it. You have to evaluate what it is you want, become educated on what it will take to achieve it, and then execute a plan to make it happen.
When you find your life isn’t where you wanted it to be, there are two things you can do – you can sit there and hope it’ll magically change, or you can stand up and make it happen. If you should choose the former, don’t expect much to to be different when you wake up tomorrow morning. If you choose the latter, however, prepare for infinite possibilities. Before you start, though, there are three questions I recommend you ask yourself.
What change do I want to make?
What do you think will make you happier? Is a job change in order? Do you want to go back to work after taking time off to raise your children? Do you want to go back to school? Lose weight? Improve your fitness? Have another kid? What do you want? Why do you want it? Some soul searching might be required for you to truly determine what you want to see your life become. This might require some time so don’t rush it. It’s important to move forward, but it’s more important to move forward in a worthwhile direction. Don’t just move to move. Move with a purpose you truly believe in.
What do I need to do to accomplish my goal?
- Learn what it’ll take to go back to school, what options are available to help pay for it, and how you’ll fit it into your life.
- Look for internships to help you gain experience in your field if you’ve been out of the professional world for an extended period of time.
- Study nutrition and fitness and educate yourself on how the human body works if you plan to compete in a long distance race or lose weight.
- Evaluate what obstacles that stand in your way – child care, finances, shortage of time, etc.
Make a list of everything that stands in the way of you achieving your goals. Next to this list, formulate a list of how you can overcome those obstacle. From this, formulate a plan for how you’ll make it all work.
Find scholarships to pay for school. Talk to your employer about tuition assistance. Talk to friends about how they made attending classes fit around a full time work schedule and a family. Make arrangements with friends for childcare swapping to provide care for your children while you attend classes or hit the gym. Check with your health insurance policy or life insurance policy to see if there’s a discount or incentive that accompanies going to the gym and improving your fitness. Check with your employer as well; some employers pay gym memberships because they understand a fit employee is a more productive employee. You never know what’s out there or who’s willing to help unless you ask around.
Am I ready to execute my plan?
You’ve done so much work to this point determining what you want to do and how you will be able to do it, all that’s left is the execution! You know all there is to know about the degree program you want to study. You’ve talked to your boss and he’s agreed to adjust your work hours so you can take classes. You may have found an internship to get you experience in your degree field so you can add experience to that blank resume. You found a friend who’s willing to take your children two nights a week so you can take your classes in exchange for watching her kids while she runs on Saturday. You’ve done all you possibly can to prepare. You’ve mapped out the path. All that’s left now is to walk it. Strap on those boots and let’s get to hiking!
Nothing comes to anyone while sitting idly by. You won’t get the life you want by sitting on your arse waiting for it to land in your lap. It just doesn’t work that way.
Whatever the change is you wish to see in your life, you must acknowledge that it’s not going to just happen to you. You aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and have the life you always dreamed of. You have to get out there and make it so. You have to fight for what you want. No one is going to give it to you, but it’s there for the taking if you should decide to you want it badly enough. The only thing standing in your way is you.