How to Change Your Life in 6 Months
Early on in my life, I had a moment of clarity – a realization that my life didn’t have to be the way it currently was. It could actually look differently, and I could do something about it.
Have you ever questioned why your life doesn’t look like someone else’s? Why you don’t have as much peace or flexibility as the other person seems to have? Why you are always struggling financially and can’t seem to catch a break while others seem to have their finances in order?
I’m not talking about in a covetous way, but in a moment-of-clarity way – a put-your-foot-down, enough-is-enough moment if you will – knowing your life could change, but wondering how you could steer it away from the direction you were currently headed.
Our lives don’t have to be the way they are, and the reason they are the way they are stems from our habits. The habits we create (good and bad) set the course to fulfill the destiny we design without even realizing we're designing it.
What if I told you that, regardless of what your lifestyle looks like right now, you have the opportunity to make different decisions that can transform your life in as little as 6 months?
This may not entirely be a step-by-step plan, but these principles I’ll share with you today – if you decide to implement even a couple of them – could change the trajectory of your life in a massive way.
Don’t believe me? Give it a try and see what happens! What do you have to lose?
#1 – find clarity
You can’t change your life unless you understand first how you want to change it. What is it that you want your life to look like? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Who do you want to be?
Assessing specific areas of your life to determine if anything needs to change is an important first step in the process. Success comes when we step outside our comfort zone and embrace change. Sometimes, no matter how uncomfortable our circumstances, we’re essentially too comfortable to step into the unknown and do something about it.
It’s like the dog who sits on a nail on the front porch. It’s a bit painful, but he’s comfortable enough, so he remains on top of that nail without the knowledge that all he has to do is rise for relief. That’s what our lives are like if we don’t take responsibility to make choices that, initially, are uncomfortable to us. It’s time to rise and get off that nail.
Assess these areas of your life:
- Finances – How much money are you making, and what are you doing with it? Are you saving it, spending it, investing it?
- Environment – Where do you live and what are you doing with the space you live in?
- Physical health – How do you feel? What are your eating habits like? What ailments do you deal with? What is your energy level?
- Relationships – Who are your closest friends? Are they uplifting? What are your family relationships like? Do you have love in your life? What are your goals when it comes to relationships?
- Spiritual life – Are you at peace spiritually? Do you feel connected to God? Are you growing in your spiritual walk?
- Emotional and mental health – Are you joyful? Do you feel content? Do you have peace?
Within each category, where are you at right now and where would you like to be?
#2 – use the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule says that 80% of our outcomes are from 20% of all causes. Essentially, as we talk today, 20% of our habits bring about 80% of the lifestyle impact in our lives.
With this principle in mind, what if you just focused on 2-3 areas that need to change? Decide which area from the above categories, if changed, would make the biggest impact in your life as a whole.
Choose from the areas where you feel the greatest need right now. If you’re feeling lonely and want to create deeper relationships, maybe you focus your time on your relationships. If you’re feeling strapped for money and living paycheck to paycheck, maybe you focus on building an additional income stream. If you are feeling restless or anxious, maybe you zone in on your emotional and mental health.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to change everything at once. Laser focus on 2-3 areas that would have the biggest effect in your life and let the 80/20 principle work for you.
#3 – reimagine yourself
How you think about yourself actually matters, and if you can shift that thinking, you can reimagine yourself.
You will take action based on how you see yourself. If you see yourself as a fit athlete, your exercise and eating habits will line up with that thinking. However, if you see yourself as the opposite, it may be harder to stay on track and motivate yourself to eat right or exercise.
This mindset work is a process, and it’s a daily decision. Will you do the hard work of seeing yourself as if, or will you wallow where you are now and give up on yourself?
Do the hard work of changing the way you see yourself in the 2-3 key areas you chose to focus on. If you put into practice the new changes you want to have, your mind is capable of doing those things and creating new habits surrounding them.
The physical work matters for sure, but what you say to yourself matters just as much (if not more) because your mind will begin to believe whatever input flows in. Think of your mind as a computer. A computer automatically inputs the good and outputs the bad (good in good out, or GIGO). Your mind can do the same. Think about what you’re thinking about and become the bouncer to your mind. Allow the good in, and keep the bad out.
Don’t give up on yourself when the going gets tough. Choose to, no matter what, focus on those 2-3 key areas and push through, physically and mentally.
#4 – quantify success
In order to find success, you need to determine what success looks like for you.
The more clarity you have about where you are going, the easier the planning process will be. It would be easy to generically define success, but that won’t help your plan. Put some specific measures on what success looks like for you.
Does it look like generating a 6-figure income? Or does it look like being able to save $500 a month and not live paycheck to paycheck any longer? Does it mean losing a certain amount of weight to be your healthiest self? Or does it mean creating a work-life balance that gives you more freedom with the family?
Quantify it for yourself. Make it measurable. Get specific.
If you do this, you will lose the overwhelm and gain confidence in the direction you want to go, which, in turn, will make it easier for you to take action on your plan.
#5 – make a simple plan
A mistake I see all the time is entrepreneurs creating complicated plans for how they will build their businesses. A complex plan may actually keep you from doing the necessary work to move forward.
When creating your plan for change, focus on the core things you need to do in the 2-3 categories you chose to work on. The core things are what you should spend 80% of your time focusing on to get the 20% results we discussed earlier with the 80/20 rule.
If you’re trying to eat healthier, don’t complicate it with a multi-faceted meal plan that you’ll never be able to follow. Rather, create a more simple plan such as eating more vegetables. If you focus on adding more greenery to your diet, the other healthy decisions will fall into place.
Ask yourself, “What are the couple of things I need to do that would make the biggest progress in the areas I believe will have the biggest impact on my life?”
Create a simple plan from your answer. Don’t try to shortcut the shortcut. The shortcut is creating a simple plan that you will follow and to actually follow it – not just until it gets hard, but until you see the results.
#6 – focus on the little things
Have you noticed yourself setting your sights on a huge goal and forgetting about today? I’ve been there too.
What I’ve noticed is that, when I delay my happiness now for this lofty future goal, then I’m essentially telling myself I can’t be happy today where I’m at, and I can’t be contented until I realize that far-off goal.
Focusing on the little things makes the biggest difference in my enjoyment. And, when I say little things, that’s exactly what I mean. Waking up in the morning feeling energized. Taking a bite of my favorite ice cream. Taking a 30-minute walk outside enjoying the tweeting birds. Soaking in every moment with my family and friends. Being present wherever I am.
Finding joy in the journey sounds great (and it is – joy in the process matters), but focusing on the little things is practical. It’s a tactical thing you can do rather than “focusing on the present” or “enjoying the present.” Yes, the present is a gift, but tangibly recognize what it is in the present that makes it special. Find those small moments.
#6 – take ownership and responsibility
Ownership and responsibility are two very important things you need to change the trajectory of your life:
- Take ownership of your life
- Take responsibility for your outcomes
It’s almost natural to blame other people or our circumstances for our problems, whether we do it outright or internally. We feel like we can’t take action until someone else makes the first move OR we feel like someone, our circumstances, or the system is stopping us from doing the thing we need to do.
These are lies we tell ourselves, which become excuses to save ourselves from actually having to do the hard work to change.
Oh, and believe me, our mind will find ALL. THE. EXCUSES to avoid the work!
How you can overcome this issue and take ownership and responsibility for your future is to understand that it starts with an awareness of your subconscious mind, knowing full well it tries to sabotage you.
If you know that, then you can start a conscious battle against it to make a difference by continuing to put your simple plan into action. You know… eating your vegetables first. That type of simple plan.
As you start to see results and work on that self-control within your mind, you’ll develop good, strong habits and learn to silence the inner voice that makes excuses keeping you stuck and small.
Like I said in the beginning, this is kind of like a step-by-step plan – but not really. These are life principles that I encourage you to start working on today, and within 6 months you will start to see dramatic changes in your life. You’ll look back and realize you’re a whole new person!
The good news is that you won’t ever arrive, so you never have to worry about having perfect circumstances or being perfect yourself. Keep making the small changes in those 2-3 areas, and once you’ve seen the improvement you want, you can do the same thing in another area. Eventually, you’ll create a habit of change that will make an impact for the rest of your life.