If you’re unwilling to do these 12 things, your life will never change

There’s a famous saying that’s often misattributed to Einstein and which goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. 

There’s a lot of truth to that idea. If you keep doing the same thing then the same thing will keep happening to you. You need to be willing to try new things if you want to shake your life up and create change. 

And there are some things in particular that you’ll want to make a priority if you’re looking to change your life. The opposite holds true, too – if you’re unwilling to do that, your life will never change. 

And so with that in mind, let’s take a look at 12 things you need to be willing to do if you want your life to change.

1) Taking responsibility

This is the biggie, because if you don’t take responsibility for changing your life then it’s not going to happen.

When it comes to work and play, you can often get away with leaving other people to take responsibility. If you’re going out on a night out but you leave someone else to take responsibility for arranging it, the worst that can happen is that the night out won’t happen.

But when you’re trying to change your life, the buck stops with you.

If you don’t take responsibility, no one else will either and nothing will change. And let’s face it, if you’re not willing to take that responsibility, you don’t deserve to change anyway.

We’re talking about the greatest rewards possible and at little to no risk. All you need to do is put in the effort.

2)  Being positive

Positivity comes more naturally to some people than others, and I know that I’ve been guilty of being a Debbie Downer from time to time.

The thing is that positivity is one of those things in life where you can fake it until you make it. Even if you don’t feel like being positive, force a smile onto your face and try to look on the bright side. You might just be surprised by what happens.

We don’t just smile because we’re happy – smiling can actually make us happy. I’d argue that the same is true with positivity.

And why is it so important to be positive in the first place? Well, because people like positive people. If you try your best to be positive, you increase the chances of people befriending you or wanting to work with you.

3) Surrounding yourself with good influences

It’s been said that we’re all the average of the five people that we spend the most time with.

Like the “Einstein” quote, there’s some disagreement about who actually said this, but the principle is still valid. We all take after the people we spend the most time with, and we start to imitate them without even being aware of it.

That’s why if you surround yourself with drug addicts, you’ll probably pick up an addiction. And if you surround yourself with people who spend most of their time reading, you’ll probably become a bookworm.

And so if you want to make a positive change in your life, a good place to start is to re-evaluate who you’re spending time with.

4) Leaving toxic relationships

As you can imagine, if it’s important for you to surround yourself with good influences, you’re going to want to leave any toxic relationships behind.

The challenge with this is that it’s often difficult to spot toxic relationships for what they are. Even when you do spot them, it’s not always easy to leave. A lot of people turn to therapists and other professional helpers.

Regardless, you need to be willing to cut those toxic people out of your life, whether they’re your friends, your partner or your family members. It’s difficult, but it will be worth it in the long run. You just have to be willing to take that step.

5) Going outside your comfort zone

If we never stray outside our comfort zone, it stands to reason that nothing is ever going to change. We’re just not going to put ourselves into situations where change can occur.

Going out of our comfort zone is… well, uncomfortable.

There’s a reason why we get stuck in our ways and why we stick to the habits that we have. The problem is that if we never take the time to try new things, we’re going to start stagnating and our personal and professional growth will grind to a halt.

I’ve always said that the day I stop trying and learning new things and seeking out new experiences will be the day I die.

Because what’s the point of living if you’re just doing the same thing over and over again?

6) Loving yourself

It’s never too late to start loving yourself.

This is actually something that I’ve only recently come to terms with myself. I suffer from a couple of mental health conditions, and if you’re in the same boat as me then you’ll know that you’ve got your work cut out for you here.

But it’s important to love yourself if you want your life to change for the better. It will lead back into that positivity that we talked about and allow you to forgive yourself for your mistakes. It will also allow you to push for what you want in life because you’ll know that you deserve it.

If you struggle to love yourself, start small. The rest will follow.

7) Getting a grip on your finances

If you don’t keep an eye on your finances, your life is going to go downhill fast.

There’s a reason why people say that financial literacy should be taught in school. Without knowing your finances, you can’t save up for important life events like a wedding or purchasing your first house, the big milestones that can change our lives for the better.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you haven’t got a grip on your finances yet, that’s the first thing that you should work on. All of this other stuff can come after that, but you’re going to struggle to focus on being positive or stepping outside your comfort zone if you’re busy worrying that the bailiffs are going to come and seize your property.

8) Learning new skills

Learning new skills can help to boost your confidence and to make you a much more well-rounded person in general.

In particular, I swear by learning a new language. It opens up travel opportunities and gives you a competitive advantage at work, and it’s even been shown to delay the onset of dementia and other mental health issues.

But regardless of which new skills you decide to learn, and whether you’re learning them for work or just for your own personal pleasure, it can help you to improve your life. You just have to be willing to take the first step and to start learning.

9) Setting and obeying boundaries

Boundaries are important because they help us to state in advance what is and isn’t acceptable to us.

The thing to remember here is that they only work if we stick to them after we set them. In fact, we can do more harm than good if we set boundaries and then don’t hold people to them. This is especially true in our relationships.

As well as setting our own boundaries, such as telling our boss when we’re comfortable with being contacted, we also need to obey other people’s boundaries. It’s a fundamental part of respect and an important way of showing our loved ones that we, well, love them.

And so if someone sets a boundary with you, make sure you obey it.

10) Saying “no”

It’s important to know when to say no because you’ll need to set your limits and stick to them. This goes back to setting and obeying boundaries.

Let’s say that you’re tired but a friend has asked you out to dinner. I know a lot of people who’d say yes and go along even though they didn’t want to. Instead, we need to feel confident enough in ourselves to say, “No.”

This example focuses on our social life, but we need to be able to do exactly the same thing in the workplace. If our boss asks us to take on a project but there’s no way we’re going to be able to fit it in, we need to tell them.

If you’re uncomfortable with saying no to people, try coupling the “no” with an explanation.

11) Learning from your mistakes

If you’ve read one of my articles before then you know what’s coming here.

That’s right, it’s my favorite John Lennon quote: “A mistake is only an error. It becomes a mistake when you fail to correct it.”

The only way that we can grow as people is if we take note of the mistakes that we make and look for the lessons within them. It’s even better if we can learn from other people’s mistakes because then we don’t even need to make them.

In fact, I no longer think of mistakes as being a bad thing. They’re just another opportunity.

12) Changing

All of these points all up to one key thing that you need to be willing to do, and that’s to change.

This goes right back to the quote we shared at the beginning, because if you don’t change then you’ll just keep on doing the same and nothing will ever be different. If that’s the case, there’s no point in even reading articles like this one, because if you’re not going to change, it’s not going to help.

This also brings us back round to the first point, which is that you need to take responsibility for the changes you want to see in your life. If you take that responsibility, you’ll make things happen and your life will change.

The only question is, “Will you?”

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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