We’ve all been there where we’ve looked at our lives and not liked what we’ve seen.

As a conscious being, it’s normal to reflect on our lives and it’s also normal to not like what that reflection returns. What we do have though is the ability to change our lives.

We have the choice to make effective changes or simply stay as we are and continue a cycle of behaviour which makes us miserable. I don’t know about you but I hate being miserable.

My circumstances are probably slightly different to most of you reading this, if not all of you, but the advice I’m about to give you is universal and if it works for me then it will work for you too.

None of these things I am about to share with you are out of reach for anyone. You don’t need anything specific apart from the desire to change and an open mind.

Understand why you want or need to make a change

At the core of this change, there has to be a reason. What is the why?

You’ve looked at your life and you’ve decided something has to change but why has it got to change? For me, it was my mental illnesses and the general state of my mental health. So my why was to get on top of my mental health and mental illnesses and it still is.

I’m slightly further along my journey and as a by-product, I have multiple whys now. But to start you only need one. And that one you need to remind yourself of all the time. It is what is going to keep you going when you want to quit and what’s going to make you start again when you fail.

What are the things you need to change

Once you’ve got your why now it’s time to decide what are the things you need to change. It could be just one thing. Maybe it’s your job, your sleep pattern, your eating habits, your lack of exercise or whatever else.

It also could be a bunch of things. Don’t let it get you down if you have a long list. Acknowledging them is an important first step. I know it can be overwhelming thinking how is it even possible to make all these changes but I assure you it is.

It is helpful to make a list of all the things you come up with. You can refer back to it, add things and cross things off when you’ve made the necessary changes.

Prioritise one change you want to make first

You can’t do everything all at once. Maybe eventually you can focus on multiple different things but to start off with, focus on one thing to get the basics down.

With putting all your focus on one area it allows you to get into good habits, habits which if trying to implement for many different things becomes much harder and takes a lot longer. It is also less overwhelming and gives you the chance to make mistakes with only minimal consequences.

Break each change you want to make into smaller steps

You know exactly why you want to change, what you want to change and also where you want to be. Getting there is another thing altogether.

Forget about where you want to be. Not completely but put it to the back of your mind.

Where you want to be is subject to change throughout time. Action is what you need to take and action is best done in manageable steps. What’s a step you can take right now or at some time today and continue to do consistently?

Accept that you will make mistakes

You are only human after all. Humans are prone to making mistakes, it is a part of our makeup. Human errors are accounted for everywhere in business and we should account for them in our personal lives too.

Mistakes, errors, setback or whatever you want to call them are a pain. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t make any. They wouldn’t exist and everyone would be perfect. It’s a pity we don’t live in a world like that. I’m sure everything would be easier.

Stop holding yourself to a higher standard than everyone else. Accept you are going to make mistakes. You may have a setback here and there. But you need to keep going. Remember why you started and continue when you are ready.

If you fail, learn from your failure and start again.

Failure is a word no one likes. But without it, we would never succeed. Ask anyone who deems themselves successful and I’m sure they will have failed more times than they can even remember. In fact, there are many highly successful people you and I both know who failed their way to success.

What separates those who found success and those who haven’t is they didn’t give up. They evaluated what happened, they learnt from there mistakes and they go again.

It is also important to know when to walk away or pivot. Not everything you are doing you are going to succeed at. Sometimes what you are doing isn’t the right thing and you have to objectively look at all the variables and hopefully, you will see a better, alternative route.

Appreciate the journey

Sure I get it, you want to be in the position of having made all the necessary changes and reaping the benefits of your hard work. But the hard work never ends.

As humans, we are constantly evolving and the world around us is constantly changing. We get to where we want to be and then we want more. What we have gained is no longer enough and the process starts again.

The best way to counteract all of this and to not feel like you are stuck in a continuous cycle of chasing an end goal is to appreciate the journey.

Start appreciating the change you are making and enjoy the process.

Before long you will form good habits. The resentment and feeling of having to start over with every new change will fade and it all becomes a part of the continuous journey you have undertaken to self-betterment and continual personal growth.