Knowing it’s time for a change, why do we do it & how can we do it well?

We have all had that moment at some stage in our life, of feeling delight and excitement while pretending to be someone else for a little while. Whether it was getting into your parent’s wardrobe as a child, finding the best outfit for a costume party or taking on a character for a play. There was a sense of adventure and a freedom from yourself that often allowed behavior that may never be considered in your “real life”. 

However there are times, when some people feel that their “real life” is the part that has to change and the only way they feel they can do this, is by drastically changing something significant in their lives.  

At 31 years of age, I decided to get a divorce and move to a different country all by myself. It was inexplicably scary, but now, almost a year later, my life has new meaning. I'm going to start studying (a postgraduate course), I'm in a new relationship that does wonders for me, I'm making new friends, and BEST OF ALL, I got back the twinkle in my eye!

—Camila Franco ( )

This started me thinking and asking more questions. What drives people in their decisions to change? What was the final straw, that spurred the change. The change that was so often thought about in the past but never acted on?  For many, it is reaching a point of ultimate fear, terror or anger in a confronting situation, that finally jolts them into change. 

1. You live in the past or dream of your ‘someday’ future

You haven’t admitted it to yourself, or perhaps you have, but the fact is you dwell heavily on the past to escape your present.

Or, you may live in a constant dream of “someday” to avoid the present.

Both of these extremes are sure fire signs that you need to make a change.

Someday will never happen if you don’t take the steps you need to get there. All you have is the present. The past and the future exist only in your head. The present is here right now, so make a change and finally begin to enjoy what you have.

2. You live in fear

You are scared of change. Perhaps because you are worried about rocking the boat or you are terrified of it not working out. Well, if you risk nothing, you will gain nothing.

To live a truly amazing life you need to take risks, you need to embrace the fear. After all, fear is just one of the many emotions that you are capable of. Don’t let just one emotion rule your life.

If you live in fear, it’s a sign that you need to make a change.

3. You’re becoming a person you don’t like

You find yourself doing and saying things that are not in line with who you are and what you want from life.

Perhaps your work is shaping you into a person that you do not like, or the people that surround you are turning you into a bad version of yourself.

There will only ever be one you, don’t rob the world of that, it’s time to make a change.

4. You feel numbed and your passion for life has gone

If you have lost your passion for life, if you feel numb and every day you feel like you are just going through the motions, it’s definitely time for a change.

Life is meant to inspire you, to challenge you, sometimes to make you cry, but also to make you laugh until your face hurts, don’t live life numb. It’s time for a change.

5. You feel stuck

You feel like you are dragging your feet through mud and there is no escape from your daily routine. Whether it’s finances, a fiancé or a job that holds you back, if you feel stuck, know that something has to change.

6. When you find lies slipping from your mouth

“I’m fine”, “It’s fine”, “I’m really happy”. If you feel yourself saying these things to more and more people, but feel that they are less and less true, it’s time to ‘fess up to yourself. Take a hard look at your life and work out what is making you unhappy. Then it’s time to change that thing.

You only get one life, don’t live a lie.

7. When you are settling

You know that you could do better; get a better job, find someone that treats you well, get friends that make you feel good about yourself, but either you don’t think you’re worthy, or you think there’s a chance that you’ll fail. So you settle for a life less extraordinary. You settle for 2nd, 3rd or even 4th best.

If you’re settling, it’s time for a change!

8. You’re burned out

Fatigue is your constant companion. You keep telling yourself “just push through it”, but you never give yourself time for a break. Eventually your body will just say no, something will happen, you’ll get sick, or you’ll make a mistake. Pushing through it is not always the right choice.

If you are close to burned out, it’s time to make a change.

( )

There are many ways to achieve change and there are many books, life coaches and techniques that offer advice, however it is also a good idea to look at the success of the person giving the advice.  Leo Babauta of popular ZenHabits .com has had much success using the following steps, on the path to change. The goal is to create changes that last and have a positive impact on your life. 

  • Do it consciously. We can change our identity without doing it intentionally … but I’ve found that it works much better if you do it intentionally. Doing it accidentally is like blindly stumbling upon something amazing — I wouldn’t count on it, but if you wander around long enough, it’ll probably happen. Instead, make it an intention to consciously shift your identity in this area.
  • Think about who you want to be. Do you want to be a person who writes every morning? A person who only eats plant-based foods? Someone who buys very little? Write it down: “I am a morning meditator.”
  • Intentionally start doing the actions. Set up visual reminders, phone reminders, whatever you need to do … but start doing the things that you would do if you’re this new version of yourself. If you’re a runner, go run.
  • BE the new version of you. Doing the actions is one thing, but you might be doing it while thinking that this is so not you. Instead, do the actions as if you were already that person. See yourself as the runner, the early riser, the vegan. Feel it in your being. Stand as this person.
  • Reinforce it by appreciating yourself. Each day, have a minute where you look back and see what you did. And appreciate this about yourself. See that you’re already shifting. “Yeah, this is happening, good job me!” We tend to focus on the bumps in the road rather than the progress we’re making.
  • When you falter, think about what this new version of you would do. Notice I said “when you falter,” not “IF.” Even a Zen teacher misses a day of meditation sometimes. That’s a part of life. We don’t always do things “perfectly” … but a Zen teacher wouldn’t miss a day of meditation and then just give up. She’d just sit the next day. A runner will get back into it even after a week of disruption (maybe due to visitors, illness, travel, injury, etc.). Don’t think of the disruption as proof that you’re not a runner, but instead approach the disruption as if you are a runner.

Again, there are many other things you can do. As your new identity, you’ll think of them! The How actually works itself out once you start to Be the new identity.

Leo Babauta -

When Researching for this article I came across many tips and lists from a gamut of people but decided to only include things that were both simple and from a successful source. I found Tom Ferry - bestselling Author of Life! By Design, and Mindset, Model and Marketing books had three very simple tips/ methods to follow that can help to understand your own identity and guide in shifting the view on your own identity for a positive change in your life. 

Identity shifting method 1: Who you know

They say you become like the five people you spend the most time with.

So that begs the question:

Are you spending enough time with the right people?

Who you spend your time with absolutely matters.

You need to model your behaviors around the type of people you want to emulate and then grow those behaviors into becoming automatic – part of your everyday routine.

Identity shifting method 2: pick small tasks and document your wins

If you truly want to shift your identity, then let’s get you on the right track.

By breaking strategies down into small tasks, you’ll be able to start making headway almost immediately.

Then, start documenting your wins.

Every time you check off a completed task, you’re forging your identity as someone who does what you say you’re going to do.

“I get things done.”
“I follow through.”
“I make my phone calls.”
“I go to the gym.”

Starting with the small tasks allows you to “feel” your wins and start building momentum. There’s actually a physiological response in your brain when you complete a task and check it off your list.

Remember renowned philosopher Jim Rohn’s words of wisdom: the things required to achieve the greatest things in life are both easy to do… and easy not to do.

Identity shifting method 3: work on your confidence every day

Most of us have huge amounts of potential. But some… crumble under pressure.

Or worse yet… they never even try. They don’t take action.

When you have confidence, you act boldly to achieve your dreams.

Here are six simple actions to up your confidence:

  • Get in the gym! It’s unbelievable how much this will help shift your identity.
  • Change the way you walk. Stand taller and put a smile on your face.
  • Watch your self-talk. You become what you are constantly thinking about.
  • Visualization. Close your eyes and envision where you want to be.
  • Role play. People who don’t role play scare me. If you don’t practice, you end up “practicing” on your clients. When you do practice, you build your confidence.
  • Make your calls. Or learn to live off of less income.

I would like to point out here that change is not a bad thing but approaching change badly, can have bad results. Results that can be easily avoided by asking yourself the right questions and following the right advice. This is what I have tried to achieve here for you, the reader and whatever issue you may be battling, that has allowed us to cross paths here, in this digital way.  What I have come to find during the research of this article is that behind most people need for change is the desire to be happier and happiness comes in many forms.  As happiness is subjective, it’s up to you to find out what it is that makes you happy. 

Remember to be honest with yourself, whether you feel down, OK or wonderful – could you be happier? If the answer is yes, what changes can you make? Here are a few questions that you may like to ask yourself from -

Identify what happiness means to you - What do you really want from life? Prioritise what’s most important to you. If you’re not drawn to anything in particular, look back at your childhood. Ask yourself: “What was I passionate about?” You might still have that passion – it’s just lain dormant for a while.

Establish your attitude towards your career - Instead of focusing on making work not feel like “work”, figure out what you actually want from your career. More time to spend with family? To feel fulfilled in your work? Or is there an argument for working harder, to get more out of it?

Change can be as big or small as you want - Once you’ve identified your happiness trigger, you can make changes to increase the time you devote to this. The pursuit of happiness might not be straightforward but, if you’re determined enough, you will find it. Start with something small. If you want to travel more, research trips and plan ideal routes. Having done background research, you’ll have more courage to dive in.


Push yourself to take risks - If you’re deliberating over a decision that feels risky, be it quitting your job, moving abroad, or booking a trip you’ve always dreamed of, ask yourself: what makes it risky? Symptoms of anxiety and excitement are strikingly similar. So, if you catch yourself feeling anxious, try reframing how you look at the situation. Tell yourself it’s an exciting opportunity – not one to be worried about.

Commit to your goals - Doing what you love only takes you so far. It’s integrity and commitment that will take you further. So, tell the people around you. Not only does this hold you accountable, but you open yourself up to extra support.

Find a coach - If you want to make changes to your health and fitness, it’s common to hire a personal trainer. If you want to make changes to the rest of your life, then hiring a coach to advise and motivate you could be just what you need!

Stay positive - Trying to be perfect and always make the right decision is very draining (and probably impossible). Instead, focus on finding the positives in every situation. Positivity and enthusiasm are contagious so, the more you embody these characteristics, the more you encourage others to do the same.

"The gratitude thing," as I had called it, was but one small and simple element of the practice. Kind of like training the brain to focus on joy, my friend Heidi explained.

"It's only a week," she urged. "Try it."

I did. And guess what? It worked.

Every day for a week, I found five distinct things for which I was thankful. They had to be different every day. I couldn't get away with just being grateful for my wonderful husband. But I could, suggested Collie Conoley, another colleague and noted positive psychologist express my gratitude for specific aspects of a certain person each day.

He's a great cook. 

He always puts our family first.

He's a stone-cold fox.

By the end of that week, I found myself slowing down a little. Taking time to notice things I might have walked past before, like a monarch butterfly or a bunch of students laughing together in the quad. One good thought led to another. These kids are so smart. And optimistic. It gives me so much hope for the future!

Leslie Turnball

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View change as a good opportunity to embrace new experiences. New perspectives are waiting for you at the doorstep. Opportunities are plentiful. When you look back on your life, all of the really amazing things are because of a new experience you had.


Angelina de Jesus Solomon ©️2021



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