Have you ever met a person who was completely happy with their life?
You may have come across one or two who claimed to be, but most wish that they could change a number of different aspects and circumstances.
Just about everyone you meet will want to experience something different and better than what they’re dealing with right now.
So what does it mean to change one’s life for the better?
Does it require completely overhauling every aspect of one’s being, or just changing out the throw cushions?
Will the person in question need to quit their job and go live in a yurt in Nepal? Or dive into a religious cult full throttle?
Okay, some might really want to do all of those things. But for most people, changing life for the better simply means making a number of important changes.
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Why Both External And Internal Worlds Need Tending To
People are magnificent, multifaceted creatures. We are fusions of mind, body, and spirit, all of which work together to cultivate an individual experience.
So it should come as no surprise to learn that you have to address both inner and outer worlds to make meaningful change in your life.
There’s a saying that goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
That’s true, but you have to take a second and third step, and so on. So consider the tips that follow as stepping stones, if you will.
There are several to choose from: some large, and some small. Each stone you step upon will nudge you forward along your path. Over time, you’ll realize that you’re on a much different journey than you were on when you began.
Furthermore, you’ll notice that you’re smiling a lot more, and you’re actually looking forward to where this path will lead you.
Which Actions Should Be Prioritized? In What Order?
Use the list of tips that follows to write down all the things you need or want to change about your life as it is now. You don’t have to worry about any particular order just yet: just get them all out on paper.
Once they’re all out in front of you, number them in order of importance to you. Which changes do you feel need to be handled immediately in order to bring you greater happiness? And which are less of a priority and can be relegated to a lower spot on the list?
If there are some that are equal in order of importance, then number them as such. You can have several with the same number if they’re just as vital to you, and that’ll help you prioritize things as you move forward.
After you have everything numbered out, look at the top five items on the list. From there, you can determine which of those will take the most time, effort, and financial resources to attain.
Do you have the money and means with which to make this change happen? If you do, then consider this your primary focus for now and get started with it immediately.
In contrast, if you need to save money or other resources to make it happen, keep it as a long-term high-priority goal, but set it to one side.
In general, it’s good to have one long-term and a few short-term goals going at the same time, especially if they’re all in a similar vein.
For example, let’s say that you feel that you want to change your life for the better by moving out of the city and into a rural cabin or hobby farm, getting back in physical shape, and learning carpentry as a possible career change.
Since it’ll take time to either sell your house or make money to move away, make that your top priority, long-term goal. While you’re waiting for your house to sell, start doing some carpentry courses – either in person, or simply by getting some tools and doing it yourself. Start getting back in shape by taking long forest hikes and chopping wood to work with.
All of these actions are working in harmony to get where you want to go.
10 Actions To Take That Affect Your External World
Our external worlds encompass our surroundings, and our physical forms. This can include our homes, vehicles, workplaces, bodies, and belongings. When we change aspects related to the places we inhabit on a daily basis, as well as physical items we see and interact with regularly, we can’t help but experience that change in a wider sense too.
1. Eliminate clutter.
Take a look around every room in your home and ask yourself how you feel about each of the items you see around you.
Is it needed? Is it necessary? Is it loved?
Famous designer William Morris gave the instruction to: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
So, what are you holding onto that doesn’t fall into either of those categories?
Grab some heavy-duty garbage bags and go on a cleaning spree. Clean out your closets, junk drawers, and regular drawers. Throw out or donate everything that’s just taking up space instead of being treasured and used on a regular basis.
Are you holding onto clothes you don’t like anymore? Ask yourself why before letting them go. Do you have miscellaneous items cluttering up surfaces around you? Clean it all away and then check in with yourself to see how you feel afterwards. You’ll likely be amazed to discover how much lighter your heart feels after you’ve gotten rid of whatever no longer nurtures you.
2. Change habits that do not serve you.
Take stock of what you do over the course of your days. Consider keeping notes for a couple of weeks and jot down everything you do, and how long it takes you to do them.
For example, what’s the first thing that you do upon waking? Do you get up, brush your teeth, and put the kettle on? Or do you check your phone? How much time do you spend reading or being creative? Similarly, how much time do you spend scrolling through social media and arguing in comments sections?
What might seem like “just a couple of minutes” here and there can add up to several hours a day. How much time would you have available to spend on endeavors you truly enjoy if you cut back on activities you spend time on by compulsive habit?
These habits developed over time, and can be broken with persistent conscious effort. It’ll take time to break them, of course – potentially months if the habit is deeply ingrained in your subconscious.
But when you do finally break the habits that aren’t serving you, you’ll discover that you have a lot more time to devote to healthier, more creative, and beneficial endeavors instead.
3. Consider whether you’d be happier living in a different location.
How often do you complain about the weather where you live? What about your immediate living circumstances? What is it you love and hate about where you are?
Make a love/hate list by splitting a piece of paper down the middle. Write everything you adore about your country, state, city, neighborhood, and dwelling on one side. On the other, write down everything you despise.
Then consider whether you want to stay in that location or not. After all, you’re not a tree – you don’t have to dig up deep roots in order to change where you are.
If you hate where you are but have to stay local because of family obligations, then try to offset the current hatred with some brightness. Book regular trips elsewhere for changes of scenery, if you can. Change your interior decor, and play music from other countries to liven up the atmosphere.
4. Determine the root causes of any current health Issues.
Are there any health issues that have been bothering you? Then now is a good time to figure out what’s causing them.
Most of the time, people are content with throwing remedies at various symptoms, whereas determining the root cause can actually improve many different aspects of one’s health.
Instead of just managing symptoms, see a healthcare professional about determining what’s causing the various issues you’re contending with.
Once you have some answers about what’s causing these issues, you can go about addressing them in a holistic manner.
5. Improve your diet.
This goes along with the point mentioned above. Many different health issues – both physical and mental – can be greatly influenced by diet.
For example, a person who’s been battling severe fatigue for ages might discover that they have a potassium deficiency. Similarly, someone who’s constantly ill or feeling run down might have some unknown food allergies that are causing inflammation.
If you’re having difficulty determining which foods are best for your individual needs, consider making an appointment with a nutritionist. They can run some tests to figure out which nutrients you’re lacking, and work with you to develop a meal plan that best suits your needs and preferences.
While you’re at it, make sure to drink plenty of water. Some people are chronically dehydrated, which does terrible things to our health. Aim for 8 to 10 glasses of water daily, plus plenty of fruits and vegetables.
6. Change your appearance, if you’re unhappy with it.
You may think that this sounds shallow or ridiculous, but it’s actually quite important. If you can’t bear to look in the mirror because you don’t like what you see there, that’s going to affect many different aspects of your life.
We may not all have the financial means to undergo a complete overhaul, but we can all make little changes to be happier with how we look. We can change our hair style or color, or adjust our wardrobe to be more authentic to our personal aesthetics.
When we like how we look, our entire demeanor changes. We’re more confident, we stand taller, and we’re more likely to have positive social interactions with others.
7. Change decorative items around you.
Have you been staring at the same paintings or posters on the walls around you for years? Do you still love them? Or are you utterly sick of staring at them day in and day out?
Change items around you and you’ll shift the entire energy of the place.
Art is a feast for the eyes, and we can’t help but feel better when we’re surrounded by things that are beautiful to look at.
Add splashes of color with new curtains and get some framed prints up on the walls. Put up images that make you feel happy whenever you look at them, and you’ll feel joy every time you’re in that area.
8. Examine your behavioral patterns.
It’s inevitable that we are influenced by those around us. This influence may occur via the people in our immediate social circles, or by the media that we consume.
We may adopt phrases, vocal intonations, and even physical behaviors simply because we’re exposed to them on a regular basis.
Some examples of this include how people who watched FRIENDS back in the 90s suddenly adopted main characters’ speech cadence and mannerisms. Another common comparison is how many women today speak with the “vocal fry” associated with the Kardashians and other female celebrities.
Take stock of your own behavioral patterns to determine whether they give others a sense of who you really are. Record yourself when you’re speaking to someone and then listen to it later. If you’re out with friends, position yourself in front of a mirrored surface and watch your gestures. Do these words and actions reflect your true self? Or are you masking and mirroring to fit in with others around you?
Furthermore, will these actions be a blessing or a bane in your social and professional life. An intentionally whiny or nasal way of speaking might be endearing in an actress, but considered unprofessional or juvenile in a doctor or lawyer.
9. Determine some important goals and work toward them.
What’s a goal you’ve always wanted to attain, but you’ve kept putting off until later? What better time is there to get started on it than right now? If we continue to wait for an “ideal time” to pursue things that are important to us, we’ll never get anything done.
One of the best things you can do if you’re working toward a goal of some kind is to keep a journal. This is because it’s easy to get frustrated and defeated if you don’t see constant improvement. With a journal, you can track every bit of progress you make as you achieve it. This way, even on days when immediate effects aren’t obvious, you can still look back over your notes to see how far you’ve come.
Using the SMART goal system is incredibly effective. This means a goal must be:
You’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment every time you achieve a new landmark along the route to your goal. This alone will help change your life for the better, and you’ll feel absolutely incredible when you finally achieve your dream.
10. Prioritize and sacrifice.
If you feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day, determine what it is that’s keeping you from what you’d rather be doing.
For example, do you lament the fact that you don’t have enough time to read anymore? What are you doing instead that edges into valuable reading time? Are you playing video games for several hours a day as a form of escapism and numbing yourself out? Or perhaps you’re taking on more than your fair share of the housework and getting resentful about it because that cuts into “your” time?
Make what you want to do with the precious minutes of your life a priority. This may result in some conflicts at home if family members or housemates have become accustomed to your acts of service for them, but that’s okay.
You may need to pack up games and other distractions that you like to play with in order to achieve goals that are more important to you.
You’re the one who’s in charge of your time, and how you choose to spend that sacred currency. Choose it well, and eliminate whatever will impede your positive change.
9 Actions To Take That Affect Your Internal World
In contrast to the external world, our inner world exists only within ourselves. Thoughts, ideas, emotions, fears, and regrets are all part of this realm. It’s where we imagine great things, find inspiration, enjoy (or get upset by) memories.
If most of what you want to change exists in this inner realm, there’s a lot of work ahead of you. Changing a bedspread to one that’s a different color is a lot easier than working through old traumas so they hurt less.
That said, every step taken toward improving the inner world will affect the outer in turn. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do that affect this internal realm.
11. Take stock of hurts and regrets that still haunt you.
Do you find yourself still feeling regret about something that happened years ago? Or perhaps you’ve experienced hurts and betrayals that come to mind on a daily basis?
These intrusive thoughts and emotions can hinder us in a number of different ways. For instance, past betrayals may cause trust issues with a current relationship, even if your new partner is nothing like the one who hurt you. Similarly, hurt or shame from a past failed venture might make you hesitant to start new endeavors in case you fail at them.
Set aside some time to analyze the things that may still be haunting you. Use a journal to write down everything you think and feel. There’s a very good chance that you would benefit from booking some time with a counselor. They’ll be able to help you break through some of the past hurts that are causing issues in your present.
12. Practice radical forgiveness for things that you have experienced.
Many people hold onto anger and bitterness over things they have experienced, and negative situations they have suffered. They might constantly turn their minds back to these difficulties, revisiting their sufferings, hating and blaming those who have caused them to suffer.
This is akin to poking and prodding at an old injury every time it starts to heal over. The arrow will have been out of the wound for years, so to speak, but they’re crying about the memory of the pain – not the pain itself. And hating those who have caused them to experience that kind of suffering.
When we forgive people who have done us wrong, we benefit far more than they ever will.
Anger and hatred bind these people to us with invisible strings, tethering us together for longer than we ever need to be. When we forgive them, we cut those cords. This isn’t revenge, but is rather telling them (even on a subconscious level) that they’re not worth remembering.
When those cords are cut, we take full responsibility for our own wellness and happiness. They’re not in other people’s hands to dole out to us as they see fit. Instead, our power is our own. They won’t be thought of again except in passing, and will affect us less and less over time.
Again, seek out a counselor if you are struggling to forgive someone.
13. Try to love and accept yourself more.
Take stock of what you say to yourself over the course of a day. Are you encouraging and loving? Or harsh and insulting?
Then ask yourself how you would react if someone said those things to someone you love dearly, like your best friend or your child. Would you stand up for that person and defend them? Or join in on the insult session?
You deserve just as much love, compassion, empathy, and acceptance as you offer toward other people you care about. We tend to be very harsh and insulting toward ourselves, especially if we’ve been raised with criticism.
This is another area where a counselor can help because self-love takes time to develop.
14. Learn to be comfortable with discomfort.
Have you ever worked with someone who complains all the time that they’re too hot or too cold? Or perhaps your child has driven you to madness by asking every few minutes when their next meal or snack was ready?
These are people who haven’t learned how to set aside immediate gratification, and be comfortable with temporary discomfort.
We can acknowledge that we’re not in ideal circumstances without experiencing a pressing need to fix that situation immediately. This type of stoicism may take some time to develop, but is important for self-discipline and inner growth.
Being able to endure discomfort is a huge positive character trait that will help you countless times over the course of your life.
For example, the ability to endure discomfort may be of great help with many of the other tips on this list. The idea of temporary inconvenience and/or lack of stability of a new job or home might keep some people from taking steps to make those changes. If, however, they know they can handle whatever comes, then they’re already ahead of the game in changing their life for the better.
15. Pay attention to your dreams.
It’s not unusual for our dreams to reflect our current emotional states. Our subconscious minds often use dreams to send out either warnings or encouragements that can help us navigate current circumstances.
For example, someone who feels deep down that they can’t communicate freely and openly with their partner may have recurrent dreams about choking on things.
Alternatively, a person who’s been aching to pursue a career as an artist for years may dream about painting or sculpting.
Start a dream diary and take a few minutes every morning to write down as much as you can remember from the night before. Try to make this a daily habit, even if it’s a few scrawled keywords that’ll jog your memory later. You may discover that your subconscious mind is trying to send you messages through consistent imagery.
Our dreams can help inspire us to follow particular paths, or make it abundantly clear that we’re going in the wrong direction. Heed what yours are telling you for clues about what life changes should be prioritized.
16. Be aware of words and phrases you use regularly.
In 1928, a spiritualist by the name of Florence Scovel Shinn wrote a book entitled Your Word is Your Wand. In it, she discussed how the subconscious is the “sleepless eye” and is always keeping watch. As such, it pays very close attention to everything you say.
If you’re constantly saying things like “I feel like crap” or “I’m exhausted all the time,” then your subconscious will strive to make that a reality.
Instead of saying something like “I’m so out of shape,” consider switching that around to a more positive affirmation such as “I am getting healthier and stronger every day.”
Similarly, if you often lament about obligations, try to turn those into opportunities instead. “Ugh, I have to get up early for work tomorrow” becomes “I get to watch the sunrise tomorrow morning.”
Watch how your energy changes exponentially with just a few tweaks in perspective and expression.
17. Do things that you genuinely enjoy.
How many activities do you take part in out of a sense of obligation, rather than sincere joy? Do you go through the motions with various endeavors instead of putting real effort into them?
Ask yourself why you do this to determine what needs changing.
For instance, some people who deal with depression lose interest in things that they once used to love. Did you used to spend hours doing a particular craft or art form but now you have no real enthusiasm for it?
Are you just “phoning it in” and doing it because something needs to be finished, but deep down you can’t be bothered?
Then stop doing it.
You don’t have to finish making that birdhouse or quilt if you’re hating every minute of the project.
Determine why you lost your passion for this, then figure out what you need to change: do you have to alter the circumstances that made you feel despondent? Or have you always hated this activity and just took part in it to make someone else happy?
What would you rather be doing instead? Do that.
18. Take stock of relationships that you have outgrown.
Very few of us are still in the same romantic relationships that we began in our early teens. At our current age, we may not find the same traits attractive in a potential partner that we appreciated when we were 14.
Similarly, we might have gotten along with that person fabulously in high school, but we undergo dramatic changes as we mature.
We aren’t the same people we were a decade ago, and that goes for everyone.
While most people would find it ludicrous to remain romantically involved with someone they had outgrown emotionally, we seem to be encouraged to hold onto friendships indefinitely.
Some people still have friends with whom they attended kindergarten or middle school, while almost everyone still keeps in touch with at least one high school buddy. Even if they no longer have anything in common with these people (or actively dislike them), there’s a sense of obligation to keep in touch.
Take a good look at the various relationships you have, and whether you feel that it’s beneficial to both you and the other person to continue pouring energy into them. If it isn’t, then there is no harm or shame in withdrawing your time and energy and turning them elsewhere.
19. Write a story.
Everyone has a story to tell.
For some, this might be autobiographical: a record of all kinds of things they’ve experienced over the course of their lives. Others might have fantasy stories that have been rolling around in their heads since they were children. Whichever direction you may lean toward, you undoubtedly have some kind of tale to tell.
If you don’t know where to start or how to begin, then consider a work of fiction. This could be based on real-life experiences with just names, dates, and relevant details changed up a bit. You could even just try free-flow writing to see where the story takes you.
Write whatever comes to mind without worrying about what other people will think. After all, nobody ever has to read what you’ve written. You don’t have to share this with anyone – you can write this entirely for yourself. Tell your story in whatever voice you choose, as long as you tell it.
5 Actions That Affect Both Your Internal And External Worlds
As you might imagine, there are also actions you can take that bridge both worlds. Rather than just affecting your body or your emotions, these influence your body and mind as a whole. Making even a few of the items on the list below a priority can have a startling effect on your overall happiness and well-being.
20. Get enough rest.
Most of us are chronically sleep deprived. We’ve been taught to place a great deal of merit on working ourselves into an early grave. How many times have you heard your colleagues brag about how they only slept for a couple of hours before dragging themselves to work, caffeinated and stumbling?
Break this mindset by allowing yourself to get the rest you need.
Choose a bedtime that makes sense to you and make a habit of adhering to that. Turn off your electronic devices an hour beforehand and use that time to “wind down.” If you like to listen to music, play something gentle and classical to help you relax. Alternatively, you can use this time to write some notes in your gratitude journal, or take a long bath. Whatever relaxes you.
Additionally, learn that it’s okay to nap if and when you need to. We need to sleep in order for our bodies to heal and replenish themselves. Lack of sleep leads to slowed thinking, poor motor control, and emotional impairment. There is absolutely no shame in lying down for an afternoon nap if that’s what your body tells you that it needs.
21. Don’t do things you hate.
This applies to jobs you despise as well as instructions that don’t sit right with your soul.
We do ourselves an immense disservice when we force ourselves to do things we hate. There’s usually a soul-deep pushback when and if we’re forced into an action we despise.
Furthermore, we end up disliking and resenting the person whom we feel has forced us to do it. So what happens when the person we despise is the one we see in the mirror?
There are always alternatives to doing things that we can’t stand. Sure, changing them may take a lot of effort and may have unpleasant temporary repercussions, but isn’t continued effort in the wrong direction far worse than that?
If you hate your job, start looking for another one right now. Have you stopped believing in a faith that you’ve been paying lip service for someone else’s sake? Stop doing that.
Do you take part in any actions that cause you shame? Ask yourself why you’ve been doing that, and if it’s worth the darkness you have to deal with as a result.
Then do the work needed to make real change happen.
22. Eat food you love.
Do you force yourself to choke down food and drink that you can’t stand? Have you tried to convince yourself to like a recipe because it’s either “good for you,” or you think you should like it?
Life is much too short to torture our taste buds.
This doesn’t mean that you should throw all caution to the wind and live on milkshakes and canned ravioli. As mentioned earlier, eating good, nourishing food is one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle.
That said, you don’t have to torment yourself by eating steamed kale and raw zucchini noodles if you absolutely despise them.
If you’re trying to incorporate more vegetables and other plant-based foods into your diet, experiment with some gorgeous new recipes. Get yourself a few cookbooks, or scour Pinterest for recipes from around the world.
Additionally, don’t feel that you need to completely deny yourself items that you’d consider “bad” or “cheat” foods. So many of us have developed an unhealthy relationship with food because of societal expectations. Reveling in the glory of a gorgeous chocolate truffle or a small cup of ice cream now and then is just fine.
23. Cultivate your spirituality.
Most people feel a lot more grounded and happier overall if they cultivate some type of spiritual practice. For some, that means learning about and adhering to well-established religious practices. Others might prefer to forge their own spiritual path. They might interweave beliefs and rituals from many different faiths, or even start one of their own!
We are beings of body, mind, and spirit, and it’s important to nurture and support all of these aspects. This doesn’t mean that you have to force yourself into a place of worship once a week if that idea doesn’t appeal to you. In contrast, if you find immense peace and inspiration in a church, synagogue, temple, or mosque, then it’ll likely do you a world of good to make weekly visits part of your regular schedule.
A spiritual practice can include meditating regularly, lighting candles on an altar, creating a special, sacred meal once a week, or praying with beads daily, just to name a few ideas.
You’ll feel more attuned to the great oneness of creation, whether you call it the universe, God, the Tao, or countless other names. That can bring immense comfort in the darkest times, and can lighten your spirits exponentially.
24. Follow your life’s purpose.
You may have already taken this into consideration, but living in harmony with your life purpose is one of the best ways to be happy and fulfilled.
When people live without purpose, they can often feel like they’re dragging their feet through existence. Everything they do feels worthless because it seems as though they’re just wasting time, rather than doing anything meaningful. They may spend several hours a day doing work they don’t care about, only to spend the rest of their time feeling depressed.
That’s no way to live a life.
If you haven’t yet determined what your life purpose may be, please take some time to determine it. You may discover that choices you’ve made over the course of your life so far have all been steps toward a greater purpose. Then it’s just a matter of making a few more changes in order to live in full alignment with what your soul truly wants to be doing.
What do you consider to be a better life? All these tips can be adapted to each individual in order to create the life they’ve always wanted. Just remember that what you may consider to be a “better life” may be excruciating for someone else, and vice versa.
We’re all walking individual paths on life’s great road, and it’s important to live true to ourselves. Others may not understand – they might disagree with our choices, try to change our minds, or influence us in other directions. But hopefully they’re doing so out of sincere care, not because they want to control other people’s destinies.
To thine own self be true, and you’ll undoubtedly find yourself on a path that’s better and more fulfilling to your own sacred needs.
Still not sure how to change your life for the better? Need a helping hand as you do it? Speak to a life coach today who can walk you through the process. Simply fill out this short form to get quotes from several coaches along with details of how they can help.
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