What happens when you know changes need to be made in your life, but you don’t know where to start?
I was wondering about this very same thing today.
Sometimes we feel a general discomfort in our lives but we can’t quite put our finger on what the issue is.
I did a bunch of research and here is what I found.
The easiest way to diagnose what changes needed to be made in your life, is to use The Wheel of Life. Look at the different areas of your life like business, friends, money, accomplishments, family, community and gauge your happiness level with each. The ones that get a low score are where your dissatisfaction lies AKA where changes need to be made!
Here’s a bit more elaboration on my findings when it comes to answering the question “What changes should I actually make in my life when I don’t know where the problem areas are?”
Why do we need to make life changes
Vishen Lakhiani has something he calls our “rate of transformation” which is essentially how fast can you match your internal growth with your external growth.
As we mature and live our lives, we naturally grow out of certain things and into others. It’s almost as if life is designed to give us precisely what we require in order to grow into better human beings.
Our spirit, or internal landscape grows, but our external reality doesn’t always match that growth.
The external reality requires effort in order to change – our internal space simply changes naturally without our effort.
Not only this, but our external reality (over time) becomes comfortable, certain, habitual, and repetitive.
We know it, so we were comfortable with it. We can fall into the trap of keeping things the same when we know changes need to be made.
If we do not make life changes our lives will become stagnant. When our life becomes stagnant no more growth can be made.
- We stop progressing
- We stop enjoying our live
- Our adventures and new experiences stop
Imagine what happens when you stop water from moving – eventually that stagnant pool becomes disgusting and murky.
This is what happens to live when the growth stops, and growth stops when we’re ready for change but neglect to make those changes.
In other words, changes equal progress. No changes means we stay the same, and as dynamic creatures, staying the same basically means death.
Staying put when it’s time to go causes so many different problems, including the general discomfort and anxiety that you might be experiencing now AKA feeling like something needs to happen but not knowing what.
How do we know what changes need to be made?
From what I found, there are three main ways to detect changes that need to be made in your life.
- You can use the wheel of life exercise
- Think about the conflict you’ve been experiencing lately
- Focus on your goals and dreams
Wheel of Life
The Wheel of Life is an exercise that shows you the problem areas in your life and alerts you to where changes should be made.
It looks like this.
The Life areas you will score/rate are
- Fun and recreation
- Physical environment
- Business and Career
- Personal growth
- Family + Friends
In order to use the Wheel of life, you rate each of these areas – the lower scores (anything below 7 really) are areas where your life could use some improvement.
If you score below 5 in an area, you now know where you have a serious level of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
Once you’ve finished rating your life, look at the areas that have high scores and try to find out why those parts of your life are so good.
Order the areas from lowest to highest score, and focus on the lower scores.
- Determine the source of your dissatisfaction in any particular area
- Decide what you would prefer your life to be like instead
- Move toward that goal however it makes sense to do so
Focusing on Conflict
Sometimes we just grow out of things.
Sometimes we just grow apart from people.
When it comes to all the nouns (people, places, things and ideas) before long, you’ll start to notice that you’re just not vibin’ with things the way you used to.
You might not feel the same satisfaction going out on the weekends, or associating with certain people, engaging in this activity, or eating that particular kind of food.
When something feels out of whack, that’s a spot in your life ripe for disruption. It’s time for you to make a change.
Goals and Dreams Approach
I remember when I started this blog, there was so much I had to give up in order for it to work.
Almost as if certain ways of doing and being were holding me back, I knew there were aspects of my life that just aren’t supportive of the new life I was trying to live.
There are two sanskrit words: anukul and pratikul.
They mean that you embrace everything favorable for your dreams and goals, and reject everything that is not favorable.
So when you have huge dreams and goals you’re pursuing, that’s an identity that you didn’t have before, and you’ll need to merge into that identity for things to work out.
This means you’ll end up leaving your old identity behind, and the behaviors and habits that match your old self as well.
Does that make sense?
An olympic swimmer won’t do well smoking cigarettes, and a fitness buff won’t do well to eat a diet of mostly processed junk food. Things need to match up.
Imagine what it’s like to think, feel and act like “the new you” (the version of you that has accomplished your goals and dreams) and imagine what they DON’T do.
Then, don’t do those things.
Why is it so difficult to make life changes sometimes?
Turns out – there are a number of reasons why making life changes are so difficult, but the biggest one is probably identity.
If your trying to make huge changes in your life but you fail to transform your identity, you’ll always fall back into old patterns of behavior because that’s who you think you are.
In order to make life changes permanent, the change in your identity and how you see yourself must be permanent as well.
In other words, losing weight will be extremely difficult if you see yourself as a fat person. It would be better for you to instead, see yourself as a person who works out every day and eats healthy food instead.
See how I did that? Your identity is no longer about weight, its about the habits that allow you to keep the weight off.
Instead of forcing an affirmation down your throat like “I am rich, I am rich” start to see yourself as a person who works to create a profitable online business every day, and in their spare time…
Couple that with action and you’ll reinforce this identity, and be much more likely to reach your goal and make the changes you desire.
What happens if we don’t make changes
What happens when you shake the bottle of soda – eventually the pressure will build and the bottle will explode.
This is actually from my own experience.
It’s almost as if the internal growth we experience is more of who we truly are, and if our external reality fails to match that internal growth for long enough, your life will explode.
What I mean is that you will become so out of sync with your “old” life that you will literally see life force you out of your old situation in a pretty mystikal way.
Mystikal doesn’t mean wonderful though, because when life forces you out of an outdated situation or way of being, it’s normally pretty explosive and quite painful.
This could be an explosive falling out with a family member (happened to me), a near death experience, being taken advantage of, or anything other efficient way of getting your attention and alerting you to the fact that a change needs to be made.
In other words, life (somehow) will put you in a spot where you scream out “AHH I DON’T LIKE THIS AT ALL” and then you’ll finally make the change.
This is why your rate of transformation is so important. It’s better to recognize that changes need to be made, and make them, because the discomfort of switching your lifestyle up is far less than the danger that comes from waiting too long and waiting for the pressure to explode!
So what’s the verdict?
We can all agree that human life is about growth.
We do not sit still.
We’re dynamic explorers who move throughout different phases of life, where we’re slightly different people and desire different things.
Everything in our lives serves a purpose on some level, but, as we grow certain things fail to serve the same purpose because we grow and no longer need them
Imagine needing alcohol or drugs to feel confident in social situations, but over the years you grow into a more confident self – the alcohol and drugs are no longer needed, so based on your internal growth, you must give them up to move on with your life into something better.
Life changes are a good thing, it means you’re not sitting still and dying. They mean you’re ready for a new phase that’s full of new experiences and a fresher, more experienced you.
They’re uncomfortable in the beginning, but to be honest, making life changes is something we’ve all done a million times, and this time will be no different.
You’ll make them now because you deserve to get on with your life, you deserve the “new” that’s ready to enter.
And when that gets old, you’ll have more life changes to make as you grow into a more experienced and richer you.
It’s a good thing!