I had a 0.00 GPA the first semester of my senior year in college. You read that right, I got F’s in every single one of my classes. I didn’t bother going to class at all.
I drank 7 nights a week. During the days I would smoke weed and cigarettes in rotation until it was time to head out to the bar that night. I was lost, depressed, feeling worthless, and headed nowhere fast.
I ended up spending the summer living in a dorm room on campus because I couldn’t afford anything else (I was 24, mind you.) I worked in an electronics factory 12 hours a day until I couldn’t take it anymore.
I quit my job. I decided it was time for me to make a change. I started searching for ways to become better and grow. I’ve learned a lot a long the way. I know what it feels like to hit bottom. I also know what it feels like to dig my way out.
In the span of the year I discovered my love for writing. I ended up writing and publishing a book. My life is headed in the right direction. I’m happy, motivated, and productive.
Maybe you’re at a point where you feel lost and you don’t know what to do or where to start. It can and will get better if you make some changes.
Today I’m going to share the strategies I used to create a lasting change in my life in the hopes that you can use them to do the same.
Be honest with yourself
You’ll never be able to fix your life until you admit it’s broken. Don’t pretend everything is okay when it’s not. You need to take full responsibility for your life up to this point. Admit that you’ve made poor decisions. Admit that you haven’t been working as hard as you should be. You can’t start over until you’re honest with yourself about where you’re at right now.
Get fed up
Sometimes the best way to point your life in a new direction is to become completely disgusted with your current one. After so many hung-over hopeless mornings I finally said “enough is enough.” Strong negative emotions can be just as powerful as positive ones. When will “enough be enough,” for you? When will you decide you can’t live this way for even one more day? Once you make that decision, everything changes.
Ask smart questions
Great questions lead to great answers. Ask questions about the way your life is now and what needs to be done to make it better. The answers you come up with will guide you to a better future. Ask other people about what they think you’re good at. Ask people who are living the type of life you want to live how they got where they are. A great life isn’t just going to fall into your lap. You need to seek it out. Ask and you shall receive.
One great book can change your entire life. Books can inspire you, expand your mind, and open your eyes to what’s possible. Great books often contain years or decades of knowledge from the author. If there’s a certain path you’re seeking, there’s a book by someone who’s done it already. Read their story, learn from their mistakes, and steal their knowledge.
If you’re looking for guidance I suggest these three to start — The One Thing By Gary Keller, The Magic Of Thinking Big By David Schwartz, and Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
Find something you’re good at (and become great at it)
A friend of mine suggested I started writing articles for his website, so I did. I fell in love with it. I’d always wanted to write, but I didn’t listen to my inner voice and kept putting it off. Now I write consistently and my goal each day is to become a better writer. When you find something you’re good at and you work to become great at it, you’ll feel passionate about it. Human beings are wired for growth and accomplishment. Find something you think you’d be good at it and work on it.
Replace your vices with positive habits.
I smoked a lot of weed — like a lot a lot. I also smoked tobacco and drank quite a bit. All of those were unhealthy for me. My life changed when I found something positive to replace those vices with. Exercise and learning became my new addictions. Your vices might be there to fill a hole in your life. Find something positive to fill it with.
Positive role models can have a major impact on your life. Find somebody you want to be like and learn everything about them — their story, what they did to become successful, their high and low points. Having someone to look up to keeps you inspired. Their stories will empower you because they’re normal people just like you. Seeing where someone started and what they did to accomplish great things will motivate you to do the same.
Self-awareness is crucial to living a good life. Think about what you want to do with your life — not what your parents, friends, or society wants you to do. Study yourself. Find out what you’re good at and continue to develop your strengths. When life isn’t going your way, you’re the problem. You’re also the solution. When you know who you are, want you want, and where your going, nobody can stop you.
You become what you think about most. Never say “I can’t.” Saying I can’t takes the responsibility away from you. Instead of saying I can’t, take some time to think about potential solutions to your problems. Don’t say “I’m broke and I can’t find a better job.” Think about ways to find a better job. Can you take an online course and learn a new skill? Can you reach out to people with the type of job you want and ask them how they got it? You can think your way out of almost any problem if you take the time to do it.
Take some form of action
People will complain about their lives yet do nothing about it. It’s easy to blame your circumstances. It’s easy to to blame other people. It’s harder to actually do something about it. If you’re looking to make a change in your life, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’ll give you an action you can take today. Being successful is not a mystery. We all know what to do, but most of us don’t do it. If you want to be a writer, write something and post it. If you want to get in shape –do ten push ups right now. Do something. Anything is better than nothing.
Find some form of spirituality
It doesn’t have to be God. But try to find some form of higher meaning. Maybe it’s a deep sense of gratitude. Maybe it’s the mysterious power of nature and the universe. It helps to be able to find meaning somewhere outside of yourself. I use meditation to become more connected spiritually. Find a way to create a sense of belonging to something bigger.
Realize the universe doesn’t care about you
You live on a planet that’s a speck of dust compared to the entire universe. What you do while you’re here doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Realizing this can free you from the pressure life puts on you. Compared to the size of the universe –how big are your problems? Your life is a blip on the radar of time, why not spend it living out your dream? Why spend it worrying, when it really doesn’t matter anyway?
Complaining drains your energy and leaves you feeling negative. Even complaining about small things like the weather has a subtle influence on your behavior. It’s hard to stop complaining completely, but the next time you find yourself complaining out loud or to yourself, stop and realize what you’re doing. Simply being mindful of it goes a long way.
Your past doesn’t have to dictate your future. You can reinvent yourself whenever you choose to. You reinvent yourself by learning new skills, changing your mindset, and creating new goals and themes for your life. I wrote a free e-book with 100 tips for reinventing yourself. You can download it here. One of Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power is to constantly reinvent yourself. It’s hard to change, but it’s possible to continue to become a stronger version of yourself over and over again.
Take control of your life
You have control over the decisions you make. You have control of your guiding philosophy going forward. You have control over your reactions to the things people say about you and to the obstacles you encounter. You have the power to design your life. You have the power to move in the right direction. You’re going to have setbacks and things aren’t going to go your way. But if you take control of the type of person you want to be it won’t matter. You’ll never control your circumstances, but if you’re patient, persistent, and live long enough, you can take control of your destiny.