How To (Actually) Change Your Life This Year

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People want to change their lives. They want to change their relationships, their bodies, their income, their brokerage accounts, their statuses, their homes. It’s so easy to identify what’s wrong on the outside and blame it for the feelings on the inside. Never is this so painfully clear as when the calendars reset and we think we’re offered a fresh slate and blank page. It’s easy to think a different year is a different life away.

But we carry ourselves – and our baggage, and our energies, and our hangups and insecurities and hopes and mindsets – into that glimmering hopeful fresh start blank page new life. Our ‘resolutions’ don’t stick because you can’t change the outside and expect a different inside.

People want to change their lives. They want to change other people’s lives too. They want to change the injustices they see. They want to change the whole damn world.

But they do not want to change themselves. (Not their image. Not their appearance. Not their worldly success. Themselves.)

Which is, as it turns out, the one thing they can change. The one thing that must change first.

We walk around with the cripplingly false idea that we must adjust how things are, as opposed to adjusting how we are, and how we see them. This world might as well be a damn hall of mirrors. Rather than trying to break them all to distort and rearrange how you see the image, you have to let go of the idea that your image is all that exists.

The things that torture us and the negative patterns that follow us and the reason we have to keep making the same resolutions year after year is that we are not making the shift, we are trying to shift other things.

And the most hilariously, wonderfully, sadly unknown part of this is that when you do so, you end up with what you set out to achieve in the first place. The love and contentment and ‘success.’ Only this time, your worth doesn’t depend on it. You aren’t a failure if you lose it one day. This all stems from self. (‘Tis not the mountain man conquers, but himself.)

So here is what you need to know.

Whenever there is a problem in your life, there is a problem with you. Whatever you feel you are not receiving is a direct reflection of what you are not giving. Whatever you are angered by is what you aren’t willing to see in yourself.

So where you feel you are lacking, you must give. Where there is tension, you must unpack. If you want more recognition, recognize others. If you want love, be more loving. Give exactly what you want to get.

If you want to let go of something, build something new. If you don’t understand, ask. If you don’t like something, say so. If you want to change, start small. If you want something, ask for it. If you love someone, tell them. If you want to attract something, become it. If you enjoy something, let yourself feel it.

If you do anything compulsively, ask yourself why. Stop trying to curb your spending or change your diet or avoid that one person or lash out at innocent people you love. Look for the cause of the feeling (not just the feeling itself) and you’ll fix the problem for good.

If you miss somebody, call them. It is silly to suffer in silence. It is noble and humbling to tell someone that they matter to you, regardless of whether or not you matter to them.

If your life is missing something you cannot place back into it, restructure. You will get nowhere dismantling the pieces with nothing to take their place. You’ll end up reassembling the parts of the old life you are trying to do away with. Step away and build anew. Anything new. You cannot expect to carry on with the same life you had without someone and not have that gaping hole torture you. Give yourself permission to build something beautiful. Something true.

If you want to be understood, explain. There is nothing we need more than people who are willing to kindly, gently, wholly, patiently explain to others.

If you want to be happy, choose it. Choose to be consciously, consistently grateful for something. Choose to immerse yourself in something beautiful and peaceful and joyous. If you can’t choose this, choose to start working on figuring out what blocks you – be it health or circumstance or mindset. Get help. Ask for it. Saying you can’t choose is giving up for good. (Don’t do that.)

Choose change. Your routine, your job, your city, your habits, your mindset. Never sit and fester in frustration. It does not matter whether or not you’re in the absolute worst case scenario, complaining, worrying or being negative will never help. Anything. At all. Ever.

Everything you do, see and feel is a reflection of not who you are, but how you are.

You create what you believe.

You see what you want.

You’ll have what you give. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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