Wednesday, June 6, 2012

3 Simple Ways To Create The Life You Want

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be? Your job? Your finances? Your contribution to the world? Many people dream of something better or something more, but the road from hope to reality can be a bumpy one.  

To create the life you want, you need more than goals and objectives. You need to shake up your normal way of doing things, how you view of yourself and your relationships. Here are 3 simple ways to do that.

1. Do One Thing Differently: Change is often tough because you're used to doing things the way you've always done them. That's called a habit. Thanks to your basal ganglia--the habit-center of your brain--you can drive home from work without even remembering how you got there. Sometimes being on automatic pilot is good, but not when you want to revitalize your life. To do that, you need to use your prefrontal cortex--the thinking-center of your brain.  

To start, you'll need to escape the fog of your routine. Find something in your day you can mix up: eat something new for breakfast, rearrange the furniture in your bedroom, visit a museum on your lunch hour. This engages the decision-making part of your brain that moves you forward.  

ACTION STEP: What one habit in your routine can you change today?

2. Shift Your Identity: How you view yourself is connected to the choices you make. If you think of yourself as unlucky, you probably won't apply for that competitive job. But if you see yourself as a winner, you likely will. That means to change your life, you need to see yourself in a new way.  

First, imagine who you want to be rather than what you want to do. Maybe instead of a couch potato you want to see yourself as fit. Carry that new self-image in your mind, and when the opportunity arises, ask yourself, "What would a fit person do?" If you're about to hop onto the elevator, you might now decide to take the stairs instead. Over time, you begin to rewire your brain with this new identity, and little by little, your life transforms.  

ACTION STEP: Who would you need to be to create the life you want? Start making choices as if you are that person already.

3. Connect with Supportive People: You can create change alone, but having cheerleaders along the way propels you forward faster, further and with less effort. Imagine how much easier it is to eat healthy when you've got a cooking buddy or to start a new business when you have a mentor?  

People with just one person in their corner to support, motivate or inspire them, have lower blood pressure, less anxiety and higher self-esteem. And with each connection--whether it's a listening ear, an approving nod or help loading your trunk--you'll stimulate the release of hormones responsible for calm and relaxation.  

ACTION STEP: When you think about the change you want in your life, who can help you make it happen? Find those people and ask for their support today.