Do you find yourself wondering whether it’s possible to create the changes you want in your life? Whether that’s in your personal life and not wanting to feel stressed and anxious all of the time, or it’s in your professional life and in reaching your bigger goals. You’ve tried over and over again to feel better, or to do better, but you’re still far from where we want to be.
If this sounds familiar, know that you’re not alone. I was stuck in that place for a long time myself, and I hear this concern with my clients all the time. They often question whether something is inherently wrong with them that prevents them from making the positive changes they want. Life can stir us to think this way, right? Our failed attempts make us feel that maybe we’re not meant to have that thing that we so desperately want.
But here’s the truth. You can absolutely create and have the things that you deeply desire. How can I be so sure? Because I’ve felt the same too and learned to transform my life. I have also helped others do the same for over a decade – people from all kinds of backgrounds, challenges, personalities, and histories, succeed in the areas that they previously struggled in.
What I’ve learned is that if you, deep in your heart, want something, it’s already meant for you. So the question isn’t whether you can have what you want, the real question is HOW can you get there? How can you create that change?
This blog will go deeper into your innate human ability to create change to help you regain your hope that change is possible for you. We’ll then cover the essential conditions required for you to make change possible. This way, you can use this blog as a checklist of what you’re doing well, and what you may be missing in making the changes you want to make happen.
Is Change Possible for Me?
Let me start by telling you a secret. We all doubt our ability to change and grow at difficult points in our lives. It’s not uncommon to question whether you’re deeply flawed, or defected, and whether something is innately wrong with you that keeps you from feeling good or making progress in an area of your life.
This is often because we look around and think that things are easy for everyone else. But it’s simply not true. We don’t have a realistic view of what’s going on in other people’s lives. Plus we’re constantly faced with new challenges in life that we’re not always equipped to deal with right away. This is especially true when it comes to our mental and emotional well-being. I don’t know about you, but I certainly didn’t learn how my mind and emotions worked at school or at home (before university where I took Psychology). For the vast majority of us, we had to figure these things out on our own. And this can lead to a lot of frustrating and defeating trial and errors.
But the good news is that even if you haven’t found your formula to change yet, the human brain is incredibly capable when you give it what it needs. Your brain has the ability to learn, adapt and grow in phenomenal ways. This is true at any stage of your life, and for any area of your life.
Here are some amazing facts about your brain that might change your perspective on your ability to create the positive change you want to see:
Your brain’s capacity to learn: Your brain consists of roughly 86 billion neurons and these neurons form connections to others, rounding up to a total of 100 trillion. Research suggests that your brain’s storage capacity is virtually unlimited. This means you have the potential to learn new information and ways of functioning.
Your brain is adaptable: One of the most fascinating aspects of your brain is its ability to reorganize and form new neural connections. This is known as neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity allows your brain to adapt to new experiences, learn from them, and reshape its structure (literally! We can objectively measure it in brain scans). This means that even in adulthood, your brain can create new pathways and change its wiring based on learning and environmental influences. In other words, you have the ability to break old patterns and develop new ones.
You can change your brain and body’s structure and chemistry: Studies have shown that practices like regular meditation, mindfulness, and exercise can induce positive changes in your brain and body. These practices can lead to increased gray matter in regions associated with self-awareness, compassion, and emotional regulation. These practices can also release feel good hormones and neurotransmitters, creating changes in your body’s chemistry. Meditation also enhances connectivity between different brain regions, contributing to improved cognitive abilities and emotional well-being. These are just some of the many things you can do to change the structure and chemistry of your brain.
Recovering from Trauma: The brain can demonstrate remarkable resilience in overcoming traumatic experiences. Through therapeutic interventions and support, you can start to rewire your brain to process and release trauma in healthier ways and learn to create your desired outcomes.
These are just a few facts about your brain that show your ability to adapt, learn, and grow in any area that you desire. I can personally attest to all of these facts in my own life. I was born in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war and experienced trauma early in life. I didn’t have a stable home life and spent most of my time with extended family. At the age of 9, my family and I left everything behind and came to Canada, leaving everyone I grew up with behind. I failed nearly every grade in school and developed a drinking problem in my early teens. I felt angry and triggered nearly all of the time. These are just some of the adversities I faced. However, overtime I learned to transform every area of my life that wasn’t working. I now have a career that I love, great relationships, and overall feel happy and fulfilled. The same is possible for you.
I can tell you that no matter what you’ve been through or going through you can create the changes you want to see. I’ve done it in my own life and helped others to do the same for over a decade. So again, the question isn’t so much whether change is possible for you, but more so HOW to create the changes you want to see.
6 Essential Requirements for Creating Positive and Lasting Change in Your Life
There are a few essential components to making positive change possible in your life. Without this, positive change is more difficult and less likely to happen. However, when you do adopt these components into your journey, they can help you break free of repeating the cycle of fruitless attempts.
Below are a few necessary components of change to get unstuck and make progress in how you feel and in improving any area of your life:
Clearly identify and define what it is that you want to achieve. When it comes to making any change, clarity is your best friend! Clearly and concretely write down what you want to have. This is much like creating your target. Without it, you lack the necessary direction to succeed. When you’re clear on what you want and what it looks like, it enables you to take control of what you want to change, and have something tangible to work towards. It will also make it much easier to devise an action plan that will get you there.
Find your motivation. We all have the motivation to change, even though sometimes we may not always be aware of it. When you’re not aware of what’s really driving your emotions and behaviour, you can’t use it to your advantage. As you are reading this blog right now, I know that you have the necessary motivation to make the changes that you want. You have already taken a step by seeking knowledge. Now, finding your motivation to stick things through during the hard times is key. You can do this by getting really clear regarding your “why”.
You can start to tap into this by asking yourself what the likely impact in your life would be if you continued in the same way. What would you lose? After you’ve answered that question, ask yourself what the impact would be in your life if you made the change. What would you gain? How would your life be different? What would you have, and how would you feel?
Allowing yourself to confront both the negative and positive impact of what you want will help you have the necessary fuel to stay committed through the rough times.
Commitment to change. You cannot make change without making a firm and solid decision to change. Now I don’t mean the one-foot-in and one-foot-out kind of decision. I mean a real solid decision of no turning back. I remember when I used to have anger management problems and made the decision not to be that person anymore. After a regretful decision, I deliberately told myself “I don’t want to be like this anymore”. Here we are over 10 years later and I’m not the same person. I didn’t know how, but I knew it wasn’t an option for me anymore. Have you made a solid decision towards the change you want to have, or are you still one-foot-in and one-foot-out?
Take full responsibility for the change you want to see. The only way to give yourself the best shot at succeeding is to be the active agent of change in your own life. You are the common denominator in everything you do. You are present in every event, every meeting, every situation in your life. This means you are the most powerful and influential person in your life. Blaming others and situations only puts the focus and power outside of yourself. Think about how hard it is to change yourself, let alone others. No change can happen in this state. By taking responsibility over your own life, you take back your power from other people and situations that you can’t control. Focus on doing what you can and let go of the rest. Know that you will be much better off putting your focus and energy on the things you can control and in actively and deliberately taking steps towards what you want.
Be your own biggest cheerleader. If you take nothing else from this blog, take this! If you’re not on your own side, you stand very little chance of successfully getting what you want. This is especially true if you want to feel good in your life. This is the biggest problem I see in my clients, and the biggest problem I personally had in feeling better and doing better in my life. I was constantly self-critical, beating myself up for mistakes, and shortcomings. It made the process of change nearly unbearable. Once you learn to be on your own side, to stop criticizing and being so hard on yourself, it’s amazing how fast you make progress towards any goal that you set. You will be amazed how much better you feel and how much smoother your life becomes.
If you have a hard time with this at first, surround yourself with people that support and believe in you. This is a skill, and it will take dedication and time to master. However, the improvements you’ll see in your life will make it well worth it!
Create an action plan! Do you have a clear and solid plan for creating the change you want? This is where you write down your goal in a concrete way and devise a plan on how you’ll get you there. This is true whether you have a goal to improve your mental well-being and just want to feel better in your day, or it’s a career goal and wanting better finances or work conditions. A good plan always follows the SMART system, meaning it’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound.
Now that you’re more familiar with the essential requirements you need to create positive change in your life, I invite you to identify what you’re currently doing well and what may be missing. In other words, give yourself credit for the requirements you have in place, and identify the criteria(s) that you haven’t met yet. Choose one missing criteria to work on in the next 21 days.
If you find yourself questioning if change is possible for you, or whether something is inherently wrong with you that makes change difficult, you’re not alone. In this blog we went deeper into your innate human ability to create change and learned some fascinating facts about your brain. We then covered 6 essential requirements that need to be in place to make change possible. You have an amazing potential to feel better and do better in any area of your life that’s important to you. Having the essential components for change in place will help you get there.