By Bryan Golden
It’s never too late to change direction. Regardless of past mistakes, you can decide today to take a different path. Here are some suggestions to help you.
The first step is to understand why you are where you are and what went wrong. You can’t turn your life around until you take responsibility for your actions. If you blame other people or circumstances, you inhibit your ability to make changes.
Next, identify exactly what actions you took, or decisions you made, that led to your current situation. It may not be obvious at first, but there is always a cause and effect. It may be hard to face what you have done, but it’s essential before you can turn things around.
What challenges do you have to overcome in order to turn things around? Some examples are education, time, money, bad habits, relationships, and attitude. Having this understanding allows you to begin to develop an action plan.
Identify negative self-talk. What you say to yourself programs your mind for either success or failure. In order to turn your life around, you have to believe you can and tell yourself you can. Many people have become so used to negative self-talk that they accept it as normal. Telling yourself that you can’t do something prevents you from accomplishing it.
Identify automatic negative behavior patterns. For example, do you avoid making major decisions? Do you make impulsive decisions? Are you prone to doing things you know are wrong? These behaviors must be corrected.
Look for sabotaging behavior patterns. Are you doing anything that either sabotages your success or attracts failure? Some examples might be the type of people you associate with, abrasive personality traits, spending money beyond your means, repelling people who can help you, alienating those who are a good influence, or engaging in needlessly risky behavior that has no benefit.
Find and use a proven plan. Whatever mistakes you have made, you are not the first. There are many others before you who have traveled the same path. There are also numerous examples of how these people managed to turn their lives around. Look for these success stories and study the approach they used. There’s no need for you to reinvent the wheel. It’s a lot more efficient to utilize the same plan that has been proven to work for others than to figure everything out on your own.
Reevaluate your needs and expectations. You change over time. You change as a result of your experiences. You don’t want to make decisions based on outdated needs and expectations. Your goals have to fit you where you are today. Fulfilling a goal that is externally imposed, rather than emanating from your own desires, rarely leads to satisfaction, if it is attained at all.
Part of this process involves distinguishing needs from wants. People get into trouble, especially financially, when they don’t accurately separate the two. Anything you can get along without is a want. Be honest in this assessment. Don’t use what others have acquired as a gauge; you are not in a competition.
Copy successful people who are where you want to be. Whatever your goals may be, there are others who have already attained them. How did they do it? What approach did they take? You will avoid a lot of mistakes by emulating their successful behavior. Learning from their mistakes is much more efficient than learning from your own.
These steps will help you turn your life around. While you can’t undo or change the past, you can take steps to get onto as positive a path as possible. You are never too old, and it’s never too late to start turning your life around.