How To Change Your Life - 10 Things You Can Do - SACAP
Applied Psychology

How to Change Your Life – 10 Things You Can Do

Apr 15, 2024
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How to change your life for the better is a great reflective question. It’s even better if you can figure out what to do and how to implement it. Then actually follow through with those things. However, we all know that change is difficult. Which is why it helps to have some guidance to start with. Here are ten things you can do to change your life for the better….

Awaken Your Potential

The world around us is changing constantly. It’s inevitable, and therefore we need to learn how to be adaptive so that we don’t get overwhelmed when things change. The best way to be prepared for and to deal with change is to be more secure in who you are. Sometimes this requires profound change, such as self-development, which takes a while to master. Other times we can implement lifestyle changes and see an almost immediate difference.

1. Self-Acceptance

Joanne Jowell, the author of The Crazy Life of Larry Joe, says: “Change is not about burying your past identity but rather about learning to reconcile who you once were with who you are today.” In her book, she follows Larry Joe’s journey from Douglas, a poor township in the Northern Cape through the merciless South African penal system. And then onto stardom on stages as illustrious as that of Amsterdam’s famous Carré Theatre. The story of transformation emphasises the need to resist the pull of the past. The value of committing to the present and learning how to reconcile the two. Thereby showing how self-acceptance can lead to accomplishing things you dream about.

2. Admit Uncertainty

Having long-term goals is all well and good, but striving to achieve them sometimes needs real-world contextualisation. Most people have an idea of where they would like to be. However, realistically, everyday life moves at a fast pace that’s often unpredictable. This means we can’t always be certain of how we are going to get there and sometimes even where exactly we heading. Uncertainty is something we need to be aware of and learn to adapt around. What is comforting is that there are many people around you who also don’t have a clear idea of exactly what their future holds. As a result, many don’t set long-term goals. And that’s ok – because it’s sometimes the reality of life!


3. Accept Failure

Fear of failure prevents many from achieving success. Learn to see failure as a learning process, rather than a cause for shame or despair. Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that they didn’t achieve anything without first learning to fail time and time again. Accept that you’re allowed to make mistakes. Where need be, reflect on what lessons you can learn. Then move forward without carrying the baggage of your failure.

4. Dispel the Negative Voices in Your Head

Many people suffer from low self-esteem. This is a result of negative voices in their head that they are unable to recognise for what they are. They are in essence an illusion.

Counsellor Melody Hendriks says: “The judgmental and negative voices in our head – often stemming from parents or previous relationships – play an important part in creating low self-esteem.” For those looking to banish these voices, Hendricks advises: “Once we can identify the voices, we can put them into perspective and learn to quiet them.” One of the aims of counselling is to help the client understand why the voices are there. Thereafter, to put them in boxes allowing positive voices to become more prominent. And by doing this strengthen self-esteem.

5. Consider Counselling

Counselling or therapy is not only for those who have mental health problems. It can be of benefit to anyone looking to gain greater insight into themselves. And thereby improve their sense of emotional wellbeing. Many are afraid to seek therapy because they imagine it to be some kind of Freudian psychoanalysis exercise. During which a psychologist analyses their words and dreams to come to conclusions about their lives.

But therapy is much broader than that, and there are many different approaches. For example, humanistic therapy treats the client as the authority on their self. Thus, already in possession of the resources they need to solve their problems. Here the role of the therapist is simply to provide a non-directive, authentic and affirming environment. This allows clients to openly explore their experiences without judgement. In most forms of counselling, the therapist acts as a guide, rather than a provider of definitive answers. Finding the right form of therapy to suit you can be life-changing. And at the very least provides an opportunity to speak to someone who will truly listen and with the assurance of confidentiality.

6. Set Short-Term Goals

If you have a clear long-term vision for your life, that’s great. But as mentioned above, not having long-term goals is okay too. Setting and accomplishing short-term goals, on the other hand, is a great thing to do. It allows you to gradually build up a sense of achievement, boosting confidence and sense of wellbeing in the process.

Short-term goals could include things like starting to exercise and then building it up to more than once a week. It could be reading 20 pages of a book each day. Or perhaps even writing a certain number of pages in your planned novel. Alternatively, you could take up a new hobby, do a short course, learn a language or save to travel somewhere.

Whatever you decide, the point is to build up momentum. Thereby providing your brain with consistent shots of dopamine, coming from your sense of achievement.

7. Practice being Present

Recent scientific research into ancient meditation techniques has demonstrated the numerous benefits of mindfulness for body and mind. In particular, mindfulness decreases stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, emotional reactivity and fatigue. It also reduces what psychologists call “rumination” – that is, compulsive thinking with negative effects. It regulates emotions and improves concentration, working memory and cognitive flexibility.

Therefore, it’s no wonder that the pursuit of mindfulness is increasingly popular throughout the world. Accordingly, as its benefits have been better understood, many psychologists are incorporating it into their practice.

But what exactly is mindfulness? In summation, mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment, without judgment. In other words, allowing the present moment to be without resisting it. Of course, no one becomes mindful overnight. It takes practice, and the effects are gradually felt over time. Meditation is key to the practice of mindfulness. And despite the new-age preconceptions that exist around that word; its benefits are corroborated by scientific studies. Yoga also provides a useful introduction to mindfulness, and there are many meditation and mindful apps designed to help beginners learn the basics.

8. Stay Healthy

Exercise and diet are key to mental as well as physical health. Exercise helps clear the mind, and floods the body with endorphins. This is the hormone that brings about feelings of euphoria and general wellbeing. It’s also good for self-esteem, reducing the risk of obesity and providing a sense of accomplishment. If there’s one decision you can easily make that will improve your life in leaps and bounds, it’s to adopt a regular exercise schedule.

9. Keep Learning

Reading and expanding your mind will make you an improved thinker, a better conversationalist, and a better all-around person. Audiobooks are rising in popularity, and provide many of the same benefits of reading. Additionally, audiobooks have the advantage of enabling you to learn while in the car or going for a walk.

10. Hire a Life Coach

Just because your life isn’t falling apart at the seams doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from having a life coach. In fact, the services of a life coach are especially beneficial to those in a good place. This is because being in a good place makes you more open to growth and positive changes. And a life coach can help you step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.

Alternatively, you could be struggling to progress in an area of your life. It could be personal or professional. Or you could be just feeling like something’s missing. Then a life coach is often just what’s needed to help you. This is because they can act as a guide, help you set and accomplish goals. And hold you accountable while you doing so. Thereby helping to improve your ability to solve problems and overcome obstacles.

Improving Lives for the Better

Educating yourself is one of the best ways to improve yourself. If you want to learn how to improve the lives of others, as well as your own, consider studying a psychology course at SACAP. Doing so can pave the way for a career in psychology while developing invaluable life skills. For more information contact an admissions officer or apply online.

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