12 Steps to Completely Change Your Life For the Better

by | Nov 3, 2021 | Happiness, Personal Growth, Self Help | 2 comments

“How do I change my life?” The one question I have asked myself a million times over.

I’ve changed everything about my life a million times over. By moving states every year or two, I found a change of scenery. When I sold everything I owned and traveled the world, I experienced a change in culture and lifestyle (talk about a dramatic change).

Despite a change in my physical location, there was still something I wasn’t changing.

I wasn’t changing anything about myself.

Sure, I experienced growth and learned valuable things about myself. But the root of what I wanted to change never really did. I still gave into old behaviors from my eating disorders, became profoundly depressed. and felt hopeless and had no purpose.

We are constantly experiencing changes in our lives.

  • Divorce
  • Moving to a new city
  • Switching jobs
  • Losing jobs
  • Having children

Whether they are good or bad changes, it doesn’t mean what we want to change in our life is happening. Here’s how I changed my life.

How I Changed My Life For the Better

When I was diagnosed with an eating disorder, my therapist suggested I try a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I’d sit down with a pen and paper to try and name the feelings I was having. I’d work through these emotional scenarios to understand the triggers and warning signs to help me avoid them in the future.

After years of filling up one journal and starting the next, I decided I wanted to do something different. Something I hadn’t seen before when it came to the various self-help books I read from therapists or the other fictional accounts on eating disorders.

Three years of therapy and two published books later, I realized something profound:

I had already done the hard work to change my life.

Because the change wasn’t something tangible I could touch, I wasn’t able to see the real work that was happening inside of me.

Whether you want to become your own boss, travel the world, finally write that book, perform at your first open mic, or get out of the relationship that has only been holding you back, you have to first understand that changing your situation is only one part of the bigger equation.

“You have to change something within yourself to find true, long-lasting change.”

If you want to change your life for the better, grab a notebook, and let’s dive into the 12 steps you can start taking right now.

how to change your life

1. Get Quiet and Listen To Yourself

You’re probably like me and have Googled “how to be successful” or “how to stop standing in your way.” Every piece of advice out there says to start a morning routine.

But that’s too easy. How could simply doing the same exact thing every day change anything? Isn’t that my problem to begin with?

That’s when I realized it wasn’t about the routine itself. It was the substance within the routine I needed to align with my goals. My morning routine involves writing, but maybe you want to go for a walk, knit, or watch an episode of New Girl.

This is about what will help you, not anyone else.

Meditation is an incredible tool to do this. It isn’t about eliminating your thoughts. It’s about tapping into the innermost desire that hasn’t had a chance to speak to you with all of the noise and chaos around. 

Getting quiet is where you will find exactly what it is you want to change.

2. Decide What It Is You Want To Change

Now that you have taken time to slow down and listen to yourself, decide what it is you want to change about your life.

By this, I mean, do you want to change your financial situation? Or do you want to change your inability to take action on finally starting that blog you’ve been talking about for years to start growing passive income?

You have to narrow down exactly what it is you want to change. Sit with this for a while, and if you have to go back to your quiet space and ask yourself that question, it will always be there waiting for you.

3. Make The Decision To Change

Before you’re able to change your life, you have to decide within yourself to change. It sounds simple in theory, but in practice, it’s something entirely different.

You can say the words out loud, “I want to change this about my life,” but until you can make it a true belief within yourself, you never actually will take the necessary investment of time, energy, or even money to do it.

This will come with some tough decisions, but we’ll get there together one step at a time.

First, take time to look at yourself in the mirror and say the words out loud to yourself, “I am ready to change.”

4. Ditch the Excuses

You’ll inevitably find reasons why you don’t want to change. Things like:

  • I shouldn’t have to change myself because I’m perfect the way I am.
  • It’s going to take too long and I don’t want to waste my time.
  • I’m afraid I’ll fail.
  • How will I pay the bills?
  • I don’t want to do the hard work.

This isn’t a part of the practice that is meant for you to be mean to yourself. These are the things that have made it difficult for you to change in the past. These are the things that have prevented you from finding momentum and keeping it.

Write them all down so you can find out the true cause of what has stopped you from achieving this (until now).

Excuses = Procrastination = Not Why You’re Here Reading This

5. Know Your Why

You have your goal and have committed yourself to change. But do you know why you want to achieve this goal? Do you know why you want to change this about yourself or your life?

The change is your goal, and the most important thing you can do for yourself in achieving any goal is to understand your why.

For you to successfully follow through and bring yourself to the end zone, you’ll need to start physically writing this down. Don’t just think about them, write them. Make it tangible.

Your “why” is like your mission statement. You’ll refer back to it when you start to feel yourself slacking or stop holding yourself accountable.

6. Make a Plan

No one has ever won a war without having a plan of attack. The same goes for you making the change in your life.

Write down each one of the action steps you are going to take to make this change happen. Don’t be vague, because I know you’ll try to take the easy way out. Isn’t that what you’ve been doing and the reason why you’re reading this right now?

Go little by little. Every small detail. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a break. Your plan isn’t meant to deter you or think, “this is too much work.” It’s to help you get clarity on what your next right step is.

7. Acknowledge the Obstacles

Remember those excuses you were telling yourself as to why you wouldn’t be able to change? Those are your inner obstacles.

When we want to change, there will always be giant roadblocks that stand in our way. These fall into two categories:

  • Outer Personal Obstacles
  • Inner Tangible Obstacles

Our outer tangible obstacles are our circumstances. These could be your physical surroundings, who we hang out with within our social circles, our job, and other various outside sources.

Our inner personal obstacles are all of those excuses we continue to tell ourselves. Thoughts lead to our feelings. Feelings are what determine the actions we take.

Both the inner and outer obstacles can inhibit us, but if we know what they are ahead of time, we can either learn to accept them or we can find ways to change them.

8. Be One Step Ahead and Set up a Prevention Plan

This part is incredibly reflective and ties into two very important parts: Our Action Steps and Our Obstacles.

Figure out which obstacle coincides with which action step.

Say for example you are trying to quit smoking. Your action step is to start exercising more to replace an old habit with a healthy routine.

Your obstacle is you say you are too tired in the morning to get that early jog in. 

What can you knowingly do to prevent the excuse from winning? Is it a change of environment like joining a fitness class? Is it putting your running clothes and shoes right by your bedside so you’ll have no choice but to step on them when you get out of bed?

Maybe it isn’t smoking or exercise. Think about what you can do to prevent your excuses or obstacles from winning. It could be signing up for that online course to help you finish your book when the excuse of, “I don’t know what I’m doing” kicks into high gear.

Figure out what you can knowingly do to prevent the obstacles to start seeing a change in your life.

how to change your life for the better

9. Remove the Toxic Things From Your Life

This part is hard. I won’t sugarcoat it for you.

As I started navigating this new, beautiful, and raw world I was experiencing with all of this change, I uncovered a million obstacles standing in my way. People who didn’t align with my values. Situations I continuously put myself in that only brought negativity into my hemisphere.

I had to trim the hedges. I had to disconnect from people, places, things, and situations for me to reconnect with new people, places, things, and situations that added value to my life.

As a result, this will make it 110% possible for me to achieve my goals and change my life.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What does not serve me or add value to my desire to change?
  • Why doesn’t it serve me or add value to my desire to change?
  • What is stopping me from removing it from my life?
  • If I removed it from my life, what would be the worst case scenario??
  • What is something good that would take its place if it was no longer in your life?

Stop the negative self-talk. Remove the toxic people from your life. Shed your unwanted layers.

“What does not serve you, does not deserve you.”

The domino effect is so real. Your energy is even more real. Weed out the bad. Bring in the good.

Remember, no one else can do it for you. This is part of the hard work. But it’s well worth it in the end.

10. Rewire Your Thoughts

The neural pathways in your brain are what connect your thoughts and core belief system to anything you do. The great news is they can be rewired.

All of the negative thought patterns have stemmed from what you’ve been programmed to believe.

As a result, you haven’t been able to change your life.

  • Because you believe you aren’t capable enough to start your own business, you never will.
  • When you believe you aren’t strong enough to stop drinking, you won’t.
  • If you believe you aren’t smart enough to publish your book, it will live in a Google Doc forever.

You have to start telling yourself you are capable, you are strong, and you are smart for it to start impacting your behaviors, habits, and decision-making skills.

11. Take Action

You’ve done all of the hard work. You’ve listened to your innermost desires, you’ve made a plan, and even created preventative measures to help you get over the hurdle of any obstacle that comes your way.

Now, it’s time to take action. You will never see results if you spend all of your time planning to change. You have to do something to see change.

12. Embrace Failure as a Learning Experience

Through your journey to change your life for the better, you will experience some type of failure.

That’s doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

Let’s flip the script.

One of the biggest reasons we never change is because we tell ourselves, “I’m afraid of failing.”

Failure doesn’t mean you should give up and throw in the towel. The only way you can learn how to change is by understanding what doesn’t work.

You haven’t failed. You’ve learned a valuable lesson you wouldn’t have known otherwise.

how to change your life completely

Summary: Let’s Wrap This Up and Start Changing

Visualizing, writing, and planning are some of the first steps towards achieving true change, but that is just the beginning. There are lessons on accountability, confidence, follow-through, potential, and plenty of other educational tidbits to get you on the right track towards change.

I’m here to help with those too.

Here are 2 ways to hold yourself accountable to change:

  1. Get life-changing insights right to your inbox to receive inspiring and educational tidbits to keep you on the right track towards success.
  1. Get your copy of Your Wild Journal: 30 Days of Journal Prompts to Change Your Perspective to guide you through the process of changing your thought patterns and discovering the power that already lives inside of you.


  1. Jason

    Yes please. So good. Thank you!

    • Lauren Dow

      Thanks Jason! Grateful you found something helpful from this!


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Meet the Author

Hey, I’m Lauren Dow. Author, podcast host, advocate, and feeler of the big feels. I’m here to provide a safe space to normalize the conversation about mental health and share about my journey of healing. Thanks for joining me on this wild ride.


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