There will come a moment in your life where you will want to change your beliefs, job, body, mind or even your entire existence.
Perhaps something bad has happened to you, such as you lost your job, had a break up, lost a loved one. This could lead you to reassess how you’re living your life and whether it makes you happy.
On the contrary, you might have made a mistake – we all slip up after all – and now you want to make a change to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
After a life event or awakening you have to decide what to do next and it’s important to take the lessons you’ve learnt from this experience to inform that decision.
In light of black out tuesday yesterday and the discussions around black lives matter this week, as a white woman, I know I have more work to do. I need to be more vocal about my anti-racist views, and I know I’m not alone in wanting to educate myself further and share my existing knowledge on anti-racism.
In order to be the person we want to become, often we have to change our life and our mindset.
It’s one thing to learn, it’s another thing to remember it the next day and use it take action.
Changing your life starts with you. It should always be your decision to change your life, rather than at the request of someone else – unless you’re a murderer, then we will request you change your life.
You could want to change your finances, job, fitness, relationships, beliefs or even simply how you live your day to day life. Whatever it is, you can use the practical steps below to figure out how to move forward and make change.
Side note, I’m sharing ways that you can change your life by yourself, but I would also advise seeking the help of a relevant professional such as a therapist, PT, financial advisor etc. As you are not alone in the endeavour to change your life, we have systems that are built on helping each other.
It is about closing the gap between where and who you are now to who and where you want to be in life.
Wanting to be better is absolutely fine, but you have to accept who you are now in this moment in order to move forward and make a change.
Education / Research
Research how people have managed to achieve what you want to achieve in life. Talk to your friends and family and ask them for their advice on the area that you’re struggling with.
For instance if you enjoy reading (as I do) and share book recommendations, how many of those books are written by BAME authors? Or have BAME protagonists?
Do your research and find more books that will improve your knowledge and understanding of race, then share them with others too. If you need a place to start, I would recommend choosing a book from Beth Sandland’s ‘Anti-Racist reading list for all ages’ here.
Equally, I am writing a young adult fantasy novel. I am a female author with a female protagonist and I was advised to read other novels in this genre by women. Sabba Tahir is a standout example within this genre, but I also read series by Lauren Sabastian, Rebecca Ross, Tasha Suri, Bahni Turpin and S.A. Chakraborty.
We have a duty to share knowledge and educate each other and thankfully a considerable amount of this knowledge is accessible online for free. You can watch videos, listen to podcasts, or read articles or books (some of which will be free) on the topics you’re interested in learning more about.
Some courses and resources have fees, so I’d recommend looking around for free alternatives or scholarships or funding opportunities available to you.
Yet if you can afford to buy a book or pay for a short course (and if there is no other option) then I would recommend doing so as it is worth investing in yourself and your education.
Set a goal
From the research you’ve just done, it’s time to set your goal or goals. These goals should be as specific as possible and set within a realistic time frame, such as:
- Read five books by BAME authors in the next five months
- Save £50 a month for the rest of 2020
- Be able to run a 5k in 30 minutes in 16 weeks time
- Have completed a short course in Creative Writing by the end of 2020
- Lose 10lbs in 10 weeks
Also if your goal is to lose weight, I would recommend avoiding goals that relate to clothes size, as a pair of size 10 jeans is very different depending on each store you buy them from. Focus on body fat percentage, measurements or how your existing clothes fit you.
Make a plan
As the saying goes if you fail to plan then you plan to fail.
After conducting your research, writing out your goal, it’s time to formulate a practical plan for you to achieve it.
It wouldn’t be practical to read five books in a week if you usually read one a month, nor would it be possible to run a 5k in 30 minutes in 5 weeks time if you don’t go for a runs in those five weeks before attempting a 5k.
Schedule 2-3 sessions a week where you are actively working on your goal. It could be simply for 30 to 60 minutes.
For instance one of my goals this year is to submit my novel to publishers. I can’t do that if I don’t schedule time in to write and edit it. Therefore I spend a few hours a week writing and developing the story.
Setting out time to change your life is all well and good, but you actually have to do the work.
The power to make a change in your life lies with you.
You have to commit to the action, the effort, the work and then it will pay off, eventually.
Hold yourself accountable & reflect
Sometimes we all need a kick to get up and do something.
If you slip up or things don’t go to plan, that is a-ok. Dust yourself off, maybe return to doing a bit of research and continue on.
It’s what you do next that is important. You need to hold yourself accountable for the mistake you’ve made and then move forward. Adjust the plan or time frame if needs be and then continue working on yourself and your life.
Also, take time to reflect as time goes on.
How are you going to measure how your life has changed? As trust me after six weeks into this plan, you will probably have forgotten how you felt at the start of the process.
Take time to reflect and measure where you are every two weeks or so. Not to measure progress, but to make sure you’re still dedicating time to developing the area of your life you wanted to.
It’s easy to lose sight of what you’re working towards in amongst other commitments and responsibilities. I would forget 80% of what I needed to do if I didn’t write it down.
You can change your life and your mindset with the right tools, plan and committed action.
Are you trying to change one aspect of your life at the moment? What practical steps have you taken to change your life and mindset?
Read more posts about mental health here.