I’m sure you have read your share of self-help books and attended motivational workshops, and they’ve inspired you; you believe you can even change the world if you try. Yet, after the initial ray of hope you feel unfulfilled. Sometimes, you even blame the author/speaker for not giving you what you came for. Every time you hear something inspirational you nod to yourself in agreement, you continue to forward inspirational quotes to everyone, but you keep wondering, when will your life change?

It’s never the right time

“My dreams are huge so they will take time”

“Maybe someday, when I have saved up more money”

“After this happens or that…”

“This is so huge, nothing I do will make a difference”

Do your thoughts sound similar? Well, they used to be mine till I decided to change them. I used to wait for a particular outcome; I would yearn and pray for my life to improve. If only I wasn’t sick… it’ll be just another month till I get a salary hike… it’s holiday season now… I would make excuses. I’d get lost in my distractions and hope for a miracle, only to return to my reality of despair, heartbreak, divorce, guilt, shame, debt, pain, obesity and low self worth. I hit below rock bottom, in every area of my life. Physically, financially and emotionally, until I finally had an insight and saw the light! I realised that I chose my time.

Finding your message

What do you keep searching for? Is it a better relationship with your spouse, or being a better parent? Do you want to lose weight or do you want to live a more conscious life?

The truth is the truth, the recipe remains the same with a few modifications. That is why everyone is saying the same thing but in different ways. Think of it like a radio playing the same song but in different languages at different tempos by different artists. You can hear the song only if you tune into the station where the reception is most clear. Then it is up to you if you want to just listen, or sway with the music, or stand up and sing and dance with all your energy.

I have found that consuming more literature or attending seminars about the topic will not help you change your life. The message is the same. But you need to use it, practise it and make it a habit.

Decision-making doesn’t come easy

I was an obese child and never participated in any sports while growing up. I used various ruses to escape physical training sessions in school and never learnt to swim. I was always embarrassed of my fat thighs and wobbling belly so I did not want to be seen in shorts. It was only about five years ago that I decided to shed that extra weight and started exercising properly for the first time in my life.

I had to be willing to unlearn my old eating habits and defend my weight loss regime to people who were against it. Through the decades I had tried to lose weight many times and failed. But then I kept trying and finally, at 38, I succeeded. Had I allowed my previous attempts to hold me back, I wouldn’t be in shape to do the 200-hour Yoga Teacher’s training course I’m currently enrolled in. And I had never done yoga until six months ago. It is not easy and I am still learning. It requires great discipline, but I know that exercise, wellbeing and healing has become a vital part of my life and who I am, so I am giving it all I have.

Self-transformation starts with a decision

Think about which part of your life you want to change. Out of all the many things that come back, decide on any one thing that you would want to change in the immediate future. Only one thing.

If there is nothing you want to change, then this is the time for you to accept with gratitude the joyful life you already live. But if that were so, you would not be reading this.

From my experience, lack of clarity is the  biggest de-motivating factor on the planet. On the flip side, when you have a clear vision of what you want, you wake up feeling excited and enthusiastic, knowing exactly what to do.

Focus also comes from clarity. Often it takes just one area of your life to shift for your entire life to transform. The joy and excitement you feel after pursuing one of your big dreams will spread into all areas of your life. When you have a clear vision of what you want, you remain courageous in spite of fears and obstacles.

What postpones the completion of your goals is not lack of time, resources, the economy, luck, karma or any of that stuff—it is your own unwillingness to make the decision.

Jump off the fence

It does not take attending dozens of workshops, or reading scores of self-help books to transform your reality—it takes an instant. The time will never be just right, things will never line up perfectly. Take ownership and responsibility for your life. Remember every no is a yes to something else.

Think of the various small and big ways in which your life will change now that you have made this decision and start feeling it. Embody it, breathe it in and exude it in your energy and aura. Be the you after that decision.

Next comes a public declaration

The reason we do not declare our decisions is that we doubt whether we can actually accomplish them and are afraid of failing in front of others.

These are a few suggestions to make in your decision statements.

  1. Decide to eliminate the word ‘try’ from your life, Say “I will” or “I won’t” [this will exercise your deciding muscles].
  2. Also eliminate ‘shoulds’ from your life. We do things because we want to do them, because the consequences of not doing them are unbearable, so why not just rephrase it with “I want to”.
  3. Since you already know your message, the most important thing you need to do for it to start working is for you to commit to a habit of growth.

Once you have done this, the only other thing to do is to trust and to allow the event to unfold.

This was first published in the November 2014 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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