Changing your life for the better can be hard, and it’s made harder with so much competing and contradictory information available today. Everyone—including me—has an opinion about the steps you should take to get you from where you are to where you want to be. In the end, many people simply give up because they’re confused and overwhelmed.
The reality is that understanding how to change your life for the better isn’t all that difficult. What’s truly hard about life change is doing the work necessary to build a better tomorrow. Knowing may be half the battle, but doing is the hardest part.
So how can we simplify both making plans to change and taking the steps necessary to enact that change? I think there are some core principles we can keep in mind to help us gain and maintain a grip on what’s needed to implement lasting life change.
The Six V’s of Life Change
Visualization: Getting a clear view of what your goals are is crucial. Too many times we fall short of reaching our goals because they’re vague or far too broad. Visualization means having a clear picture of where you want to end up. If you don’t know the final destination, how can you effectively take the action steps necessary to get you there?
Verbalization: There is power in putting your vision into words—whether on paper, on screen, or verbally. Something happens in the mind and will when you see your goal written out. The act of making your inner thoughts tangible suddenly makes your goals and dreams seem realistic and attainable. When you go a step further and share you goals with others, it helps refine your vision, makes you accountable to the people you tell, and forces you to begin persuading others to buy into that vision.
Valiancy: Perseverance and grit are crucial to keeping on when you’re tired and worn. This is where having a clear vision of where you’re headed become so important because there will be days when the best you can do is just put one foot in front of the other and forge ahead. Being valiant is about not giving in to fear and doubt, and not letting the naysayers get you down.
Virtue: Do the right thing no matter what. Don’t compromise on what you know is right by taking shortcuts toward your goals. A vision brought to pass unethically or immorally is a dream corrupted and not worth achieving. Recognize that ultimately you are not defined by what you say you will do, but by what you actually do.
Vigilance: Work daily to continually pay attention to where you are, where you’ve come from, and where you’re going. Learn to always be on the lookout for whatever might trip you up or hold you back. Stay aware of your situation and circumstances so that you’re not often surprised, and diligently study to make wise decisions.
Victory: Achieving your goals through diligence, faith, and hard work is a victory in anyone’s book—but it’s not the end. Being victorious is the dual-realization of knowing you can achieve what you set out to do as well as knowing life is a journey, not a destination. True visionaries have already foreseen and mapped out the next steps for their lives, and they don’t rest on their current and past achievements.
Again, these core principles are crucial, but they cannot and will not do the work for you. Nowhere in any of this will you find any sort of positive thinking, universal attraction, or manifestation psychobabble. Neither is this “name-it claim-it” mumbo jumbo.
You’ve heard it over and over, but remember that the difference between a wish and a hope is action. Each and every one of the six Vs above are something you do, even the visualization stage.
Life change cannot happen apart from action.
Original photo credit: Benjamin Stäudinger