Last night I had a dream.
It was Christmas Eve. And I was receiving presents.
At that time, all I could think of was “I don’t want these. It’s just more stuff I won’t use.”
Looking back, I can see how much I’ve changed. I almost haven’t noticed the change, because it sneaks up on you, until it’s impossible to ignore.
It’s like when you were a kid. You got taller, but you didn’t notice until you stood up against the wall with the marks.
The same holds true for life changes.
You are constantly changing, but it’s hard to notice until it pokes you in the ribs.
It’s not even a question of if you’re changing; it’s a question of how you’re changing.
Most people want change because they want to escape. But it doesn’t work.
It is by facing your inner demons that you heal yourself, and change your life for the better.
Below are the 21 things you can do to change your life. It’s a hefty and spicy read, so grab your beverage of choice and enjoy.
1. Take Tiny Steps
A baby learns to crawl before it can walk, and it learns to walk before it can run.
Most people expect rapid life changes. If they’re wasting their time at a soul-sucking job, they expect success and fame within six months.
It’s not impossible, just unlikely.
People who need life changes right away don’t realize that it’s not going to make them happy anyway.
All they want is their dream of a problem-free future. When they get there, another goal is set.
And the wheel keeps turning.
So realize that there will always be problems in life. It’s not our job to eliminate them. Our job is to do our best, take tiny steps, and see where life takes us.
2. Take Quantum Leaps
Something I’ve learned in working with people is that changes can happen in an instant. Old pains, fears, and negative emotions can vanish and be replaced by something more useful.
This may seem contradictory to what I said above, but it isn’t. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and.
We don’t live in a black and white world.
Quantum leaps are tipping points (as Malcolm Gladwell, the author, likes to call them).
As you keep taking one step at a time, you eventually reach a tipping point where your thinking shifts.
The problem is that most people never get to those shifts. They stop drilling when they are about to hit gold.
3. Accept Where You Are
When I was 18, I started playing poker professionally. I didn’t want to do the whole 9-to-5 thing.
Poker helped me realize many things, and one of them was that if I wanted to be happy, I had to accept where I was.
Things come and go. People live and die. Your life feels good, and it feels bad. The more you accept this, the easier it is to change your life.
In fact, it seems as if life changes itself when I stop pushing so hard.
Here’s a video I recorded on being in the present moment:
4. Be Patient
I’ve been building my online business since 2009. I say building, but what I really mean is learning.
I stumbled a lot in the beginning. I made mistakes, I failed, and I gave up in frustration more times than I care to admit.
I began seeing results when I became absolutely determined to succeed, which only happened after a lot of trial and error.
It was a big lesson in patience. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. There will always be problems. That’s okay.
Be patient with your progress. Stay true to what resonates with you.
You can change your life. Sometimes it just happens in its own time.
We all have memories—painful memories.
What you may not realize is that the person hurting you with those memories is you.
You are the director of your mind. While the event may have happened in the past, it’s you who keep replaying the memory.
Reliving the past will get you nowhere. That’s why it’s essential to forgive and forget all those people in your memories.
You don’t even have to forgive. All you have to do is pay less attention to those thoughts and memories.
Once you see that the only one suffering is you, the grip begins to loosen.
Healing yourself goes hand in hand with point #5. When you know that you can let go of past memories, fears, and obstacles, your self-confidence grows.
Most people aren’t ready for life changes. They avoid any and all solutions, because they are comfortable where they are.
And that’s fine with me, but if you make that choice, you have no right to complain or make excuses.
You either choose to be where you are, or you choose to change your life.
Healing starts with seeing that you don’t have to believe every thought that sneaks into your head.
7. Face Your Fears
When you face your fears, possibilities open up. Even now, there are times when I’m scared.
Fears don’t disappear, they simply become less important as you become more powerful.
And remember, this is not about comparing yourself to someone else. This is about following your inner GPS, and living the life you were meant to live.
Here’s a short video on how to stop comparing yourself to others:
8. Kill Your Excuses
You may have excuses about why you can’t do what you truly want, but are they really true?
If you really wanted to, you could take one tiny step forward.
One tiny step.
Then see what happens, re-assess, and take another step.
9. Take Responsibility
Since talking with more and more readers, clients, and people in general, I’ve started to notice a scary pattern.
That pattern is the lack of responsibility. I see people wanting to change their life, but they aren’t willing to take responsibility.
They wait for a external force to sweep in to save the day and make change effortless and comfortable.
Again, not impossible, just extremely unlikely.
The good news is that you don’t need to wait for anything. You can start with what you have, where you are.
Learn to make decisions from your inner authority. Here’s a video where I share how I do this:
10. Follow Your Heart
And what would an article of mine be without me telling you to follow your heart?
If you’ve been reading my articles, you know that I keep writing about following your heart, and there’s a reason for it.
The longer I’ve lived, the more I’ve grown to trust my heart.
And when I say following and listening to your heart, I mean it in the broadest sense of the word. It can mean anything, such as following your gut, intuition, feelings, or going with the flow of life.
When you begin putting the pieces together, and taking responsibility, and healing yourself, you naturally begin to follow your heart, your inner GPS.
11. Follow Your Passion
If you drive to a gas station, and fill your car with the wrong kind of fuel, it won’t run very well, if at all.
That’s what most people are trying to do in life. They are listening to outside influences, and that’s when all the “shoulds” come in.
It’s the belief that you have to focus on money in order to build a successful business. I did this in the beginning, so I know what it’s like.
You want to do your research and know whether or not your idea is viable, but if you don’t do something you enjoy, your car will run out of fuel sooner or later.
It is your passion that will fuel your journey for the rest of your life.
The problem is that you may not know how to even start finding and following your passion. I had the same problem when I was starting out, but eventually things clicked.
And here’s a video on how I follow my heart and passion:
Ever had the experience of your mind racing out of control? It almost feels like you’re going crazy, doesn’t it?
A great remedy is to meditate. Even five minutes of meditation can do wonders.
Meditation has taught me to see through the dance of thought. I have thoughts. I have worries. And I have fears.
But I can observe them without getting involved. It’s not always so simple, but knowing that I am not my thoughts is a tremendous help.
What’s important is not to just know it intellectually, but to see how you create your experience of life.
If you’re interested in diving deeper into how we create our experience of life, check out this video:
13. Express Yourself
I find writing therapeutic. It calms me. It’s inspiring, and it infuses my life with serenity.
I recommend you experiment with journaling or just writing down your thoughts after every day. If you’ve tried to solve problems in your head, you know it doesn’t work.
You can have a conversation on paper, freewrite, and solve problems easily. It has the ability to change your life completely.
A great book on freewriting is Accidental Genius by Mark Levy.
14. Kill Your Comfort Zone
If you want to change your life in the most positive sense, get comfortable with being out of your comfort zone.
When you’re learning something new, you’ll bump into the walls of your comfort zone.
Your spirit yearns for freedom. It’s when you put yourself into a little box that your spirit feels the need to rebel. You start feeling bored, and restless.
You don’t have to suddenly infuse your life with discomfort. All you have to do is dip your toes from time to time.
Let’s face it. You don’t know what you want.
Most people think they know what they want. They make five and ten year plans, acting as if they know all the variables of life.
I’m on board with making plans and setting goals. But I don’t rigidly stick to them. You will miss opportunities if you disregard the whispers of your heart, if you trade the present moment for the future.
You miss life.
It’s like driving with all the windows painted black except the front window. You see where you’re going, but you miss everything else.
Accept that life brings you possibilities. You don’t always know where life is going, and that’s okay.
In order to change your life, you have to change your focus.
If you don’t take control of your mind, it will run amok. You will focus on the negative. You will imagine the worst possible scenarios.
It helps to remember that these are suggestions.
Your mind presents possible scenarios of what could happen.
Since you have those thoughts, you get to feel them. But that doesn’t mean that they will become true.
Here’s a quick video you might enjoy:
I love reading.
We live and die by stories. My life has changed several times by reading a book.
The stories you read have a profound effect on how you view the world. You can be stuck on a problem, and the solution can pop into your mind while you’re reading.
Your mind does not work sequentially. You can be reading something, then something goes click, and your life transforms before your eyes.
Change is inevitable. It’s all about in what direction you’re changing.
If you’re looking for something to read, you might want to check out my books: Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself and Do What You Love: Essays on Uncovering Your Path in Life.
18. Befriend the Unknown
You never know what you need. Remember point #15, going with the flow?
When you’re open to the unknown, which is another word for possibility, you begin to see that you’re in a dance with life.
You don’t know what’s coming, and you don’t need to know. You simply need to notice and pursue what resonates with you.
That’s how I live my life.
You just never know what life will bring, so you might as well become curious.
19. Reclaim Your Personal Power
Stop looking to others for approval. Just like taking responsibility (#9), you have to reclaim your personal power.
You know what to do. You can feel it. You just haven’t been listening to that inner voice until now.
It’s easy to give the decision to someone else, but it’s your life.
What do you want to do right now?
If you don’t know, then start somewhere, anywhere, because action brings clarity.
20. Accept Failure
And you won’t know if they are mistakes when you make them, because mistakes and failures have the potential to transform into wisdom.
You learn what doesn’t work, which makes you more likely to do what does work.
Step by step, you uncover your path.
You discover that failure isn’t so bad. Yes, it may sting, but it doesn’t kill.
21. Remember Who You Are
And above all, remember that you are always more than you think you are.
The reason is because each thought we have is narrow. We focus in on one thing, which makes us forget this dance we call life.
You are unique. You have strengths, and yes, weaknesses.
You are here to reach your full potential, because why not?
People may have told you that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, successful enough, and whatever else.
But all of that doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you reconnect with your innate interests, and put one foot in front of the other.
You don’t have to eliminate your fears. You don’t have to become someone else.
All you have to do is take one tiny step at a time.
Enjoy your day!
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I wanted to comment on your point of enjoying the process.
I was thinking about this just yesterday.
The process (no matter what it may be) cannot be avoided and will always be there. Every single thing we do is a process in one way or another.
There are no short cuts to the process. What’s really awesome is that if you’re diligently following the process, you’ll almost automatically pick up on many of your points such as patients, accepting failure, focus, flow, excuses, and all that. It’s really cool!
The process can and will suck every now and then, especially when it comes to building an online business. In the beginning, you’ll run into countless road blocks, fail more than you succeed, have more downs than ups, and frustration and stress can be overwhelming.
Then as time goes on, you stick with it long enough….you begin to realize that all of those road blocks and failures were necessary. You wouldn’t have learned the critical lessons you did had you achieved everything you wanted within your first week or month. Your appreciation wouldn’t be nearly as strong.
You truly do learn a lot about yourself.
Great post as usual Henri 🙂
Esther van der Wal says
A good collection of points that might not be new to many of us, but that we sometimes just need to read all together to make something click. I’m sure a lot of people will feel better after reading this article, and ready to take the next step.
Hi Henri, great post. A good summary of the self-development gurus’ philosophies, and well stated, with your usual relaxed style. The points on accepting where you are in life, and being realistic in allowing time for your business to grow really resonated with me. I have shared this with my womenswaytowealth group and hope it will inspire others. Thanks
Awesome! Thanks for reading, and sharing.
Hi, Henri! Thank you for the timely reminders. Reading this, I am reminded that one of the things I admire about what you’ve done with your blog is your honesty, next your introspection and third how you are willing to share your journey with those who read your blog. It’s been really helpful to me in staying positive about where I’m going even if I feel far, far away from where I want to be! 🙂
Thanks for the kind words.
And you know, when you feel far away from where you want to be, doesn’t that just mean that you hold high standards for yourself?
I don’t know about you, but that’s a good thing in my world, even though it may feel like you’re far from the destination right now.
Keep rocking! 😉
Riley Harrison says
That a very thought provoking blog. I went through and assessed my progress item by item. An excellent exercise. It highlighted areas that needed to be examined in depth and worked on. Thanks so much.
marc van der Linden says
Your point – 2 Take quantum leaps – really fascinates me. I know it is true, but I could not find any clue to foresee these sudden shifts of reality. Sometimes it even difficult to say when the shift truly has happened. I only know when it has happened after it happened.
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for this post. I’m glad I had the patience to wait for it and then to read it all the way through (point #4).
I heard a nice idea once about #9 Take Responsibility: it may true that your mother (insert any other relationship) made you what you are today, but you are the one keeping you there.
Lashea Heidelberg says
I just signed up to receive your articles via e-mail. I have to say they have re-inspired me and helped me to get out of my “I’m so not appreciating the process of life right now” thoughts. : ) Thank-you so much for sharing!
Pawan Purohit says
I just read this. It’s really good. I felt very positive by reading your post. You know, I can’t speak english. I set for me a time period that within this time period (one month) I will learn. I learnt one and two days very curiously.. Now I stopped learning english. I want to be a big person.. Everytime within a second I get positive and within a second I get negative. Can’t control on my mind. Well thanks for your good post.
Glynis Jolly says
I like what you wrote about what you call Quantum leaps. I guess some think that you can just keep on going the way you are without any change and get what you want. Sometimes you just have to have faith in fate.
Archan Mehta says
The key is to persevere despite odds. Even if you fall down, pick yourself up and get back in the game. Setbacks will come and go, but it is how you deal with roadblocks that counts. It can be a true test of character to look at problems as opportunities for personal growth and professional development. Thank you for a brilliant post, as usual, and this timely reminder. Cheers.
Carolyn Saulpaw says
I have reread this post about 5 times now. I really love it. Funny thing is I just wrote an article called “How to Flow” on my site. Your style is so honest and powerful. I love your site Henri.
Kaley Klemp says
I love this list! These are wonderful things for everyone to keep in mind. Thanks for the post!
Amazing!I am so glad I stumbled on your site.I would like to see that list of books you read. =)
Very well written. Precise and to the point. Wish you luck in everything.
Shelly MIller says
Usually I like short blog posts to keep me perked up through the day, but I found myself continuing to read your post through its entirety. Everything you said was relevant, no fluff. Thank you for taking the time to share all your thoughts-most helpful!
“You are the director of your mind”. Perfectly put.
If there were more Henri Junttilas in this world, it would be a far, far better place.
I totally agree Issia. Well said.
I would add: accept that some change takes time. Be willing to put in the work, make a solid plan, and stick to it long enough to see results.
I love your work/inspiration Henri. I like that you have a philosophy that helps us to keep the balance between work and having a personal happy life! Thank you!
Sebastian Aiden Daniels says
This is a fantastic list. Taking baby steps is so important. I use to expect instant success and when it didn’t come, it was like a sledge hammer to the face. I learned though and grew immensely from the experience and understand that you just need to take things one day at a time.
Accepting failure has also been important. The things I have failed at have actually taught me more about myself than the things I have succeeded at. It is an important lesson to embrace failure as part of the learning process.
Paula Johnson says
Hi Henry, what a great article! I need to keep this one handy because there are so many great reminders in there…I’m on the edge of starting something new, a new direction, and when I look at others that are doing the same thing I’m comparing and making myself too scared to take that next step because I’m at the very beginning and have no idea what I’m doing! So, I’m gonna STOP comparing and take a baby step, and another baby step, and another…and if it takes 12 months that’s fine, if it takes 2years that’s fine too…but I’ll be going in the right direction instead of staying where I am and miserable!
I’d also like to comment on the changes I now see in you :-). I’ve been following you for a couple of years now, and when I look at your videos and the quality of what you are presenting, I can see how far YOU have come – you’re a role model for us all – thank you Henry and keep up the great work!
It’s been great having you as a reader all these years.
In the end, it takes the time it takes. That has been one of my big realizations. I can only do my thing, and follow my heart, and the rest is out of my hands.
Thanks again Paula!
Bridget Hunt says
This is such a lovely blog post. So many valid points for me! Especially the baby steps. I tend to set a goal so huge that I try and leap to it and fall at the first hurdle. Now I am learning to chunk it down into little steps so that each day I inch closer. It is do-able, acheivable and far less stressful that way. Thank you for your words of great wisdom Henri
Thank you, Bridget!
I can honestly say out of all the articles I have read from other authors, yours by far helped me out the most. You explained everything so perfectly. Basically “hit it right on the nail” this will definetly help me out in life. Each step I read made me think more clearly and actually want to start getting out of my comfort zone. Because that’s what I have issues with, when in the end I’m really just fighting myself. But thank you very much for your helpful words!
Thanks for the kind words, Shriah. Keep rocking 🙂
Would you please help me with a good list of some self motivating books.
I don’t have any books to recommend, because I don’t read much motivational books anymore. The energy to do something either is there, or it isn’t. Another thing that helps is to look at your negative beliefs, and if you’re holding yourself back. I talk about how I do this here: https://www.wakeupcloud.com/dealing-with-sadness/
I think this is my first comment to your blog ever. I’ve been following your blog for roughly couple of years now and its really interesting to see how you have developed. I mean your posts just keep getting better and better. I truly like your Finnish to the point style 🙂 Keep up the good work man!
Thanks Atte 🙂
Ann Carni says
Hi Henri, thank you for your great post, so very inspiring and written from the heart. This is the first time I have really connected and finally get it.For a few years I have shamefully just been playing around with my website as a hobby. Now I feel it’s time to get serious and move forward, so grateful for the push.
Sometimes we need that time to play. It’s all about timing. Thanks for commenting, Ann!
Henri you are just so lovable. Your sincerity shines through in all your work. I too have been a fan for a good couple of years and will continue to follow your honest, down to earth advice. You have a gentleness about you that is so heart warming and real. Whenever I need to calm down and refocus, you’re the one I turn to. Thank you for your fantastic insight. Keep up your great work.
Thanks, Jessica. Appreciate the kind words, and that it helps!
Great inspiring post. My mind feels relaxed after reading.
How are you 🙂
This is an amazing post. Only shortly, I came across wakeupcloud, and have started reading your blogs. I just love your writings. They are simple and so soothing, like an instant comeback/booster to my life.
Keep Up The Good Work!
Thanks a lot 🙂
An instant comeback booster. Never heard it put that way. I like it 😉
Honestly I’m really impressed with ur book and it really impacted my life. Just hope to read more of ur books. tx Maxwell
Hi Henri I have just read you 21 things to do to change your life forever as I feel I am at the cross roads of my life at the age of 53 I have felt a little lost over the pass few years not knowing what way to go being pulled from one side to the other and getting nowhere thanks to your article I now have some idea where I want to go, I have just signed up for your articles and have down loaded you’re ebook. Thank you so much Your new true fan Anna.
Thrilled to hear that, Anna! 🙂
Julius Chibuzo says
Your cogent and lucid style is a great one..
Thanks for reminding me who “I AM”..
Nancy Kelly says
“See where life takes us.” That is exactly what I am doing now! After a lifetime of not enough money, not loving my work, plotting and planning my next step, I am retired and at a very pleasant place in life. But I find that after a lifetime of goal orientation, I sometimes feel uneasy about just relaxing and trusting. Shouldn’t I have an action plan I am working on? What is my 6 month goal? My 5 year goal? I feel I should have a contingency plan in case something goes wrong. But I just don’t think that way anymore. My mantra – “I will know what to do when the time comes.”
Very good article. Thank you.
An amazing post as usual! I always feel relaxed and hopeful after reading your posts.
Henri: I just want to say great videos. great 21 points you made. I was just going into my email this morning and I saw your email (21 points) I was reading and i was learning from your points and videos. Some of the things you said I have also been thinking about them but you reinforced and made it more clear. I hope we can talk about some of the things Im going through at some point. Its about pursuing another goal and taking action. Anyways please send more inspirational emails.
Jeremiah Say says
You had just gotten yourself a new fan.
I just read your book: Write Blog Posts Readers Love and learned a lot from it.
Thanks for doing what you do.
You are a wise man, Henry. Thanks again for sharing your insights.
Gregg Hardin says
Hi Henri. Thanks for another great blog post. I struggle with not being in the now and what helps me is persistence in moving towards a goal. For me that resonates with what my body tells me. I know when I am not doing things according to what my body tells me, things hurt and I have to regroup. I must confess I don’t read all of the emails that you send me, me culpa, but this post really resonated with me. Thanks for the post.
I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this article. I was just thinking about changing my life and making a plan on paper. I’m 18 years old and really unhappy with my life. Last year I was thinking of what I wanted to do with my life. One of my lifelong dreams is seeing the world and helping people who can’t help themselves. I want to study medicine, but in my country we need to do a test before we can enter the study of medicine. I failed last year and I knew beforehand that this could happen so I needed a plan B. I dreamt of traveling to New York and living on my own for a while, but this didn’t/ doesn’t fit the normal idea here. I graduated high school, so the normality for me was going to university. When I failed the test for medicine I needed to look for my plan B. I immediately forgot about my plan of traveling, simply because it didn’t fit the idea of our normal lifestyle. I chose another education and went to university. Now I’m having a really hard time. I’m not doing the study of my dreams, I’m studying something I don’t want to study to become something I don’t want to be and do a job I don’t want to do. I’m miserable. I do want to try again next year for the test of medicine. I just don’t know what I’m going to do if I fail again. So that’s why I want to change my life now. And that’s why I made a plan on paper just now. I searched online how to change my life and I clicked on this article. I read it and felt everything I already was feeling, but then more intense. So intense. The feeling in my gut that for once in my life I was choosing the right path. The path my heart wants me to choose. I just needed that last push to really get there. To get the courage to confront my parents with my plan. To try to make them understand why this “normal idea of life” is not working for me.
So thank you. Thank you for giving me this push. Thank you for your wise words. I will always remember this point in my life. Just thank you.
Much love and hugs from Belgium x
Happy to hear that. Hope all goes well, Laura 🙂