Let’s be real – making a change in our lives is hard.

I think there are 3 main things that prompt us to change:


  1. An epiphany. Some people have a light bulb moment that divides their lives into “before” and “after” that moment. It’s an experience or insight that wakes you up and jolts you into action. Sometimes these go hand-in-hand with going “cold turkey.” For example, my dad tried for years to quit smoking. Then he had a heart attack and never touched a cigarette again.


Pros: these can be quite powerful.


Cons: they are rare, and waiting for one is not much of a strategy. They can sometimes come from a rock bottom sort of moment, like crying on the bathroom floor a la Eat Pray Love (and wouldn’t it be nice to avoid rock bottom?).



  1. Relationships. We are influenced – for better or worse – by the people we spend the most time with.


Pros: If you’re surrounded by people you admire and who are striving in ways that you are, you are more likely to start doing so yourself. And there are plenty of people like this!


Cons: If you’re surrounded by cynicism and people who have all but given up on themselves, you get stuck in that negative energy. Also, we often aren’t aware of how other people influence us – my college roommate swore like a sailor and the bad habit snuck up on me! (I have recovered.)



  1. Incremental change. One step forward, two steps back. From what I see, this is how most change is made. Slowly. With ups and downs. Having to get back on the horse.


Pros: You can always start from wherever you are. A teeny tiny bit of progress is still better than none.


Cons: It can be slower than we’d like (I bet you’d rather quit your job tomorrow than 6 months from now, amirite?!).


Have you had a powerful moment that you can harness as a motivator?
Can you surround yourself with new people who will positively influence you?
Is there a change you can start working on today, however small?

Better yet, use all three. Instead of waiting for an epiphany, choose any important moment as a motivator, even if it wasn’t a lightning bolt. Start seeking out people who are doing what you want to do. Identify a tiny action you can take today – seriously, anything.

What gets one person into action might not be what gets another person into action. If you’ve got a big goal to change careers or start a business (or anything else in life), see which of these you can start leveraging now.

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