Have you ever been labeled?
Maybe your parents always said you were the “naughty one” or the “quiet one” or the “clever one”. Maybe your classmates called you a “geek”. Maybe your friends expected you to live up to a particular reputation (even when you thought you’d outgrown it).
You almost certainly have labels that you give yourself – whether you realize it or not. Perhaps you think you’re “lazy” or “bad with money”. Or you resist other descriptions – you think you could never be “musical” or “artistic” or “creative”.
The truth is, we can all change.
Plenty of qualities – like your creativity, intelligence, physical strength, and more – aren’t fixed. You can actively improve them, through practice, and sometimes just by changing the way you think about yourself.
Three Stories About Change
When I was in college, I got a lot of vacation time – and I wasted plenty of it playing computer games. On a good day, I managed to write a thousand words or so.
Now, I work for myself, and while I could play games all day, I never do. I often write three or four thousand words, and I’m much more focused and self-disciplined than I used to be.
This didn’t happen overnight. I gradually built up the habit of writing (and worked to break bad habits – like thinking that I needed to idly surf the net while I “woke up properly” every morning).
My change hasn’t been dramatic or overnight, just a gradual process of trying to become more and more the person who I want to be. I’m not there yet (I’m not sure anyone ever reaches that goal!) but I’m definitely moving in the right direction.
Sometimes, people change in more dramatic ways – life-changing, even life-saving, ways. I want to very briefly share a couple of inspiring stories from two bloggers who I’ve admired for a long time.
Shauna Reid, aka Dietgirl, lost half her body-weight and wrote all about it on her blog. She had a book published about her dieting journey. (Along the way, she moved from Australia to Scotland, and got married.) She’s a fantastic writer, and her story shows that you really can change your life.
Trent Hamm, who writes The Simple Dollar, was mired deep in financial problems when his first son was born. In 2006, he began a financial turnaround which led to a very successful blog, two book deals, and a much more stable life. I’ve been particularly struck when he writes about his previous attitudes to money (or other aspects of life, like leisure time) compared with his current ones: proof that you can change, radically, at a really fundamental level.
How You Can Change Too
The first step to changing who you are is to recognize that it’s in your power to change. Sure, most of us don’t change overnight – though health and financial wake-up calls can prompt sudden focused action. But we can all take steps, slowly and gradually, to change ourselves into the people who we want to be.
You might want to think about:
- Habits that are holding you back. Perhaps you keep procrastinating, or you constantly overspend.
- Lack of confidence or other psychological issues.
- Health issues – like being overweight, struggling to manage a health condition, or being chronically unfit.
- Your skills and abilities – is there something you’d love to do or learn, but which you keep telling yourself you’re not capable of?
I wouldn’t recommend trying to change everything at once. Instead, pick one area and focus wholeheartedly on improving at that particular thing. You might like to check out some recent posts on Dumb Little Man for inspiration:
- How to Prove That You Are Worthy of a Raise
- 14 Simple Ways to Convert Your Sedentary Lifestyle
- How to Curb Your Unnecessary Spending
Whatever you choose to change, good luck! You really can do it. Give yourself plenty of time, and work in small steps: this time next year, your life could look radically different.