Some Things You Can Do Right Now to Change Your Life


Happy with your life? Everything’s perfect? That’s great. This post is not for you.

Everyone else, keep reading.

There are two popular theories of change-making:

#1. Make small and incremental (but regular) changes. Mix it up.

#2. Do it all at once. Quit smoking immediately. Take cold showers. Enter boot camp for the soul—whatever you need to do, don’t wait.

Either of these options can work, but note that there is no third theory of waiting for change to knock on your door and announce its arrival. You must do something. The sooner, the better.

Change your routine. Take a different commute to work or school, drop in at the museum, learn a new skill, go somewhere new for lunch.

Talk to a stranger. Do something you are afraid of.

Have you always wanted to write? Start writing. Here’s how you write a book in 60 days. Get your free blog over here.

If you want to see the world, do not obsess over where to go. Do all the research you want, but don’t let research stand in the way of action (remember: $2/day to go anywhere). Set a deadline and determine to yourself that you’ll be at the airport by your deadline, no matter what happens. Yes, people do really buy tickets at the airport on the day of departure.

Decide that you are going to get serious about learning something. Educate yourself using all means available to you. Learn from those who have gone before. (People who write well about the subject of change include: Susannah, Julien, Danielle, J.D., and Trent.)

Decide in advance to be grateful when you encounter difficult people. Don’t give in to them, but be respectful. (Secret: your motivations don’t have to be pure. You can walk away saying whatever you want to yourself—but keep your game face on.)


Stop giving your authority over to other people. Resist the urge to succumb. Choose to rise or fall on your own. No one else is responsible!

Be willing to apologize, and be willing to stand up for yourself. Knowing when to choose which one makes all the difference.

Be willing to fail, but recover from failure as quickly as possible. Keep pushing ahead. Complacency can hit at any time. Resist! Refuse to settle.

Is there someone in your life who shouldn’t be there? Let them go.

Do you love someone? Make sure to tell them.

Above all, spend your time doing something that matters to you. Write down a list of those things. If you’re reading this in the morning, good—you have plenty of time to get to work.

If not, be prepared to lose sleep. Some things are worth fighting for. Don’t put this off.

What would you add to the list? Tell us here.


Image: Heather

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  • Ninoska says:

    Powerful post as always!! – Thank you!

  • Chris says:

    The only addition I would make: remind yourself everyday. A few days ago I wrote that “you can either lock down and lament or get pragmatic”…but a few hours ago I made a discovery that bummed me out and I’ve been a zombie ever since. Talk about a timely kick in the butt.

    Thanks for that.

  • Stew says:


  • Sarah Bray says:

    Don’t compromise your vision! Do it full-on, full-risk, full-everything. “Risk” is relative.

  • Layne says:

    Hey, thanks for this. It was a good reminder today.

  • Rich Proctor says:

    This post is so complimentary to my own blog post from earlier today, it’s almost spooky. And it’s a lesson that has been recurring repeatedly throughout the last week. I find it hard to believe that it’s all simple coincidence (I don’t believe in coincidence).

    Thank you. Clearly there is a powerful lesson here for me. And I’m gonna learn it.

  • Lonnie says:

    I would add learn to say no to the list. There is a great liberation in that simple word. Cultivate Gratitude would be another for it could be the single most important thing in our lives. My final addition from my sleep addled mind is question your own beliefs. You never know where they came from until you take a closer look.

    I loved the post! I found some inspiration for further writing, and oddly some themes listed I already have rough drafts going. Nice to know I’m tapping into the same wavelength as a personal hero.

  • Stephenie Zamora says:

    Weigh the options, debate the pros and cons, but never, EVER, ignore your intuition.

    Great list, love this. 🙂

  • Craig says:

    Define your core values and beliefs and work from there. No point making a change, getting up the “ladder” and then realize you’re up another wrong wall. Clearly figure out what it is what you want to do and act from there.

  • Nick says:

    You sleep 1/3 of your day, you work 1/3 of your day, you have the last 1/3 to do as you wish. That said, 1/2 of your waking day is spent making a living.

    Find work that you deem fulfilling. Discover ways to make your current job more enjoyable, or go after that dream job that with make your waking hours a joy. When you’re miserable at work, you make no one’s life better, and your frustration often carries over into your personal life.

    I’ve got a great job; terrific boss, great pay and work that I feel is important. So what was next for me? Tackling a desire to write more, hence the birth of my own blog.

  • Jackie says:

    Powerful stuff Chris,

    I’d add; Remember once in a while to focus on your feet – be present, live & breathe now. Constantly staring toward the horizon will leave you unbalanced.

  • Natalie Currie says:

    To add to this fabulous list:

    What can you do for two minutes a day that would make a difference? Now go do that. And repeat.

  • Andrew says:

    I’d maybe throw in ‘shop local, eat less meat’.. I don’t want to bang the vegetarian drum here, but it’s the one immediate thing you can do right now that’s within your control. The knock-on effects to the environment, your health etc. are enormous.

    Cheers Chris

  • Jarie Bolander says:

    I would add two:

    – Don’t Complain and Don’t Explain
    – Nothing Focuses the Mind Like a Deadline

    Far too often, we get bent on what others think or we get sucked into our own negativity. It’s just the way we tend to be wired (e.g. to be influenced by the negative far more than the positive). If you strive to live a life where you don’t have to complain or explain your actions, you free yourself to do what you want (albiet if it’s not evil or anything like that).

    Change is hard to achieve and even harder to stick with (research shows it takes 21 continues days of doing something to make it a habit or break a habit). That’s why deadlines are so important (or goals or whatever you want to call them).

    Inspiring. Now I need to go change somdthing!

  • Corie says:

    If you see something that you think is wrong, be willing to do something about it – even a small thing is better than just complaining.

  • Andrea Ballard says:

    Don’t worry that the work/career/business that you are doing has to be the “right” one. For multi-passionate people (like myself) there will never be one right thing. Fall in love with whatever you are doing until you fall out of love, then move on.

  • Diane Overcash says:

    Get my body into good shape.

  • Tony Fuentes says:

    I’m a big believer in the “do it all at once” method. I don’t think I’m patient enough to make change little by little. I want to see results NOW! About a year and a half ago I quit eating junk and started exercising. Lost 55 lbs. Now, I’m not happy with my work situation so I started a blog and my family and I are moving to a cheaper state where we can live on one income.

    I have to admit. It’s scary. But you only live once and there’s little that can happen that I don’t feel confident we can recover from.

    So I say screw everything that doesn’t make you happy, light you up, and change the world. If you aren’t living up to those standards, then you’re not really living.

    SO LIVE!

  • juanita says:

    Learn to say no. Sometimes those with good intentions take advantage of those who care about them. Know that those who “depend” on you and your generosity can often find other resources to meet their needs. Actually this can be empowering to promote indepedence.

  • Maggie Dodson says:

    This is a great list of ideas and I would like to add that changing even one small small thing has a knock-on effect so never discount a step because you consider it too small and inconsequential.

    By the way Chris, I seem to recall this ‘statue’ that is in your picture……….it’s outside the Imperial War Museum in London, isn’t it? I’m sure I remember thinking that it was most suitably placed as a comment on the contents of the museum, if a little ironic, to say the least.

  • Laura Simms says:

    I took an almost identical photo of that artwork about 15 years ago. But where was it…?

  • Chris says:

    @Laura (and @Maggie),

    I believe it’s in Berlin!

  • Ian says:

    I think it takes a combination of small incremental changes and big immediate changes. Some things need attention right now and some things take time to blossom and develop. I am going to address some things right now, TODAY.

  • April says:

    “If there someone in your life who shouldn’t be there? Let them go.”

    I recently had to do that, and while it was hard and I often felt like *I* was the bad guy for letting go, life most certainly changed for the better.

    Next up: Change my routine (or establish one — freelance life is great, but I need some structure again!).

    Thanks, Chris.

  • susan shannon says:

    Walk your talk and say it out loud. Tell someone so that you are making yourself accountable.

    And as Yoda said, “There is no try. Do or do not.” (or something like that, I just love the way he talks).

  • Adam says:

    Your point that there is “no third way” is brilliant. If I know from experience I put off doing option 1 or 2 because they’re scary, but convince myself there must be another way. You’re right, there isn’t.

    The bit of advice I would add, which has really stuck with me is an M Scott Peck quote, which paraphrased roughly says “Life is hard. This is the greatest truth, because once you accept it, you can transcend it.”

    When you accept that there is no easy way to do big stuff and that it isn’t supposed to be easy, you can just get on with it.

  • Nancy Coleman says:

    What a lovely article! One thing I would add, though, is that it is also our inherent responsibility to give back to our communities. I would like to see Chris encourage everyone to take on something consistently that helps improve the world. It doesn’t have to be big, just consistent and done with consciousness. Those kind of actions change one’s own life for the better too.

  • CURTIN says:

    Who needs a red bull when you have AONC, right?! Heck of an article to read at 11pm in China. Just made my list.

    I just want to say to all of you other readers out there that I enjoy your comments. I feel like we understand something so many people live without. I’m glad we have each other. (do I sound like a hippie?)

  • richard says:

    Eye opener as well as a reminder. Have read it once and will read again & again. Printing and will post at my work & home. Will also share with my kids. No time like the presis ent. She’s 20, he is 16…

  • sbLyngo says:

    Grateful for the post. Have not dropped by here in awhile. Life changing is good. In fact, I am fueled by it! I am fortunate to be in the biz of supporting and adorning life change for folks with my intentional adornment! Hey, that looks like Reed College in the photo. Is it????

  • Kris Costello says:

    Nice writing Chris! Thanks. I would add, find others that are traveling a similar path. Don’t try to do everything on your own.
    Start a group, online or in person to encourage and support your ideas and plans.

  • Robin Christy says:

    Drink green smoothies. Now those are energizing. Get rid of stuff you don’t use. Clean out a closet or space that has been neglected. Clean windows. It’s shocking how much better the view is.

  • Joseph Bernard says:

    Your ideas always invite my mind to expand.

    I would add the following:
    *Be as fully present as you can, live in the now, that is where the action is.
    *Become mindful of your thoughts, you interior quiet spaces, your emotional flow, then you will have the awareness you need.
    *Open you heart and mind as fully as you can, the world needs lots of compassion and consciousness.
    *Choose to be happy, all feeling states are created by your mind. If you choose happiness, you will have more joy, light and love to spread as you go. Have fun too.

    Be peace,

  • Kimberly says:

    Know your deep motivation. You can check it by asking yourself, “In the name of what am I doing this?” Unaddressed dissatisfaction with the answer, or a conscious lack of values in intention and actions will cause interference and deplete your energy. If you’re not convinced yourself, convincing others will necessitate manipulation which is a poor practice as it inevitably backfires sooner or later.

  • Brandon says:

    This was great, Chris, and as mentioned above, I too really like the premise that there are strictly two methods to change.
    What I would add is the idea of stepping outside of your comfort zone. Too often people get trapped in a situation where they are comfortable yet unfulfilled. In order to change, it’s important, not necessarily to be comfortable with change, but to be comfortable with being uncomfortable with change. Being comfortable with discomfort is the catalyst that allows for growth.

  • gaurav says:

    finish up the course for tomorrow’s last exam ! and than catch up all the friends i have made at this place for one last time b4 leaving for good.

  • Melanie Smithson says:

    Great post! Love all the add-ons too. And to keep adding- dance like no one is watching (or dance like everyone is watching) and look for what connects us to others.

  • Jay says:

    Never leave for tomorrow, what you can do TODAY!
    And never hesitate!

  • Brett Henley says:

    Action and forward movement.

    Love that you mention the opportunity for failure.

    Way I see it -> Failure is always an option, being stagnant or standing still is not.

    Thanks Chris!

  • Sue Kearney says:

    Inspiring! Your article and the comments. I’d add Practice Gratitude and Generosity. The antidotes to deprivation and entitlement. It works.

    Hooray for change!

  • Nicci Tina says:

    If kicking tobacco/smoking is the next step, read Kick Butts, Take Names. It is a great, creative book and guide to freedom from tobacco and more. Joanna Cummings smoked for over twenty years; she gets it, the challenge of it, as well as the way to freedom. And I, Nicci Tina, am one of the contributors:) And… the book recommends Chris’ work for freedom from conformity! Does it get any better than that?

  • Joseph Lalonde says:

    Awesome ways to change your life! I especially like “Be willing to fail.” Without that willingness, you won’t move forward in life.

  • Khaalidah says:

    I’d also say…talk is cheap. If you’re going to do it, then shut up and make it happen. There is nothing more annoying to me than a person who says, “I wish I could…” and expects that somehow they will without putting in the hard work and effort.
    Put up or shut up.
    I loved this post.

  • Clyde says:

    “If there someone in your life who shouldn’t be there? Let them go.”


    -Great article, very inspirational

  • Deborah Wall says:

    Be willing to be seen and heard. It’s not as scary as you might think.

  • Kim Gerodimos says:

    As much change as I have made over the past year, I found myself feeling as If I hadn’t made any today. I needed to read this today thank you. I have added more to my list of what I want to do. I will continue writing my book, travel to places I want to go. I will keep a positive attitude and not let people walk all over me. I don’t know why I felt so lost today. As I say in my blog, I need to keep moving forward! Thank you for your words today!!


  • richard says:

    Personal responsibility. What a novel concept!!!

  • Tomasz says:

    One one rare exception, I say use tunnel vision and look forward, don;t listen to the negative people around you. if you really want something just go for it, at worst you will learn something and have no regrets.

  • Yasmin says:

    I really, really needed this tonight. I have just got off the phone trying to convince my husband (he is in hospital for chronic depression)that life is worth living another day – for the 3rd time n 6 hours. And, now, I am not sure I believe it myself anymore. His disease has almost enveloped me and our little family and I was about to give up. However, as always, your message has come through at just the right time.

  • D. Beacham says:

    Suggested addition to list: Get up earlier. If you need more sleep, go to bed earlier. Almost nothing happens late at night worth staying up for. And those early morning hours are invaluable!

  • Kaitlyn says:

    I love that Berlin Wall chunk. When I first visited the Imperial War Museum I spent ten minutes studying it. Amazing.

    I recently published a blog about change and accepting it, which goes hand-in-hand with this. I totally agree. Life doesn’t start next week or next month. Life is today.

    If you want to live it them live it. No one else is going to live it for you. It’s how I came to be living in London, working as a Life Coach, displaying my art, animating, doing graphic design etc. If I want to try something, learn something or do something I just go for it.

    Otherwise life will pass you by.

  • Andrea says:

    Yes, set a deadline and take action! Just my motto right now 🙂

  • Logan Thompson says:

    Great post. Last year I decided to make a change and start working out. Best decision I’ve made. I’d add write more letters (not emails) to people.

  • Noch Noch | be me. be natural. says:

    I’d add – stop looking at everyone else who’s done / doing what you want and feeling beaten about it. use that energy to focus and do what you have to
    Noch Noch

  • Izzy says:

    I enjoyed this post. It seems so obvious on one level: if you are unhappy then stop doing the same things. Yet, so many people continue to do the exact same thing and stay unhappy. I wonder why this is?

  • Darlene says:

    @Izzy – I think it is because we fear the unknown. What we have, albeit not that great, seems the lesser of two evils when we don’t know what’s on the other side. So we stay stuck.

    I’d add – volunteer for something close to your heart and do it regularly. When I am stuck in a rut or feeling sorry for myself, doing a little work with the local homeless shelter always gives me the perspective I need to move on.

  • Sonya at EmergingDarkHorse says:

    Great post – thank you for sharing this in your newsletter today. 3 weeks ago I decided to give up smoking. Just stopped. So glad I made this decision. 2 weeks ago I decided to start a blog. Again, loving that decision. Today I decided to read your email newsletter and follow the links. Great way to start the day 😀

  • syvia says:

    58 yrs old female and just found you and all your comments. Izzy comments is so right if unhappy stop doing it 🙁 I am struggling with life need to change dont know how are what to do. I will start making a list as advised and keep reading. I just know inside of me there is a great adventure waiting to happen.
    thank you

  • Felisha says:

    Thank you!

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