Expert Blog Compelling advice, stories, and thought-provoking perspectives straight from YourTango's lineup of Experts to you

The Secret Of Changing Your Life


The secret of change is about focusing on the things you can do differently, right now.

People come to me with worries, problems, fears and relationship issues, among other things. Much as I hate to admit this, sometimes it takes countless hours of psychotherapy until they finally get the secret of change.

The secret of change  is simply that you can't change or control what anyone else does. Trying too hard to change others is usually called codependence.  The rest of the secret is that you can change and control what you do. It can truly be a revelation. But then a problem often remains.  What is it, exactly, that you want to be different in your life?

Often, when I ask clients what they want in their lives or how they'd like their lives to be, I get the negatives. Usually it's something like, I don't want:

• to worry about money…my job… marriage… parents…
• my kid to fail in school…get in trouble…have a car accident…
• to drink so much…have a messy house…stay out so late…
• to be overweight…lazy…jealous
• my relationship to fail…to be boring…to make me sad…

Yeah, yeah, I say, in a nice way. That’s what you don't want, but what do you want?  Then my clients get really clever and tell me, I want:

• my partner to stop spending so much money…
• my kid to stop getting Fs…
• people to stop offering me drinks when I say no…
• my family to stop eating junkfood so I can too…
• my partner to be more romantic

Yeah, yeah, I say, putting on my life coach hat, but what do you want to be different in your life right now. How can you be in action about it today? And while you're at it, let's make it something you can control yourself. Ah, my clients say, you mean, I will:

• save $50 dollars each week
• spend 15 minutes daily helping my kid get organized
• limit my drinking to 2 glasses of wine, 2 nights a week
• buy healthier foods to cook 5 days a week
• suggest that Friday be our weekly date night

Yes! Yes! Yes! That's exactly what I mean. When you want things to change, this is the secret. Focus on what you do want, today. Be specific and authentic about what you can do to make the change, including the what, where and when. You are the expert on your own life. You know the steps you need to be taking. You just have to think about it in these practical terms and start doing it. Today.


Expert advice

If you keep finding yourself in heartbreaking, dead end relationships, listen up.
Several key behaviors stand out in order to help couples create a healthy relationship.
It seems like you can't do anything right.

Explore YourTango