How To Change Your Life & Find Happiness In 4 Simple Steps

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How To Change Your Life & Find Happiness When You’re Totally Overwhelmed

I want you to know that I see you. You’re feeling overwhelmed. You're struggling to make it through the daily tasks on your to-do list, working hard to keep a mask of a #blessed and oh-so-perfect life on your Facebook page. And, darling, I also hear you when you crawl into bed — way too late to get enough sleep — praying for some relief.

You want a do-over. A fresh-start. A revolution.

Though your life is good — and at least half the time you really believe it when you post that photo on Instagram and tag it #capturinggratitude or #thatsdarling — the other half of the time you feel #sofake.

Deep down, you know — you know it without question — that if something doesn’t give, that if things don’t change, you just might not survive this existence with your heart and soul (and mind) intact.

You want to feel like the person you portray on social media! You want to love and live your life again.

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Sometimes, secretly, you dream about running away from it all, starting from scratch with a new identity.

You know that’s not really practical, though, so when you’re finally in a quiet spot with no phone to numb and no one else demanding something from you, you come back to that question: "How can I reinvent myself? How can I create a revolution in my own life?"

Where is your Fairy Godmother? You are so ready for her to wave her magic wand and fix everything! You want to be thinner and prettier. You want to wear those enviable outfits of the day that are oh, so stylish. You want to be Insta-famous. You want to have a bikini body. You want your relationship to be the epitome of #relationshipgoals.

Of course, after you have all these thoughts, you feel guilty because, truly, there are some really good things about your life. It’s just that it isn’t all good. 

Guilt morphs into anger at yourself and at the world because you understand that a lot of folks would do anything to have your privileges, so why can’t you just be satisfied with what you have?

No matter how you slice it, though, you always come back to that same question: How do you go from all your overwhelming feelings when it comes to your loving it? How can you shift the very fiber of your being and learn how to be happy again?

First of all, darling, I want you to know that I completely understand. You are not alone. I know what it’s like to be living a good life, but also feeling as if something big was missing. Yes, there are others out there who wish they had some of the good things you do, but that doesn’t mean that your pain or your desires aren’t valid.

You may need to write this down or create a mantra you repeat over and over again: "My pain is valid. My desires are valid. Me and my happiness matter. I matter."

So, let’s get down to it. How can you create a revolution in your own life? It’s possible, but if we’re going to be honest with each other, let me say that most approaches to revolution and reinvention won’t be overnight and the changes won't be dramatic.

You need to begin with the understanding that this takes time.

Revolution, change, and shifts all begin in the same space: a spark of desire and a moment of radical honesty combined with a commitment to one area of your life with a tiny, actionable step.

So, if you want to love and live your life when you're feeling overwhelmed by everything around you, take these 4 important steps.

1. Develop a spark of desire

What do you want? What does your body long to experience? What does your mind wish to learn about and know deeply? What does your soul dwell upon? What excites you? What causes your breath to catch and your cells come alive?

I’m all for idly daydreaming — in fact, I consider it an art. But, to capture this spark of desire and turn it into the seeds of lifestyle revolution, it’s best to pick up a pen and paper and begin writing with abandon. This is a mix of free writing and brainstorming that unearths all kinds of secret longings.  

Let each desire kindle a response for more. It’s okay if these desires are a bit fantastic or unrealistic because hidden within each unrealistic desire there is a piece of truth. Your dreams will probably feel selfish; write them down anyway. No judgment, just writing.

If this feels scary, you’re on the right path. If this feels hard, you’re on the right path. If this feels impossible to do without privacy, make a date with yourself.

Go to a favorite coffee house or any other favorite safe space. Order something warm and soothing. Get that special treat you usually deny yourself. This is a sacred moment just for you, so don’t hesitate to make it special.

2. Take a moment of radical honesty

Wow, that is a loaded part of this equation! That’s because most of us spend enormous amounts of time and energy lying, mostly to ourselves. There’s a reason why "know thyself" is such a powerful aphorism.

A lack of honesty with yourself, especially around your desires, is a sure-fire path towards more pain and despair. Thus, that other powerful aphorism: the truth will set you free.

This isn’t about speaking your truth to everyone, this is an intimate act reserved just for you. In fact, it’s best to keep this part to yourself for now. And yes, it can feel painful, but radical honesty is also a path to freedom. Without it, it’s impossible to shift small pieces of your life, let alone create a revolution.

Begin by reviewing your desires. You can do this immediately after you make that list, or let your desires simmer a bit.

Look at what you’ve written objectively, yet with that burning inner longing. What’s practical? What’s doable? What feels just out of your comfort zone? What keeps standing out to you no matter how impractical and out of your reach it feels? What desires harken back to your childhood dreams? Circle or put stars by these babies! What makes you feel rebellious, in a good way?

Cross out anythhing that feels like it comes from the outside world: your mom, that Instagram-Famous-girl, your Best Friend, your spouse, that Frenemy from High School.

Be honest about where you get in your own way. Where do you sabotage yourself? Where do you ignore your wants? Ask yourself good questions, like, "Other than time or money, what do I want more of? And other than extra pounds, what do I want less of?" Add more to your list if you like.

If it feels good, re-write your list. Or not. Sometimes, working from a messy, imperfect list full of cross-outs, stars, and circles feels just as good as writing from something crisp and clean. Do what feels best for you.

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3. Make a commitment to one area of your life

I’d love to tell you that every aspect of your life can change overnight, but darling, that would be a lie. My goal here is to help you create a revolution, but I know from experience that it begins with small shifts.

Choose one area of your life (relationship, self-development, style, work, health, family, home, etc.) that you want to work on. 

I know that you want to fix everything, but what I know from both experience and from my coaching practice is that a shift in one area of your life will create a domino effect in other areas. And besides, it allows you to hone your precious time and attention to one area. Because, baby, you’re already drowning in a never-ending to-do list of demands.

Evaluate that one area of your life. Turn to a fresh page in your notebook, and write the name of the area (i.e. "my career") at the top. Underneath, write down exactly what the situation is right now.

What does it look like on an average day? How does it make you feel? Go into detail. Be ruthlessly honest. Allow yourself to go there.

This might be painful, but owning that pain is part of the process. You can’t make progress unless you are willing to stare your pain in the face.

On the next page, write down how you desire this single area of your life to look and feel. Don’t censor yourself, dig into both your spark of desire and that radical honesty. Allow your daydream to have legs (and fabulous shoes). What’s your vision?

Now, return to that list of desires: what one desire would you like to usher into your reality in this area of your life? 

Be bold, darling. Choose one thing you really want to birth into your life. A better body? A healthier relationship with food? Feeling sexier on a daily basis? Mastering the art of French cooking? Getting a style make-over? Live in Paris for a month or two next year?

Be creative. Think boldly. Be loving. Remind yourself that your desires matter.

4. Take a tiny, actionable step

Now comes a critical step: you’re going to take action.

Brainstorm a list of steps to get from where you are now to where you desire to be. For example, if your area of focus is health, what does this mean in regards to what you eat, how much sleep you get, and how you exercise. What is the easiest area to make shifts in so that you can gain some momentum?

If the area is relationships, why not trade gratitude lists with your partner every morning? Or decide to surprise them with something every day?

Maybe your desire is to live in Paris for a couple of months next year. What do you need to begin doing now to make that happen? Where do you need to save money for your dream trip? What do you need to get in place with your business so that it runs smoothly — or will you take a sabbatical?

Be creative. Think boldly! What would you need to implement in your daily life to help you become the person of your dreams?

Then take that first, tiny step towards what you desire: a happy life.

Darling, I know that you want your life to radically and instantly change.

You just want to wake up and feel as if your life is better than you portray on Instagram. The truest answer to revolution and finding happiness, my darling, is to create a life that feels nourished and radical, instant change, to wake up and feel as if you’ve created a brand new life.

I also know that when you desire to create a revolution, you want lasting change. And, deep down, we both know you can do it. I have so much faith in you and your ability to create a new reality.

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Debra Smouse is a life coach and author who discovered that when she loved her life, it loved her right back. Get a free e-book from Debra as well as her bi-weekly newsletter with tips to creating a life you love.

This article was originally published at DebraSmouse.Com. Reprinted with permission from the author.