But only in the past couple decades has science begun to embrace it as a problem worthy of study.
What gives life meaning? What promotes happiness, well-being, and thriving? What motivates us to get out of bed in the morning? To reach toward our ideals? To persevere in the face of life’s difficulties and challenges?
How can we, both individually and collectively, learn to live better lives?
Peering through the lens of science (with occasional ventures into additional sources of wisdom, experience and thought), those are the questions this blog has set out to explore. As we begin a new year, I’ve doubled my dedication to bringing you the clues I find to their answers.
What We Know
Before you can ask how to move your life in a more fulfilling, happier direction, you need to ask a more fundamental question: Is it possible to change my life?
The resounding answer to that was stated back in the 19th Century by William James, the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States according to Wikipedia, and one most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced. Here’s his famous proclamation:
“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
Zoom forward to the 21st Century and we find psychologists talking about the neuroplasticity of the brain, and the multitude of ways that we can indeed alter our lives. Vast waves of studies from psychology , psychobiology and social psychology labs gush into the journals to tell us what works and what doesn’t. We’re on the brink of wonderful new breakthroughs. We have much to discover and learn.
But the one fabulous certainty is that change is possible. Of that there is no doubt.
How to Change Your Life
The second thing we know for sure is that we human beings are messy, often unpredictable critters, living in a fast-paced, ever-changing world. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the puzzle of how best to change your life. We can know what works for many, but it may not work for you.
The only firm ground in the “how to change your life” field is this: You have to know what it is that you want to change, and you need to want it with great fervor.
What you’ll find here at Positive-Living-Now is a smorgasbord of things you can try, of practices that work for many.
Then, as Kathryn Britton, Associate Editor for Positive Psychology News Daily suggests:
“Try something. Then contemplate what happened. If it worked, great! You’ve got something to practice and make into a habit. If it didn’t, great! You’ve got a chance to learn more about your own particular way of living in the world, something that nobody is going to capture in a book. Just as good science requires being ready to learn from ideas that fail, good living benefits as well.”
Begin at the Beginning
The place to start is to think about the areas of your life that you want to take to greater heights. What do you want more of in your life? What do you want to eliminate? What do you think would bring you the most lasting sense of fulfillment?
Take time to sit down and actually write out a list of your desires. Then refine it; narrow it down to the two or three things that you want the most, and devote yourself to making these your focus.
You can contact me, too, for affordable personal coaching in your area of focus and move forward faster with the encouragement, support, and enhanced insights that personal coaching offers.
And keep checking back here for new ways to move forward. I post new articles about every ten days.
Onward and Upward
What’s important to remember is that you do have the power to change your life, to live with more zest, health, happiness, achievement, love, and meaning.
All it takes is deciding what you genuinely want and then doing the things that will move you in that direction—one experimental little step at a time.
And I only have one question to ask you: Why not?
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Illustration by duchesssa