6 things you can do to turn your life around in 12 months or less

You can’t change what you’re not ready to quit.

You are what you repeatedly do. Your habitual behavior often goes unnoticed because you don’t need to engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks.

Many people are just going through life.

Just like that. Passing through. Letting time tick away. Fast. Letting things happen. Letting every day be just like the day before and the day after.

Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing you read about in history books. Nothing unique. Just average.

Can things be different for you?

Of course, they can.

You just need to start taking control of your life right now!

1. Define your most important role in this world

Who are you? What do you stand for? What do you want to be known for? What standards have you set for yourself?

Figure out who you are and start shaping your reality based on that.
You are YOU. Your challenge in life, in fact, your life’s work, is to become the best possible version of you. Not an imperfect approximation of someone else.

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can “ says Neil Gaiman, an English author.

Purpose fuels your motivation. What do you look forward to achieving tomorrow, next quarter or in the next five years?

Imagine waking up every day excited for what you’ve set out to accomplish. That passion alone will propel you to the next level.

Raise the bar, crush your goals, and make a dent. It’s not too late!

Many people are living their entire lives without ever standing up and stepping out. But it’s exciting to witness the rare few who dare themselves and step out of their personal bubbles to work on achieving something worthwhile.

Most of us live with the stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today’s work. We consistently hold onto this belief and keep procrastinating until work becomes a heavy burden.

Left unchecked, we always default toward a more comfortable path. Your comfortable zone provides a state of mental security. You can understand why it’s so hard to kick your brain out of your comfort zone.

In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcom Gladwell said: “Outliers are those who have been given opportunities — and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.”

Outliers seize opportunities and run with them. People who realize how little time they have and are driven to make the absolute most of it. Those are the ones who really live the awesome and extraordinary lives. Be an outlier!

2. Master your mindset — its the psychology of success

If you’ve ever failed at reaching any goal in life, the problem could all be in your mind. That’s how important your mindset is. Your mind is your most powerful force.

The stories you tell yourself and the things you believe about yourself can either prevent change from happening or allow new ideas to blossom.

Carol Dweck, Ph.D., widely regarded as one of the world’s leading researchers in the fields of personality, explains in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success, “For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.”

When you begin to master your mindset, you will be able to make new healthy choices, embrace a positive outlook in life, commit to your goals and actually get them done.

You will most likely finish what you start and start leading the awesome life you expect and crave. It’s within your reach if you can commit to your dreams, goals and visions.

3. Focus on the most important, highest impact habits

Habit is a better predictor of success. To make lasting change, build a system of healthy habits you can sustain.

The quest to become a better version of yourself often feels like a roller coaster ride. It’s hard. And it’s usually so uneven.

To improve your chances of success, find micro-habits that produce results and keep repeating, measuring and improving them until you arrive. Short-term breakthroughs don’t work. Focus on repeated actions, even if you have to start small to make them sustainable.

“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment,” argues Stephen Covey.

“Small steps have no competition in personal development — their unflinching effectiveness embarrasses every other strategy,” writes Stephen Guise.

When you are up for change, you have to start embracing change in small ways. If you want to change your ‘life’ and not be ‘average’ then you have to do something different.

But aim for small, consistent change. Not rapid change.

Small changes that’ll make a big difference. It’s the only way to be successful at habit change.

Self-improvement isn’t a destination.

You’re never done.

Even if you have some success, and you want to maintain it, you have to keep doing the things you were doing that got you that success in the first place.

The idea is to focus on consistent improvements in your life, every day, no matter how small the step you take to be a better you than you were yesterday.

Brett and Kate McKay of The Art of Manliness explain, “Instead of trying to make radical changes in a short amount of time, just make small improvements every day that will gradually lead to the change you want.

Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you’re trying to improve. That’s it. Just 1%.”

Most people want rapid and radical progress — they look for huge wins. But big wins happen rarely. Working on small things consistently is what delivers results and improvement.

Small but sustainable habits won’t break you.

4. Make your mornings easier and better

Take 20 minutes each night to make your mornings easier. Plan your to-do for the next day before the day ends. Prep coffee. Pick out your clothes.
You’ve heard it all before but you’ve heard it all before for a reason. It works! Put them into practice and witness the miracle morning.

Your evening ritual determines the success of your morning routine.
Everything you do just before you go to bed has a lot to do with the time you will be able to wake up without a struggle.

The time before you go to bed is an ideal time to prepare yourself for the morning. Hal Elrod writes in his popular book, Miracle Morning:
“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days — which inevitably create a successful life”

A productive morning is created consciously. You have to work at it. It’s difficult to maintain consistency but to make it work, it takes insane discipline and commitment.

5. Stop doing what average people do

Cut off time-wasting mental addictions like the endless social media scrolling. Get rid of the addiction, not the useful tools. Successful people focus on personal development, life-long learning and building relationships that add value to their lives now and in the future.

Daniel Kahneman, the author of the bestselling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, once said, “Optimistic people play a disproportionate role in shaping our lives. Their decisions make a difference; they are inventors, entrepreneurs, political and military leaders — not average people. They got to where they are by seeking challenges and taking risks.”

Cultivate relationships that challenge you to become a better version of yourself. People who are above average take action despite fear and uncertainty. The easiest way to be average is to follow the crowd. It’s far easiest to be great in a smaller pool. You don’t want that.

Go places where you know you will be at a disadvantage and demand more of yourself. Step outside the line. Find out what works for superior performers — Watch, read, listen, and analyze what they’re doing differently than you.

The secret to success lies in the very thing you’re avoiding. Those things that seem to break you down and humble your spirit.

Seek out discomfort. Be deliberate about doing things that push your limits magnificently. Difficulty helps us to grow. If you want long-term success, stop avoiding what’s hard, and embrace it now. If you’re truly pushing yourself to improve — in any capacity whatsoever — you are uncomfortable.

Andrew Carnegie once said “The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%.”

Devotion to the right things is the difference between those who are living a complete, meaningful life and those who are just reacting to what others require of them.

6. Find your boundary, then push it!

Knowing what you’re going for is what will align your focus and skill. Pick a target and move towards it no matter the obstacles. Aim to push boundaries. Break your own records.

Tackle the fear that has kept you from living your best life. Your mind has a way of rising to the occasion. Challenge it, and it will reward you.
Be good at making time for what matters to you — especially when you don’t feel like it. The fastest way to stop being average is to recognize the possibilities of living with courage and taking action right now in the direction of your dreams. Give yourself permission to pursue what’s important to you.

Rain sums it up perfectly, “The biggest competition is myself. I am not looking to follow others or pull them down. I’m planning to test my own boundaries.”

Don’t just talk about wanting to do things or try a thousand different things and then abandon them. Make something stick.

Become a master at them. Evita Peron once said, “My biggest fear in life is to be forgotten.” No one ever came to this planet to take a back seat, play second fiddle or make it small. Push the impossible.

Life is short. Your time here is so freaking valuable but limited. Do more of what brings out the best in you.

This article originally appeared in Medium.