life change

7 Tools to Radically Transform Your Life

Over the last 5 years I’ve made some radical improvements in my life.  I’ve reached my financial goals, found an amazing life partner, built confidence, and become much happier.

How did I do all this?

I read a lot of books and experimented with over a dozen different techniques to change my life.

And today I’m sharing with you the 7 most effective tools and how I use them:

Affirmations

An affirmation is a statement about you that you say to yourself.  For example, “I am very patient.”  Write out your affirmations and say them every day with feeling and belief, otherwise it won’t be effective.  When you practice this, your affirmations start to become deeply embedded in your subconscious mind.  Do it for a couple of weeks and you’ll see how effective it can be.

Visualization

Most people leave the vast power of their imagination largely untapped.  Our imagination is what allows us to create what we want in our life.  Here’s how I use visualization.

Imagine yourself in a particular situation and what you want your ideal performance or behavior to be like in that situation.  It might be at your job, at a party, or anywhere.  Now imagine yourself doing, saying, and acting exactly how you want to.  Imagine it in vivid detail, noting what you see, hear, and feel.

Visualization works because it tricks your brain into already having had the experience that you want to have.  This creates past experiences as if you’ve actually had them, making it easier to do these things in real life.

Journal

Even though journaling isn’t a sexy idea, when used properly it can be extremely effective.  Here are two powerful ways that I journal.

The first way is by stream of consciousness.  You can write candidly about any issue, problem, or situation.  Assuming that you keep your journal hidden and private, no one is going to judge you.  Unlike talking to even the most trusted friend, your journal is a safe space to say anything.  It will greatly increase your awareness.

The second and more effective way to write in your journal, is to ask yourself specific, guided questions.  It’s the questions we ask ourselves that determine our future.  For example, if you want to be successful but lack confidence or doubt yourself, ask yourself, “What are 5 reasons that I’m going to be successful?”

Affirmative Prayer

Don’t be turned off by the term “prayer” — it’s spiritual, not religious.

An affirmative prayer is believing that what you want to happen has already occurred.  I like to do my affirmative prayers like this.

“Thank you Universe for having already given me an amazing week at work, a ton of joy in my relationship, and happiness every day this week.”

Not only am I believing that what I want has already happened, but I’m expressing gratitude for it (see about gratitude below).

Overcoming Limiting Beliefs

The trickiest thing about limiting beliefs is finding them.  As entrepreneur Dane Maxwell has shown, you find a limiting belief by first asking yourself 3 questions.

What do I want to accomplish?
Why haven’t I accomplished it yet?
What beliefs are stopping me?

Write down your answers.  Now you’re ready to “undo” these beliefs.  The way to do this is to answer Byron Katie’s four questions from what she calls “The Work”:

1.  Is this belief true?
2.  Can I absolutely know that it is true?
3.  How do I feel when I believe this thought?
4.  What would my life be like if I couldn’t believe this thought?

Meditation

There are numerous different types of meditation and ways to practice it.  The best way to start is by learning about zazen (Zen meditation), which is basically counting your breaths as you inhale and exhale.  If you spend only 5 minutes meditating every day, you will greatly increase your awareness.

Gratitude

As Michael Beckwith says, when we practice gratitude we train our minds to look for what we have to be happy and thankful for, rather than what to complain about.  This is the most powerful tool for when you’re in a bad mood or just feeling unhappy.

The best way to practice gratitude is to start a gratitude journal and simply list all of the things you’re grateful for, every day.  I started with listing just 5 or 10 things that I was grateful for, and it took me some serious thinking to come up with the list.  Now I can list 50 or 100 things that I’m grateful for!  It has completely transformed my life.

Tom Casano is the founder of lifecoachspotter.com.  Get answers to common questions like What is a life coach? and How do I find a life coach?  Learn about how a life coach can transform your life in just a few months.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    These are all great practices. Some of them seem to lend themselves to one another, even bleeding into each other. The common themes seem to be self-reflection, writing, and prayer/meditation.

    • Tom Casano

      Great insight Dan!

      I didn’t even realize that until you said it. I suppose self-reflection and self-understanding is what I’ve needed in my life to make the really big changes.

      What about you, do you practice any of these things? What other “tools” do you use?

  • Aaron Corder

    I am definitely going to implement as many of these as I can. Thank you for sharing some of your methods. Sometimes its easy for us to see an area to work on, but a lot harder to know just how to work on it.

    • Tom Casano

      Awesome Aaron, glad you find it helpful. :)

      Let me know if you have any questions. I totally agree, it took me a lot of trial and error to figure out how to use these tools the most effectively, and I’m still learning. I could explain in more detail, but I didn’t want to write a 10-page report, though maybe at some point I will expand in greater detail.

      In terms of implementing, definitely experiment, or maybe it’d be best to just start with 1 or 2 of them. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself. :)

  • MK Slagel

    I absolutely LOVE journaling. Some people are afraid of it, some people are worried what people will think, some people don’t know where to start, but regardless of what people do or think, journaling is one of the greatest ways to get your thoughts together and be able to go back and revisit them if you lose your way.

    • Tom Casano

      I feel the same way! :) I often find that it clarifies things for me, because when thoughts are swimming around in my head, I’m somehow less aware of them. When I write it down, it’s much more clear to me.

      What things do you journal on? What do you write in — a notebook or on the computer or where? :)

  • http://goalsetting-workshop.com/blog/ Jorge Blanco

    These are all really wonderful and very effective tools. I suggest you start with journaling because that’s where you can also start with affirmation, affirmative prayer, gratitude, and even visualization. :)

    • Tom Casano

      Great, Thanks Jorge! :)

  • Christina

    Service is one additional way to achieve change

    • Tom Casano

      Great point Christina! Thanks for sharing :) I love that in service we think about others rather than just ourselves. We also realize how good we have it, sort of like gratitude.

      What changes have you achieved with service? :)

  • J.L.Fairchild

    This is stunning and beautifully simplified. I too am a Life-Coach. I also practise and teach Meditation and Energy Healing. So many people wish to live better lives and be better people yet keep falling back into their same old habits. Habits don’t disappear, they need to be replaced for a change to occur. I feel that by following these super simple seven steps :) one can definitely achieve miracles, even if it is one step at a time. Research on prayer has proven that it is not dependant on being religious, it depends on whether or not you believe that you already have that what you desire, and that having gratitude for what you have is key. And to Christina, I believe that Service is integral in living a balanced, happy and healthy life. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Tom Casano

      Thanks J.L.! I agree about habits. They take time to change. When I stop practicing one of these techniques, I fall right back to where I was pretty quickly. :)

      I love your point our prayer. I was not aware of that research, but that clarifies it — Be thankful for what we already have and believe that we already have what we want.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion J.L.! :)

  • http://www.theconfidencelounge.com/ Aaron Morton

    Hi,

    I’m glad to hear that these points have made an impact in your life. I will say though that all of the points you have made will go towards altering the PERCEPTION of someones life but wouldn’t necessarily change their life.

    In accordance with altering the perceptions of someones world has to be the act of doing something different that is not reliant on the universe doing anything but the individual putting one foot in front of the other and moving in a way where they can have new experiences.

    Transforming a life involves building up new representations in their mind based on experiences that confirm their newly tweaked worldview.

    All of what you have said is incredibly important in the initial stages (aside from affirmations) which is then solidified neurologically through acting in the world.

    Thanks
    Aaron Morton
    The Confidence Lounge

    • Tom Casano

      Great input Aaron! Yes, great point, these are all the initial steps of change — the mental perceptions, though not necessarily the actions. However, when we change our point of view of things, doesn’t that create room for new actions, for new patterns of behavior?

      I agree that for more impactful changes we must take action. To do that, we have to set goals, stay accountable, and celebrate our successes.

      What do YOU believe we need to do to take action?

      • http://www.theconfidencelounge.com/ Aaron Morton

        Hi Tom,
        Thanks for your reply. Regarding what i believe people need to take action, it can be as simply as asking ‘what is the very next small step I can take’, or require a massive shift in an individuals experience in order to get them to move.

        If someone becomes inspired to change they normally experience an initial burst in motivation. From that point they have a window in which to take the first action. In this window, this abstract idea of their wish to change has to become more concrete and specific in order to reveal a strategy for them to get moving.

        A number of the suggestions you have made are designed to elicit a good feeling and at times an insight. This can provide the imputes to move but bear in mind the very fact an individual is looking to transform their life would suggest that they have spent a great deal of time having a life they don’t want. As a result there is still a habitual pattern running in their neurology linked to that old way of living.

        This is the very reason why creating a concrete strategy of specifically how they want to live instead & what has to happen in order for that to be a reality, is necessary.

        As you know being a coach, one of our roles as a coach is to facilitate the individual in making that change and inviting them to see how their cognitive bias may be affecting them in ways they hadn’t noticed.

        Hope that helps
        Aaron Morton

        The Confidence Lounge.

        • Tom Casano

          Awesome response Aaron. Thanks for the insights. Yes, I totally agree with what you’re saying. I like that: “What is the next small step I need to take.”

          Creating a concete action plan is definitely the way to go.

          I appreciate your insights! :)

  • dave

    Life Partner? What the hell is that? A cat, a dog? Positive thinking is positively wrong.

    • Tom Casano

      Haha, Dave :) I meant my serious girlfriend who I will be marrying in the near future, silly. ;)

  • Morgan Decker

    Being grateful and expressing gratitude will change your entire outlook on life and keep you positive, motivated, and focused to put 110% in everything you do. I have a dream journal, and when I wake up in the morning and jot down my dream I make a list of 5 things I’m grateful for, and then make another list of 5 at night before I go to sleep.

    • Tom Casano

      I like your style Morgan! ;) Doing it while waking up and before going to sleep must be quite incredible.

      What kind of things do you usually write down that you’re grateful for? :)

      • Morgan Decker

        Thanks, Tom! It definitely helps me wake up in the morning and go to bed at night! I usually write about smaller things like something I accomplished that day, or a good conversation I had with someone in the evening, and like to write about what I get to do that day in the morning to get my priorities straight and start on a positive note!

        • Tom Casano

          That’s awesome Morgan :) What kind of effect has gratitude had on your life?

          I feel like soooooo many people have no idea the incredible impact that a daily practice of gratitude can have on their life. I should be practicing it more often ;)

  • Ada Hung

    Meditation is the best part in giving yourself some time to think and realize what are the things you wanted to change in your life or what direction you wanted to go. Yoga has change my life, for the better, in so many levels. And I also keep a journal of my daily experiences, it’s a place where I can rant and pour out my emotions. Love your blog!

    You might be interested in my blog too 5 Ways Yoga Changed My Life

    • Tom Casano

      Thanks Ada! I like your blog post as well. Yoga is incredible and I’d like to make more time in my life to practice it. It feels so amazing and good- physically, mentally, and spiritually.

      What kind of yoga do you do?

  • Rynessa Cutting

    I know there are people who would find you crazy for affirming things to yourself, but I am a huge believer in the power of the word. I talk positively to myself all the time and I will vouch that it works. Who says you can’t persuade yourself? :)

    • Tom Casano

      :) I love it!

      What kinds of things do you tell yourself Rynessa?

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    I have found great value from affirmative prayer and meditation. They really can get us in the right mindset about life and the our future. Great thoughts Tom!

    • Tom Casano

      Thanks Dan! I’m glad to finally have met someone who has also done affirmative prayer! Wow!! :)

      • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

        Your welcome. Sweet, glad we have something in common. Talk to you later.

        • Tom Casano

          :)

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  • BLWig

    Most Definitely True

    • Tom Casano

      Thanks BLWig!

  • http://twitter.com/CosmicRift Brian Smithers

    Would you be so kind to share what kind of books you read that inspired you to think like this?