The Critical First Step to Changing Your Life Today

If you could change one thing about your life or current situation, what would it be? What’s the one thing that would make you feel healthier, happier, or more complete?

More importantly, what’s holding you back from making that change?

Most of us know exactly what we would like to be different about our lives. The challenge typically comes down to actually making the necessary changes to get us there.

Moreover, there are changes our lives desperately need, some of which we are woefully unaware. These are the changes we try to ignore until we are smacked over the head with the consequences.

Disease, debt, divorce…all sorts of pain and suffering.

Like so many others in my life, my friend, Alex Blackwell found himself on the brink of the latter several years back. Consumed by his past and oblivious to his crumbling relationships, Alex found himself at a major crossroad.

Change or lose your family.

He made choices and mistakes that nearly cost him his wife and children. He had fallen into an endless cycle of defeatism initiated by events in the past he couldn’t control.

Today, Alex is happily married and his relationships with his children are stronger than ever. He loves his work and spends his days sharing his gifts in meaningful ways, helping others overcome life’s challenges and develop loving relationships with others, with themselves, and with their God.

What happened?

What changed in Alex’s life that allowed him to overcome these challenges and begin living a life of true peace and happiness?

The point is–something changed. Alex made the choice to change. He made the choice to take responsibility for his own life–to change his thoughts and actions in ways that better served him.

We all know change can be very difficult, but at some level, we also know that change is necessary to grow. If there’s anything in your life that you want to be different from how it is right now, change must happen.

In his newest book release, Saying Yes to Change, Alex shares his inspiring story of transformation–from nearing the end of his rope to saving his marriage to living a happy and meaningful life.

It’s a story of challenges–similar to the ones we all face at some point in our lives–when we reach a low point, or when everything seems to be crashing down around us.

As you probably know, we often react using the same patterns and habits that brought us to these dark pits in the first place. We make excuses, we blame others, withdrawal from loved ones, and curse the universe for our misfortunes–anything to avoid taking responsibility for our lives.

How we choose to act in the face of these challenges makes all the difference in the world.

It’s not necessarily about changing who you are, it’s about changing your perspective. It’s about recognizing and embracing who you truly are in all of your beauty. It’s about seeing what really matters in life and allowing that to become your guide.

This is what Saying Yes to Change, is all about.

Beyond his own story, Alex provides the tools and inspiration from his experiences to help you overcome whatever challenges you may currently be facing by embracing change, developing meaningful and long-lasting relationships, and bridging the gap between “where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.”

So what about that critical first step to changing your life today?

That was my question, too. To answer, I’ll turn you over to Alex himself. (Many thanks to Alex for his heartfelt and inspiring responses in this brief Q & A session!) 

ME: Alex, I know you cover this in more detail in your book, but what would you say is the first step towards positive change for someone who feels completely trapped and overwhelmed in the face of a current challenge? What is the first step in transforming the seemingly impossible into not just possible, but into reality?

ALEX: The best place to start is by acknowledging what needs to be changed or be healed. We summon the courage to transform our lives only when we accept our reality and then see what our reality is costing us.

In my book, I talk about how my wife and I stood at the brink of divorce. It wasn’t until I become painfully aware of my situation that I found the courage to change my actions. I was motivated to transform the seemingly impossible! My first step to change had less to do with willpower and more to do with the fact that I was self-motivated to change because I wanted to save my marriage. 

ME: Have you reached a point in your life where you feel like change is no longer necessary, where everything is just as you would like it to be or good enough? Or do you feel that to a certain extent, change (or growth) is always necessary?

ALEX: I think the journey to change is a path I will walk the rest of my life.

For me, the best approach is to use “ing” words, not “ed” words. For example, I’m learning to be a confident, secure, self-loving man is different than saying I have learned how to a be a confident, secure, self-loving man. Because on the days when I’m not feeling confident, instead of feeling like I’ve failed, I just ask myself what a confident man would do, and then I would try to do more of that.

I plan to live for many more years. During this time, there’s more I want to learn. There’s no question I will continue to grow as I continue to learn – and I welcome that!

Bring on change because the alternative is not very attractive for me.

ME: Finally, after all that you’ve been through, and of all the lessons you’ve learned and shared on your blog and recent book, how would you sum up your advice or wisdom into a sentence or two? In other words, what do you see as your message to the world? 

ALEX: Creating positive change begins with discovering one powerful truth: You cannot change or heal what you do not acknowledge.

Alex Blackwell is the Founder of The BridgeMaker. His first book, Saying Yes to Change: 10 Timeless Life Lessons for Creating Positive Change is now available on Amazon. Connect with Alex on Facebook.

Please feel free to ask any questions for me or Alex in the comments and be sure to check out Saying Yes to Change! :)

 Image credit: Dawn Perry

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