It happens to all of us at some point.
A metaphorical rug gets yanked out from under you, and your life spirals out of control.
I’ve been there. Oh, have I been there.
In 2016, I was 34 years old and had built what I thought at the time was a successful career in Information Technology. However, little did I know my life would soon descend into chaos.
I suddenly and abruptly lost the job and career that I thought I wanted, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a family to support. Our primary source of income, along with our health insurance and benefits, was gone.
I took it very personal and soon spiraled down a bottomless hole of anxiety and depression. I go into more detail about my experience here: Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life, but to make a long story short, I hit rock bottom. It was either change or continue to free-fall and lose everything, including my life.
I became aware that I was subconsciously laced with a toxic, negative mindset. Fortunately, awareness is the greatest proponent for change, and I needed to change big time. I embarked on a long journey of personal development and self-improvement.
Today, I’m a new man, and I’m able to show up as the best version of myself for my family.
I’m not telling you this as some holier-than-thou brag. I tell you this because if I can do it, so can you.
Here are four small things I did to make big changes in my life.
Evaluate your surroundings.
The great Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” In my experience, no truer statement has ever been spoken.
Take inventory of the people you have around you. The people in your life will transfer their mindset and beliefs to you, and you won’t even realize it.
If you have toxic people in your life who constantly complain and spew negativity, kick ‘em to the curb, family included. And if you can’t completely delete them from your life, try to limit your exposure to them.
I know, it’s a bit harsh and incredibly difficult to do. But, trust me on this one. You can’t advance your life or become the person you were meant to be when you’re constrained under a black cloud of negativity and pessimism. The quickest way to shatter your big dreams is to hang around small-minded people.
Delete the Debbie Downers from your life.
Read or listen to audiobooks/podcasts
Turn off the TV, stop Netflix binging and pick up a book. Reading will instantly upgrade your life.
Before my existential crisis, I had read maybe four books total in my 34 years of life. I was never much of a reader, my mind tends to wander so it’s difficult for me to concentrate and absorb what I’m reading.
However, I forced myself to read for at least 15 minutes per day. It only took a few weeks for reading to become a habit that I thoroughly enjoyed. In three years, I’ve completed nearly 100 books.
Audiobooks make up a large percentage of this number. My daily commute to the office is 35 minutes one-way, which means I spend over an hour in my car five days per week. Instead of wasting this time by listening to the same songs from the 90’s over and over, I began listening to audiobooks.
As far as genre goes, I stick to books that are centered around personal development, or anything that will spark thought.
If you’re looking for a place to start, a few of my favorite personal development books can be found in this article: Must-Read Books for Personal Development.
When I’m in between books or out for a run, I listen to podcasts. Podcasts are all the rage these days, and rightfully so. They are incredible tools for learning and personal growth.
There are a ton of personal development podcasts out there, but here are a few of my favorites: Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod, Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu, The Ed Mylett Show, and The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes.
The Information Age is upon us, and knowledge will soon be the preferred currency. Get you some.
During my unemployment, a long-time friend who works for Vertu Marketing informed me that they needed writers. He suggested that I apply.
Me? A writer? That’s crazy talk.
I hadn’t written anything since my college days and, even back then, it wasn’t something I particularly liked to do. I vaguely remembered being a decent writer when forced to do so but, honestly, I never wanted to write again after graduating. Ever.
Out of desperation, I gave it a go.
And here we are.
Although I didn’t particularly enjoy it at first, I found that writing came natural to me. Writing started out as a side hustle, but soon became a cathartic way to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper (or screen). It was a way for me to channel creative energy that I never knew I had.
Now, I love writing. I feel privileged and incredibly honored to be a part of the Hot Mess Press. I owe a debt of gratitude to my friend who helped me get started on this journey and continues to help me to this day. Ronnie, I can’t thank you enough, my man!
I still struggle at times, and I’m still very much a novice in the writing game, but the point here is that I discovered a creative outlet. Contrary to popular belief, creativity is not exclusive to a few lucky individuals. Every human being is blessed with the ability to be creative.
Whether it be writing, art, music, design, whatever. Find and cultivate your creative side. It may take you somewhere you never thought possible.
What if I told you that by practicing an easy-to-follow routine you could lose weight, feel better, AND save money? Sign me up, am I right? No, this is not a too-good-to-be-true, cheesy sales pitch. Those are actually a few of the benefits I’ve experienced with intermittent fasting.
I’ve practiced intermittent fasting for over a year now and it has changed my life, physically and mentally.
Whenever I bring up intermittent fasting, I find that a lot of people are confused as to what it actually is. It’s been labeled as a fad diet, but it’s not a diet at all. It’s an eating pattern. Intermittent fasting is exactly what the name implies: fasting for intermittent periods of time.
The word fasting comes off as a bit harsh. I mean, lets face it, fasting is basically just another word for starving yourself. However, if you time it right, fasting intermittently is actually very easy to do and the benefits are incredible.
In my routine, I fast for 16 hours at a time. I only eat between the hours of 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm. Basically, I just skip breakfast. The pros are too numerous to name here, but after practicing intermittent fasting for over a year, I feel better physically and mentally than I have in my entire life.
I’ve written a couple of articles detailing the pros, cons, and how-to’s of intermittent fasting. If you’re interested, you can check them out here: The Easy Way to Lose Weight and Intermittent Fasting: Fad or For Real?
Like anything else, intermittent fasting is not for everyone. However, your thing doesn’t have to be intermittent fasting. Seemingly minor changes in your diet, like cutting out soft drinks or eating more vegetables, can lead to massive changes in your health and overall well-being.
If you eat like crap, you’re going to feel like crap. That’s just facts. You can’t become the best version of yourself without putting your health at the forefront.
Health is wealth. Without it you have nothing.
Your life is waiting
One of my favorite quotes is “life happens for us, not to us,” but I never truly believed it until I experienced it first hand.
My rock-bottom was definitely trying to say the least, but now I can look back and see that it happened for my benefit, and I am eternally grateful. Had it not occurred, I would not be the man I am today and I would have never taken the time to pursue this whole writing thing.
Success is subjective. I used to think success was having a prestigious career with a lot of money. But, I’ve learned that success is becoming the best version of yourself. Success is showing up for others. It’s about becoming the person you were meant to be to facilitate the reason you were put on this earth.
My goal is to use my struggles to help others who are going through the same thing.
You may be at a low point right now. It may feel like your world is falling apart. But, it’s okay if we fall apart sometimes. Tacos fall apart and who doesn’t love them? Trust me, you can climb out of the ditch.
You’re not a victim of circumstance. You are in control of your life. 90% of life is how we respond to our experiences.
These were just a few easy to implement habits that I used to change my life. I’m nothing special, I’m just a regular dude.
If I can do it, so can you.