It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Life

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
Maria Robinson

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
Karen Lamb

I didn’t really try to improve my life very much until I was 25. Before that I mostly just moved along in the same old rut.

Since then (I’m 32 now) I have tripled my effectiveness, lost more than 30 pounds, adopted a more optimistic view of my life and raised my own self-esteem greatly.

I have learned to simplify my life and to inject a lot more happiness into my days and years.

Why am telling you this?

Well, the point here is not to brag. My point is that you are not stuck permanently in the life you have now. Even if it may feel that way.

It may sometimes feel like you should have started to change your life earlier, when you were a kid or in your teens or early twenties.

Or that you should have been born into those right circumstances right away as you came to this earth. It may feel like it is too late now.

You may look to your past and tell yourself: “if only had done this or that then things would have been different and better now”. That may be true but you cannot really change the past unless you got a time-machine.

And reliving the past in your mind does not change today and this week and month. It just has you hooked on mental reruns that keep you in your regretfilled rut.

It isn’t too late for you to improve something in your life that you really want to change. No matter what age you are at.

Over the past 5+ years I have received thousands of emails from readers of all ages – between 14 and 72 – that have told me about how they have changed their life in a positive way.

I understand that you may not be able to change your life in any way you want right now.

There are real limits in most people’s lives and personal development isn’t magic that can fix just about anything quickly and easily.

But you can do what you can with what you have where you are right now. Start there.

Make a small change if that is what is possible. From that small change and success you will gain confidence and you can build upon that to make more and perhaps even bigger changes.

4 steps that will make it easier for you to get started

1. Think about what you really want to change.

Maybe you already know it. It could be your social life, your confidence, your health or money situation. Or take a few days to think about it.

Take time to focus on this because if you really want something then it becomes a whole lot easier to keep going.

Or let your curiousness guide you. Ask yourself: what would I like to explore in life now?

Find one or a few areas to improve or habits you would like to incorporate into your life. Write them down.

2. Choose one thing or habit to focus on for now.

If you have found several things or habits you would like to focus on then choose to focus on just one at a time. Spreading yourself too thin pretty much always leads to failure because life tends to get in the way.

If you have a regular life then you’ll probably won’t have the time and energy to change three things at once even though you really hope and think you can.

If you like, choose a theme for a year and focus just on that. I have chosen themes in the past like health and social skills.

Then put most of your efforts for 365 days into creating new habits and routines in just that one area.

3. Take small steps.

This is very important. The feeling that something is too big or scary or difficult is one of the most common things to hold people back from taking action at all.

On the other hand, people also tend to overestimate their own willpower.

The plan sounds so good in your head but when you execute it then you can’t really take as much action or move as fast as you thought.

Focusing on just one thing at a time and doing it in small steps may feel kind of like something a child would do.

I have thought that was the case – like so many other people have  in the past – and then fallen flat on my nose after a few days or weeks of trying to change too many things too quickly.

Instead, ask yourself: what is one small step I can take to move forward in this situation?

I use that question pretty much every day in some way and it has been immensely helpful over the last couple of years.

4. Ask yourself: What is one small step I can take right now to get ball rolling ?

Don’t get stuck in planning. Or thinking that you will get started tomorrow or next week.

Get the ball rolling instead.

Do that today by just taking one small and practical step towards what you want.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nathan Rice

    Changing your life is treating the symptoms rather than the cause. Your life is a natural manifestation of your inner self and will. Change yourself and your life will transform itself automatically.

    Most people are who they have been told to be. You are given a name, a social class, a peer group, religious beliefs (these run deep), cultural traditions, ad nauseum. Often, when we try to change or assert our independence, we merely end up trading one set of instructions for another.

    You have the freedom to be whoever you want. If you can imagine a person who is truly happy and lives a heroic life, you have the ability to become him or her. All that you need to do is realize that you are not your past; you are not who other people think you are; you are responsible, and you have the power to change. Stop trying to escape blame. You don’t need to feel bad because you aren’t what other people want you to be.

  • Thank you for valuable tips on how to get “unstuck.”
    As long as there is an easy, practical way to move forward there is always hope.
    Sally Marks

  • I agree completely. I am going on thirty eight , have two teenagers and I am reinventing myself. I like how you simplify the steps and make not so insurmountable! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Thanx a lot for writing such an inspirational article.very well explained and motivating to start doing something for yourself from this moment onwards.Very Impressive.thanx savleena

  • Di

    Thanks for a nice post Henrik. I like the quote of the yoga guru Bikram Choudury: “It is never too late, you are never too old, never too sick or never too fat, to start from scratch again.” :)
    I am 32 and recently started on improving my life. I’ve tried before, but this is the first time I can actually feel and see the progress. It is wonderful to be able to read inspiring blogs like yours. Med venlig hilsen, Di.

  • This is a good way to get started, and I think it is essential that people do everything they can to assure that they go all the way through number 4. It is far too easy to get stuck in the planning phase when we are contemplating change. Before you know it, you’ve spent months or years just planning how much better you are going to be. Promise yourself that you will take at LEAST one small action per day toward your goal of changing.

  • Great post Henrik:
    It really never is to late to change your life no matter what stage of life you are in. I use the 25 Rules of Action to help me with any struggles

  • Rudolph

    Thank you so much Henrik and many of you:) I’ve been feeling miserable about myself, my life and how come I couldn’t change myself…! Just like what Mike said above, I am exactly like that, there are too many things that I wanna do, to change! I thought I did, for the past 10 years, but none of them turned out to be successful! And I have a feeling that I am drowning deeper and deeper in quicksand, at first I thought I could escape 10 years ago, but 10 years later, I am still the same, no…worse! It gets to a point where I have come to believe that I have lost the ability to do that…stick to a routine, make a change, so that I could become who I want to be, or at least not what I used to be!

    But today, when I was just browsing around on the net hoping to find new insight, I found this article. Thank you Henrik for putting the action in such simple steps and thank you Mike for listing such a concrete example which hits me right on my head. Now, my challenge will be, from the zillion things that I want to do(and having been doing), or things that I want to change in my life, I have to find the very one thing that I need to focus on this year, starting today!

  • I’ve certainly been guilty of being in a “regretful rut”. At times, I can’t help but fantasize about the present me going back and talking to a 13 year old me. My teenage years would’ve beens much different! Ahhhh, I can dream can’t I???
    But yeah, it does no good to wonder “what if”, or “if I could go back”. I try my best to focus on the present and how I can continue to change for the better. I started studying positive thinking 9 years ago at the age of 22 and it completely turned my life around. I take what I’ve learned both good and bad and pass it along to my nephews and other adolescents that could use some guidance.

  • Yep, great as usual, I like Karen Lamb -quote. And taking small steps every single day, that’s really proven to be the most important thing for me these days! I’m also here to show people my new website where I’m collecting people’s dreams ;) Go check it out, it’s cool! The link:
    Share your dream. Live your dream

  • It is never too late to make any changes, and at any age. Most people are afraid of big changes, so it would be a good idea to make gradual changes. This would be easier, and there will be less resistance from your subconscious mind, and from people close to you.

    Making big changes might be inconvenient at first, but you can quickly adjust to the new situation. I know this, because I made such changes. I left my job, which I had for many years, to do something completely different, and also moved with my family to a new town.

    Making changes on the personal level are no less important, than making external changes. Developing willpower, concentration, kindness and forgiveness, learning meditation and becoming peaceful are all possible, at any time or age. It would be foolish to wait for “the best time”, or “appropriate circumstances”.

    The four steps you suggested, Henrik, are practical and useful steps.

  • Pierre

    Thanks for the article. I just feeling so stuck due to the lack of social life. Well it sounds overcomeable for must, but I just can´t make it connect with people leading to a relationship. Pretty alone all free days. I have no problem talking to people in my department and so, listen to people and take attention. But I´ve realized that I lack “social stamina”, persistent to contact people after being “denied” to socialize with them when proposing something. I´m quite radical in a sense, very entusiastic when I arrived and took initiative but no I do not, thesis is taking more time, no much money left for social expenses, but the most serious is that my dairy life reminded as the one at home. Im not alone because Im in a new country, its because I lack essential social skills to have social life on my spare time. You can never escape from yourself, and all this issue has more or less been 8 years back. I really detest myself so being so useless in such essential part of life, hate that. Thanks again for the article

  • Pierre

    And yeah, I dont blame anyone for this, I know its my responsability to make things happen. It so natural for other people just to have social life they dont even need to think about, I get so mad in mind that I cant. I have that belief because it has been like this almost a decade, or maybe I just have wrong concept of what socializing is and what friendship is. I know I´m paralized when taking initiative right know…

  • Great article! Also this is a great blog with many usefull information. What you told in article about life is so true… you did a god job.Thanks.