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The Pursuit of Happiness

Ten Steps for Creating a Positive Change in Your Life and Career

Most humans are creatures of habit. We find things to do and get comfortable. Slowly, over time, our brains hardwire themselves and release chemicals to crave and repeat certain behaviors. However, our brains have amazing plasticity, meaning that by focusing and working hard we can continue learning complex new things throughout our lives. We must remain deliberate,

active, and engaged to make change happen and stick long term.

Throughout millions of years of evolution we have become less and less prone to take risk as we enjoy more and more of the comforts of modern life. Let’s not forget, we are designed to walk miles a day, run from and fight predators, work hard to seek peaceful shelter, and then sleep in short intervals.

As this New Year starts I ask myself, “What is it that you have wanted to do but, are afraid to try?” Right now just about everyone I know is in a constant state of panic and questioning about the future. Very few people are making big plans and implementing the ideas to make their lifelong dreams reality. Could this be for fear of failure or for a desire to latch on to the comfort and security we currently have? What dream keeps us up at night? How do we take the leap to change? Spontaneity should not be frowned upon. Make a plan, analyze the various outcomes, and move. One of the biggest problems facing the world today is a lack of decisiveness. Find your passion and desire inside and move toward that goal.

There are some valuable ideas I have developed along my journey that have helped me to remain positive and kept me growing, evolving, and succeeding in spite of most any situation. First, I put it all in perspective. If I take on a new challenge to change, then I ask myself what is the worst that will happen? I weigh the consequences and then either decide to do or do not do.

In the back of my head everyday I think about the roughly three billion people around the world living on less than two dollars a day and remember that I am fortunate enough not to be one of them. However, if living on two dollars a day is the worst thing that can happen, then let’s take the risk. All we really need is food and shelter.

I have failed more times than I can count, but I would rather take the risk and fail than stand idle and wait for a sure thing every time. People that succeed make a habit of doing things that normal people feel uncomfortable attempting. We are people with ambition, willing to change to meet the challenges that we both set and face.

Through hard work, education, and dedication we can change most any circumstance. Here are my thoughts on creating a path for change and success in your life:

1. Analyze where you are and what you want to accomplish. Write down what you want to achieve or change, and use positive words. Mentally, visualize your desires, and prepare by talking positively to yourself and others about what you are going to accomplish.

2. Internalize your commitment to your goal and make an action plan of the steps that can make it a reality. Set a precise goal and lay in specific dates, times, and numbers from which to measure your achievement or failure. Give each one a priority. What resources are required to make this change happen? Make an action plan for acquiring the resources necessary.

3. Write down what your goal will accomplish for you, your team, or family. Prepare your mind and body to make a change.

4. Share the action plan with someone on your team whom you trust. Set the daily steps and benchmarks that you’re going to take to turn your vision into reality. Allow this confidant or team to reward and reprimand you for your efforts, after having set your rules up front.

5. The more you talk about your goal with people the more accountable you become to achieving it. Share your desires with many people.

6. Take action and make it happen. Keep a daily journal and review what you accomplished or didn’t accomplish. Be proud or embarrassed of yourself. Verbally re-state you desired goal and outcome daily.

7. Meet with your support team and discuss progress and steps necessary to continue to change. If you falter, then restate how important the change is to you. But don’t dwell on mishaps. Instead, make a new plan to accomplish the goal and move forward.

8. Maintain a dedicated daily time frame in which you work toward the goal.

9. Reward yourself for hitting benchmarks.

10. Achieve the change you desired and celebrate. Set a new goal!

I was taught that every person that can work, should work hard, stay engaged, and take care of their body and mind. We are challenged daily to not only get out of bed and go to work, but also to make our dreams reality. Most of us are led by our own accord. We decide who we want to be everyday we get out of bed. We decide whether to change with a new business venture, by being physically fit, quitting a bad habit, or starting a new good habit. I challenge each of us to change for the better, daily. There isn’t a guide book to make your dreams reality. Your 12-pound head and 12-ounce heart are all it takes to start making your dreams come true. I wish you all the best on your journey.

Jeremy Burkhardt ([email protected]) is president of Riverside, California-based SpeakerCraft.