I have yet to meet someone who does not want to change something about his or her life – no one is 100% happy with themselves or their lives. Whether they’re seeking that illusory goal of ‘financial freedom’ or the utopia of the ‘perfect job’ (there’s no such thing, by the way), or they’re fed up with the way they look, or what they weigh – there’s always something that we all want to change about our lives. The bizarre thing is that, even though most people are aching to change their lives, the vast majority of people are change-averse – or even suffer from a full-blown fear of change.

We are creatures of habit. That is how we are built. By the age of two months – yes, months, not years – we fall prey to what psychologists call habituation. We get used to what we’ve already experienced and we pay little or no attention to it thereafter – the novelty has worn off. And by the age of two or three we have become aware of the dangers of seeking out new adventures, new situations, new people. By the time we’ve ‘matured’ (and I’m not sure that that’s the right word given the kind of behaviour we see every day) into adults, we’ve become enshrined in our own little cocoon. We call it our life – but, in fact, it just about passes for existence.

One of the key consequences of habituation is that we stop paying attention to the things that we do regularly in our lives. However, sooner or later, everything becomes routine – so we end up paying attention to nothing. Crucially, research suggests that your ability to be happy and successful – and, here, I’m assuming that the changes that you want to see in your life would lead to your happiness and success – is directly related to your ability to pay attention.

The result of our inability to pay attention, the result of our repetitive behaviour and the impact of our understanding that there is inherent danger in new or unfamiliar things boxes us in to an existence that is a pale shadow of the life that we could be living. But ask the next person that you meet how they’re doing and the chances are that they’ll cheerily reply “Not too bad” or “Not so bad”! In my view, not too bad is not good enough – what is the point of going through life in a kind of comfort zone that you’re not too uncomfortable enough in to do anything about?

The point is that you want to change your life but you’re afraid of change! Now, there’s no reason that you should feel upset about or trapped by this conundrum – because it is the human condition, it is the way we are. But that doesn’t mean that it is the way you must stay. Why should you settle for an existence when the joy and excitement of a life truly lived are before your very eyes, if you’d go to the trouble of opening them? I’ve already mentioned that, as normal adults, we pay attention to nothing. I also mentioned that paying attention is correlated to your happiness. You’ve got to re-learn the skills that you used, as a child, to pay attention to what is actually going on here and now.

You know the old expression that you should stop and smell the roses? Well, that’s exactly what you’ve got to do. The routine of daily life numbs the mind – we end up wandering through a senseless existence. In order to break that mindless cycle, you’ve got to come to your senses. I mean this literally – you really do have to stop and really smell the roses. You’ve got to really stop yourself in your tracks – get off that normal train that’s going nowhere – and discover the reality that is happening before your very eyes. You’ve got to see the opportunities that a numbed mind cannot see. You’ve got to feel the heartfelt happiness of a special moment that the normal mind believes to be routine. You’ve got to wake up.

When – or if – you do wake up, you will realize that there is no such thing as fear and that the change you want in your life is something that you should openly look for in the detail of your everyday life. In finding it, you will realize how easy it is to actually change your life. What do I mean by this? Well, your life at present is the composite result of every little thing that you’ve done, half done or mindlessly not really done at all – stretching all the way back to your late childhood. All these tiny twists and turns of daily life have got you to now. The point is it’s the little things that you do that will change your life – not some big awe-inspiring, frighten-the-life-out-of-you daring change that you have to make. In other words, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

So, if you want to change your life, here’s a simple pointer. Make small changes first. Small changes disrupt your habituation and require that you begin to pay attention to what you’re doing – however routine you might have thought what you’re doing to be. For example, you could brush your teeth tonight with the hand that you don’t normally use. Mess with your mind, your mind has been messing with you all your adult life – and it’s got you to a far from ideal place. If you come to your senses, start paying attention to the little things in your life, you will find yourself effortlessly – yes, I said effortlessly! – beginning to make the bigger changes that you would normally otherwise fear. And once you start changing, you place yourself in a whole new world that, though there all the time, will open your eyes to life’s possibilities and opportunities.

Author's Bio: 

Willie Horton has been enabling his clients live their dream since he launched is now acclaimed two-day Personal Development Seminars all the way back in 1996. His clients include top leaders in major corporations such as Pfizer, Deloitte, Nestle, Merrill Lynch, KPMG, G4S and Allergan together with everyone from the stay-at-home parent to sports-people. An Irish ex-banker and published author he now lives in the French Alps from where he travels the world as a much sought after motivational speaker and mentor. All his work, his weekly Free Personal Development Ezine videos and articles, together with his highly-acclaimed Personal Development Workshops are online at Gurdy.Net