Take action to improve your life

All the rest of what I teach is meaningless unless you take action to improve your life.


There are 3 “marriages” in Life: the marriage with your work, the marriage of love and the marriage with yourself.

We can fulfil our potential in each of these areas by paying attention to 4 key principles:

  1. Make the most of what is special about you.
  2. Overcome your inner obstacles to fulfilling your potential.
  3. Learn to feel the support of Life itself.
  4. Take action to improve your life.

Take action to improve your life

Your inner psychological and spiritual work is only valuable if you express it in your life.

Paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw:

The reasonable man and woman adapt to the world; the unreasonable ones try to adapt the world to themselves. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man and woman.

We can start to re-orientate our lives around our Life-Calling, our Vision for our Life, skills and values.

 There are 4 essential methods for changing your life:

  1. Create more well-being in your life
  2. Create positive new habits
  3. Life Planning
  4. Start small, then review.

1. Create more well-being

What makes you feel at one with life? What puts you in the zone so you feel happy and aligned in yourself?

And don’t say alcohol, dope, random sex and other disconnected activities. These are ways to avoid pain rather than heal pain.

What about time in nature, deep conversations with a friend, cuddles, your favourite sport, dancing, listening to music, meditation, mindfulness, the professional activity that makes your heart sing?

Anything that has a mindfulness component or is completely absorbing will do the trick.

My daily practices include meditation, 10 minutes of yoga and intimate conversations (and a hug) with my girlfriend or a friend.  I am aiming to take exercise every day but can’t quite call it a daily practice yet.

During the week I dance twice a week when I am in London, go to the gym and walk on Hampstead Heath.

Monthly, I try to get out of London for a long country walk.

What creates well-being in you? How can you do more of this? Research shows that well-being practices not only feel good at the time, but have a lasting effect: the well-being improves your decision-making, social skills, risk-taking and is likely to make you more successful in your endeavours.

 2.  Create a new positive habit

 Good habits improve your life. Pick something that you would like to make into a habit, apply the following principles:

  1. Make the habit short and easy to do. My yoga practice can be a one-minute exercise. There is NO reason not to do it 6 days a week. Of course, if I have time, it extends to 10 or 15 minutes.
  2. Be realistic about how often you can do it. Less is better; you can always increase it later. My yoga practice is scheduled for 6 days a week so that on days when I have very early starts or urgent agendas I am not breaking my commitment by not doing it.
  3. Schedule the activity as an appointment in your calendar. We usually turn up on time for appointments, so we are more likely to start the habit at the time booked if we have scheduled it. Once it is scheduled, no further decision is needed; you just do it at the allotted time.
  4. Reinforce yourself every time you fulfil the commitment. Say “Well done me”. Make a weekly chart which you sign off when you fulfil the commitment. Use a gold star or a smiley to reward yourself. At the end of a week or a month, give yourself a bigger reward.
  5. Be curious and compassionate about failure and start again.

Be warned, breaking old habits is harder than starting new ones so, if possible, start a new habit rather than break an old one. For example, I want to be more vegan, so I focus on delicious vegetables and recipes rather than worrying about occasional meat-eating. I focus on the positive.

Other methods are needed if you want to break strong habits (or addictions).  – James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results, is a good place to start.

3.  Life Planning

Do you remember the vision for your life we talked about in Principle 1 (Make the most of what is special about you)? How will you know you have had a great life? To achieve this, what are the big milestones on the journey? Where do you want to be in your life by your next “big” birthday? What is your plan to make it happen?

As part of your Life Vision, have the most positive view you can realistically create of how long you will live, and a healthy old age. Do everything you can in your power to be healthy (that’s a whole topic in itself which I can’t deal with here).  For me, for example, with a bit of a grin, I imagine being healthy at 110, but hope to have achieved most of my “Life as a Journey” goals by the time I am 80. My parents lived long lives so being healthy at 80 is a realistic goal.  So, what do I want to achieve by the time I am 70? And 65? Younger people can plan big milestones for their 60th, 50th, 40th, 30th, 20th birthdays.

Then you can look in more detail at your 10-year plan, 3-year plan, 1-year plan, and goals for each quarter and each month.  Very small, achievable goals, successfully achieved, build confidence in your ability to change your life and forward momentum. How will you develop yourself this week?

 4.  Start small, then review

Entrepreneurs try something out, and then improve and adapt (or cancel).

Rather than planning big changes but never putting them into action, plan minute ones. Don’t decide to dance. Go dancing once and see how you like it. Want to change career? Find a way to test it by going on a secondment or volunteering for a week or doing a short course.  A friend of mine is a Celebrant (conducts marriages and funerals). She wondered how involved in funerals she wanted to be and so she volunteered for a couple of weeks in a funeral parlour.

I am interested in helping people find a personal relationship with a higher power. I ran a one-day workshop, now I am planning a 2-day workshop (for Life Talent graduates only). We will see what happens.

Break out of your comfort zone.  As Steve Jobs said “Stay hungry. Stay foolish”. Or, as I might say at the ripe-old-age of 63, “Stay young. Stay foolish”. I will never be too old to try something I want to try. I can take a risk on something once. I have quite a disciplined life. I have a spiritual practice; take exercise, dance, and have a small circle of intimate friends. Sometimes my world is too small and comfortable. Sometimes I need to break out and try something different. This autumn, I broke out and volunteered for Extinction Rebellion in London by facilitating decentralised decision-making meetings sitting at roadblocks in London. Now that is different!

What might break you out of the narrow confines of your current life?

Celebrate the magnificence of being alive.

How do we support taking action during the 4-day The Personal Transformation Intensive: Life Talent Level 1, Friday 17 – Monday 20 January 2020 and the 15 day (over 4 modules) Life Talent Programme: Level 2 starting on 6th March 2020?

Right from the start of the programme we get you to set goals for the year; new things to try and new habits to reinforce. Then you debrief in weekly coaching calls with other participants and in longer exercises during each module of the programme. We don’t wait for you to have made all the inner changes before you start the outer changes. We start the outer changes at the same time as we make the inner changes.

Very small outer changes lead, slowly but surely, to big changes in life.

This fourth principle, “Take action to improve your life”, is key to fulfilling your potential in each of the three marriages: giving your gift to the world, creating the personal life you want and, in how you nourish and relate to yourself.

This blog is part of a series on the four principles of fulfilling your potential in life.  You can read about these principles in the following posts:

  1. Make the most of what is special about you.
  2. Overcome your inner obstacles to fulfilling your potential.
  3. Learn to feel the support of Life itself.
  4. Take action to improve your life.


1 reply
  1. Mike
    Mike says:

    This has been really inspiring and energy creating – thank you. I am printing all the steps and principles and re-reading them until they start to become habits.

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