Why ‘change’ doesn’t have to mean becoming someone else

“Nothing changes if nothing changes”

“Old ways don’t open new doors”

“Things won’t change unless you change”

Quotes make change seem so easy, don’t they? A few choice words read at the right time can have even the most cynical amongst us believing that we can turn ourselves from Deirdre Barlow into Kim Kardashian overnight. But change isn’t always so instant or straightforward. Change, and how to achieve it, can be as challenging as the hardest mathematical equation, as obscure as football’s offside rule (for some) and as fraught as the most recent episode of BBC1’s Bodyguard. Self-help books and advice columns aren’t always helpful, often furnishing us with information we already know but are unable or unsure of how to action in relation to our own problems. In the end, we’re left resigned to life as the people we are, with the things that we have (or don’t have), because using change as a tool to dig ourselves out of our own psychological hole seems like too difficult and confusing a task to take on.

That’s how I feel, anyway, but I’m trying my best to change (yes, I’m aware of the irony). In a bid to become the person I want to be, I’ve decided that the best and possibly simplest way to change is to ignore the wishy-washy advice of others and the contradictory tips I read online and instead use the same solution in any given situation – to do the exact opposite of what I would normally do.

Perhaps it’s a little extreme and I’m aware that it won’t be the blanket rule that I want it to be (I’m not going to start pickpocketing old ladies just because I’ve previously thought this was a terrible idea, for example), but it seems to me that, if the decisions I’ve made in life so far have not brought me to a place I want to be, then maybe extreme measures are necessary in order to invoke real and meaningful change.

This seems like a good time to clarify that there are areas of my life that I’m very happy with, but, sadly, there are also aspects that I’ve struggled to progress over the years. The best example I can give is my career. Unfortunately, due to an extreme lack of confidence and an indecisiveness that only appears to be getting worse, I’ve yet to find myself anything more than ‘just a job’. And so, here I am, plummeting head first towards my mid-thirties on the first rung of a career ladder that I’m not sure ever even existed.

Though my new solution may seem drastic, I’m not using it in a bid change myself entirely. I’m hoping that it’s simplicity will stop me from worrying about how to change and instead let me focus on actually making a difference to those areas of my life that I’m unhappy with. Because change doesn’t have to be absolute. Most of us aren’t expecting to look in the mirror one morning and find a completely different person, we’re just hoping to make certain parts of our lives better. After all, we’re regularly encouraged to ‘be more authentic’ and ‘stay true to ourselves’ and we can’t do that if we want to change everything, can we?

“Nothing changes if nothing changes” – well, for me, something is about to change, my new rule guarantees it. Though it may be difficult at times to fight against my natural reactions, if I can change just one tiny aspect of my life for the better then it’ll be worth the effort. Because ultimately that’s all I really want, small change.


  1. Well said! This is the approach I’ve been trying to take. It’s actually what’s pushing me to start improv classes! Firstly because it terrifies me, but secondly because it’s the complete opposite of what I’ve been doing which is overthinking and analyzing everything and not trusting myself to handle the moment as it happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a brilliant idea! I hope you find improv classes helpful and it’s great that you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I’m also trying to do things that scare me – it’s hard, but also so liberating 😊


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