The 6 Things It Takes to Spark Change in Your Life The six steps that will help you initiate the actions necessary to facilitate the life changes you want.

By Napoleon Hill

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The following excerpt is from Napoleon Hill's Success Masters. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound

Dr. Lacy Hall led an accomplished life. He received his master's degree in philosophy from Duke University and his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of North Carolina. He served as a professor at a number of American universities. A prolific writer and lecturer, he specialized in testing and analyzing personality traits and developing measures of self-assessment.

Dr. Hall's take on goal-setting as it relates to advancing and improving your life is a practical, actionable way to put change in perspective. As we identify our needs and our goals, a clear picture of what we want the change in our lives to look like emerges. Change is recurrent in all aspects of life. Seasons change, technology changes, people change. Change is both necessary and unavoidable.

People often say that they want to change their job, their loved ones, even their bodies. But what sparks change in relationships, businesses, and life in general? As you begin each new year or new phase in your business, take time to see what needs to change in your life.

Change happens when a decision is made. Now's the time to create a framework for decisions that will initiate the action necessary to facilitate that change. Here are some thoughts to consider if you want to make a change in your life.

Related: The 3 Truths Smart Entrepreneurs Know About Beating the Competition

1. Be willing to change

We all know someone who wants to get in shape but keeps eating McDonald's and refuses to go to the gym. What about the friend who says they want a stable relationship but keeps dating troubled or emotionally unavailable people? If we want to make a change, we have to be willing to put in the work. Wanting to change is not enough to make the change. The pain of not changing has to be so severe you have no choice but to take action. To help motivate yourself to act, think about the consequences of not changing vs. the excuses you have not to.

2. Create your own circumstances

We all have histories that make us who we are. Sometimes these stories serve as crutches when we allow them to prevent us from taking necessary action to make the changes we need in life. We can easily blame the market, our clients, or our spouses for not supporting our vision, but if we want to make a change, we need to take ownership of our circumstances. In any situation, there are things we don't have control of, but there are also things we can control. To overcome your circumstances, you must identify opportunities to take responsibility and create the change.

Related: 8 Ways to Drown Out Disappointment

3. Change your mindset to change your life

Mindset dictates behavior. To create change, we need to become aware of the actions we take daily and shift our perspective. Trying to do it overnight is the most common reason we fail to implement behavioral change. First, we need to change our mindset -- we need to prove to ourselves that our current behavior doesn't serve us anymore but that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Following that, change happens one day at a time. Eventually, you'll create a new pattern of behavior to replace the old one. When you strengthen your mindset, you empower yourself to take action.

4. Control your reactions

Statistics show that most people give up on their new year's resolution just 45 days into the year. Creating change isn't easy. Like everything in life, you'll experience setbacks. How you react to these setbacks determines your probability of success. Understand that it takes time, both in your business and in your life, to create meaningful change. Think of a time when you've encountered a challenge and reacted negatively. Did it help you solve the problem? Most likely not. See every failure as an opportunity to one up yourself.

Related: Creating a Mindset That Will Help You Succeed

5. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

Image a businessperson 25 years ago who, after first hearing about the internet, decided: "I'm not going to change the way I've worked all my life -- the heck with the kids and their computers." That person probably isn't in business today. You'll achieve success if your drive to change is greater than your need to stay comfortable. Growth generally happens outside of your comfort zone.

6. Understand that change comes from within

Believe that change is possible, and always keep that vision in mind to propel you forward when times get tough. If you don't have that belief, and if you can't see the finish line, chances are that you're going to give up. Before expecting change from others, you have to spark and create the process of change and improve yourself first.

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