Personal growth challenge: How to change your life in 30 days
Want to completely redesign your life? If you have the self-motivation to commit to a personal growth challenge then follow my guide on how to change your life in 30 days.
Sometimes I work with coaching clients who want to change their life and want to do it immediately.
Often they have a specific change they are seeking to make. But many times they don’t know how they want to change, they just know that they are stuck in their current state and need to get out of the rut fast.
Though my coaching program focuses on entrepreneurs and business owners, it incorporates a life planning framework that adds structure to any personal growth effort no matter if you are working on a small goal or looking to completely turn your life around.
If you are self-motivated and willing to devote the effort, you can use this structure to change your life in 30 days or whatever timeline you have the capacity to commit to.
How to change your life in 30 days
Identity the nature of your challenge (5 days)
Before you set out on the journey to completely change your life, you need to spend some time reflecting on the nature of your challenge. I would allocate anywhere from one to five days figuring out exactly what it is you want to change.
From both personal and professional experience, I’ve found that the root of most life crises are linked to one of the following:
You don’t have a purpose for your life so lack self-awareness and clarity. It is likely that you’ve never spent any time working on how to find yourself. As a result, you have no focus and your life is like a ship without an anchor blowing wherever the wind takes it.
You have a purpose but haven’t developed a sound process to realize it. In this case you’ve developed a life vision but never fully committed to what it takes to manifest it. Many people I coach fall into this category because they are afraid to push against norms (family norms, social norms, cultural norms, etc.) and live life on their own terms.
You have a purpose and process but haven’t overcome self-limiting behaviors that hinder progress. It is most frustrating when you have a complete game plan but keep sabotaging yourself. This happens when you haven’t grasped how the different areas in your life contribute to or detract from your goals.
The above inherently assumes that your personal growth efforts are fully determined by you. I recognize that you may have external situations and circumstances outside of your control that factor into this as well — we all have things we can’t control.
Understanding the nature of your challenge also involves clearly delineating what’s in your power to change and what’s not — then focusing on the former. It’s not as easy as it sounds which is why I’ve allocated up to five days to think through this phase of the process.
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Initiate your personal growth plan (20 days)
Once you know the challenge you are up against, you can start creating and executing your personal growth plan. This phase gets at the heart of your effort so you should be ready to devote 20 days to it.
In my coaching program, I create a personalized plan for each client that centers around five core components.
I’ve designed this five-stage model to take you form theory to practice: first you envision what a good life looks like to you and then you are empowered with the tools to execute that vision.
Depending on your challenge, working through all five steps may not be necessary. For instance, if you’ve already established your purpose then you may not need to work on the purpose assessment step.
However, if you prefer to work on the entire strategy you can allocate roughly four days to each component.
You should kick off your personal growth plan with an assessment of what drives your long-term happiness.
The happiness formula directly links your happiness to your self esteem which is the difference between where you want to be (ideal self image) and where you are now (current self image). Understanding this gap, and knowing how to close it, is a critical part of personal growth.
The second component of your 5-tier strategy is determining the overarching set of principles that give you meaning and influence your decision-making. It may be religious (e.g. Christianity), philosophy (e.g. Stoicism), or something else.
But whatever it is, use a design-thinking process to ensure its your own. Most people adopt a life philosophy that is passed down to them from family and then experience issues when they can’t reconcile it with their true beliefs.
Finding purpose has become a rather obscure phrase that many associate with some miraculous revelation. Having a purpose is important but it’s not that deep, and you shouldn’t wait on a profound epiphany.
Instead, reflect on the prior two exercises, decide on what matters most to you, and then build your purpose around that. If you get stuck, start with your an evaluation of your personal interests.
Wheel of Life
Once you identity your purpose, you'll start aligning all of your important life themes (career, relationships, etc.) to your purpose. This is important because, as I mentioned before, you need to know how each area of life either contributes or detracts from your ability to pursue purpose.
The Wheel of Life is a nifty tool that helps you monitor and manage your life themes so you can identity and work on improving problem areas (at least those that are within your power to control).
In the last step of the strategy you want to build up a personal repository of tactics, or actionable ideas, that assist you in carrying out the changes you’ve initiated beyond the 30 days of the challenge.
Mental models are structured ways of thinking or thought processes that help you successfully navigate situations in life, solve problems, and make decisions. Many of my most powerful mental models that I rely on have been curated from the books I read.
Find an accountability partner (5 Days)
You can’t sustain a life-changing personal growth plan in isolation. Countless studies show that people default to old mindsets, behaviors, and actions when they don’t have someone in their corner supporting them.
One theory that supports this is the The Hawthorne Effect, the phenomenon in which people improve their performance when they are being observed. Taking personal responsibility is not always enough to go the distance, we often need an external source to operate at our peak.
Ideally this person should be willing to commit to your development by offering to help keep you on track and provide honest feedback when you are not.
As a result, I find that family and very close friends are not always the best candidates for accountability partners because their perspective isn’t always unbiased.
Life coaches make great accountability partners because they are not only personal growth specialists but don’t have a biased, intimate connection that muddles the role.
Completely changing your life in 30 days (or any period of time) is no small feat and during the process you may become overwhelmed and find you need help.