Change Your Life in Three Simple Steps

There’s a seldom-discussed secret I want to let you in on: changing your life is not all that complicated a procedure. You just need to do these three things, in approximately the order I list them and you’ll be able to accomplish the change. Ready? Here are the three steps:

  1. Care
  2. Plan
  3. Do

See how simple that is? You just do the thing laid out by those ten letters and you’re on your way to the life of your dreams.

You may have been able to read that I’m embellishing the ease with which you can execute these three steps to achieve great fame, riches, or wisdom. But I stand whole-heartedly behind the fact that those three steps are the actual procedure by which every substantial change is accomplished — either by a single person or a group. You’ll find very few accomplishments that can’t be made to fit within this basic rubric.

Now obviously when you reduce something so much it starts to get hard for most people to see the connection behind the simple concepts they’re looking at and the complicated things they perceive to be going on in their lives. One of the ideas I cling too with the greatest fervency is that the profound truths can all be reduced to banalities. And this is no exception.

Each of these words could have whole books written about them. And the response to those books could sanely be “there’s nothing new here”. But it’s still completely true that the ways the world changes are rarely more complex than this.

So let’s get to it and start fleshing out this procedure. I’ll be writing an expanded post about each of these steps in the coming weeks, but I do want to give you a sense of the idea before we get there.

So first, care. The part that’s easy about caring is that if you’re thinking you want to change your life in a given direction, you likely already care. The hard part about caring is that you have to care very deeply and sincerely for that caring to really lead to a life change. A vague sense of “It would be nice if…” is simply not strong enough fuel for you to change your life. To care enough to really change things something more like “the current situation is a disaster and cannot be allowed to continue” is required.

Then planing. As we’ve said, planning can be deceptively easy. If you want to be a millionaire, you could write up a plan that says “Earn at least one million dollars”. And that is, by some definition, a plan. But to actually have a plan that is likely to lead to the kind of change you seek you need a strong and executable plan of step-wise actions you can take that will lead you to the kind of change you want. And you need to be ready for the inevitable road blocks and detours that even the most robust plan is likely to hit.

Finally, doing is easy. Right? I mean you just do the thing that you cared enough to plan. You just iteratively do all the steps in your plan, taking the time to re-plan when you hit an impasse. But obviously, that kind of doing can be boring, like the labors of Sisyphus. Or it can feel dangerous, maybe even like you’ll die from the difficulty imposed upon the plan by yourself or others. But you can’t change anything if you don’t keep pushing and doing until the thing is done.

Changing your life, changing the world, changing anything, it’s all really simple. And it’s also the single hardest thing in the world. And that, quite simply, is the reason it’s worth spending a month on. I hope you’ll join me.

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