Now doesn't that feel good?

10 Ways To Shake Up Your Life and Feel Energized

They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
Andy Warhol

Has your car ever got stuck in boggy ground? It’s happened to me a few times, mostly in Costa Rica, which boasts some of the worst roads in the world.

Once we got lost and ended up driving down a narrow, muddy lane with no room to turn round. The track eventually petered out into a muddy succession of deep pot-holes which sucked our 4WD up hungrily.

When your car gets stuck it’s not a pretty sight. The wheels spin hopelessly sending mud flying all over the vehicle and splattering anyone who’s trying to push you out.

So you put your foot down harder, but the more you rev the engines, the deeper your wheels sink into the mud. Finally you realise you’re not getting anywhere with that approach. It’s time to try something new.

What’s the best way to get unstuck?

Sometimes life can feel as if you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere. Often, the more you do, the less progress you seem to be making. That’s when you need to find ways to shake up your life, get out of that rut and back on the road to fulfillment.

If your car gets stuck I recommend calling a friend with a big 4wd, a tow bar and a strong rope to help pull you out and get you motoring free again. I hope this post will provide you with the psychological equivalent.

Are you ready to get out of your comfort zone and take a few risks?

Try some of these ways to shake up your life and to give yourself a new lease of life.

1. Move abroad

Moving overseas is the ultimate way to get out of a rut. Travel gives you time and space to evaluate your life so far and start making plans for the next stage.

When you travel, or go somewhere you’ve never been before, you open your life up to new cultures, new food, new places, new experiences, new people and new ways of communicating.

If you’re not ready to move abroad, or you don’t want to, get the same benefits by busting out of your routine. Here are a few routine-breaking ideas but the possibilities are endless:

  • Wear something you don’t usually wear.
  • Try a different sandwich filling for lunch, be creative.
  • Sit with someone you’ve never sat with before or head outside and find a quiet spot to enjoy your meal alone.
  • Go vegetarian or raw food for a day.
  • Break with tradition these holidays. Forget how you usually spend those special holidays or birthdays and do something different.

2. Quit your job and follow your dream

Or stay put for a while longer but think about how you’ll go about getting closer to your dream. Do you need to start researching your chosen field? Checking out the competition or lack of it? Or maybe you need to study or volunteer first to get new skills or qualifications that will allow you to make the change.

I read somewhere that most people have 3 separate careers in their lives. It makes sense to me. Who wants to stick in the same job for 40 or 50 years? To be fulfilled and happy you need to constantly reinvent yourself and set yourself new challenges.

3. Give fear the finger

Accept that your ideas will probably be rejected and that some people will scoff at you but don’t let fear hold you back from doing what you want to do.

Embrace fear. Look forward to taking on a new challenge and mastering your nerves. Set yourself a challenge and arrange to do something that scares you today.

What makes your palms go clammy and your heart skip a beat? Whatever your personal fears are, tackle them before they get bigger. Choose something small to begin with: go skinny dipping, join toastmasters, go to the dentist or shave your head. Whatever is is, just do it.

Tackling the small fears one by one will show you that they’re not life-threatening. It’ll prove you can do stuff that scares you and survive. It will pave the way for the big scary stuff.

4. Just do it

Stop procrastinating. Promise yourself that you’re going to get started and put it in writing. Work out a realistic timescale and stick to your deadlines.

No matter how big or small your dreams are, you’re not going to feel totally happy until you’ve at least tried to achieve them. Don’t end up regretting doing the things you care about because you were too scared or didn’t make time for them.

5. Love Yourself

Decide to do the right thing for yourself. Choose health and life. Reject unhealthy habits. You know what they are. Put yourself first and don’t be a victim. It’s okay to be selfish.

Make an effort to get to know what you want in life. Find out what your strengths and weaknesses are and accept yourself the way you are.

Spend a day alone, writing, reading, thinking or drawing. Stay in bed all day if you feel like it, or organize to not speak to anyone for 24 hrs.

Try getting a stack of magazines and using them as a tool to get in touch with yourself. Cut out pictures, words or quotations that talk to you and stick them all on one giant sheet of paper to see what comes up.

Or spend a day reminiscing about your childhood by looking through old photo albums, then do some of the things you used to love as a kid but haven’t done for a while, like skipping, rollerskating or horse-riding.

7. Keep trying

You may have already made the first steps to changing your life but faltered or even given up completely.

Be like those people you read about who are on their 6th marriage. Just as they’re optimistic that they’ll find true love in the end, believe that you will find what you’re looking for eventually. Even if you don’t know what it is yet. But you have to keep trying.

8. Make new friends

Friends can be found in all kinds of unexpected places. At the library, in the park, outside your kid’s classroom or right next door. Heck, some of us are even unashamedly making connections and friends on the Internet these days.

Some people think they don’t need any more friends. They think they’ve got enough, or they think you don’t look like their type. That’s sad. The more friends you have the wider your experience of life will be, especially if you cultivate a broad mix of friends.

Even if you don’t want to make friends, be friendly. Start a conversation with someone you wouldn’t normally talk to.

9. Do something you’ve never done before

Say yes to everything for a day and see where it leads you. Try something you’ve never tried before but have always been meaning to. Bikram yoga? Quinoa? Taking a sickie and spending the afternoon in a bowling alley with a new friend?

10. Stop wasting your time

Stop watching TV, reading, surfing the internet, shopping, cleaning. There, now what are you going to do?

The Wisdom of Andy Warhol

He wasn’t just a great artist. If you read the quote at the top you’ll see that Warhol knew a truth about life too.

There are no short cuts. If you want to shake up your life you’ve got to make the changes yourself. No one else can do it for you although other people can motivate and encourage you.

Understand that making changes won’t help you grow to be a better of more knowledgeable person. But it may help you start thinking about other life changes you’d like to make.

If you do try some of these ways to shake up your life you’ll see that:

  • making changes doesn’t hurt you;
  • doing scary stuff won’t kill you;
  • challenging yourself boosts your confidence;
  • mixing things up makes life more fun;
  • shaking up your life will re-energize you.

Have you got any more ideas on ways we can shake up our lives? Have you ever done anything radical to get your life out of a rut?

Thanks for Reading

A warm welcome to all my new subscribers and welcome back to the old faithfuls – it’s great to connect with you. Many thanks also to Dan Bennett for use of the doggy shaking photo.

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Other Inspirational Stories

>> How to Use Twitter as a Motivational Tool

>> 10 Things To Be Grateful For and Why You Should Be

>> 101 Ways To Feel Happier

>> 5 Ways To Prevent Depression

>> 10 Ways To Get The Life You Want

>> 3 keys To Living Our Dreams

Author: Annabel Candy

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

CoralM November 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Hi Annabel.
I hate ruts. Like you, we have quit our jobs, sold all our worldly possessions and moved to Australia to follow our dreams. Travel is definitely a fantastic way of reviewing your life; suddenly everything becomes clear and I agree, we’re not talking about a few days in the Sheraton, Nadi here. You need to have an adventure. Get out there and climb a mountain in Nepal, go houseboating the backwaters in India, explore the underground cave cities in Turkey!. It’ll get you out of your rut, even if the rut is only in your mind!
Thanks for another great post.

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Annabel Candy November 16, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Yes, there’s nothing like traveling in a developing country to make you realise how lucky we are. Inspiring stuff.

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Gordie Rogers November 16, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Great post, Annabel. I like the idea of traveling best. It’s so stimulating to travel to new countries, particularly ones where the culture is very different to one’s own.

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Sami - Life, Laughs & Lemmings November 17, 2009 at 6:35 am

Hi Annabel, great post. I can totally relate. In fact, I’ve pretty much done all 10 on the list, except I’m an Aussie who moved to Canada. I’m back in Australia now but you’re right, there’s nothing like a move overseas to get you out of a rut (and comfort zone).

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Annabel Candy November 17, 2009 at 10:08 am

Love that I get all the cool travel people visiting me:)

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Connie November 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm

This makes me think about how much I’ve been wanting to change some stuff and how terrified I am of doing it. I will blame you Annabel when it finally comes down ;-)

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Anne November 17, 2009 at 3:48 pm

In reference to #10: Well, if we don’t get on the internet we would never read you!

Secondly, I don’t think reading is ever a waste of time. It is something I love to do either for learning or just enjoyment.

But cleaning, yeah I can stop that! :)

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archan November 17, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Your latest post is, in a word, brilliant.

Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.

Hope you get more readers and subscribers like me.

This article is useful. Take risks to enjoy life is the message and step out of your comfort zone.

Kindly keep on posting such articles. Best wishes.

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Charlotte Francis November 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Hi Annabel,

You’re absolutely right that quitting your job can be part of a life shake-up. I am now on my third career (writing!) and have twice taken a sabbatical year volunteering and travelling overseas as well as doing interesting courses and workshops.

It’s all about being open to change and taking a few gambles. For any frustrated creatives out there, I really recommend a book by Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way. It’s an inspirational and motivational 12-week course to unleashing your inner ‘artiste’ and may change your life at the same time!

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Annabel Candy November 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Charlotte – Sounds as if the adventurous life is suiting you. I love that book too and mention it in my article, How To Work Out What Your Dream Is: http://www.getinthehotspot.com/2009/06/09/how-to-work-out-what-your-dream-is/

Anne – Well, maybe just limit the plugged in and reading time then:) I’m a huge reader too but at some point you have to stop reading about doing things and just do them! I’m talking about reading too much and not actually living because of it. And yes, life is better when you’re not a clean freak:)

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Eric | Eden Journal November 18, 2009 at 1:12 am

Your #10 made me laugh… “There, now what are you going to do?” My immediate thought was “well, I guess I’ll get out and do something.”

While I’m not quite ready to move abroad, we do break with tradition every once in a while. One Christmas, my wife and I broke from our usually family obligations, and headed out to take a vacation. It was just the two of us, traveling, spending time together, and enjoying each other’s company. It was a fantastic trip, and one of my most cherished memories.

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Ryan November 18, 2009 at 1:50 am

Annabel, I’m liking each of your tips.

Stillness is a biggie for me. Pascal said that man’s troubles all grow from the fact that he can’t sit in a quiet room. Meditation has revealed to me many of my self-sabotaging tendencies. Becoming more aware of my thoughts instead of mindlessly acting on them has been liberating.

To break the routine I always try to drive a different route when I travel to familiar places. Keeps the brain stimulated and mind active. Also gives me options to avoid traffic here in New Jersey :)

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Bradley November 18, 2009 at 3:16 am

great list. i have incorporated some of these in my life at times.

in march of 2008, i cancelled my directv subscription and my internet connection at home. i have backslid some. especially on the tv watching, but i try.

i did some things that i have never done before earlier this year, and it was very energizing.

some of the other things on the list i struggle with or i am too afraid to try. i am afraid to quit my job and follow my dream, but i am trying a start up business that i can do in my free time (what little there is!).

i would love to move abroad, but at the moment there are too many things tying me to where i live now.

the 2 hardest for me are “love yourself” and “make new friends”. but i do keep trying. :D

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Edward November 18, 2009 at 12:01 pm

#1 point is something that I am planning to do in few months time, I missed my life in Argentina, cant wait to go back and have some fun :P

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Annabel Candy November 18, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Bradley – we are all trying. That’s the point of coming here – to remind us to keep trying and never give up. As long as you are trying you are winning.

As for fear. Maybe my series on how to Give Fear the Finger will help you:) I hope these article will help you put fear back in its box.

Give Fear the Finger and Live the Life You Want: http://www.getinthehotspot.com/2009/05/11/give-fear-the-finger-and-live-the-life-you-want/

Overcoming Fear – Turn Fearful Into Fierce: http://www.getinthehotspot.com/2009/09/25/turn-terrified-into-terrific/

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Fida November 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Wow, great advice Annabel. I had to laugh though when I came to the first paragraph – Move abroad – it’s pretty drastic for most of the people – but so true. I did it. So many of my friends complain about their life, their rut, and that they so much would like to do what I did. When I tell them to just stop and start to live their dream I get to hear that I am the lucky one. When I tell them, well, just do it – I always get tons of answers why they cannot. It’s really mostly fear of change, fear of the unknown and fear of failure. I just came along a quote today: Cloning Confucius: If you quit your dreams, nobody cares. But you’ll always know!

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Hilary November 19, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Hi Annabel – certainly moving abroad (I went to South Africa) allowed me to declutter .. fraid I brought some of Africa back with me! Stpping out of ones comfort zone is so important on the learning process – just doing the same thing day in day doesn’t help anyone.

It is our responsibiltiy to get on with our own lives and take control of our self to do that .. and lead to those bigger things that we know we can achieve.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

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Ashley November 20, 2009 at 2:44 am

I nearly once moved abroad, but then met my partner and decided to stay. Now I’m doing numbers 2-4 and it feels amazing. Since quitting my job, I feel free. I feel I have an outlet for all of my positivity and passion that has been showing in baby glimpses in the last little while.

I also love number 8 and have to say that the blog world has introduced me to beautiful people all around the world and for that I am incredibly thankful.

Another fantastic post Annabel. I don’t think I could have found your blog at a better time.

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Infinite Journey November 20, 2009 at 4:29 am

really great tips Annabel.
11. Tai Chi or QIGong :D
they’re great both physical and mental

wish you all the best and keep it going :)

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Robin Dickinson November 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Hi Annabel,

I love the topic “shake up your life and feel energized” – and after reading your excellent post I’m inspired to add a few ideas from my own experience:

a) INSPIRE OTHERS: give inspirational speeches to community groups e.g. people overcoming cancer, senior citizens and schools. It’s incredibly exciting to do, and gives back to the community;

b) GET SUPER-FIT: really get whole-body fit. I mean flexible, strong, co-ordinated, cardio – the works. Nothing beats the exhilaration of having boundless energy – unstoppable energy in huge reserves;

c) TRY MOVIE-RUNNING: this builds on point (b) and is a fantastic way to experience spine-tingling excitement. Ever seen Will Smith run down a crowded city street in one of those action movies, clothed in his civies? That’s movie-running i.e. act like one of those actors, and just run at full pace down a crowded street (being very careful not to actually bump into or annoy anyone). :)
It’s about dodging cars, avoiding oncoming pedestrians and keeping a focused, but fun look on your face as you dash like crazy. I’ve done it many times, and it’s a blast. Most times people just look at you as if you are a plain clothed cop or something.

Thanks, Annabel.

Best to you and your ever-expanding readership.

Robin :)

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Annabel Candy November 20, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Robin – agree with you on a – it’s firing me up. Movie running sounds fun too but I guess you need to be fit first. Exercising and getting fit does give you renewed energy.

I’ve always wanted to try that urban climbing where they jump over walls and across buildings but movie running sounds more accessible:)

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Leighann Garber November 23, 2009 at 12:50 am

Fantastic post! I especially agree with #1. I’ve been traveling for the last 2 years, plus a year in Belize, and being an expat has really changed my life. Interestingly enough, your ways to change without moving away are all things I have experienced because of traveling!

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Dave Doolin December 10, 2009 at 4:39 am

“Give fear the finger.”

I like that. I’m going to do that today.

Look up Parkour or Freerunning for urban movement training. Fascinating stuff. I used to practice a form of that when I was a caver: move with least energy. All rock climbers do this.

I think I’ll shake it up right now by stepping away from the computer.

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