Here in America, we are still seeing high unemployment, a stock market that fluctuates like crazy, record home foreclosures, and many small businesses and corporations struggling for survival.
Yet in times of trouble there are almost always bright spots. I have found in my life that if I take the time to take a step back and inspect the situation there are always things to learn. Many times there are simple changes that can be made to turn things around and revolutionize your life.
Tough times often present unprecedented opportunities for people willing to take a risk or are prepared for change.
In the section below, I’ve taken 12 synonyms of the word change and listed something positive for each one that may help you improve your situation.
Convert: Television Time To Learning Time.
Here is a simple tip that can revolutionize your life. If you currently watch the evening news on television, why not replace this depressing and negative time with something positive and uplifting. Pick up a couple of motivational books and read for a half hour every evening instead of watching the never ending stream of bad and depressing news reports.
This simple conversion can make a major difference in the way you feel and view the world. You’ll find yourself sleeping better, doing better on your job, and you might just learn something along the way.
Diverge: Go From Debt To Savings
In 2008 the world imploded from too much debt. As businesses de-leveraged, their values plummeted and over-leveraged subprime loans ended up in massive foreclosures.
A simple goal that can make an incredible difference over time is to diverge your budget to the positive side. Many people spend more than they make by using credit cards and other forms of debt. Over time this debt can snowball into an almost insurmountable amount.
In the graphic above you can see that by restructuring your budget to save $100/month instead of overspending $100/month, the divergence is $2400 in a year. Multiply this out over time and this small amount per month can have major consequences later. When you add in compounded interest, moving to the saving side can have an even greater impact. A great book on the subject is Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.
Redo: Your Resume
Many experts say that it is a good idea to revise your resume on an annual basis. You may find as I have, that your resume is sorely out of date. In the current economic climate, it might be a good exercise to redo your resume to include updated skills and employer information. That way when an opportunity comes up you’ll be ready to go.
It’s also a good time to create or update a Linked-In profile so that employers and career professionals can find you when that perfect job comes up that only you can do.
Transform: Fat into Muscle
The new year is a great time to get into shape and improve eating habits. One of the best ways to quickly lose weight and feel better is to employ weight training in your exercise routine. Weight training will help you convert fat into muscle. The more muscle you have, the more fat you’ll burn.
Weight training can be done at a gym or you can pick up some simple resistance bands or barbells and workout at home. I have had great results with the strength training program listed in Body For Life. This is a great book to help you start an exercise program that will truly help you get results.
Modify: Your Drive Time
If you drive or commute to work, you’ll probably find that much of that time is wasted. Many people listen to music or talk shows on the radio or just pass the time daydreaming. Why not turn this unproductive time into a positive learning experience. It’s easy with audio books.
Many different business, motivational, and productivity titles are available on CD or by download for your iPod or MP3 player. Suddenly your commute is transformed into a classroom and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll get through the latest titles. If you download from iTunes or Audible you may also save money over buying the printed edition in a bookstore.
Replace: Unhealthy Food with Healthy Alternatives.
The new year is a time that many people turn to diets of all types to try and loose weight. Unfortunately most of them are so radical that many lose interest instead of weight. Instead of dieting, why not try replacing unhealthy food choices with healthy and tasty, lower fat and calorie versions.
In many cases you can substantially cut calories by just making some wise choices. David Zinczenko has written two books that can help you make the best selections in both restaurants and while shopping in the supermarket. Called Eat This-Not That, these books give you side by side comparisons of popular food choices. If you want to lose weight, this is a great place to start.
Reorganize: Your Workday
Why not make your workday more productive. Managing e-mail, phone calls and personal visits can be time consuming. We have some free downloadable tools that you can print out to help you save time and organize all the communications that come your way.
Renovate: Instead Of Replace
With the economy in the doldrums currently, it might be a good thing to renovate or rejuvenate an older item instead of buying new. For example, you might be able to get another year out of your older car. Now that gas prices are down somewhat, that rush to buy a Prius might not make as much sense as fixing up your old SUV or truck.
Instead of putting a new item on the credit card or taking out a loan, use cash to rejuvenate an older item and put any extra into your savings account. A great book that will have you stretching every penny is the Tight Wad’s Gazette
Revolutionize: Your Goals
One of the best things you can do in the new year is to take a few minutes and write down your goals for the year. The actual act of writing them down will give you a much greater chance of success.
An easy way to do this is to download our Goal Setting Toolkit. This simple selection of printable cards will give you a place to write down your long term and short term goals. The cards are easily carried around and you can easily display them on your desk or work area for quick reference.
If you have trouble coming up with long term goals, our Top Five Goal Worksheet may help. This is a questionnaire designed to help you see what is really important in life and help you take steps to get there. It takes about 30 minutes to complete, but you may find that it brings some things to mind that are really important in the long term.
Remove: Obstacles To Success
Here is a quick exercise that you can do that may help you reach a major goal faster and easier. Take a sheet of paper and write your goal at the top and then write your top three obstacles to completion along the left side. Underneath each obstacle list three possible solutions to the problem.
When you actually write down the obstacles, they become less intimidating. If you can’t come up with solutions immediately, leave the paper out by your bedside. Many times the greatest ideas/solutions come in the middle of the night. You can also use this sheet with others as a brainstorming exercise. Other people bring a different perspective and may just come up with the perfect answer to the problem. I’ve created a downloadable template in MS Word, but a regular sheet of paper will work too.
Restyle: Your Wardrobe
With unemployment running high and more and more jobs disappearing it’s important to look good on your job. One of the best ways to tell your employer that you care about your job is to dress for success. This is also very important if you are job hunting or interviewing for a new position.
Professional career counselors say that a smart career goal is to bump your wardrobe up a notch. If you currently wear jeans to work, consider upgrading to business casual. For guys, you can replace jeans with khakis or dress pants for a new look without spending much money. For gals, the jeans can be replaced with business oriented pants or skirts.
If you are currently in a business casual environment a bump up to collared shirts and possibly a tie will help you stand out from the competition. Remember that what you wear communicates visually about who you are.
Revolutionize Your Life
In a new year when the news is negative most people hunker down and look for security. Yet truly this is a time to look for new opportunities and to change your life for the better. When you think about it, now is a much better time to invest in many different things since certain valuations are at multi year lows. Look at the price of houses, stocks, commodities, and certain consumer products. Many have been beaten down over the last year.
It’s also a great time to learn new skills, since many of the companies that are laying off people now will be rehiring in the near future. But as Seth Godin says, the real key is leadership. We are in uncharted waters and many of the old ways of doing things have been shattered. Why not make a pact with yourself and the rest of us to be one of the leaders that will change things for the better in the coming year. Create something different… maybe even remarkable… and revolutionize the way we do things in the future.
After all … the future is truly in your hands!
Revolutionize your life and have a successful year!