How to Change Yourself [The Ultimate Guide]

Whether you’re looking to break bad habits, cultivate a better lifestyle, or simply feel more content with your life, you might wonder how to change yourself.

The unfortunate truth about change is that it doesn’t happen overnight: It’s a gradual process that requires effort and discipline. From breaking bad habits to sticking to a new routine, our step-by-step guide offers actionable advice on transforming yourself by gaining a more positive outlook.

Why Is Personal Change Such a Great Thing?

When you alter your actions, behavior, and thoughts for the better, you might discover a more positive outlook. However, breaking out of your old habits isn’t easy: It requires continual self-reflection.

Some benefits of transforming yourself can include the following:

With self-growth in mind, you might discover a clearer process of breaking old habits. This shift might allow you to develop new skills and refine your outlook.

However long it takes to change your desired aspects of life, remember that small and large improvements should be recognized and celebrated.

How to Change Yourself for the Better: Where to Start

Knowing how to change as a person (as in, where to start) is a big struggle for many people. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!

Below, our step-by-step guide offers tips on how to change yourself and move towards a more positive mindset:

1. Reflect on Your Current Issue and/or Past Mistakes

Your thoughts guide your actions, behavior, and outlook in life. The first step to changing yourself: Think about the current state of your life and try to identify the root cause of your issue.

To get started, we recommend listing positive things about yourself. Take note of the traits and habits that you appreciate most. You can also ask family or friends if you’re struggling.

Next, identify what you’d like to change and why. It will probably feel uncomfortable, but acknowledging your shortcomings will help you determine a path toward self-improvement.

It’s important to recognize the importance of a licensed therapist. They can help you pinpoint the source of your concerns. You can also try out meditation or journaling.

2. Commit to Changing Yourself

Once you’ve identified the traits and habits you want to change, be firm but compassionate. Routinely acknowledge that you’re a “work in progress” who needs to grow.

When you commit to changing yourself, you should be comfortable in your own skin. Remember: There’s no need to be upset or hard on yourself for wanting to change.

A good place to start is by reading self-growth and productivity books, like:

3. Create a More Positive Mindset

Changing yourself requires committing to a positive mindset. With constant negative emotions and expectations, you might be harder on yourself (especially if you don’t happen to meet your desired outcome).

Your emotions don’t only affect how you treat people around you: They also affect how you treat yourself. Focusing on more positive emotions will likely lead to a healthier relationship with all parties involved.

4. Set Short- and Long-Term Goals

When it comes to your self-change journey, setting short- and long-term goals can help you see a finish line. For instance, if your goal is to complete a marathon within a year, set smaller goals to avoid losing motivation.

Examples might include:

  • Running your first mile
  • Running every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before work.
  • Doing “leg days” at the gym twice per week
  • Adding one mile to your regime every week
  • Participating in local half-marathons

Setting goals isn’t as easy as you think, so consider following a set of parameters to keep you focused. As a general rule, your goals should be SMART:


Your goals should be detailed as possible. Saying, “My goal is to quit smoking,” or “I’m going to drink eight cups of water per day” is far more specific than, “I want to be healthier.”


If your goals can be measured, you’ll know once you’ve reached your end goal. For instance, “get promoted” is more measurable than “be successful in work.”


Your goals must also be attainable, so consider your present circumstances when setting them. Gauge your existing skills and avoid pushing yourself beyond your limitations.


Short-term goals must be relevant to your long-term goals. Plan them to work hand-in-hand so you can maintain your new habits more easily.


Ensure your goals are connected to a specific time. This way, you can plan and work towards your expected outcomes.

5. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you stick to your current mindset, you’ll never learn how to transform yourself. You need to be willing to take some risks.

Breaking habits is necessary for growth and achieving your goals. If you’re afraid to start now, remember that it’s better to try than to be stuck with your unsatisfactory lifestyle forever.

6. Be Forgiving

Like any new skill, it takes time for new habits to form and stick. It’s perfectly normal to encounter slumps throughout the process. While these instances make it more difficult to stay focused, try the following when you’re struggling:

  • Remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place.
  • Focus on how far you’ve come.
  • Reach out to a support group, a trusted friend, or a therapist.
  • Take a step back if you’re pushed beyond your limits.

You’ll get there, but be kind as you transform yourself.

7. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

It’s normal to feel intimidated when others are succeeding around you. While comparing yourself to others is human, everyone has different skills and abilities. Refrain from feeling down or jealous — it only distracts you from your journey.

Remember: You’re seeking change for yourself, not others.

8. Stick with Like-Minded People

People with the same habits, interests, and tastes will often behave similarly. They usually understand — better than most — how to keep each other motivated.

Whether you go to the gym together, have a standing Zoom call, or meet for coffee once a week, you should find a “tribe” to share your progress and concerns. This practice is helpful, especially if you’re feeling down or unmotivated.

Make sure that these people aren’t afraid of giving criticism and being honest. These are the individuals who will help keep you on track. Use their questions and feedback to adjust your plan and goals.

9. Review Your Progress Constantly

To stay on track, monitor your progress and your feelings in a diary or journal. Occasionally read older entries to track your progress. You might also spot patterns and find ways to address them more honestly.

10. Celebrate Your Milestones

Many people forget to reward themselves for hard-earned progress. This means recognizing even the smallest — yet significant — changes in your life. After all, the more progress that’s made, the closer you are to your goal.

Celebrate milestones by going to the movies, buying a new shirt, or eating an extra scoop of ice cream. Just be careful not to counter your current progress with your chosen reward.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Change My Way of Thinking to Become a Better Person?

Changing your way of thinking can go a long way toward helping you become a better person. For this to happen, you need to be open to change, especially learning to be more compassionate with yourself and others.

Is it Possible to Change Yourself?

Yes, it’s absolutely possible to change yourself for the better. Your traits, habits, and outlook aren’t set in stone! Just like breaking any habit, you’ll need to work on your self-awareness and intention — and be patient!

How Can I Have a More Professional Demeanor?

Improving your professional demeanor is much more than following a dress code. You must also work on your attitude, formal language, and communication skills.

Wrapping Up

Learning how to change yourself doesn’t happen overnight: It’ll take conscious effort and time for a new lifestyle to stick.

If you’re ready to start your journey toward self-improvement, visit the Top Mindfulness Courses on Coursera. These videos and guides are designed to keep you focused and motivated as you become what you want to be!


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Emma Collins is a tech writer for Productivity Spot. She's been writing tech tutorials & how-to guides on Windows, Android, iOS, Social Media, Data Recovery, Cybersecurity, Gaming, and more as a tech writer for over 6 years. You can find her work on many established tech websites, including, MakeUseOf, Help Desk Geek, Online Tech Tips, Switching To Mac, HandyRecovery, Cleverfiles, and more.

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