Do you stay up way too late at night mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds and watching television? When the phone alarm rings in the morning, are you still tired and cranky? After the long commute to and from work and a long exhausting day, do you flop onto the coach and zone out? How many times do you tell yourself that you are going to make changes starting next week and you never start?

If this sounds familiar, you have some tough choices to make. Either you determine that you want to improve your career and life or take the path of least resistance and keep the status quo.

It you want to make real positive changes in your career and life, here is how to start.

  1. Accept where you are, stop blaming others for what happened in the past and take personal control of your life. Only you have the choice and power to change your destiny. Also, you have the choice to remain where you are. Both are acceptable options, but you will have to understand the long-term ramifications. If you don’t effect positive changes, your life will never magically improve. However, if you decide to embark on a journey of self-improvement and actively seek out new career opportunities, the world is wide open to you.
  2. If you elect to challenge yourself, go outside of your comfort zone and reignite your career, then there is another tough decision you will need to make. Think about how you spend your day, the people you regularly associate with and the way you view things. Do  your friends, co-workers and family drag you down? Are they negative and unsupportive of your dreams? What do you do with your free time? Do you read books, stay abreast of developments within your industry and try to grow intellectually—or do you waste your precious time on frivolous pastimes? Do you have a positive mindset or view life in a negative and critical fashion? If you truly want to become more successful, you will need to address these and related questions honestly. If you feel that certain friends or relatives are hampering your development, you may need to have a serious conversation with them or start seeing less of them. Substitute these types of people with those who are positive, motivated, uplifting and root for you to succeed. Stop watching too much vapid television, posting food pictures on Instagram and start working on becoming smarter and more knowledgeable about your work. If you tend to be self-critical and allow negative thoughts to race through your mind, try to develop a more positive outlook that will help you in remarkable ways.
  3. It is easy to say that you want to change, but the real challenge is to actually do it. Once again, there is a choice. You can plan, talk about your goals with people, wish that everything will work out the way you want it to—or you can start acting right now. Choose to be assertive and bold. Go after your goals with grit and steely determination. Don't let the naysayers hold you back from your dreams. Read self-help books and watch thoughtful podcasts to pump you up and learn new skills and the means to becoming a better more successful person. If you want a new job, put together a résumé, contact recruiters, respond to job listings, network and do everything in your power to make it happen. If you like your company, but feel overlooked, schedule a meeting with your boss and tell her of your ambitions, all the qualities you have to offer and ask how you can advance within the organization.

The choices you make today will shape your future. To summarize, if you want to succeed, you first have to decide that you want something more out of life, then you need to choose who and what stays in your life and the things you need to change to enable you to advance. Then, immediately start acting on creating your future right now.

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