We all get stuck in our own behaviors, patterns and habits. Most of the time, this is just an uncomfortable part of life, but changing things you (or others) don't particularly like will allow you to make your life much better.
Here are 10 ideas to inspire you -- or someone you care for:
1. You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting. If you have thought that life is passing you by, there's probably a grain of truth in it. Find something you are passionate about learning or doing, and get to it.
2. When someone important to you asks you to change, don't take your loved one's request lightly. Other people can see you differently than you see yourself. When a person who cares gives you some gentle direction, it's a gift.
3. Don't wait for ill health to inspire you to take care of yourself. Exercise, get regular checkups, eat healthy and don't smoke. Those changes will give you a new lease on a longer life.
4. Some days you're jogging, and some days you're slogging. No matter how hard you work at making things better, there will be bad days. Accept it, get through it and start again tomorrow.
5. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. When you do, you'll realize what a waste of time it was. It's important to let your pain out, but it's more important not to live your life with it.
6. Trust your inner voices, but get confirmation from an authority. If you are inspired to follow your bliss but it will mean creating some difficult changes for loved ones, you would be wise to talk to an adviser first. Then run your plan by the people who will be affected.
7. Always have an achievable goal or dream. You don't have to work at your goal every day, but it helps to keep one in mind. For example, if your dream is to move to Hawaii, have a picture of the islands on your wall.
8. Being a little bit jealous of someone else's success can be inspirational. Hey, if he or she can do it, then so can you. Sometimes to propel ourselves to the next level, we have to feel that we missed out on something.
9. Look around at how you can make the world a better place. Instead of just passing through, make a positive contribution to life. If local or world tragedies touch your heart, listen to the call. It will make you feel alive.
10. Decide that you want to be a better person. As we all know, that daunting task starts with you. As you make yourself better, the lives of those around you will improve as well.
Inspiring others or yourself to change is challenging, anxiety-provoking and delicate. Go easy, but take the steps necessary for you to make the changes you need and want. It has been said that the only constant in life is change, so you might as well enjoy the process.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author, most recently, of "100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence -- Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too." E-mail him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.scrippsnews.com)