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10 Ways to Know That You Are Ready To Grow

A guest post by Stephanie Wetzel

Standing on the edge of bigger dreams for our lives, we may not always know that true change is possible for us. Sure we read great blogs about living a bold and fearless life. We collect ideas for change like priceless trading cards.

We even study those who’ve walked the path before us and found success in their own lives. It all seems so easy for them, those lucky ones who have found their way through to the other side.

But what about the rest of us? How do we of moderately comfortable existences and busy days find the sort of lasting change that we long for so desperately? How do we find the motivation to keep pushing forward despite no guarantee of finding success?

Facing the Reality of Adulthood

Just over two years ago, I weighed 411 pounds. I was stuck in a job that paid well, but was killing my soul. I had growing debt and a desperate longing to simply run away from my own life, creating a new identity somewhere far removed from the mistakes of my past.

I believed that I had “failed” at adulthood. I wasn’t financially independent, married with 2.3 kids, in a successful career with a bright future, or driving a fancy sedan to my 2500+ square foot suburban home every night.

Instead I was obese, single, and miserable working for someone else, while driving an affordable car and living paycheck to paycheck in 1100 square feet.

I wasn’t living the ideal “dream” so much as the actual reality most of us face in adulthood—unhappy, burdened and stuck.

Becoming One of the “Lucky” Few

The truth for those reading these encouraging words is that we weren’t properly equipped to deal with life. In school, we are taught how to solve for ‘x’ and meet structured expectations. But once college is over, we are given a slip of paper, shoved out the door, and wished a hearty good luck.

Life skills are not measurable in the standardized educational structure, so nobody bothers to teach them. It should be no surprise that we are all flailing about, chasing an idealized life that doesn’t fit the person we are at our core.

Some people have what it takes to excel in this environment of comparative success and happiness. They are always content asking themselves “am I doing as well as or better than. . .” as long as the answer is and remains yes.

And there are others who have figured out that comparison is the worst possible gauge of life. They have learned to exist in the moment, to enjoy all that they have right now instead of worrying over their past and future.

But what about the average masses? We long for escape from what we were taught to want, and are ready to embrace what our hearts are actually longing for—those dreams and desires bursting up from within. We just can’t figure out how it is actually possible to get from here to there.

For me, I wanted to escape my obese body . . . to no longer be the “big girl” in the room. I wanted to spend every single day utilizing my creativity to contribute something of value to the world, while earning a good living in the process. And most importantly, I wanted to be free from the burdens I had carried with me for far too long—debt, regret, pain, and exhaustion.

My goal was to create the life I’d always dreamed of, and the mere thought of it paralyzed me in fear for many years. But then my turning point came, and I knew in my heart I was ready to change my life. Here are 10 ways to know if you’re ready to begin too:

1. You’re tired.

This isn’t just a sleepy feeling when you lay down for bed at night, but an ongoing sense of tiredness throughout the day. It’s as if no matter how much sleep you actually get, your reserve energy to face the day is always low or missing.

2. You’re frustrated.

You want the feeling of unsettledness to go away so you can just “show up” and do what needs to be done. When other people don’t do their part, or prevent you from doing yours, you grow even more frustrated by the situation. You may even fail to understand why it bothers you so much.

3. You’re stressed.

Not just stressed, but over-stressed. You can be fine, doing your thing at home or work, and then something goes slightly wrong. And you find yourself going from fine to extremely stressed in an instant. This is over-stressed, when you teeter on the edge between fine and not fine.

4. You’re desperate.

You just want it to work without anything having to change. You think to yourself, “if only such and such would do this then everything would be fine.” All of your focus is placed on altering the external circumstances around you instead of the actions you could take to make things different.

5. You’re full of regret.

You have a negative internal dialogue that reminds you far too often of all the past mistakes, failures, and moments where you didn’t quite accomplish what you set out to do.

6. You’re ashamed.

You don’t want the world to really see you. You don’t challenge yourself to step out from the crowd because then they can see the failure within.

7. You’re resentful.

You just want it to be different. If only everybody else would cooperate with the plan, then the standing still plan would work. Why won’t they just do their part?

8. You’re doubtful.

Deep inside, you know that standing still isn’t the answer. You know that you have to do something, to begin listening to the whispers that well up within your heart. But you don’t think you have what it takes to change. You don’t know what the answer is for what actually needs to change.

9. You’re fearful.

You’re scared. You may fail, you may end up worse off than you are. After all, life isn’t all that bad. You’ve got good things and good people—there are happy parts. Why then are the bad parts still so overwhelming?

10. You’re looking for an escape plan.

Perhaps if you just packed up and moved to a new city. Then things would be different for you. You could start over, no one would know your past history here.

The Secret to Creating Change

It’s not a matter of luck, location or circumstance. You’ve probably already heard it many times before. The secret to actually creating change in your life is by taking action—doing one small thing today that is different than it was yesterday. But knowing this secret only gets you so far on the path to change.

The other key to finding success in this process is about support. We are born and die alone, but we are not meant to experience life alone. The greatest gift of our human existence is that it is a journey destined to be shared with others.

We are taught from a young age to compete, to be untrusting, to be wary of the person standing next to us because we may not measure up. We are raised in a society based in perfection—never show your weaknesses, never be vulnerable.

But we are weak, vulnerable and frail—we are human. We need the ongoing support of others to lift us up when we are weak, to strengthen us when we feel frail.

In just over two years, I’ve lost 205 pounds, left full-time employment behind, and shared my darkest secret with the entire world. I’ve become one of the “lucky” few, but I didn’t do it alone.

I finally asked for some help. And today, you can too.

In the comments below, share your story with the readers of Live Bold and Bloom. Let’s work together to support each other in the process of change.

I’m ready. Are you?

Stephanie Wetzel is a writer and coach on a mission to help women trade in their excess pounds for the life they want to live. She is the author of “The Real Food Guide to Trading Pounds,” and personal coach for those ready to lose the weight for good. You can share in her personal journey of losing over 200 pounds, plus kick-start your own at TradingPounds.com.

Comments

  1. Stephanie,
    What a wonderful post! I am amazed that you have lost 205 pounds. That is no joke!

    When I was in 5th grade, I weighed 165 pounds. I remember getting teased and how much it hurt. I still remember praying to God to be a “skinny kid”. Though, prayer doesn’t work too good when I kept eating french fries and big macs. At some point, my mother pulled me aside and told me I was getting too big that it was unhealthy. Though it was very hard to hear those words, they changed my life.

    I was forced to take action to lose weight. Since, I was a kid, I was naturally active. I did a lot of things outside. I really just needed to cut back on eating every single item in front of me.

    I ended up dropping over 40 pounds. Of course, this is teeny weeny compared to your situation. But it taught me a major lesson that sticks with me to this very day: If I want to make things happen in my life, I have to do it! It taught me to take action.

    I know this wasn’t the question you brought up, but I felt to compelled to share this.

    Great post.

    • Hi Izzy ~

      What a wonderful story to share because that is a guiding mantra in all of our lives :: take action! It’s such an important lesson, and although there is a difference between 205 and 40, it’s still a matter of taking action to change those old habits. I applaud your mother for having the courage to address such a difficult subject with you and to help you overcome!

      Thank you for sharing!

      All my best ~
      Steph

  2. William Veasley says:

    Stephanie: I am fearful of a lot of things, but everyday I fight to become a stronger person. In the end, I just want to be all that I can be and help this world as much as possible.

    There are many times that I have doubts, but I try to rid them out of my mind with positive thoughts and experiences. For instance, I might have recently accomplished something and I might remind myself of that acccomplishment. I have been trying to focus on the little things and make the best of my days.

    Today I got a lot of rest because I ate “heavy” food that “knocked me out”, but I will not be sleeping for a while because I know change does not not come from sleeping or being lazy.

    Best Wishes,
    WIlliam Veasley

    • Hi William!

      Now that is a fight worth undertaking – to make the most of the time you have been given. And although a lot cannot be accomplished during rest, it is quite important to ensure that you are operating at your own best each day. Doubt is something we all have to face, myself included, but reminding ourselves of the little accomplishments along the way is a great technique for combating it. One other technique I have tried implementing is to negate that cycle of comparison. Whenever my thoughts drift towards comparing myself or my work with another, I quickly try to redirect those thoughts in a more positive direction by focusing on what is good in their work and what is good in mine.

      Thanks for commenting! Best ~ Steph

  3. Stephanie,

    Thanks for sharing your story and your words. You are an inspiration. Action, daily focused action is the key to change and I know only too well how long it takes to get to the point that you can consistently take those actions.

    I remember when the phone weighed a thousand pounds and asking for help was a milestone in and of itself. I recently read an article that talked about research into addictions and the change process. They found that one of the common elements and key success factor when making profound change was group support.

    I am glad I found my tribe all those years ago and I was able to create a life beyond my wildest dreams. The world need more people like you willing to share.
    Thanks, Susan

    • Susan ~

      Thank you for sharing! You are so right about celebrating having found your tribe. I say thanks every single day for mine. It saddens me that so many of us still push ourselves to “go it alone” only to find that the emotional burden of that isolation is far too much to bear. Think of what we’d all be capable of if we just learned to support (and be supported) along the way! Thank you for sharing!

      All my best to you ~ Steph

  4. Thank you so much for this post.

    I recognize all of these symptoms from a previous point in my life when I made a big change, quitting my job in favour of self-employment. But more importantly I recognize them in where I am now.

    For me, your post is a personal reminder that life is a journey and one change doesn’t fix everything. It’s time for me to do the work and figure out what my next steps are.

    Again, thank you.

    • Heather ~ You are so right in your words . . . life is a continuing journey, not one change that lasts forever. Find those steps and take them with the confidence you’ve gained from all that came before. All my best to you! Steph

  5. Greg Lease says:

    Stephanie,

    That sentence, “The secret to actually creating change in your life is by taking action—doing one small thing today that is different than it was yesterday,” really is the bottom line to changing anything. But even that seems like too large a hurdle to get over if you don’t have a compelling vision of what it is that you want to get over it and start moving toward. All of us are familiar with the frustration of what we don’t like about our lives, but because we keep looking at what we don’t want we tend to recreate it over and over. In order to break out of that habit loop, we need to be able to imagine what it will be like to have the life that we want, and how that will feel and review that over and over in our imagination to create a magnetic draw away from where we’ve been stuck. Having that vision of the destination teamed with experiencing the positive emotions that will be there when we get there can help us to keep taking those small, daily steps – even when it seems that the small steps are getting us nowhere.

    Your story is inspiring; keep up the good work!

    Greg

    • Greg ~ You are right in that the vision of what we want to create is so important. But I have found time and again that sometimes trying to create that vision too early on serves to keep us even more stuck. If you can’t find the vision, you can still eliminate what isn’t working for you any longer. And that’s the real key – eliminating what isn’t working, not just being aware of it. Elimination is an act of action, and the clearer you can become when the burden is removed, the more chance you have of finally creating that vision of what you do want for your life.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

      Best ~ Steph

  6. A very inspiring post Stephanie thanks. I have been following liveboldandbloom for months now and trying to change my life with giving thanks for the good things each morning and asking for the things I need. In actual fact my life has steadily deteriorated to the position today where I cannot even pay my mortgage.

    I dont know how to find the strength to cope anymore. And no I dont have any support or know how to even begin to get any. How do I do that ?

    • Stephanie Wetzel says:

      Hi Lizzie ~ Sometimes the hardest challenges in life are where we find the most courage for change. I think you’ve already answered your own question. You find support by reaching out in any way that you can. By even leaving a comment here on a blog. Giving thanks is only a part of the process, the biggest key is action. But action can be difficult when we are lacking confidence. If you need more wealth in your life, what is the smallest possible action you could take today to create it?

      Can you capitalize on a talent or skill?
      Can you tighten your personal budget?
      Can you look at your finances to see where you might be “leaking” money?
      Can you partner with someone to offer your services to their clients?

      There are many opportunities for earning outside of structured full-time employment. Challenge yourself to get creative and think about some ways you can create opportunity for additional income.

      All my best ~

      Steph

  7. Thank. Great message for my life today. Pretty much checked the whole list. 🙂

  8. Stephanie, Bless your heart! and thank you for this! The 10 reasons you listed……you hit the nail on the head 10 out of 10! I have known it for some time deep in my heart that I also am ready for change but have been too afraid to take that first step….until now, really you and the other beautiful people that have posted on your blog have really inspired me…I am going to take action and join a support group, one that deals with post traumatic stress….I need to find that common ground so I can start to let go of all the baggage…..I am going to take it one day at a time. Thanks again Stephanie!
    Donna

    • Stephanie Wetzel says:

      Donna ~ One day at a time is always the best approach. I am so glad that you’ve found inspiration here. I’d love it if you kept me posted on how you are doing along the way!

      All my very best to you ~ Steph

  9. Wow! Reading this post was like replaying all of the thoughts that have been building up inside my head for the past few years. Some of our struggles are a little but different, but overall the story is the same. As I read your list, I could easily say yes to all 10.

    I’ve recently come to the realization that something has got to change in my life. I’m not happy and more often than not I feel exhausted, stressed out, and trapped. After months of contemplating, I’ve decided to take a chance. At the end of the month, I’ll be quitting my day job so I can focus on my true passions: crafting and writing. I’ll be a full time freelancer– which is incredibly exciting, but I’m also terrified of failure.

    I plan on giving up on structured day jobs and allowing myself to simply follow my inspiration. I’ll divide my time between writing and crafting. I’ve created a shop on Etsy (Reprieve’s Corner) and I’m looking into the local Farmer’s Market and other venues where crafters and authors can rent space to sell their wares.

    I’ve done some writing and crafting in the past, but it’ll be different now because I’ll be relying on my talents to support me financially. I’m so scared of crashing and burning; but, at the same time, I know that if I don’t take this chance now then I’ll never find my courage to simply take a deep breath and then just do it.

    Thank you for sharing this article. You basically summed up everything that I’ve been feeling. It’s comforting to know that other people have been in similar situations as the one I’m in right now and that they made it through to the sunshine on the other side. Cross your fingers for me that I’ll be one of the “lucky ones” as well!

  10. veronica wambui says:

    How lovely. Thank you Barrie for the inspiration, it makes you, YOU! As i come to the end of the year you’ve given me food for thought.

  11. Stephanie,

    Thank you for being you. Thank you for being the person who stands out and opens doors to our minds that have been cracked for so long. As I read your story I started associating each of your strong desires to mine. Even the ones that didn’t factor into my path I still found a way to reword it. So my story goes as:

    Growing up I was the guy who wouldn’t take his shirt off. Either it would be fear of chatter from ones mouth or the chance to meet someone passing by held enough value to keep it on. As time went by I moved down on the scale a bit, but still kept that shirt on. I would pass on almost everything. Now being a guy in his late teens trust me I passed on about everything that felt with me being shirtless. I started to make excuses for myself to draw attention from women like, “I keep it on cause no one really has said anything to make me take it off” As most are aware we all know that leads to awws and I’ll fix that type lingo or even the feeling sorry route. So my early 20s brought me a child, a new living situation, a great money making job and a road I’ve only been taught to obey and respect. My late 20s gave me my second child and thoughts of what’s right or wrong in life. Now these thoughts are the ones most good guys and women face now days. The thought of there child being in two different homes with multiple parents or temporary parents. Myself, I’ve never wanted anything less then to spend each and every moment with my kids. I knew the only way to achieve that is to “make it work” no matter what you give up on. So I did what every die hard dad or mom would do, pass up on personal happiness for the chance to wake up each day and see your kids. I wasn’t gonna let any judge or person tell me when I could spend time with them. I made it work, I did damn good to. I learned how to be at peace with just the love of my children. My wife at the time was like most, had her bad times, good times, but never really full filled my desire of real love. However, that wasn’t gonna stop me. Us die hard dads know the mom will use as much as she can against us….heck the court systems are goofy for the dads. So my time came once when I found another guy in her life. Seemed like I prayed for this day for years. Something different happened though, I felt each and every reason to not let her go. Was it my fear of losing again in life? Was it the jealous card eating at me? Was it a better guy then me, a guy who can provide better, love better, raise my kids better? So I did what most would not….I fought for her. I fought so hard that we lived together while the divorcewas going on. I fought while she had every day with him and slept every night at my house. I started finding ways to control my anger with talks and prayers. Well, she canceled theddivorce. Now in my early 30s and one more child, I find myself still hoping for this fantasy love or happiness to appear. I look at ways why she isn’t good, why there are better moms and most importantly when is the next guy coming along.
    Mid 30s and tired of not being fit, tired of not feeling happy unless my kids are around. Tired of thinking every breeze in the wind is the one for me. Tired of hiding my thoughts, tired of doing what’s right, what was taught to us by our parents. Tired of making it work. Now please don’t get me wrong I’ve never been the guy who feels I deserve anything. I’ve always thought maybe the good lord placed her here for me to guide her to what’s right. (She’s a sort of non believer)
    So the fear has me with my shirt on again. I’m so full of love and desire it drowns my prayers at night for the one to show up. I know what would happen if I went for a change, I know she would use my kids as leverage to get me to do anything or give anything. I know that finding someone that fulfills you while you have someone is completely out of the question. I know my story lays in other die hards around. I know this fear lays at the most hidden area under our shirt. This cotton cage of make believe, wearing it to big to hide imperfections, to tight to draw attention.
    So my thought after reading your story I’ve had this shirt on for so long Stephanie. Its choking me at the collar, its pressing on my chest to drive me crazy, its to short to tuck in anymore. I’m growing out of this shirt and I fear for what store to get my nextshirt at.

  12. Hey guys, my names nick and I’m having trouble figuring out who I am/what I need to be doing in life. I want to be happy and live like my friends do but I’m always feeling angry and irritated. I try my best to go on and not show how I I really feel, but as of lately it’s been the toughest thing to do. Any advice?

  13. Justin Benjamin says:

    i Stephenie,
    I’m 19 years old. I’m knew to the adulthood world and am struggling. I cam right out of high school to the Army. I joined for the wrong reasons but chose to stick with it because I want to use it for my dream. I’m no good with money growing up being spoiled by my mother. I never learned the value of money so I spend just about everything I get right when a paycheck and struggle the rest of the 2 weeks my relationships are lacking also. When I get to talkino to a woman I tend to get territorial and borderline stalkeris and I can’t help it. I’m a man that runs on my instincts. I’ve done things in my past I’m not proud of and have had my heart broken enough to the point where I cant even cry anymore. I need help.