How to transform your life in 5 steps


“Live the life you love and love the life you live” – Bob Marley

There are two kinds of routines. One you’re unhappy to be in, and the other you’re happy to be in.

A few months ago, my typical week consisted of late night library hours and cramming in studying and assignments between a ton of social commitments. There was a period when I got up at noon whenever I could and I didn’t eat too well either. I felt like I was stuck in a rut and I couldn’t get out. I had so many commitments and responsibilities that I was having a bad time just trying to please everyone.

After a few weeks, I had enough. This wasn’t the life I wanted to live. I wanted better grades. I wanted to start running again. I wanted more.

So I decided to buckle down and radically change my life.

Soon, I felt so much better as my routine became more revolved around what I wanted. Now, everyday, I get up early, I run for a few miles, shower, read a book, write, strum my guitar and study. Every couple of days, I go out with my friends or family and do something fun, like going to the park, out for a meal or to the cinema. I love the way I live now because it’s stress-less and allows me to have a lot of time to myself so that I can do whatever I feel like.

Granted, I wasn’t exactly living a horrible life before, but it was far from ideal. I made a decision to change my life, so I did.

what not to do

The worst thing to do when you don’t like things the way they are is to simply complain about it. Lot’s. I know that life isn’t always rainbows and roses, but complaining about it won’t help you because:

  • Complaining is infectious. It makes you look like a negative person. People will begin to drift away from you if you drag their mood down, even if it’s only a little.
  • Hardly anything bad that happens to someone is aimed directly at them. Most of the time the universe does random things, good and bad things can befall everyone. The universe revolves around no one.
  • Rarely does complaining actually make things disappear.
  • Shouting at someone means that person believes their problem is more important than respecting another human being.

People complain because there is a dissonance between what is and what the person thinks it should be.

Okay, so sometimes we have to vent a little. And we don’t have to like everything the way it is, but that’s ok, as long as it leads to positive action. A person has to be proactive to change what they disagree with. In other words, if they really don’t like things they way they are, they should do something productive about their situation, instead of moaning about it.

how to radically change your life

1. Mentally commit. Firstly, you have to decide you want to change, and then stick to it. There’s no point in being weak willed when it comes to radically changing you life. It’s easy to slip back to what is easiest – which is no change at all. Once you’ve decided that you’re sick of the way you’re living right now, you can look forward to how you’re going to change it. Start telling people that you want to change, and you’ll find yourself doing it so that you won’t let them, and yourself, down.

2. Make specific goals. Have clear aims about where you want to be by when. Write them down in big letters and stick it somewhere you can see everyday.

  • “I want ___ grade by ___”.
  • “I want to earn ___ by ___”
  • “I want to be ___ by ___”

Commit them to memory. Use them as mantras.

Break goals down into how you will achieve them. If you want to have really good grades this year, how good? How many hours study will you do a day/week? Then, stick to it and keep going. If you are persistent, a breakthrough is inevitable. If your goal is measurable, don’t forget to reward yourself when the time comes.

3. Say no. Learning how to say no to others is learning how to say yes to yourself. It sounds selfish, but it’s not. Yes, there are times you should spend with others, but it’s your life, you should be doing the things you care about. Don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to. Don’t make promises that you can’t fulfil. Real friends would understand that you have your own needs and they should respect whatever you choose to do.

4. Minimalize. Throw out anything you don’t need. This includes commitments with people/clubs that your heart isn’t into any more. Get rid of the things that make you unhappy. Get rid of the things that aren’t making you happy. Get rid of things that are cluttering up your space and taking up your precious time and effort. The purpose of this is to get rid of all the things that don’t matter that are distracting you. That way, you can focus on your goals.

5. Be fearless. Don’t just stick with whatever other people are doing, go for your own thing. Do what you love. Set one crazy goal. If you don’t challenge yourself, you’re not making a real change. Ditch your comfort zone and go for it. Don’t care what other people think. Dare to be different.

how I applied these steps to my life

When I started this blog, I had no idea that people would actually read it (thank you!). I wrote a couple of posts about minimalism because I felt more committed when I told other people. I wrote down specific goals about what I wanted to achieve with my grades and with incorporating minimalism into my life (like halving my wardrobe). I said no to partying as much as I used to and I felt tons better for it. I had more time to focus on what really mattered. Finally, I dared to be different from other students. I didn’t want to be the typical broke/alcoholic student, nor did I want to be a social recluse. I challenged the conventional way of thinking – I refused to have a car even though I had a choice and I found my own brand of minimalism. I chose the life I have now, I’m really happy with it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Are you living your ideal life? How did you/will you get there? Let me know in the comments!

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  • Tthis article reminded me yesterday’s party, when something bad happen to my friend (in fact, it was not that bad as he was telling it to others), but he spoke about it the rest of the night. I was quite bored by his complaints,… by reading this article I have realized that complaining can be really dangerous to people which tries to think positively.

    Like it was written … “Complaining is infectious”.

    BTW: Your article showed me the basic rules (those 5 points) that are essential to start to change own life. Thanks for that!

    • Jessica

      Hi Jan K,

      Yes, I’ve definitely had that happen to me before! It was at a party too, all I wanted to do was have a good time, I should have really said it was ‘contagious’ because it really brought the mood down.

      Thanks for your comment!

  • MinimalOne

    Thank you,

    Your posts are inspirational, it’s great to know I’m not the only student out there persuing a minimal life!

    • Jessica

      Hi MinimalOne,

      Thank you so much. Same here, one of my hopes in starting this blog was to be able to reach out to other minimalist students, I’m so glad to know there are so many out there!

  • I’m a student as well. Currently studying at CSUEB in the Bay Area. I’ll be done with my BS in February. Where do you go?

    • Jessica

      Hey Chris,

      It’s always great to meet other students! I go to university in the UK, so please forgive me for my occasional use of British spellings 🙂

  • gilberto

    It occurred to me today that taking my time to tranform my life into a minimalist one is anti-minimalist, in a way.

    I think true minimalism isn’t having the least amount of objects in your life, but MENTALLY FOCUSING on the minimum amount of things that will make you happy.

    When I get an itch to overhaul my room, it normally means I’m extremely anxious about something I’ve been thinking of.

    • Jessica

      Hi gilberto, thanks for another comment!

      Yes, I agree, one can get carried away or mixed up about what minimalism really is by focussing on just throwing everything away. It’s all about balance.

  • gilberto

    You’re one interesting cookie.

  • alejandra


    I discovered your website recently and i’ve just fallen in love with it. Thanks for inspiring me!
    I’m curious: what are you studying?

    • Jessica

      Hey alejandra,

      Thank you so much for your comment!

      I’ve been asked that quite a few times recently, I will be answering your question very soon!

      Stay tuned for the big reveal 🙂