These are the times for changing your life–there are truck-loads of books, sites and blogs about change, personal growth, and self-improvement. You can find Eastern teachings, spiritualism, management tips, minimalism and environmentalism - you name it.

I am no exception myself, I have attended classes, I have read many blogs and books about self-improvement, and I currently follow zenhabits of Leo Babauta, a blog that inspired me to write myself. I have learned intellectually a great deal, but real change only happened when it was grounded in the experiences of my everyday routine. So what did I do many times, over and over? I took a suggestion to change something in my life, I tried it out, repeated it several times, and then wrote down my experiences. My experiences taught me whether I am able, or willing, to make the change or not.

An example: I had difficulties with a person I was working with. I wanted to change our relationship; namely, I wanted to be able to accept him more and curb my negative emotions toward him. I started to write down 10 positive attributes or competencies of this person every day. I committed myself to this exercise, so I needed to sharpen my attention to his positive side. This changed my attitude towards him. We have never become close, but my negative attitude and opposing emotional outbursts have significantly lessened since.

So go ahead and read books and attend courses of self-improvement. But engage yourself and ground the information in your life–otherwise it remains information without the transformative power.

If you want to change your life and want to keep it simple, not having the time to read all the books about how to be a better person or attend all the courses offered–then change one thing: start writing about yourself. Choose a topic, a question, or a part of your life you would like to change. Write only one sentence a day. Don’t get blocked by clinging to buying the nicest notebook or finding the best journaling app; just start writing. In a notebook, you find at home or in a document you just open after reading this article. Start today and commit writing every day for a minimum of 5 days.

As you have your sentence of the day and you kept doing it for a couple of days, now what? Rereading your work is your harvest. You decide when, but let’s say after a week, look back at what you have written and reflect. Is there anything new you have discovered? Unusual? A pattern? A rhythm? Is the tone negative or positive? Maybe it is just every day blah-blah and you cannot make anything out of it? Go and give it a try again, going deeper this time–lengthen your text, write at a different time of the day, or explore more areas: thoughts, feelings, body sensations, self-talk, intuition, expectations, presumption, beliefs, values, etc. Or choose a new focus of your writing–maybe this one was too big, too small, too vague, too general or too fearful to face. Try to be specific and short. Your focus should be something you have long wanted to solve, face or explore: a topic that excites you enough not to forget about it in your busy life. Write about it for a week.

A week later reread your writing. And see what happens. You change.

Author's Bio: 

Orsolya Hernold is the writer of orzola.org, a blog dedicated to personal growth by journaling. Orsolya offers topics with powerful questions to explore, online journaling courses, and printed journals to help readers to create the habit of journaling. Follow her by subscribing at orzola.org, on Facebook (OrzolaJournal) or on Twitter (OrzolaJournal).