Is It Time to Take Life to the Next Level?

Written by on January 8, 2018 in Self-Determination

Taking Life to the Next Level~

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves feeling an inexplicable restlessness or discontent with circumstances and relationships that seemed fine not so long ago.

This can be pretty confusing, especially if you look around and realize how fortunate you are and that your life is actually pretty darn great just the way it is.

Maybe, but if that stirring continues for any length of time it could well be your inner-self signaling you that it’s time to take life to the next level; that you are capable of doing, being or having more.

The question is, will you pay attention to this urge to shake things up, or will you convince yourself to ignore it as a phase?

There are two kinds of people. One kind, you can just tell by looking at them at what point they congealed into their final selves. It might be a very nice self, but you know you can expect no more surprises from it. Whereas the other kind keeps moving forward and making new trysts with life, and the motion of it keeps them young. In my opinion, they are the only people who are truly alive.
~Gail Godwin

Defining Your Next Level

Admittedly, the notion of taking your life to the “next level” is highly subjective, so what that ultimately looks like will vary for each of us.

For you, it could mean improving the quality and depth of your relationships, finding a way to upgrade your environment or getting serious about nurturing your health and well-being. Maybe you long to shift to a field of work that more closely aligns with your values.

The more self-aware you are, the easier it will be to identify the area that is tugging at you for attention.

Regardless of the specifics, it’s important to understand that truly leveling up your life is much more than making or breaking a habit or solving a problem, it’s committing to raise the standards by which you live.

Creating a Foundation for Change

Choosing an area to change or improve your life may seem like the biggest hurdle, but the key to achieving your desired results is laying a foundation to grow from.

Once you understand and embrace the following steps, you will find it much easier to create sustainable change in the future.

Understand Your Beliefs About Who You Are

We each have stories we tell ourselves and others about who we are, where we’re from and where we’re going. These stories run deeper than the roles you see yourself fulfilling in life – mother, daughter, worker, entrepreneur.  They speak to how you see your true self as a functioning human being.

Regardless of how true these stories may be, we are hard-wired to follow through on who we believe we are.

Consider someone who desires to establish basic personal boundaries and says to herself, “I’m going to do my best to learn to stand up for myself, but I’ve always been a people pleaser.”

It doesn’t matter how hard she tries, as long as her identity is that she is a people pleaser, her efforts to change will be futile.

I’ll share a personal example with you. Many years ago I worked as an administrative assistant in a hotel and while it was a good job I knew I was capable of much more so long story short I worked really hard to earn my way into a position as a sales manager. I was prepared for the work, but my coworkers (all men) weren’t exactly welcoming as they still thought of me as a secretary rather than a fellow manager. The truth was, so did I and that affected my confidence.

I knew that regardless of my title, until I began thinking of myself as an equal member of the team rather than a helper no one else would either, and eventually, I was able to make the shift in mindset and behavior and so did they.

The strongest force in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with the stories we’ve created around who we believe we are, so anytime you want to make a lasting change you’re going to have to begin thinking of yourself in a way that aligns with the new reality you desire to create.

Challenge Your Limits

The limits you create in your head about what you are or are not capable of can keep you stuck in a life that is smaller than you deserve, and make it much harder to develop confidence in your ability to change and grow.

Challenging your limits requires the willingness to face your fears and stretch yourself, the problem is that we humans have an undeniable attraction to “life hacks” – and pride ourselves in how creative we can get with the quick fix, do it now, fix it now, change it now, solve it now, learn it now, and let it go now solutions to life.

The reality is that personal development, taking your life to the next level in order to achieve your full capacity as the amazing person that you are capable of becoming, is hard work.

In fact, should you muster the courage to undertake any meaningful life change the question you will have to ask yourself (repeatedly I might add) is: How much work am I willing to put into this?

Whether we’re talking mental, emotional or physical capacity, if you want to achieve your full potential it will take time and the willingness to keep stretching your limits by doing harder stuff.

Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards. When people ask me what really changed my life, I tell them that absolutely the most important thing was changing what I demanded of myself. I wrote down all the things I would no longer accept in my life, all the things I would no longer tolerate, and all the things that I aspired to become.
~Anthony Robbins
Raise Your Standards

If there is only one commitment you could make beginning today that would take your life to the next level it would be to raise your personal standards. Your standards play a critical role in determining the quality of virtually every aspect of your life.

Are you habitually late? That means your personal standard is that it’s acceptable to be late. If you regularly put the wants and needs of others ahead of your own, that means your personal standard is it is acceptable to ignore your health and well-being.

Whatever the issue may be, to change an unacceptable behavior you must establish a clear definition of your new standard so that you have a specific objective. Once you’ve maintained a certain level for a while, then you can raise the bar a little more, and so on until you reach your desired outcome.

This process will work for you regardless of the standard you wish to change, but only if you are committed to taking consistent action.

Have you ever found yourself at a point where you knew it was time to take your life to the next level? If so, please consider sharing with us in the comments below.

Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita A. Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living Start Here.

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28 Reader Comments

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  1. Joyce Hansen says:

    As we have come through these last couple of decades, so much has changed and its changed fast. It seems we barely catch up and something new is challenging us. While we would love for things to be “normal’, that too has changed. As you rightly point out, Marquita, we do need to take our life to the next level. If not, it will go there without us.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…Tipping Women Who WorkMy Profile

  2. Sounds exciting Vatsala and I look forward to following your progress through your insightful writing. 🙂

  3. I think you are right Beverley, we are in a period of change on so many levels! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. 🙂

  4. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post Suzie!

  5. I’m in a reflective mood right now, Marquita. December 2016 was the time I decided to move to the next level and 2017 was the year that I laid the foundation for the change that I wanted. It involved a lot of introspection and facing my fears and checking if any limiting beliefs were hiding inside of me that could put a spanner in the works.

    Lots of letting go, embracing new actions and re-enforcing boundaries while creating an action plan that would work in the long run.

    2018 is the action year with trust that the Universe will support me in my adventure.
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…Need Inner Strength to Create Change? Try Invoking New Year WishesMy Profile

  6. My sense is we are all being called to reflect and reassess where we are in our lives and how we want to show up in the world. There is no sitting on the sidelines anymore, as it an all-hands-on-deck world we currently live in. This year I have chosen to surrender and commit to being available for wherever I can be of most service. My intention is to share beauty through art, music and writing. My hope is that trusting life’s process will present new opportunities and areas I can explore and make a positive impact. It’s always so interesting how people remain in their comfort zone, maybe a little too long, until something happens that pushes them into uncharted territories they cannot ignore. Thanks Marquita for encouraging others to step it up and take their lives to the next level. Whatever that is for them.

  7. Suzie Cheel says:

    Marty I love this and your post has pushed me to have a theme for the year. I know this is a big upleveling year for me too definitely time to make a big shift
    Will be looking forward to your weekly articles- there is a book here too 🙂 Thank you for inspiring me xx
    Suzie Cheel recently posted…Be True To You in 2018My Profile

  8. Oh Lenie, I know what you’re talking about doing isn’t easy, but I’m so happy that you’re making the choice to nudge your own care and well-being higher up on your list of priorities! I will be thinking about you and hope you’ll consider sharing your progress along the way. BIG HUG!

  9. Lenie says:

    I am going to be moving up to the next level by tackling this issue:
    “If you regularly put the wants and needs of others ahead of your own, that means your personal standard is it is acceptable to ignore your health and well-being.”
    Years ago we adopted a developmentally challenged boy who is now 40 and I have been heavily involved in his well-being to the point that it has affected my health. I am determined to give the necessary support of him to someone else and stop feeling guilty about it. Actually that last part is the hard part.
    I will be moving up to the next level this year. I’ll let you know how my life improved in January 2019 because I know it will.

  10. Beautifully said Donna, and it’s interesting that you referenced being honest with yourself because that is one of my upcoming topics. 🙂 Thanks so much for contributing to the conversation, I always value your thoughtful insights.

  11. Hi Marquita,

    One of my mantras is “Life is Change” and it is something that keeps me going. It can be a change in lifestyle or change in business. But I think it all starts with a good look at ourselves…honestly.
    Once we do that we can start tweaking things like exercise (for me that is a big one lol) Also being regimented in business. Taking it up a notch as I go along. But first we must believe we can and once we do that, there is no stopping us.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…1 Simple but Uncomfortable Tip to Boost Blogging ProfitsMy Profile

  12. Thank you so much for your kind words, and especially for so generously sharing my article Erika. I’m glad you found it has value and always appreciate your insightful comments.

  13. Having had the pleasure of working with you in our eBook collaboration last year I know that you have come a long way in your journey of self-realization and you continue to impress me Phoenicia with your willingness to do the hard work! I’m so glad my article resonated with you and appreciate your thoughtful insights.

  14. Spot on Ryan! It takes work to get to know one’s true self and create a life that holds meaning and passion, and I know from following you over the years that you’ve been very successful in that regard. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. 🙂

  15. Good for you Janelle! Wishing you all the best and hope to be able to support your efforts with what I share here. Thanks for contributing to the conversation. 🙂

  16. Like always a beautiful post to think about and gain a new perception.
    Change is always good and everyone feels the pull of wanting, doing and being more. Many do not realize or dare to take a step to the next level.May your article help to see the possibilities.
    Thank you
    Erika Mohssen-Beyk recently posted…3 Things Which Will Never Let You Quit Blogging in 2018My Profile

  17. Phoenicia says:

    Powerful first post for 2018 Marquita.

    I agree with so much of what you have written. Just yesterday I was speaking to my coach about the importance of how we see ourselves. I mentioned the way in which I used to view myself had a negative impact on me and my environment particularly at work. I had to choose to start seeing myself as a professional, as good enough as my colleagues whether they were more senior or not. I had to acknowledge that I made much valued contribution. We cannot control how others are towards us but we can refuse to take on their opinion of us once we know who we are.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Do not allow fear to hinder you from moving forward!My Profile

  18. This journey gets so uncomfortable in moments Marquita, so I can vibe with the idea that yep, it does get difficult in moments to reach the next level. For me, I allow my fun, love and passion to pull me through fear after fear. I find that when things get super duper scary, I dig deeper to remind myself that I love my life, circling the globe as a pro blogger and teaching other folks to do the same, and then I can see the illusion that is fear a bit more clearly. Loving the advice here….thanks much 🙂

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…Social Media Engagement Done the Right Way with Alonzo PichardoMy Profile

  19. Janelle P says:

    Great post, Marquita!

    As of this year, I felt this will be the best year to continue to work on my self-improvement. I have done a little bit of that work in 2017 and I hope to continue it for this year too!

  20. I’m glad you found value in the post Mark. Admittedly, the topic of quick fixes (which I intend to explore in depth in the near future) is a hot button for me at the moment. I see so many people jumping from one thing to another, complaining about their lives, complaining about why other people don’t behave the way they want them to, and on and on, never making the connection to their own behavior. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, always appreciated!

  21. Mark says:

    Definitely an evergreen topic M!

    And a great way to start off 2018 and beyond. BTW, I really love both of your quotes, especially the one by Gail Godwin.

    And as you pointed out, you definitely have to develop the proper mind set shift first, before trying to undergo any type of mental growth.

    This theme, is always a vital part of any longer term, positive changes we may seek.

    Thanks for providing us with the proper mental tools, in order to make the journey possible.
    Mark recently posted…How To Consult With A Real Expert For Literally Pennies On The Dollar!My Profile

  22. That sounds like a good goal Jeannette. I started walking more after I left my corporate job – and the company car – behind. I will never forget the first time I walked to the grocery store, which was less than a mile away. I was exhausted! Even though life has changed a lot since then, I still walk every day because I never want to go back to that level of weakness. Best wishes for sticking with your plan. 🙂

  23. Sounds like you have a good therapist Jeri! You know, I have to admit that lightening up would be harder for me than buckling down to work more, which probably means I should follow your example. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us.

  24. Jeannette Paladino says:

    Marquita — I’ve committed to exercise more in 2018. When I lived in NY I walked everywhere, as do most New Yorkers. But now I have a car and it’s just so easy to hop in and drive where I want to go. So I hadn’t developed a healthy exercise routine for myself. I’m committed to doing that in 2018.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Use Topic Clusters to to Boost Your SERPsMy Profile

  25. Love this: “The strongest force in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with the stories we’ve created around who we believe we are…”

    Powerful post to hit us with in January, Marquita. I will probably digest this one for a while and come back again.

    I feel that restlessness this year, but in a very positive context–that things are in motion for great results.

  26. Jeri says:

    This is exactly where I’m at after three years of therapy. This post is oddly familiar to much of what I discussed with my therapist this morning. At the end she joked, “Did I make you miserable?” She has a great knack for knowing when things need to be stepped up for the next level. My goal is to enjoy life’s journey a bit more by getting better at lightening up. That is the change I need to make.

  27. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts Monika! Sounds like you have a good handle on your own story. I do think it’s worth emphasizing that while the way we define ourselves surely affects our ability to change, that is just one element of the process which begins by committing to raise one’s standards. You can wear all of the labels you’ve defined for yourself and still suffer from weak boundaries, be habitually late or regularly sacrifice your health for the sake of others. The notion of taking life to the next level really speaks to the broad spectrum of fulfilling our potential far more than simple role labels. Hope that helps to clarify the concept a little better. Thanks again!

  28. Monika says:

    Wow Marquita. Thanks for this post. I hadn’t thought of defining my next stage in life as aiming “for the next level” but perhaps that’s a good way of looking at it. For me, that’s defining myself NOW as a writer and blogger – as well as a mother and former journalist (as I have described myself until recently). Creating stories around who you can be a powerful force for change, as I also described in a post this year! All best wishes for 2018 and your “next level”.
    Monika recently posted…The Caffeine HitMy Profile