Are you trying to make changes in your life to beat illness, get healthier, be more successful or simply find balance? Does it feel like an uphill battle with no end in sight? For most of us making changes and reaching goals can seem challenging. Uncertainty and fear can paralyze us or make us feel like we are on a runaway train heading straight for oblivion.

I’m not going to sugar-coat the truth, it’s scary to change course and try something new. This is why so many of us get stuck in patterns that aren’t good for us. Familiarity, even with pain, illness, discomfort or even self-loathing, fosters the complacency that makes taking action to create change seem so scary. No matter how dark a place can be, the ease and comfort of going back to what we know is what can keep us from making positive changes in our lives.

First things first, we need to commit to a positive future vision of ourselves. We can sit around all day and set goals – that’s easy! Taking the risk to move forward, get out of your comfort zone and meet your goals takes work. And let’s be real here, goals, by definition, should include some kind of challenge. If there’s no challenge involved then how is it even a goal? Everyone knows that winning always feels better when it’s earned, so aim high.

Once you’ve created a goal and gathered the resolve to make positive changes in your life, this is when your brain usually jumps in and begins to undermine your efforts. This is when things can get tough. This is when you need winning strategies.

Thankfully, while life can be hard, it doesn’t have to be painful. The amount of pain you experienced in pursuit of your goals is entirely up to you.

Our life is what our thoughts make it – Marcus Aurelius

Say what? We can control whether success has to be painful? That seems easy enough, but if it is so easy then why is it that we are surrounded by complicated notions of success and how to handle life? Thousands of books, websites and experts on “success” are all telling us to do this or that or the other thing. These so-called experts are telling us what they do to be successful and they encourage us to adopt their lifestyles and habits. We’ve been told to read more, make lists, outsource everything, lean in, go vegan, etc. While well-meaning, our fellow humans have managed to make success seem prescriptive, painful and complicated when in reality it’s actually very easy and accessible.

You don’t have to pay for a book or a program to get in on the action. Why? because you already know the what to do. We just get caught up in uncertainty and thinking that someone else has it figured out because the strategies we already know seem so basic that we forget how powerful they are.

These three simple strategies are the life lessons we were all raised on. Guess what, they still work.

Smile – No joke. Really. Smile. It’s one of the best life-tools for “killing it” that we all forget to use. It’s an immediate attitude adjuster that is known for miraculous, instantaneous transformations in personal strength and resolve.

Nix the Fear – Re-train the brain to reject fear instead of using fear as a guide. When you feel resistance in your life ask yourself if it’s fear. Then ask yourself what you’re afraid of. Usually it’s an improbable worse case scenario with almost no foundation in reality. Once you see fear for what it is, it’s easy to dismiss. Feel free to send it off with a laugh.

Believe – Believe you can and you will. The trick here is to truly believe in yourself. Feel and taste the success that you know will be yours!

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