December is a season of transformation – which means it’s the perfect time to set aside an hour amid the bustle and whirl of activity and spend a few moments contemplating the idea of personal transformation – and what that means for you.

Over the course of the next few weeks, are you hoping to transition from a state of darkness into one of emerging light, as represented by the solstice? Would you like to awaken a deeper sense of love for yourself and others, as represented by the many powerful symbols of peace and compassion that are so abundant this time of year?

Or do you simply want to say goodbye to old behaviors that no longer serve you, and say hello to a more positive and motivated incarnation of yourself, as we bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new?

No matter what kind of personal transformation you would like to accomplish in the next few weeks, here are five of my most powerful tips on how to create remarkable change in your life – by focusing on yourself first:

1. Complete the past to embrace the future

One of the biggest reasons why we find it difficult to move forward in life is because we haven’t properly dealt with the things that are holding us back.

Are you holding onto past hurts, past anger or fear, or past incompletes? Releasing these anchors could be the final step you need to complete your past and embrace your future.

I’ve known people who have forgiven their parents and doubled their productivity and ability to achieve their goals, almost overnight. I’ve known others who have finally sat down with an accountant and got their financial numbers in order – and doubled their income in a matter of months as a result. I even know someone who spent the weekend cleaning out his garage once – and scored a new dream client the following Monday!


I encourage you to take some time before the end of the month and make a list of all the anchors that are weighing you down – from unresolved issues with your family or loved ones, conversations you’ve been putting off having, projects around the house that you keep delaying – then create a schedule for completing every item on your list over the next few weeks.

You will be amazed at how liberated you feel!

2. Embrace change

In order to achieve personal transformation:

You must embrace the fact that change is not only necessary, but it is inevitable.
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After all, as President John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

When you resist that change, you risk being swept away by it. But when you choose to embrace change wholeheartedly as an inevitable part of life, looking for ways to use new changes to make your life richer, easier, and more fulfilling, your life will work much better. You will experience change as an opportunity for growth and new experiences, rather than a potential source of discomfort or fear.


Take some time this holiday season to consider your life and decide where you most need to grow.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s changing in my life that I’m currently resisting?
  • Why am I resisting that change?
  • What am I afraid of with respect to this change?
  • What am I afraid might happen to me?
  • What’s the payoff for my keeping things the way they are?
  • What’s the cost I’m paying for keeping things the way they are?
  • What benefits might there be in this change?
  • What’s the next step I could take to cooperate with this change?
  • When will I take this step?

When you choose to cooperate with change, adapt to it, and benefit from it, you will thrive no matter what life throws your way.

3. Transform your inner critic into an inner coach

Research indicates that people talk to themselves about 50,000 times a day – and that eighty percent of that self-talk is negative.

So if you have a voice inside you that says things like, “I shouldn’t have said that… they don’t like me… I’m never going to be able to pull this off… I’m a fraud… I’m so disorganized… I’ll never be good enough…” you are certainly not alone.

The problem with all this negative self-talk is that we actually BELIEVE it. Such thoughts affect our attitude, our motivation to act, our physiology, even our biochemistry.

So how do you stop them? By realizing that YOU are in charge of your own mind. You can choose whether to listen to or agree with any thought that passes through your head. Get into the habit of asking yourself: “Is this thought helping me or hurting me? Is it getting me closer to where I want to go, or taking me further away? Is it motivating me to action, or blocking me with fear and self-doubt?”


If you experience a thought that is having a negative impact on you, make the effort to consciously replace it with a more positive one. An ideal way to do this is to start a daily meditation practice. By meditating for just five-ten minutes every morning, and focusing on the positives in your life, you will go a long way toward replacing that critical inner voice with one that always has your back and encourages you to accomplish great things.

4. Commit to developing four new success habits a year

Your habits determine your outcomes. Successful people don’t just drift to the top. Getting there requires focused action, personal discipline, and lots of energy every day to make things happen.

So if you want to create higher levels of success, chances are you are going to need to drop some of your current habits – such as not following through on your commitments, staying up too late, watching too much television, making sarcastic comments, eating fast food too often, smoking, spending more than you earn – and replace them with more productive ones.

For example, if your goal is to get to the gym every morning, you might develop the habit of going to bed one hour earlier every night. If you want to be more productive at work, maybe you’ll get into the habit of identifying five main tasks you want to accomplish each day – then not leave the office until they’re complete. Or if you want to improve your relationship with your parents, maybe you’ll get into the habit of calling them at the same time every week just to chat.


I encourage you to create a list of four new habits you would like to establish in the new year. You can adopt a new habit each quarter and work diligently on making it part of your natural routine. By systematically adding one behavior at a time, you will dramatically improve your overall lifestyle.

5. Stay motivated with the masters

Achieving personal transformation can be challenging work – and without daily motivation, it’s all too easy to backslide.

One great way to stay on track is to seek out external motivation to keep your thoughts and attitude oriented on success. In my experience, truly successful people commit to lifelong learning and are always reading, watching, or listening to books, videos, or audiotapes that inspire them to keep moving forward.

If you spend even fifteen minutes a day listening to motivational talks, learning a valuable new skill, or discovering the success secrets of the world’s most powerful entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, or other professional titans, it will inspire you to pursue your own incredible success.

As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and speaks around the world on this subject. Follow Jack at and sign up for his free resources today!

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Image courtesy of Redd Angelo.