Maybe I watched one too many Oprah episodes when the show was still on the air. She always seemed to have guests who miraculously found their passions. Overnight, they went from rags to riches, making millions doing the things in life they loved.

Listening to these inspirational stories, I perceived their successes to come at minimal cost. However, my experience has shown that making life changes isn’t a quite that simple. As I gradually transition from a career in marketing to one focused on my passions – health and wellness – I am learning a lot. About life. About myself. About pursuing my dreams.

Today, I thought I’d share a few of the lessons I have learned thus far on my journey. Whether you are making a slight shift in your career plans or carrying out a 360 degree overhaul, perhaps my insights will make your journey easier and more enjoyable.

1. Write a business plan. Maybe you’re not really starting a business, but approach the situation as if you are. Capture your thoughts and plans on paper to formalize your ideas. It doesn’t need to be a dissertation, and it’s ok if half of it is guesswork.

2. Find the right balance between exploration and action. Though it’s important to do research, too much thinking and not enough doing can be impede your progress. Be prepared, but don’t be afraid to get moving.

3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s hard to know all the answers when you embark on something new. When formulating a longer-term vision, it’s helpful to develop plans A, B, C and D. You never know which one(s) will gain traction.

4. Meditate. If you don’t envision “the new you” to happen, it never will. Create an affirmation and say it out loud, every day.

5. Don’t be a hermit. Get out and talk to people. If no one knows of your goals and aspirations, it’s much harder to achieve them. The knowledge gleaned from another can often be more powerful than words on a computer screen.

6. Get out of your comfort zone. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

7. Read inspiring books. Grab anything from how-to books to biographies. Learn more about the people who inspire you, even if their goals and aspirations differ.

8. Be patient. Reinvention will not happen overnight. There is no shortcut for hard work and perseverance.

9. Exercise. A lot. You may not be able to afford a therapist or career coach and there may be many ups and downs on the road ahead of you.

10. Don’t be afraid of no’s. Because you’ll hear plenty of them. Each no is one step closer to a yes, so make this word your friend.

11. Celebrate the small victories. Lots of little wins add up, and they give you a much-needed boost to keep plugging away. Focusing on victories, rather than defeat, keeps the glass half-full.

12. Track your progress. Without any measurement system in place, it’s hard to understand and appreciate what you’re doing well and what’s not working to your advantage.

13. Keep the faith. At end of the day, no one but you can make it happen.

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About the author

Melinda is a marketer, researcher and writer. She also has a passion for healthy living, every day.