Only You Can Change Your Life


Chapter 4.1 of 'How To Get Your Sh!t Together' - Out Now eBook, Paperback & Audible

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Only You Can Change Your Life

“Your Attention Please: No one is coming to save you. This life of yours is 100% your responsibility.”
- Anonymous

Let’s be honest, there is a reason that you are reading this book. It is because, part of you at least, wants to change. You may be unhappy with the impact of mental afflictions in your day to day life, or you may want to move on from trauma. Perhaps you need some advice on how to organise yourself to be as productive as possible. Or maybe you have a crazy large goal that you would like to pursue, something that, if completed would change your life course significantly.

The key to all change comes from you.

Wanting the change is not enough, you have to take action. Reading this book is just one step in a life long journey. You will have to take each and every step, because no one else will.

Other than some very close family and friends, no one will really put themselves out for you. Everyone has their own lives, issues and responsibilities that they are dealing with, and while they will lend a hand, it will most often be quite limited.

Even if they did put in an extensive level of support, you would then be putting yourself in a place of reliance on that person. This is okay for some relationships, but not many.

If you rely on someone else, you relying on someone else. Your growth is therefore limited to their actions.

Ultimately, this will lead to disaster as the reality is no one will be there for you forever. People change, move, move on, or pass away. Relationships end and businesses close down.

The only person that is guaranteed to be there for you, for your entire life, is you.

Even if people do help you, you have to take that help. You may have your gym membership paid for, but you have to be the one to lift the weights. You may have the support of a therapist, but you have to implement their advice.

Regardless of the amount of care that others are willing to give you, you are still the key.

Don’t get me wrong, people do care about you and about other people. Generous acts of human kindness happen every day. However the majority of these acts can only be performed by those who are stable enough to not sacrifice themselves in the process.


Think about all the people that you know. Consider each person and their unique life challenges that are happening right now.

Undoubtedly you will find that most, if not all, have some kind of issue that they are facing: moving house, changing jobs, mental illness, injury, disabilities, relationship concerns, financial issues, family dramas, pregnancy, death etcetera.

Keep all of that in mind and answer the following question: How much help have you actually provided to them?


The purpose of the above TAKE ACTION is to emphasise just how many issues there are occurring simultaneously within your own little universe. This of course doesn’t take into account the plethora of problems faced by the billions of people all around the world: poverty, war, displacement, corruption and the like.

The goal isn’t to make you feel guilty, but rather to emphasise the fact that handling the problems in your life is ultimately on you. People will help others, but the amount of help needed compared to the amount that can possibly be given is an equation that can’t be solved.

We need to take the responsibility for our own lives.

“You can lead a horse to water, but can’t make it drink.”
– Proverb

Problems and Solutions

A problem rarely gets solved on its own accord:

Problem: you want to quit smoking
Solutions: read a how to quit book, use nicotine patches, get advice from people who have already quit
- Only you can take these actions

Problem: you want to lose weight
Solutions: exercise daily, eat healthy foods, join a support group, speak to a nutritionist and implement their advice
- Only you can take these actions

Problem: you don’t have enough money
Solutions: work more, spend less, speak to a financial advisor and implement their advice
- Only you can take these actions

Problem: you are not happy in your relationship
Solutions: change the dynamic of the relationship, leave the relationship, speak to a relationship therapist and implement their advice
- Only you can take these actions

Problem: your house is a mess
Solutions: clean the house yourself, create a cleaning roster, hire a cleaner
- Only you can take these actions

Problem: your car has broken down
Solutions: take the car to get repaired, purchase a new car, change to taking public transport instead
- Only you can take these actions

 The purpose of the above statements are to emphasise that only you can make changes in your life. While you may need to enlist the help of other people, you still have to take the action of asking for or hiring help.

Friends and family members are not mind readers, unless you ask them for assistance, they may never offer it.


Say to yourself the following ‘Only I can…’ statements:

- Only I can change my life.
- Only I can implement the solutions to my problems.
- Only I can ask for the assistance I need.
- Only I can lift the weights and run the miles.
- Only I can eat well.
- Only I can read the books.
- Only I can practice, study and improve myself.
- Only I can cut the bad habits from my life.
- Only I can cut the negative people and situations from my life.
- Only I can change my life.

Feel free to add your own ‘Only I can…’ statements that are catered specifically to your life. Repeat them to yourself daily. Write them up and place them on your wall to be the first things you see in the morning and the last before bed at night.


I want to be self-reliant, but this doesn’t mean I want to do it all alone. Rather I want to be able to source and manage the help that I need. Avoiding the problem will not solve it. Unless you take action, you will never see the transformation that you desire.

Take the actions necessary to change your life.


Continue The Conversation
What aspect of your life have you taken control of?
Tweet @zacpphillips #onlyyou, with your thoughts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q) My depression is so extreme that I can’t take action to change my life.
A) You have to operate from your own starting point. You may not be able to control the symptoms of depression, but you can choose how you can respond to them, as well as how you prepare for them.

On a bad day a ‘win’ may be simply showering and eating. Of course it could be easy not to do those things, but the key is to do the best you can, given the functionality that you have. Your depression may be so overwhelming that you won’t always have a choice, but when you do, take action.

When you are less impacted, take preventative actions. Plan ahead to help yourself out for when you are low.

Q) Are you saying that no one will help me? Or that I shouldn’t accept help?
A) Neither. People will offer their help, but you have to be the one to accept it.

I strongly advise enlisting the assistance of friends and family members for support, as well as the services of doctors, coaches, therapists, advisers and other professionals when needed.

Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink

Until you accept that the responsibility for changing your life rests on your shoulders alone, no meaningful progress can possibly be made.

Chapter 4.1 of 'How To Get Your Sh!t Together' - Out Now eBook, Paperback & Audible - Sign up to my email list to get every chapter sent directly to your inbox the moment they are released.