How To Change Your Life’s Path – For The Better

My headlines are cheesy, and often ‘false advertising’-  promising huge insight and then the post disappoints with bus ticket clichéd platitudes. Or so I am told. They do come from the heart though. And this story literally makes my heart pump. It is happening now and is seriously changing my life. It can do yours too. Here’s how.

I wrote recently of a tumor being removed from my vocal chords. I feared the worst until I got the ‘all clear’ a few days later.  The following few weeks were extremely difficult. I was in shock. Not relieved, but deeply depressed.  Preparing for my demise kind of took the joy out of knowing I was to live on.

I needed to make a start in getting my act together: to driving change in my health, energy, overall path. I needed to lose weight, eat better, stop my beloved cigars, reduce the alcohol. No wonder I was depressed. How to make a start? Then I remembered one of my platitudes from a few months prior. I re-read the Possums post . It inspired me. I grabbed hold of its message. It works. And this is what it said.

Break Old Habits With New Habits

I had to get started on changing my life. So I started by getting in to the habit of exercising.

Read that again- please: …. I started by getting in to the habit of exercising.

I was not focused on the exercise itself, or making progress with fitness. It was all about just making sure I did the exercise. Packing my kit bag. Scheduling a walk and then later, a run, a couple of times a week while at work, and making sure I stuck to the appointment with myself and did the bloody thing; taking my daughter to her athletics each Monday night, and running around the oval till she was finished her session; a first up run each Sunday morning.

The habit began to click into place, became second nature, after just a few days.

Then a two week trip was upon me. I set a goal. 650 minutes of exercise in 18 days. I was in the habit. The result?

See this photo (anal I know- but goal achieved):

And since that trip, how have I gone? See this photo:

8 weeks after my week from hell and I am in the habit of exercising. It is second nature. Many other aspects of my life are changing- for the positive with it. And I am working now on several other habits that need changing.

The Message In This?

If you want to change something about yourself or your path, think about the habits you have that play against you achieving that goal, and the habits you need to start having to get there. Get clarity around those habits- good and not so good. And make a concerted effort, monitored daily, to drive out bad habits, and introduce the good ones. Write it down. Measure it.

Very soon you will have changed your path. Give it a go. It really does work.


I have been traveling to Asia regularly. My very favorite activity in Singapore after a packed day of meetings is to have my last meeting on the verandah at Raffles Hotel, where I’d savor a large cigar and a few well earned beers. It has been incredibly hard to change that habit. But I have done it. Three weeks ago I was in Singapore,  finished my meetings, changed in to running gear, and ran for an hour along the river. My route back to my hotel took me past the wall of that very Raffles verandah. It was exactly the time I would have been sitting there. I actually gave the old me a wave as I ran past- more a kind of salute really- I really did. I miss that me- but my children need me more than I need me- so it’s new habits from now on.

Not THE verandah, but a mirror image

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18 Responses to How To Change Your Life’s Path – For The Better

  1. Mel November 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Wow congratulations, it’s really impressive.

    Talking of change, how about ditching the exercise book and getting a
    It makes recording your times, distances and speed so much easier, you’ll find you’ll want to get out there and do it more – its addictive in the best kind of way. Happy running!

  2. Brett November 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Chris – I really like your posts and I have referred numerous mates and colleagues on to your blog too. I’ll continue to do so.

    Those suggesting your posts are Bus Ticket cliches are dickheads. Those who felt compelled to let you know should be entirely ignored. I somehow doubt they bother you!

    I thought your post a few weeks ago about throat cancer (it mirrored an experience I had years ago) was a stunner. Today’s reprise is too. Anyone who read that blog and didn’t consider their own mortality is lying.

    You’re not the Dalai Lama but I knew that when I signed on. You’re a pretty standard bloke who thinks along the same lines as the rest of us. You acknowledge your vices, your shortcomings and you give an honest account as to what you are thinking.

    I really like it – you remind me each week that life is the stuff that happens whilst we’re waiting for big things to happen (Samuel Clemens I think!)

    Keep up the good work, Chris. For all of those those who think you’re a waster, I am sure there are heaps more of us who find your blog quite inspiring – in an every-mans way.

  3. Michael November 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Thanks for the post Chris. I am having to make some life choice changes at the moment myself and the recording of time spent excercising rather the quality and calories burnt etc is a better way to get started. I will give it a whirl.

  4. Thomas November 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Thanks Chris, awesome post! A comment on your intro:

    A colleague of mine spent three years stuck in a position that stalled his career. He quit, and I was his replacement. Despite all expectation, I had great success and gained the confidence to pursue greater aspirations.

    This experience changed my life, it taught me that I can turn something into an opportunity. It is my attitude that determines whether your post will be a ‘cliched bus ticket platitude’ or a powerful message.

    PS – My proof that Wrestling Possums is valuable? My comment is powerfuI because I know the secret of powerful writing (keeping it short). Cheers.

  5. Fiona November 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    You’ve nailed it Chris!
    When you get the ‘all clear’ and everyone goes home (stops bringing you soup and offering to mind your kids), your life enters a wierd twilight zone.
    I felt like I’d dodged a massive bullet but had no idea how to process the situation.
    Your advice is simple and achievable – changing one thing is do-able.
    Keep up the awesome work!

  6. Aryeh Sternberg November 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    Good on you Chris.

    I had a very similar set of habits that needed changing and breaking when I moved down to Australia from Vietnam . . . somehow it seems the expat lifestyle for unmarried (and many times married with kids) expats almost requires more hard exertion in the entertainment side of life. A great example is the consumption of bottles of whiskey at a go instead of a glass at a time.

    Glad to report your strategy has worked for me so far. Keep up the good work!

  7. Dee November 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Glad to hear that you are back on track and on the way up. I hope you will continue to share your uplifting stories. Would love to hear about all the new things that will be coming your way since you will be feeling fantastic! Very happy for you Chris.

  8. Clair van Veen November 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Maybe the note taking is anal but if it works it works! I’m going to try it. Always refreshing to hear your authenticity and humility.

    Glad to hear you’re well.

  9. Chris Savage November 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    Thanks Dee- appreciate the comment. Chris

  10. Chris Savage November 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    Aryeh- well done for knowing this and doing something about it. Chris

  11. Chris Savage November 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Fiona- seems like we had a very similar experience. Thanks for sharing. Chris

  12. Chris Savage November 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Thomas- keep it short indeed! Thanks for the support. Chris

  13. Chris Savage November 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Michael- let me know how you go! Chris

  14. Chris Savage November 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    Brett- that means an enormous amount to me. Thank you so much. It is very much appreciated. Chris

  15. Craig Charnock November 14, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    VERY happy to hear it! Thanks for the great posts, and inspiration, as always!

  16. Jacqui November 16, 2012 at 6:16 am #

    Chris another practical “real’ post. I saw you at the RCSA conference in Fiji and have been a huge fan since – spouting yours pearls of wisdom and sharing them with as many people as possible and getting them to connect with you. Fantastic results and for all the right reasons! Thanks for sharing.

  17. MC Hammer November 17, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Very high tech recording device, heard of Nike Fuel band/ plus?


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