22 Decisions that Could Significantly Change Your Life in a Year

We’ve gathered firsthand accounts from life coaches, CEOs, and other leaders who’ve mastered the art of change

Seeking a profound transformation within a year can seem daunting, but it’s possible with the right mindset and actions. We’ve gathered firsthand accounts from life coaches, CEOs, and other leaders who’ve mastered the art of change. From utilizing crisis or creating accountability to unlocking possibilities with spirituality, explore 22 powerful stories and strategies to radically alter your life’s trajectory.


There are two ways you can radically change your life in less than a year: You can use the power of a good crisis, or you can create accountability.

The first option is dependent on your life circumstances. If there is something that recently shook your world, you can use that disruption to your advantage. I experienced this myself in my late 20s, after a traumatic breakup. For about a year afterward, I was in shock. I was sad, angry, and desperate. But then I started to utilize all these strong emotions more constructively. I started to question the traditional relationship paradigm and began exploring nonconventional relationship models. I looked at the people that I was surrounding myself with and got rid of negative influences. I started my own business. I got better at talking to strangers.

All these positive changes were initiated by this one crisis. My life has never been the same since. If you have a similar crisis going on right now, use it. Instead of despairing, redirect these strong emotional energies and reinvent yourself.

The other option is to create accountability. Find an accountability buddy or an accountability coach. Now, every day, you have to check in with them. You have to let them know if you did your workout or if you wrote those 500 words. If you didn’t, they will admonish you. If you did, they will encourage you.

It might not sound like much, but this simple process can revolutionize your life in a short period. If you keep doing the same couple of high-ROI activities every day for just a year, you will make massive progress toward your goals. You will get fit, earn more, and have more fulfilling relationships. But the key to all of this is accountability. You need to have someone looking over your shoulder. It is this kind of peer pressure that spurs us into action.

Niels Bohrmann, Life Coach and Founder, Bohrmann


It can be so easy to slide into a victim mentality. The awareness of and decision to step out of victimhood creates space for radical change. 

Years ago, I sold my company to a larger firm. When I joined that firm, I soon discovered that they didn’t want me as a leader but as a worker. It was the first time I had been out of the C suite in many years, and it was crushing. At some point, I needed to decide that I did not need the title of leader bestowed upon me—I just needed to BE a leader. 

That transition away from victimhood toward personal empowerment led to subsequent promotions back to the C suite. Too often, we allow our circumstances to hold us back. The decision to step out of powerlessness and victimhood is transformational. 

That transformation starts with awareness and a decision.

Brent Hafele, MA, ACC, President and Coach to CEOs, Vibrancy Unlocked


I resolved to drastically improve my life after reaching my lowest point. I went to therapy, engaged in self-analysis, and faced my anxieties head on. I started over and rebuilt my life from scratch, paving the way for a fulfilling future full of passion, purpose, and unyielding drive. My experience is proof of the strength of resilience and the potential for change.

Adam Crossling, Marketing and New Business Director, Zenzero


I made the decision to take charge of my life and make significant adjustments following a significant setback. With bravery and resilience, I accepted discomfort, ventured outside of my comfort zone, and seized fresh opportunities. Through tenacity and an optimistic outlook, I conquered challenges, pursued my goals, and built a life that gave me meaning and fulfillment.

Paul Phelps, Managing Director, Solent Power


One very simple new habit greatly changed my life in the past year. One day, I was watching a movie at home, eating pizza, and I thought to myself, “This is one of those good days you crave when things are not going well. So why don’t I feel happier?” And then I started listing things that I am happy about or grateful for out loud. 

And, funnily enough, that’s what did the trick. I told myself why I had something like 15 reasons to be happy in that very moment—and then I felt happy. To this day, that is honestly the single most important thing I do to be happy. So simple, yet effective.

Nina Joanna, Content Creator, Goals Calling


I used to struggle to set and keep new habits. Everything changed on March 23, 2020, when a friend challenged me to a pact where if either of us missed any of our daily habits, we agreed to pay the other $100. 

I went from having 10 habits that I wanted to do every day but rarely did to hitting 10 out of 10 every day for the next year, missing only six days. (Fortunately, my friend missed seven days, so I ended up in the green as well!) We still have this pact going, and it allows me to immediately change my behavior once and for all, just by deciding to add a new commitment to my list of daily habits that fall under the $100/day rule. 

Knowing that I can make a decision and then follow through with it every day for years has been transformational. The business I founded and have the privilege to lead grew by more than 60% during the year after starting this challenge, landing us on Inc. Magazine‘s annual list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the country. 

All through the power of one decision. Find a friend, make your own pact, choose your habits— and don’t be surprised when your life changes dramatically.

Grant Hensel, CEO, Nonprofit Megaphone


One smart move to transform your life in under a year is to find a mentor and coach. I’ve seen firsthand the power of guidance and support you can get from someone who’s navigated the hurdles you’re facing. By connecting with someone who’s been there, done that, you can gain insights, avoid pitfalls, and accelerate your growth in whatever you want to change or improve. 

As a mentor and coach myself, I help aspiring entrepreneurs clarify their vision, set actionable goals, and stay accountable. Through regular meetings, tailored advice, and sharing my own experiences, I empower them to overcome challenges and thrive in their entrepreneurial journey. I believe that growth is not just about knowledge; it’s about having a trusted ally cheering you on as you chase your goals.

Johannes Larsson, Founder and CEO, JohannesLarsson.com


In less than a year, you can radically change your life by embracing a growth mindset, setting clear intentions, and taking consistent action.

I’ll share my personal story as a co-founder of SpanishVIP and an education expert to illustrate this. A few years ago, I found myself feeling unfulfilled and stagnant in my career. I wanted to make a meaningful impact and pursue my passion for education. So, I decided to take a leap of faith and co-founded an online Spanish school.

The first step was to cultivate a growth mindset and believe in my ability to create change. I immersed myself in learning about entrepreneurship, online education, and language acquisition. I sought out mentors, attended workshops, and read books that expanded my knowledge and mindset. Next, I set clear intentions and created a roadmap for the next year. I defined specific goals, such as launching the school, building a curriculum, and attracting students. I broke these goals into smaller, actionable tasks and set deadlines to keep myself accountable.

To turn my intentions into reality, I took consistent and focused action every day. I worked tirelessly to develop engaging lesson plans, create a user-friendly platform, and market our services. I networked with other professionals in the industry and sought partnerships to expand our reach. Throughout this transformative journey, I encountered challenges and setbacks, but I persevered. I celebrated every small win along the way, which kept my motivation high.

Less than a year later, our online Spanish school was thriving, with a growing community of students from around the world. The impact we were making on their language-learning journeys was incredibly fulfilling. The decision to radically change my life had paid off, and it all started with a growth mindset, clear intentions, and consistent action.

Connor Ondriska, Co-founder and CEO, SpanishVIP


From my experience, radical change within a year starts with clarity and then action. My journey taught me the power of having a clear vision for what I wanted to achieve and why. It wasn’t about setting the perfect goal, but about having the direction correct and understanding that the path might change as new insights emerged. 

The key to my success was linking my self-confidence to actions within my control, focusing on my mental health, and choosing an environment that supported my growth. Reflecting on that year, I realized the importance of resilience and self-compassion. Embracing the process, acknowledging my progress, and understanding that every step, especially the challenging ones, was a part of my growth. 

This approach helped transform my life while showing me how achievable change is with the right mindset and actions.

Bayu Prihandito, Founder, Psychology Consultant, Life Coach for Men, Life Architekture


In my journey of radical life change, I found that instead of fearing mistakes or dwelling on missteps, I viewed them as valuable learning experiences that propelled me forward. By reframing failure as an opportunity for growth, I became more resilient and adaptive to change. This mindset shift allowed me to approach challenges with curiosity and openness, leading to breakthroughs and unexpected opportunities.

Embracing failure not only accelerated my personal growth but also empowered me to take bold actions and pursue my dreams with unwavering determination. So, my advice for those seeking radical change is to embrace failure as a natural part of the journey and use it as fuel to propel you toward your goals.

Ashwin Ramesh, CEO, Synup


What I realized, as a leader and a continual learner, is the critical importance of halting procrastination in its tracks. Sometimes we hold a vision for our lives, a goal that sparks passion within us, yet day after day, we fall into the comfort of our usual routines, neglecting the steps necessary to attain our aspirations. 

Maximizing our potential isn’t a matter of grandiose actions but rather the consistent, intentional efforts we make each day toward our objectives. It’s about transforming “someday” into “today” and recognizing that each small step is a leap toward change. 

For example, since we have just opened our business in Germany, I’ve always had the aspiration to learn how to speak German. Recognizing the potential to build closer connections with our German colleagues and customers, I embarked on this linguistic journey with a sense of commitment. Every morning, I dedicate time to learning new phrases and practicing conversations, creating an immersive experience through various digital platforms.

David Rubie-Todd, Co-Founder and Marketing Director, Glide


To revolutionize your life within a year, immerse yourself in discomfort deliberately. Seek out experiences that challenge your comfort zone, fostering resilience and adaptability. In my journey, I undertook extreme challenges, forcing rapid personal growth. This unconventional approach propelled me to handle unforeseen business obstacles with newfound ease.

Second, adopt a minimalist mindset. Simplify your life by decluttering both physically and mentally. Streamlining your environment and priorities enhances clarity and efficiency. I downsized my commitments, eliminating nonessential tasks and relationships. This not only freed up time but also sharpened my focus on key business/ aspects. Embracing discomfort and minimalism might seem counterintuitive, but the profound impact on personal and professional growth is undeniable.

Catherine Cooke, Co-founder, Upskillwise


Forget waiting for the perfect moment—radical change is possible within a year. Focus on one core area you want to transform—career, relationships, health, or mindset. I applied the same principle in my life. Instead of drastic leaps, break your goals into bite-sized, weekly or monthly steps. Consistency, not perfection, is key.

Find a supportive community to cheer you on. Embrace learning, adapt your approach as needed, and celebrate every win. Remember, it’s a journey, not a destination. In a year, you’ll be amazed by the transformed you.

Daniel Florido, Chief Web Development and Director, Pixelstorm


Cutting out toxic relationships and nurturing positive ones was a transformative decision in my life. It was a difficult process, but by intentionally choosing to surround myself with supportive and uplifting individuals, I noticed a significant improvement in my mental health and overall well-being. 

This shift not only brought more joy and peace into my life but also empowered me to pursue my goals with greater confidence. The quality of our relationships has a profound impact on our happiness and success, and my experience has shown me the importance of being mindful about who we allow into our lives.

Bert Hofhuis, Founder, Every Investor


One way to radically change your life in less than a year is by embarking on an unconventional career shift. I discovered this firsthand when I decided to leave my secure corporate law firm job and start freelancing in digital marketing. 

At first, it seemed like a risky move. However, I was determined to find a better working environment. I was able to land many high-value clients and earn a stable income, all the while building a portfolio that would lead to other marketing jobs. (This is how I landed my executive marketing role at Museum Hack, which I eventually bought from the founder, leading to me becoming the CEO of Teambuilding.com.) I also taught myself coding and SEO, which was pivotal in keeping costs down and our staff lean when I launched my startup. 

Taking these first steps and having the courage to leave a profession I had studied for years was pivotal. Though I didn’t have a clear path of where I’d end up, identifying that I was unhappy and ill-suited to my current environment and wanting a change was the catalyst for radically changing my life. 

As a result, I eventually met my future partner through my work, and we launched a company that exists to make employees happier, in part influenced by my own early-career experience. 

Through sharing my story, others can learn that sometimes taking an unconventional path can lead to incredible personal transformation and professional success when pursued wholeheartedly.

Michael Alexis, CEO, teambuilding.com


Surround yourself with people who strive to do better and thrive in challenges. We are largely the product of the five people we spend the most time with, so choose your circle carefully. If the people around you accept the status quo, you will likely struggle to make significant changes. Find people already achieving great things or on the journey to get there, and start spending as much time as possible with them. 

As humans, the energy of people in our social circle rubs off on us. Even if you’re feeling resistant to change, the right people around you can help open you up and motivate you to do more.

Robert Kaskel, Chief People Officer, Checkr


Stop working for other people and go out as an entrepreneur. There have been a handful of years that each time changed my life. Different stages of the business created different, really amazing changes related to money, headcount, and prestige, but you have to set the foundation to make those achievements possible. 

There are five keys to having life-changing years. First, pace yourself for a marathon. It’s a long journey. Second, not everything will be good, but the good will come, so create a powerful mindset that can handle setbacks. Third, work iteratively to get incrementally better every day. At a point in the future, that incremental benefit will be the thing that causes a massive improvement overnight. Fourth, do work that benefits you in at least two different ways. 

For example, I run an advertising business, so when I learn website building, it helps me (1) be a better marketer for our business, (2) understand the challenges our clients face, (3) sell different services more effectively, and (4) become better at advising clients on best practices for their websites, which then makes me a more effective consultative seller. 

Finally, create opportunities where you can become a better professional by giving yourself bigger responsibilities. Then, test your mettle and rise to the magnitude of responsibility.

Robert Brill, CEO, Brill Media


My journey from biz monk to tech entrepreneur traces back to small seeds—following mini-curiosities that sprouted into blossoming passages I never fathomed possible. 

Each minor fork walked and risk taken built momentum gradually, and then my life slowly centered more around tactfully crafting internet experiences through coding disciplines learned long ago. When eventual relocations grew from wanderlust to visions crystallizing into Helpmonks, no thunderclap struck declaring profound change underway. Rather, a string of incremental bets on living authentically clicked into a crescendo. 

By 40, I had silently transformed from a global nomad without plans to the CEO of a thriving B2B SaaS. So, I remind restless entrepreneurs that seismic personal shifts materialize through small but intentional steps compounding gradually, like flowing streams carving grand canyons over eons. Had I obsessed over predicting my future those years earlier, such wondrous landscapes would have seemed unfathomable, just as they unfold now—moment by breathless moment along life’s modest footpaths.

Nitai Aventaggiato, Founder and CEO, Helpmonks


Take your friends’ and family’s advice when they urge you to pivot to a new job that is vastly different from your old job.

After four years at a blood donation organization in hospitality, promotion, and outreach, I was burned out. While I loved being associated with a not-for-profit that benefited the community, the people who loved me finally convinced me that the emotional labor, long hours, low pay, and last-minute overtime demands weren’t worth it.

I was offered a job at my current digital media company in the insurance industry. The work-from-home position came at the perfect time. I could sit down. I could take lunch breaks. I could make plans with friends and family and actually show up. Increasing my salary and lowering my stress radically changed my life in much less than a year.

Michelle Robbins, Licensed Insurance Agent, Clearsurance.com


I’ve always been a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. However, it wasn’t until I started to use the power of positive visualization that I really began to see my life change. 

Positive visualization is a powerful tool that can help you achieve your goals, no matter how big or small they may be. The best part is that it’s free, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. I started using positive visualization to achieve my goals about a year ago. I would sit down in a quiet room and close my eyes. 

Then, I would imagine myself achieving my goals. I would picture myself as successful, happy, and fulfilled. I would imagine what it would feel like to achieve my goals. I would imagine the emotions, the excitement, and the joy. I would imagine what it would look like, what it would sound like, and what it would smell like. I would imagine every detail as vividly as possible.

Matthew Ramirez, Founder, Rephrase


It’s important to take an inventory. You’ll need to determine which aspects of your life wield the most influence. For some people, it’s the location and nature of their employer. For others, it’s strong family ties and obligations. 

Still, for others, it’s a routine that is beloved or at least familiar. There is nothing wrong with any of these things, but if you want change, you’ll need to cut one loose. Play the mental game of what you would do if one of these items changed. Whichever seems the most interesting, that’s the direction to keep pushing.

Trevor Ewen, COO, QBench


The journey I embarked upon by embracing spirituality, mindfulness, and gratefulness unlocked a realm of possibilities I had previously thought unattainable. Diving into spirituality offered me a sense of purpose and a deeper connection, bringing peace and clarity that simplified life’s complexities. 

Mindfulness taught me the art of living in the present, enhancing my focus, creativity, and emotional resilience by observing thoughts and feelings without judgment. And adopting an attitude of gratefulness transformed my perspective; I began to see challenges as growth opportunities and setbacks as valuable lessons. This didn’t just alter my personal achievements; it also enriched my interactions with everyone around me.

Blake Smith, Marketing Manager, ClockOn

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