Sometimes we recognize characteristics in ourselves we’d like to change, but we’re not sure how.

My guest today, Bill Jones, Jr., shares his inspiring story of how he made a conscious decision to overcome traits that were holding him back.  He also shares the practical steps of how he did it.

Bill Jones, Jr.

Bill Jones, Jr.

I’ve become something of a master of self-induced change. In fact, I’ve changed enough that psychological tests now show me with a completely different personality profile than before. More importantly, my current profile is in harmony with the person I wanted to be.

As a child, I was painfully shy – enough so that even my family rarely heard me speak. My mother revealed that I had learned to speak in complete sentences before I let anyone hear me say a single word. My first sentence, at age 2, when she asked why I don’t speak, was, “Because I don’t have anything to say.”

I had plenty to say, I simply lacked the confidence to say it.

So it was with a number of events in my early life. I was offered a job as a photographer for the state’s tourist bureau; I turned it down because I thought I’d fail. I would interview for jobs and spend most of the time apologizing for not already having one. At age 24, I was going nowhere in life because I thought I lacked what it took to get there.

Then, something profound happened. While I was busy working minimum-wage jobs, I received an offer from one employer managing the department I was in. The next week, I received two full fellowship offers to graduate school. It was clear; the main thing between me and success was my ability to see myself for whom I was.

From that point on, I decided to pick a single thing about myself I didn’t like, and fix it. Naturally, I started with shyness. Today, I test as an extrovert on every psychological test I’ve taken.

Each of us, in order to accomplish change, must start with an honest self-assessment. List your strengths without reservation. List your weakness without self-judgment. Once that’s done, you have the basis for setting goals for becoming the person you hope to be.

I follow a set of defined steps that allow find obstacles that I’ve placed, or allowed to be placed in my path. Then, I monitor my progress against each of the steps (listed below) until I achieve my goals.

Your steps to change will differ from mine, and that’s okay. The point is to start with believing that you can change, no matter what people tell you. All that is required is honesty, faith, and support.

My 12 steps to change are below. Remember: the only limits that exist are the ones we accept for ourselves.

1. Find Faith in Yourself – Talk it into Being

2. Fix Your Mirror – Know who you really are

3. Have a Goal – Fixate on the Future

4. Focus – One goal at a time is enough

5. Expect Good Things to Happen

6. Pick a Starting Date

7. Find Your Strength

8. Change One Day at a Time

9. Find Support

10. Eliminate Toxic People

11. Forgive Your Failures

12. The New You

How about you?  What steps have you used to implement change in your life?

Bill Jones, Jr. is novelist, poet, photographer, father, and life coach, along with other things he does for money rather than love. Bill wrote his first two novels in 3 months. Since then, he has published 3 novels and a short story collection, and has two more novels currently in development. He likes cheese.

You can find Bill on the web at his blog on personal change: “Fix Your Mirror” his writing blog: “This Blog Blank” or his photography blog: “Today, on Earth”  You can also connect with him on Twitter or on his Facebook page.