This is a very big question and it demands a very large answer!
The frequent response to the "how to change your life" question runs something along the lines of this:
"Be clear about what you want, pursue it with focus and persistence, seek and accept help when you need it and never give up."
Whilst that is all true, it's not the whole picture. There are many variables, here are just a few:
How you are right now - your overall life situation and how you feel about it - your present state
Your current life circumstances
Your age-related stage in life
Your present stage of personal development - emotionally, psychologically and spiritually
Are you looking for immediate tactical help like "how do I handle this big mess I'm in right now"? Or are you looking for "big picture" help like "I have this nagging sense that there is more to life - a better way to live - than this"?
So a more realistic and practical response to "how to change your life" needs to be tailored to where you are in relation to these questions.
Overcome negativity with our self healing and awareness emotional development programs. Find the hope and courage to more fully enjoy life.
Are you looking for some practical, tactical material to get you "skilled up" at how to change your life?
OK so you're not in mess and experiencing any particular crisis at the moment, but you feel that you'd benefit from some general "how to change your life" material, and this is what has led you to finding and reading this article.
If that is the case, what you are looking for is to some extent beyond the scope of this site however I don't want to send you away empty-handed so take a look at some of this sound and practical "how to change your life" material that I have personally found to be useful and that I can recommend to you.
As I am sure you have found, there is a staggering amount of "how to change your life" type material sloshing around out there in the ether, but here are 4 free documents that you can download and that are really worthy of your time and attention.
(1) The first document - Why People Fail - is easy to read and absorb but nevertheless challenging and quite provocative.
It is written by Dr Ken Evoy a brilliant inventor, entrepreneur and internet pioneer who has guided thousands of people (including myself) through the pitfalls of building a commercially successful website.
(2) The Power of Frustration is written by Catherine Pratt - who is known to me "electronically" - and is an extremely practical look at how to change your life by learning how to how to deal with frustration and learn how you can actually use this emotion as a valuable tool.
These books are classics on the subject of how to change your life and were written many years ago. You will need to filter some of the language and translate into a more modern context, but the principles outlined in these books about how the mind works, and the power of thought, are universal - so universal that they form the basis of most of what all the self-help gurus charge you a lot of money for!
For the bigger picture look at how to change your life - take a quick look at this short presentation:
(2) The Science of Getting Rich Network - this is the "backup site" for the "The Science of Getting Rich" book, and is run by Rebecca Fine. She runs an excellent site, talks an enormous amount of sense and provides a lot of resources.
(3) Articles by Charles Burke - I have been a reader of Charle's how to change your life material and occasional email corresponder with Charles for many years. He is another person who is practical and talks a lot of sense.
OK, brace yourself, now for a hard-core "under the bonnet" look at the serious dynamics of how to change your life...
Here are the 3 fundamental areas that need to be recognised and addressed in any serious, long term, truly life changing successful attempts at how to change your life.
The simplest and easiest metaphor for explaining all this is to think of your desktop PC (or your laptop or blackberry):
 The hardware of your brain - the simple physiology and neurology of how your brain functions
This is all to do with evolution - or more precisely, the current stage of the neurological evolution of the "average" or "normal" human brain - which is that (what is conventionally and colloquially referred to as) the "left brain" and the "right brain" do not communicate easily or much at all.
The same is also true for the other 2 major brain centres (conventionally and colloquially referred to as "the emotional centre" and "the reptile brain" or the survival instinct).
The lack of communication between these 4 major brain centres, or to express it another way the lack of brain balance, is the underlying evolutionary and neurological reason why we feel the need for "how to change your life" tips; why we experience life the way we do; why we suffer so much, and as a species why we inflict so much suffering on each other.
This lack of "brain balance" is also the root cause of all of our personal internal conflict and inner resistance or immunity to change
Improved and more frequent and conscious communication between these different brain centres is the route to peace, insight and overcoming your innate unconscious inner resistance to all of your serious attempts at "how to change your life"
For the sake of brevity let's call this your "inner map" of reality - aka your "operating system".
We are all the product of our own ethnic, national, social and religious backgrounds.
We have an inbuilt inner map that sees life from the perspective of that background.
This inner map applies a whole range of filters related to the characteristics and profile of our broad environmental background.
Here’s the big picture of how your internal map of reality operates to generate your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours and why it so often works against your very best efforts at how to change your life.
First, you experience something through your senses. You see something, hear something, touch or feel something, smell something, or taste something. In other words, you have an experience.
These sensory impressions first pass through a number of filters, which delete huge amounts of it, distort it in various ways, and create generalisations. These filters are hugely important in determining how you create your reality.
With what is left after this filtering process, which happens almost instantaneously and almost totally unconsciously, you then create some sort of internal representation of reality.
This internal representation is really a pretty impoverished copy of reality, because much of what came in through your senses has been deleted, distorted and generalised in a number of ways. You’ve made a map that represents reality, but it isn’t reality, and it isn’t really very accurate - which is partially why you feel the need for self motivation tips.
Based on this brief overview, here is a summary of how inner resistance to managing personal change develops and why, and how it manifests:
From early childhood onwards, we all develop our own inner map of reality
As we develop, we understand, interpret and relate to the world "out there" through this inner map
Our capacity to be conscious or aware of our own inner map and especially how we create our experience of life through it is determined by our level of self-awareness
However, for most of us, most of the time, this is an unconscious process
In accordance with this inner map we have our own inner commitments to our own personal priorities
Our inner hidden commitments have a high priority and will over-ride any counter intentions that conflict with them
We assign this high priority because the hidden commitment is inextricably linked to an inner hidden perception that we have of our own physical, psychological, social or emotional safety
This hidden commitment is (nearly always) outside of our conscious awareness
The quickest and easiest way to identify our inner resistance is to observe our reactions and our behaviour in our attempts to apply all the how to change your life tips we read
If you can take charge of these things, and choose how you do them instead of having them just run on automatic pilot, you can make huge changes in how you experience life and what kind of outcomes you get.
 The operating environment - struggle and suffering
At the "bigger picture" level there are those who believe that mankind is moving towards a "new era" of peace and goodwill and raised consciousness etc. That may or not be true, but the present lived experience of reality is that struggle and suffering are unavoidable and integral aspects of life on this planet.
There are many people who see suffering and struggle as things to be resisted, that "shouldn't" happen and that are "wrong".
At the personal level this is often expressed as "if only" or "why me" or "it isn't fair" etc, and is another form of resistance - based around our refusal to accept how things are when things don't happen as we want them to or feel that they "should" - and this then creates the desire for yet more self motivation tips!
Without getting too philosophical in what is intended as a brief instructive article, in my view all of the evidence suggests that:
Suffering and struggle are inbuilt into the way the universe runs - not by accident but by design.
If we can drag our attention beyond the horror, unfairness and sheer "unacceptability" of it all and:
Focus instead on the intention behind all this inbuilt suffering and struggle - we eventually and paradoxically find that its true purpose is constructive and transformative, it unmasks the true nature of "who we really are and why we are here" and it reveals a path to real and permanent personal change and transformation.
In the natural world, there would seem to be extensive evidence for the transformative and evolutionary processes conventionally understood as "natural selection" via a competitive process of "survival of the most adaptive". As Darwin put it:
"It isn't the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones who are most responsive to change"
An adaptive response to our "operating environment" of imposed change, struggle and suffering is possible when we either have evolved and developed the personal capacity to do this, or at least when we have the resources to help us.
Resources For Dealing With The Operating Environment