It Is Never Too Late to Change

When is it too late to change? If you get off to a bad start, can you still turn things around when you are an adult?

If you were in trouble all the time when you were a kid, a teenager, and even as a young adult, do you think there is any hope that you will straighten out your life when you get to be 30 or 40? According to findings from two of the longest, ongoing research studies in the nation, many people have an amazing capacity for change throughout life.

There is the example of “Stan.” At the age of 32, “Stan” seemed destined for failure. Abandoned at birth by his father, and orphaned at the age of three when his mother died, “Stan” dropped out of school in the 8th grade, became an alcoholic, and served prison time for rape and vagrancy in his 20’s and early 30’s.

But 15 years later, against all odds, “Stan” had turned his life around. When researchers checked in with him at age 47, he was sober and happily married, had an adopted son he doted on, and owned a trucking business and a house.

These studies – and evidence from an on-going study within corrections in Montana – point out that “Stan’s” story is far from unique. We all have the capacity to change our circumstances – no matter how old we are, and no matter how difficult our early experiences were. It comes down to whether or not we want to change. Once that mindset shift takes place, from “have to” to “want to,” change becomes a whole lot easier.

So, please do not give up on yourself. Be careful about listening to anyone who says it is too late to change. They just may have given up on themselves. You don’t have to. If you really want to – if you are willing to alter your beliefs and your behavior – you can do it. It all starts with changing that internal picture of who you “know” you are.