It’s that time of year again… when we make resolutions to change the things we don’t like about ourselves and set our goals for the future. But in 2009, rather than putting a band-aid on our external problems (things that are generally manifestations of much larger issues anyway), why not take a whole new approach? Change is in the air after all. Get ready. It’s time to reinvent yourself!
Try this 5-step plan to assessing your life… and change it for good!
1. Reality check!
Between the wear and tear of everyday life and the often unconscious, deep-seated beliefs we hold about ourselves and our place in the world, it’s easy to forget one of the most fundamental facts of human existence – that only you can decide who you are. You may not be able to dictate all the external events of your life, but you can and do choose how you handle them. Your outlook, your thoughts, your actions and reactions are within your control. Of course, you may have to dig deep to uncover your real motivations (and work hard to change them). But, you can make the decision to be whoever you want to be. In fact, whether you know it or not, for better and for worse, you’re already doing just that!
No doubt, you’ve heard the saying “be the change you wish to see.” That’s how reinvention works. But before you can progress from the acceptance that you create your own life to using that ability to your advantage, you’ll have to see how far you’ve got to go and what steps you’ll need to take to get there.
2. Work from the inside out
Our emotions are powerful tools, but unfortunately, in the rabbit wheel of everyday life, it’s easy to grow numb to them. Step two of reinvention is reconnecting with your feelings as they relate to who you are. How do you feel right now? How do you want to feel? So often we make the mistake of setting our goals from the outside in. We may say we want more money, a smaller clothes size, a life partner, when what we really want is to feel in control of our money as opposed to the other way around, to feel sexy, healthy and comfortable in our own skins and to experience unconditional love and companionship.
If we set our goals through our intended feelings as opposed to intended outcome, we may work toward them differently. Rather than spending more than we can because what we have isn’t enough, we manage what we’ve got and open ourselves to ways of earning (and saving) more. Rather than yo-yo dieting or compulsive exercise, we find a physical activity we enjoy and aim for a realistic size goal. Rather than assessing every potential partner for their willingness to settle down and tie the knot, we seek genuine compatibility… the right partner instead of just any willing partner.
With that in mind, get a notebook and ask yourself what areas of your life are working right now? How do you feel about them and why? What areas aren’t working? What are your feelings on those?
3. Describe your best you
Now that you’ve assessed your life and how you’re feeling about it (good and bad alike), it’s time to chart the course to where you’d like to be. In response to every area of your life that you assessed, whether generally positive or in some way negative, make a note of how you’d like to feel there. If your job leaves you feeling stressed out and unrewarded, you may like to feel like you’re growing and utilizing your skills. If your social life is exciting and overwhelming, you may want to feel balanced and enriched. Even positives can be more positive. The idea is to lay out how you’d feel as your best you… and a vision of what that best you would look like.
4. Identify your inner obstacles
And now, the hard part. What’s stopping you from being that? Your inclination may be to look to outside problems. For instance, if you feel stressed and unrewarded at work when you’d like to grow and utilize your skills, you may see your boss as your obstacle. Try something else. Look within. Are you, in fact, stopped by your boss, or your fear of speaking up for yourself? Could it be your perception that you have no other option? Identifying inner obstacles is based on the idea that we choose our reactions to things. Inner obstacles can be difficult and sometimes even painful to identify, but you need to assess your deepest held beliefs if you’re going to change your behavior.
5. Fake it ’til you make it
Once you know your obstacles, focus on overcoming them. The best way to do that however, is to act as if you’ve already overcome them and are living as your best you. If your deep-seated fear was that you’d always be struggling, tell yourself you are deserving of financial abundance and stability. If you think love will always escape you, declare that you’re a love magnet. This is where daily affirmations in the mirror or a journal will help. Of course that doesn’t mean you can forego active steps toward your goals in favor of telling yourself you’re doing the work, But while you do the work, you must be encouraging of yourself if you hope to make it stick.
So, now that you know where you want to go and while you’re “being the change you want to see” and “faking it til you make it,” it’s time to put those good things about yourself (your resilience, your sense of humor, whatever it is you’ve listed as part of step two) to work in your transformation!
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