“Our self-portrait is merely a simple description that we have made of ourselves…we are in fact much more than this.” ~ Mario Alonso Puig
There comes a time in nearly all of our lives when we reach a point where we wake up one day with the painful realization that we are not the person who we once thought we would be. At this point, something deep within has died, (or is dying), and we feel a need to bring to life a new and better self. This is a normal part of what it means to be a healthy, growing and fully-functional human.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Self-Actualization is at the top of them.
Life equals growth and growth equals change. It is normal to resist change and the discipline it takes to make it happen. Let’s face it – change can be hard. Especially true radical change. We’re talking about the kind that makes you stand out from the crowd, the one-in-a-million that inspires others to wake up and do the same.
Why is change so hard? Because to our static-loving, self-preserving human brains, change means pain, and pain is something we not only resist, but avoid like pot-holes and personal criticism. As Shelley writes in her horror classic Frankenstein,
“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
Ironically, the monstrous realization and understanding of this simple truth will eventually serve a perlocutionary function: to facilitate the very change we wish to avoid.
Not really. At least it doesn’t have to be when you have a vision of who it is you truly wish to become, and a solid plan to help get you there.
Here is a list of 10 creative strategies to help you find and become the real you. (without creating a monster…)
- Decide who/what you want to be
Life coach Tony Robbins joyfully proclaims that success begins the moment you make a decision. He says, “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” And of course, if change is to be of any true value, it must be lasting and consistent.
- Give Yourself a New Name.
In the movie “Dead Poet’s Society”, Charlie Dalton proudly proclaims to his fellow emerging Welton Academy literary neophytes “I have an announcement to make. In keeping with the spirit of passionate experimentation of the Dead Poets, I’m giving up the name Charlie Dalton. From now on, call me Nuwanda.”
Many famous or successful people have exchanged their birth names for unique or interesting monikers. John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., Audrey Perry became Faith Hill, and Samuel Clemens we know today as Mark Twain. In fact, many creatives and authors take on pen names that help associate them with their genre.
- Find a Hero or Mentor (or Meme of one) you admire and that most reflects who you want to be and emulate them.
Read about them, study them, and if possible, interview them. Using your imagination and also in meditation, envision what it would be like to be that person, picturing yourself doing what they would do, saying what they would say and reacting as they would in different situations. This is how many successful people became who they are today.
Hero worship? Not at all. Paint-by-numbers? Hardly. What we are doing here is simply finding what works and doing it. If someone else has done it, why not you?
- Change Your Environment.
Studies have shown that everything in your outer surroundings affects you and your moods – be it lighting, colors, music, sounds and background noise, temperature, furnishings, etc. That’s what feng shui is all about. Whole books have been written about this subject. In short, be sure to set yourself up for success, by creating a place of balance and beauty, harmony and functionality that will inspire you to be your best self. If something annoys you, de-energizes and slows your productivity down, or puts you in a bad or mood, change it!
Nature is the best environment for renewal and personal growth. In fact, it’s like a miracle drug. In her 2017 book “The Nature Fix” Florence Williams points out that studies have shown that people who take “leisurely forest walks” experience a “12% decrease in cortisol levels”, as well as a “7% decrease in sympathetic nerve activity, a 1.4% decrease in blood pressure, and a 6% decrease in heart rate.
Time spent in nature helps people feel less fatigued. Probably because it has been shown to boost immunity, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
This is what change is all about, so why not begin with your surroundings. Even if it means moving to a different state, or better neighborhood. If you are serious about reinventing yourself, you will do whatever it takes to get there.
As you implement these steps it’s important to remember, as best-selling author Mario Alonso Puig says in his book “Reinventing Yourself”, “Personal change is not about knowledge or erudition but about motivation.”
Find what works for you and do whatever it takes to help you stay motivated.
Here are a few suggestions to help keep you pumped and moving forward in a most progressive way.
Move! First thing in the morning, go for a run or brisk walk. Take a cold shower. Brush your teeth with spicy mint. Jump up and down. Do whatever it takes to awaken yourself and keep moving forward. Don’t ever allow yourself to stagnate.
- Place pictures, images and helpful phrases, quotes and sayings, etc. everywhere to inspire and remind you of your goal to become a new you.
- Listen to music that uplifts and energizes you.
- Read, watch and listen to Audiobooks, inspiring stories and teachings such as Ted Talks, etc.
- Watch inspiring shows and motivating movies.
You get the idea.
- Affirm the New You
Have a mantra or phrase that you daily, and hourly repeat over and over to yourself.
Meditate on this and live by it in order to help keep you on track. It could be as simple as affirming who you are. E.g. “I am loveable and loved”, “I am a successful writer”, “I run a million dollar business!”.
When your brain hears this enough and has eliminated all disempowering beliefs, nothing can get in your way!
- Take Action
Do something every day and begin immediately. Don’t wait until all of the stars are aligned. Don’t wait until you have more energy, more money, or more time. You never will.
And best of all, do something no one would expect. This element of surprise can have an amazing psychological affect not only on yourself, but on how others see and treat you as well. When you take positive action, suddenly you ARE the person say you want to become. At the moment of decision and action, you are the new you! Continue to do this consistently and persistently for amazing and long-lasting results. The momentum of such an individual is irresistible.
Also, move quickly… speed attracts money and speed attracts success. Especially when done in a decisive, persistent and consistent way. Successful people make quick decisions and stick with them.
- Take Good Care of Yourself
Simply put, get plenty of sleep, eat well, abstain from unhealthy ingredients and activities, and exercise regularly.
If you want to have the energy that it takes to create momentum and change in your life, there is nothing more important or irreplaceable than your health and well-being. Enough said.
- Setup an Accountability System
Find a mentor or someone you trust, admire and respect and tell them of your plan. Ask them to meet with you regularly to help keep you on track. Ask for their constructive criticism, and enjoy their feedback. You may be surprised at what they can see that you can’t.
Daily revisit and re-evaluate your progress in becoming your new self while in a meditative state, at least twice a day – in the morning and again before retiring for bed.
Ask yourself, “Do I like the person who is emerging? Am I daily doing whatever it takes to transform into the new me? Or am I merely posing as a new me?” Deep inside, you will know the answer to this pointed question. And remember, give yourself kindness as well as honesty. Your new self will love you for it!
Print out this list and review it throughout the day to track your progress.
Congratulations! Through intention and repetition you will slowly begin to morph into the person you have decided to become.