Well, the time for changing ourselves from the outside in is upon us. Yes, tomorrow is New Year’s Day. Let the resolutions begin!
I’ve been talking about this for a few weeks now, how New Year’s resolutions are incredibly alluring because of the promise they hold of overhauling ourselves completely. The problem with this — other than the fact that making a bunch of drastic changes all at once is overwhelming and unsustainable — is that we usually pick resolutions that change us from the outside in.
You say you’re going to start exercising, stop smoking, eat healthy, and drink a ton of water. All of these changes only fix your body . . . not your mind. But remember that your body is created by your habits, which are driven by your thoughts.
You probably don’t think about it or even notice it, but you walk around all day with invisible scripts that you repeat. They usually go something like this (feel free to insert your own expletives):
“I do everything around here.”
“This ALWAYS happens to me.”
“Nothing is ever easy.”
The problem with these phrases is that they have essentially become negative personal mantras. And they are giving you the results you see, which are probably not the results you want. Then you go around trying to change your results without changing the thoughts that created them.
There’s a simple but very effective trick I use to fix this that doesn’t involve trying to identify every negative thing I’m saying (since it’s hard to spot sometimes): I come up with a mantra that wipes all of them out.
Anytime you feel the negative energy that’s created from telling yourself the wrong things (you may not be able to spot the phrases, but you can always spot the feeling), repeat your mantra.
So how do you come up with the right one? Get out a pen and paper, and ask yourself these questions:
What do I love about myself? Write down all the ways you are absolutely amazing and unique. If you have a hard time coming up with anything, just think about all the things you do all day long for everyone else and what kind of a person that makes you.
What do I most want to improve about myself? Are you tired a lot? Do you hold yourself back from doing things? What stops you from doing what you really want to do and being who you most want to be?
What did I do this past year that I’m really proud of? It’s so important to look back and acknowledge your accomplishments. Most of us focus almost entirely on what went wrong, without considering that we probably did something really awesome or succeeded in some way.
What didn’t go so well this past year? Ok, it’s not all bad to look at what you could have done better — but only if it’s for the purpose of learning from it and having a new strategy to do better next time.
I already know what you’re thinking: Ugh. I don’t want to sit down and think about all of this, much less write it down. But remember that if you never do the inner work, the outer part of you will never change. And did you know that research shows that writing down your goals makes it 44% more likely that you will achieve them? So writing things down is extremely effective. Do it!
When you have your answers, figure out the common barrier they point to and a strength you have that you can use to overcome it. Then distill it down into a motivating phrase that you repeat to yourself (your mantra). Here’s an example from my life.
I love empathizing with people and sharing what I’ve learned to help them. Part of my starting this business is to do just that. But to be successful at it, I have to put myself out there in a major way, which is scary. I’m a perfectionist and sometimes stop myself before I really get started, because I want everything to be just right and to know that it’s going to work out before I do it — which is impossible to know until you actually do it!
So, my new mantra for the moment is “Start before you’re ready.” Anytime I feel fear or like I’m not ready yet, I say this to remind myself that I need to go ahead and do it, whatever it is.
If you feel like you’re overloaded and unappreciated, maybe you can use the fact that you got a ton of stuff done for your family without fail this past year (and every other year). You can recognize the fact that you’re organized, efficient, and reliable, and you can also acknowledge that you sometimes complain and allow yourself to feel defeated. So maybe your mantra could be “If you want something done, give it to me” or “I’ve got this.”
What’s something you tell yourself repeatedly, and how could you change it into a more empowering mantra? Leave a comment and let me know.
Even if your mantra doesn’t appear to be weight-related, remember that weight is a symptom of a problem, and it’s an inner problem. The more you work on yourself from the inside out, the more your outside will change to match.
I hope you have an awesome New Year’s Eve, and get ready for 2019 to be the best year ever! 🙂