by Liza Andrews
Reinventing yourself is a joint process of leaving behind your old baggage filled with unproductive actions, habits and thoughts, and planning a new life. We may be talking about a wrong line of thought, such as the notion that you are worthless or just another drop in the ocean, incapable of making a difference in your social or professional circles. It can be a bad habit, or an obsessive relationship virtually impossible to quit. It can be a hard divorce that shook your self-esteem or the death of a loved one. Your old baggage is anything that is stopping you from being your best self and living the best life you can. So, overcoming problems and improving ourselves is a process of faith. The faith that by throwing away the familiar comfort zone and leaving the “thing” or the “someone” behind, we will be happier - even when by “someone,” we mean our old selves.
Normally, making life-changing decisions is a hard process. The examples above include long-time habits or people, who, good or bad, dead or alive, are still deeply rooted in our hearts. Your hand reaches out for your instant pleasures, to eat that food that’s going to increase your cholesterol levels, or to call the lover you should stay away from. To become your best self you need huge amounts of conviction that your plan is better for you than your cravings.
Try this: Put on paper all the details of your personal or professional plan. Don’t simply state your goals: I want to lose 15 pounds. I want to get a better job. I want to leave my abusive spouse. Take the time to sit somewhere no one will bother or interrupt your process, and start making your new life plan. Think of your problems, one by one, and walk their path to the end. See problem number one; feel what it does to you now. Then imagine if you do nothing to change it, how much damage it will have caused by the end of a year. Then by the end of five years. Then think of yourself in your death bed, seeing your life in flashback. How much that one problem prevented you from being happier, healthier, more fulfilled?
Repeat this exercise around all the problems, addictions and toxic people in your life. Have the courage to walk the full path holding their hands and see who you will be in the end of that road. When you are finished, this emotional journey will have brought enough clarity for you to see what you don’t want in your life. Write each item down. Name them and attach the fresh emotions from your journey to them. Stare at them without seeing the pleasure they temporarily give you, but their destructive outcome in the long run. Attach a strong negative emotion or result that you saw along that journey to each one of your problems. This is the first step to identify all bad things in your life, and see them for what they truly are, regardless of the temporary pleasures they may offer. It goes for stagnation, lack of ambition at work, and dangerous addictions such as food, alcohol, drugs, or toxic love.
Then take a deep breath, and think of the person you will become without each of those problems. The person you will become if you create a new lifestyle for yourself. Close your eyes and go on a different journey now. On your own, through an easy, beautiful path where you feel absolutely safe and confident. Envision the person you are there, love that person and that future. How much better is your home life? Your career? Your health? Build up details.Take a moment every day to do this exercise. It can be in the commute from work or during your shower. Anytime you are alone. But let it become your new positive habit. Add a new block to your new foundation every day, then start rising the walls. It may end up being a better house or a mighty castle. It is up to you. If you want to lose weight, picture yourself fifteen pounds lighter. See every detail of your body that will change for the best. Image your new wardrobe, all the outfits you’ll be able to wear and look awesome in. Imagine your health and energy level getting better. Imagine yourself being more athletic, faster, happier, more interesting, attractive, and charismatic. Cultivate this relationship with your new self. Think of the details of your new routine, and the people you will meet and interact with.
Wanting to achieve a goal or even writing it on paper doesn’t create the action necessary to make it real. But over the centuries, in all cultures, emotions and faith have changed the world. Use the right emotions to guide you. See your goal, and enjoy the pleasures related to that story that you are telling yourself about your bright future. For now, that is only a fantasy. Yet, if you start growing the motions you feel while having such fantasy, the desire to achieve your goals will become stronger than your tendency to let things go unfinished and the desire of giving in to your bad habits and cravings.
This exercise can be done for personal or professional life, and I always tell my clients about my experiences with personal challenges at work, in love and getting ill. I also share great stories while volunteering to help cancer survivors in their reinvention process. If the pictures in your mind associated with the right emotions can be powerful enough to strengthen your convictions and move you from mere willingness to action, imagine what real images can do.
At PictureCure, we help people establish their goals and add layers to their self-improvement process. Someone who feels uncertain about their image or the professional qualities they have, may find it difficult to envision their better selves in the future, and will certainly have trouble achieving their goals. As clients come to us and tell us their goals, we help them create that persona and capture it in pictures or video interviews that will keep their motivation up. This is a version of photography therapy that we’ve been using effectively for ten years. When you actually see yourself wearing different outfits, using a better body language, and ultimately, delivering an interview about a subject that you are passionated about, it ignites the fire of self-improvement inside of you. Those visual aids will keep your self love and self-esteem in the highest place and you will finally start seeing your dreams come true. Next time you are afraid of sharing ideas with your boss, or are tempted to abandon your diet, you will remember that great version of you, and take positive action. Being the new you is so much more fulfilling than being the one that is under-delivering. At this point, instant pleasures, fears and stagnation make no sense.
Most of the time we desire a better future or a better us, but don’t find the conviction and strength to make substantial changes. We want the results that we imagine, but we don’t even imagine them hard enough, with enough details to see us there, living that new life. We don’t find the power to make it real. When you reach that point, the execution of your personal or professional plan becomes viable and exciting, and starts showing results.