Go to any bookstore and have a look at the Self-Help section. Do an internet search on Therapists/Counsellors in your area. Check out the Self-Improvement workshops on Meetup.
If you ever needed proof of how much we want transformation in our lives, there it is.
Why is that? What’s driving us to want to do this?
It’s because we know, deep inside, that all is not well with how we’re living. There’s a little voice urging us to do something about it.
Yet, despite all of this help and our deep desire for life transformation, we’re not having much success.
Because we don’t truly believe we can.
Our lack of belief keeps us stuck where we are. And being stuck reinforces this lack of belief, because it allows our Inner Critics to take hold of our thoughts – they’re the negative self-talk that plagues us.
Here are seven steps to transform non-belief into belief, and transform your life.
1. Collect some data on what your life looks like right now.
If you’ve got that little voice inside you telling you to change some things about your life, before you start, you need to know what your life is really like. That’s where data come in.
Do you know how you currently spend your time? What gets most of your attention? You may think you know the answer to this, but it will be a guess. The only way to know exactly how you spend your time is to track it.
Do you know how you’re truly feeling right now? If you do, write it down. If you don’t, give yourself some quiet time one day to sit with this, and write down what comes out.
2. Analyze your data.
Break down your time tracking into activities – things like work, personal time, exercise, eating, care-giving, etc. Calculate the percentage of your time you spend doing each activity. Do the results surprise you? Does the way you spend your time reflect how you’d LIKE to be spending your time?
Do you feel the way you’d like to feel? Would you like to start and end each day feeling differently?
3. List the broad changes you’d like to make to your life.
Base this on what you need to change in order to spend your time and feel the way YOU want to. This might include reducing your work hours, increasing your exercise hours, eating more regularly, spending more time with friends, sleeping more.
4. Find out what makes YOU amazing.
What makes YOU amazing is what makes you uniquely you. It’s also who you really are. And this is the key to your happiness. Here’s a blog post I wrote about it.
5. Start learning to manage your Inner Critics.
This subject is a whole blog post in itself! It’s also a life-long exercise. The starting point is to accept that these voices exert a huge amount of power over you, and then to try to identify the critics that are most active in you. Common critics include The Perfectionist, The Comparer, The Drama Queen, The Procrastinator, The Good Person. Once you’ve identified yours, talk to each one in turn, asking her to list everything that’s wrong with you. And then reframe their negative talk into positive talk – I find it helpful to imagine I’m talking to a friend about her ‘problems’, it makes me much more kind! I’m indebted to SARK & John Waddell and their book “Succulent Wild Love: Six Powerful Habits for Feeling More Love More Often” for this approach. Don’t be put off by the woo-woo book title – the content had a profound effect on how I interact with others.
6. Re-evaluate what failure and success mean to you.
In my experience, society has a HUGE influence on how we define failure and success. Using our own definitions can be transformative. Think about someone whom you consider to be a success. What traits does she have? How does she live her life? Then have a look at what your Inner Critics have to say about your ‘failures’. Is there a mismatch? Are your ‘failures’ the opposite of those things that YOU feel make a successful person? If they’re not, they should be! If a big ‘failure’ of yours is that you’re overweight, and ‘slimness’ doesn’t appear anywhere in your success list, then… you get my point.
7. Create goals that reflect who you are and what you want… and live by them!
Again, too often, our goals come from external sources. They shouldn’t. They’re YOUR goals for YOUR life. They also need to reflect the whole you – all of your needs, wants and desires. Writing down your goals is the starting point. Living them, day in, day out, is next! If you don’t spend your time consciously on what matters to you, you’ll end up back at step one. Spending your time in an uncontrolled way, on things that don’t really matter.
Breaking down transformation into steps helps make it manageable, helps you see that you can do it. And this makes you believe that you really can transform your life.
So you do.