What would have to take place to make 2013 the best year of your life? What would you be doing, thinking, feeling, and seeing? I know having the best year of your life is an audacious challenge, but it may be exactly what you need. Setting your sights higher and raising your standards is exactly the route to have a miraculous year. I know that’s the case for me. I have been far too “consistent” in many areas of my life. Yes being consistent is a “bad” thing when it comes to growing into the best person I can be. When we’re consistent it can mean we’re not challenging ourselves enough. Whether it’s health, relationships, or financial goals, which are all areas I am striving to push the bar higher this coming year, to have the best year of your life means raising your standards and living out the new self-image you want to create. What about you? What areas of your life are you ready to make better and reach for your potential in? The three steps below that I adapted from the book Lasting Transformation by Abby Rosen, PhD sum up the process of making lasting change, and how you can apply them for a successful 2013!
Step 1: Self-awareness – What you need and what gets in the way
First off, determine where you are now compared to where you want to be. Rate yourself in each area of life (emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, social, financial, etc.) and determine what is working and not working. At this point, determine what has been getting in the way of making change for you. Figure out what you need to do and what needs to be different. To move beyond the patterns and habits that keep you stuck you will need to develop awareness of your blind spots. These are those defense mechanisms and interference’s that get in the way of us becoming the best person we can be. Many times they are unconscious and we aren’t aware of them until we really examine ourselves. So, select an area you want to make a change in. Then list everything that has been getting in the way of you making the change. Interference’s can be external or internal. External interference’s may be related to our environment or the other people in our life. Internal interference’s can be anything from anger, doubt, fear, shame, or general negative thinking. Become aware of both how your environment and self-image can get in the way of your future success. Now that you know the obstacles you will face they can no longer be excuses.
“Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.” – Erica Jong
Step 2: Behavioral Change – Set your goals
Once we become aware of the blind spots driving our decision making and behavior we can deal with them. Some interference’s can be changed but many will have to be pushed through. Your lifelong pattern of fear and doubt won’t simply disappear. You will have to take action to garner courage and confidence. You will have to do things differently to get different results. Changing behavior is an important step to shifting habits and beginning to build momentum. This would be where you set your long-term goal or lifestyle change for 2013. Maybe you want to run a marathon, double your sales, or start a new career. What are your goals for 2013? What patterns do you want to reverse and what seeds do you want to nourish? After you set your goal, it is important to build the confidence, competence, and sense of control that the change will persist. Here are a few suggestions that I adapted from Brendon Burchard’s book The Charge to help stimulate change: Mix up your routine – Get out of a rut by changing the way you do things. Routines often become habitual and we may not even realize how we’re doing things is getting in the way or slowing us down. Bring novelty into your routine to keep you engaged and break your unconscious patterns. Try something new – Seek out new and inspiring experiences. As you reach toward your goals, absorb yourself in uplifting activities, and push yourself to do things that are beyond your usual practice. Find inspiration and joy as you pursue change. Meet new people who share similar goals and value – The people we surround ourselves with may be the most important aspect of making change, and that area many people neglect. Network and connect with people who already have achieved what you want. If you want to get in shape spend time with healthy people, and remove yourself from unhealthy people. Learn new skills – What new skills can you learn this year that will aid in your success. Often making change, particularly a challenging change, requires learning new information, skills, and competencies. Become excited about learning and set a goal to learn as much as you can to support you in your goals.
Step 3: Transformation – Make change last
This last step is the key to making long-term change. Transformation refers to changing from the inside-out and reinventing our self-identity and personality. This comes after we have done the work to gain awareness and started to alter our lifestyle. Transformation is lasting because we have changed our self-image and default way of responding. We are able to deal with interference’s and they no longer pose an insurmountable obstacle.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. – Richard Bach
As you push yourself to set challenging goals and recognize that you can be successful, your self-image will change regarding what you’re capable of. You will hold yourself to higher standards and your decisions and behavior will reflect this. The way you see yourself and the way you live your life will become congruent and you will then be the best-version-of-yourself.