Transforming Your Life: A Guide to Inspired Change

On behalf of all of us here, we hope that you managed through the holidays which were likely as strange and uncomfortable as the rest of 2020 was. But that year – and most of the darkness associated with it – is just about behind us. We can all begin to embrace a new year, one that is filled with hope, promise and calls us to surrender to inspired change.

What we do to mark the arrival of a new year can be deeply personal, yet there is also a widely adopted tradition of setting resolutions. These are often lists of things that we want to change. Weight loss usually tops the list but broader concepts like improved health and wellness and finding meaningful work are increasingly popular themes on these lists. Some desire to improve their leadership, interpersonal skills, and life skills. Although it may seem like a silly tradition to some people, crafting that list is actually the first step we can take toward personal and professional development.

How we approach preparing this list makes all the difference.

We can choose to follow; doing what everyone else is doing because everyone else is doing it. Maybe there’s an element of peer pressure here, too. “If SHE’s making that resolution this year, then, duh, of course I will, too.” Nobody likes to be left out of the crowd, so people generally fall into this category of making resolutions because everyone else does on New Year’s Eve. Perhaps that’s why fewer than 8% of people keep their resolutions.

Another option is to adopt the IDGAF mindset. A surprisingly large group of people fall into this category. No matter what anyone does or says, people within this group can’t be persuaded. They have a fixed mindset and are intent on their own pursuit. And that’s just fine – different strokes for different folks. Remember, people with a fixed mindset are fixed in their beliefs, hence the categorization, and it’s a rare event when these folks are sparked into change.

The Key to Successful Change: Believing in Yourself and Embracing Inspired Change

Then there’s inspired change. How is this approach different than the other two? Motivation is the essence of this approach. If people are inspired to make changes because they fundamentally believe that if they make changes their lives will be better, DO succeed in making changes. That expression, “believing will make it so” is at the core of why this approach helps manifest the changes that we seek to make.

If we don’t believe in ourselves and we’ve somehow lost confidence, we risk rendering ourselves incapable of making improvements. This is self-sabotage in the first order! Whatever those reasons may be that have resulted in a personal feeling of being “less than” need to be parked. It takes a whole lot of self-discipline to not let our negative thoughts control our behaviors. “Mind over matter” wins every time. If you believe that you CAN do it  you WILL do it.

To make your way into this community of people who embrace inspired change, you’ll have to make a few shifts. First, ask yourself what or who inspires you? What do you think will (not could – but WILL) happen if you do X instead of Y? Lock onto that. Now, imagine how you’ll feel when it does happen. Describe those feelings.

Do you feel joy? Pride? Hopeful?

Write those feelings down and put them somewhere that you’ll see them everyday. Make sticky notes and affix them to your bathroom mirror or night table or wherever you like. List those feelings on a sticky note, snap a photo of it and make it your phone’s unlock screen. OWN it. How you’re going to feel once you accomplish the change is going to drive you to keep going – this is going to be especially critical on those days when it feels like it will be impossible – because you will have those days.

Don’t hide from change! Change can be transformative. Note that it’s step-wise. Everything begins by setting a goal, an intention of wanting to achieve something. 

Doing so will take learning, effort and practice. Achieve one goal and then set your sights on your next. Then your next one. And your next one after that. Soon enough, you’ll have accomplished a series of goals that add up into something transformative. And WOW – what an amazing feeling that is!

Coaching Tips for Achieving Your Transformational Goals

Do you want to achieve change, as in real change that sticks? Here are a few coaching tips that will you on the path to your own transformation, building soft skills like resilience and adaptability and coping skills along the way.

1) Baby steps! Nothing new here, right? Start with a micro-goal. If you want to lose 100 lbs, start with 10 lbs. That’s not aiming low, that’s putting you on the path of successfully achieving your goal. 

2) Forgive yourself. Sounds simple but it’s one of the toughest things to put into practice. It’s easy to slide into that valley of despair and darkness, indulging ourselves “one more” drink, candy bar or whatever it is that we’re trying to reduce our exposure to. That “one more” can be something even more sinister than an unhealthy snack – it can be “one more week” or “one more chance” if we’re in an abusive relationship or an unfulfilling job where the work environment may be toxic and even unsafe. There will be slide-backs. If you have one, forgive yourself. If you slide back twice in a row, STOP yourself or you’ll really struggle with forgiveness going forward.

3) Celebrate your victories. Doing so doesn’t require going on a bender or maxing out your credit cards for a “little retail therapy.” Small goal, small victory. Big goal, bigger victory party. Even if you’re on a budget, you can reward yourself with the gift of time for self-care, an indulgent bubble bath or a day off work to do things that make you feel good and glad to be alive. Like walking in the park, tuning into the sounds of nature, feeling the sunshine on your face, getting coffee at your favorite cafe, tipping the barista and smiling at everyone.

4) Be accountable. Your choice if you want to hold yourself accountable by keeping a journal and documenting your progress (and, occasionally, the lack thereof). Be honest. Some people like to sign up for change with a buddy that can hold them accountable and help them increase their productivity. Other people need a little more of a nudge that often comes with having to pay for something like a gym membership or a coach to keep us on track. Do whatever works for you.

At the end of the day, it’s all about inspired change. Wanting to change because you believe that things will be better if you make the changes. And holding onto how you’ll feel when you make that change as motivation. Get out there – it’s 2021 – may you be successful in whatever changes you make! 

Woman in box photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Wall plaster photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels

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