January brings with it a beautiful gift of renewal. Depending upon the glasses you look through to peer upon life this can be an exhilarating opportunity or twelve daunting months. I am confident that you, like myself, choose the former perspective, and that is why I would like to encourage you today to see how you might be able to reinvent yourself as 2013 begins.
Reinvention requires of each of us the responsibility of self-reflection. In order to see how we wish to live more authentically, we have to be willing to be honest about who we are currently. At the same time, while we are self-critiquing, we must also be gentle with ourselves, but not too gentle as to lull ourselves into complacently living each day.
If you’re like me, you welcome the chance to grow, to learn and continually evolve into your best self, knowing that this process of self-renewal is never complete as there will always be opportunities to blossom into our best selves so long as we are living and breathing on this earth.
After all, the gift of reinvention is to acknowledge the following:
1. We are the captain of our ship. Our lives are our own to mold into a life of moments to celebrate or moments of dutifully following along simply because everyone else is living a certain way. When we acknowledge that our lives are what we make it, it is an empowering feeling. Ask yourself, why am I living the way I am living? Why do I do the work I do? Why do I surround myself with the people currently in my life? The key to living a simply luxurious life is to make sure each of these decisions are conscious and purposeful rather than a result of simply going along with the norm.
2. Lessons are gifts to improve. This past weekend I was listening to an interview of an author who spoke about the plot line that students learn in English, and great novels fundamentally adhere to when telling a story. He pointed out that human life doesn’t follow a prescribed plot. There will be many climaxes, many rising actions and many resolutions that lead to yet another wonderful, new setting. We must look at our lives as endless plots all thrown together, and among each of the plots are lessons to be learned, savored and appreciated as we apply them moving forward. So long as we are always looking for the lesson, we will forever have opportunities to evolve and reinvent ourselves.
3. Inspiration is everywhere. When we refuse to live by habit but instead purposefully and with intention, inspiration is always available. Whether it is found while reading a new book that piqued our interest, a new destination arrived at while on an excursion or a new dish attempted in the kitchen, inspiration blossoms when we remain in the present moment and pay attention to what our senses are experiencing.
4. When we appreciate, we cultivate even more. By staying present each day, it becomes easier to appreciate all that is going well. And when we can appreciate what is going well, we are reminded that good things can happen, problems can be resolved and change for the better is possible.
Maybe you are ready for a grand reinvention of your entire life, or maybe you simply want to change your look. Whatever it is that you want to reinvent, keep in mind that it is possible as soon as you make the decision to do so.
Here are a few tips for how to get started:
1. Dare to dream, and then it put it in writing. Slow down for an afternoon or at least a few hours and be still. What does a fulfilling life look like to you? Where do you live, what are you doing, what are you wearing, who are you spending time with? Answer these questions and write them down on a piece of paper. If you are visual, create an inspiration board or notebook full of images cut from magazines. When you physically create it, it becomes much more tangible and can serve as a reminder as you progress toward your goals.
2. Don’t be stymied by the how, just get busy. While you will want to map out the steps you will need to follow in order to make your reinvention a reality, there will be missing pieces that you can’t know for sure as to how they will occur. Let the unknowns go, and move forward anyway. Once you begin living with intention making progress toward your goal, other pieces of the puzzle will begin to reveal themselves - pieces that you couldn’t have even imagined when you first began. Move forward anyway, even if you don’t have all of the pieces. Similar to the film Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” You must put yourself out there initially to demonstrate that you indeed are willing to do the work necessary.
3. Use social media as a tool. Maybe you’re using social media purely for personal reasons, but if you want to reinvent yourself, I’m telling you, social media is a very powerful tool. Clean up each of your social media sites. Begin to project the image you are attempting to create for yourself. Humans are visual, and they believe what they see. Update your LinkedIn profile if you’re on the hunt for a new job. If you’re hoping to become an expert in the field your are passionate about, create a blog that projects professionalism and expert know-how. And no matter what you’re trying to evolve into, create a home webpage. You can purchase your own domain name for as little as $10 a year, and it’s a great way to take control of what you put out there on the web about yourself (see mine as an example – simple, yet a great starting point).
4. Be aware of habits. Habits are behaviors engaged in without needing to think before action occurs. Take time to assess what types of habits are helping you and which are hindering you. Wanting to improve your health and lose some weight? Choose a time of day (for me, it’s in the morning) to do your daily 20-30 minute workout. After some time, it will be something that you become accustomed to and would feel off your game if you stop. Or conversely, stop nibbling while standing up or eating in your car. Eliminating simple mindless habits like these that are derailing your progress are quick fixes, but often ignored as being part of the problem. A great book to read on this topic - The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
5. Learn a new skill. In order to change, you must engage in new behaviors, gain new knowledge or put yourself in different scenarios. Learning a new skill, while it can be intimidating because you are beginning as a novice, is a wonderful way to explore your passions, discover your full potential, and meet people with knowledge about the field you’re interested in.
6. Have patience with yourself. The change you seek won’t occur over night or without a lot of hard work. However, it will occur, and often because the change is so gradual, one day you will finally stop and reflect and realize how dramatically you’ve evolved. These are the moments that should boost your confidence that reinvention is indeed possible, and living your desired life is no longer a dream, but a realized reality that you get to partake in each and every day. Enjoy!
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