When you’re making significant change of any type, you typically find many barriers along the road.
For many people, though, a major barrier to change is the person’s now-out-of-date self-image.
Your expectation of your ability to change has a lot to do with how hard change will be for you, and if you can sustain it.
If you don’t update your self-image as you make progress through life, like it or not, you’re more likely to slip back into old ways – almost like snapping back to a picture or pattern you’re trying hard to fit that you’ve long ago outgrown.
For example, perhaps you think of yourself as the quiet kid you once were when you felt buried in an older sibling’s shadow.
Yet perhaps others would be surprised if they knew that image you held of you.
That’s because they see a confident, outgoing person who’s easy to talk to, comfortable in the company of anyone they meet, and in any social situation.
You see the point. You may be carrying around a very out-of-date sense of yourself, and it can definitely hold you back.
Take some time at least once a year to catch up with yourself.
Here are a few ways you can do this:
1. Check in.
Take some quiet time to check in with yourself.
Find a place and time when you can really listen to the quiet voice inside, and get your honest answers to such questions as these:
– How you feel about how things are going?
– What challenges have you overcome recently?
– What are you most thankful for at this point in your life?
– What are you proudest of now?
– What are the main things ahead in your life? How do yo feel about them?
– Are there ways you can add simple things to look forward to, if you don’t see a lot of them ahead?
2. Look at.
Take a picture of yourself, or have a friend take one for you. Or choose a recent photo of yourself that you like.
Include the photo with some of these other things you’re thinking about, jotting down, or gathering to help you get a current sense of who you are now.
3. Look out.
Notice who’s in your life now.
– What relationships do you cherish most now?
Are the relationships you miss?
What relationships would you like to create, or let into your life now?
Ask a few people who are very important to you what you do that means the most to them.
Then exchange the favor. Share your thoughts and feelings about the impact they have in your life.
6. Refresh your dreams.
Look at your dreams of things you’d like to have, do or become.
– What dreams have you already achieved?
– What dreams do you want to hold onto?
– What dreams do you want to refresh?
– What dreams are you ready to let go of because they really no longer fit?
Capture a few thoughts, ideas, pictures, drawings, doodles or symbols of this time in your life that you want to save.
Save them in a scrapbook, notebook, or memory box if that’s were you keep special things.
Someday the self-image you’re remodeling now will be out of date again.
Who knows how you’ll change by the next time you do a “self-image refresh?”
8. Celebrate you.
Now, take the time to celebrate you, as you are now.
Do something that you really love, but rarely do, whatever it is that seems like an appropriate and current celebration of who you are now, on your way to becoming the person you will be, the next time you do a self-image refresh.
Accept and celebrate the best. Accept the parts you want to change, as well, and above all, be patient with yourself.
Enjoy the journey!