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Published on May 18, 2020

How to Change Yourself and Live the Life You Deserve

How to Change Yourself and Live the Life You Deserve

“Am I where I want to be? Am I living the life I deserve?” These are all questions we have asked ourselves over the last several weeks as the world has been upended. These are tough questions that each of us has likely had to answer at some point. Did you like your answers? Or did they force to you face a truth you had known all along?

What needs to change is: You.

I’ve been there. Thankfully, once you are aware of what needs to change, you can begin to do what is necessary to change it. Changing “you” may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but it’s 100% worth it if when your done, you get to live the life you know you deserve.

Taking personal inventory in this way isn’t easy. You’re brave for being honest enough with yourself to admit that you need to change. In this moment, there is a disconnect between who you are and who you know yourself to be.

When those two things are out of alignment, it can feel impossible to live the life you deserve because there is no clarity of vision or purpose. When this disconnect is present, the best way to create positive, sustainable personal change is to cultivate self-love, bolster your self-esteem, and reconnect with your true self.

1. Cultivate Self-Love

When self-love is cultivated, the challenging work of changing yourself is softened by the balms of patience and self-compassion.

Change is hard enough on its own, especially when you know that you’ll inevitably face obstacles along the way. Cultivating a healthy sense of self-love will allow you to be gentle with yourself as you navigate any unavoidable challenges. Knowing you love yourself unconditionally will anchor you when your journey gets tough.

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Getting unstuck can be uncomfortable. You might feel vulnerable as you confront the things about yourself that are contributing to the status quo. Change is a process, one that requires you to exercise patience and compassion with yourself. It’s okay to be vulnerable with yourself; it means you’re being honest.

Each change you make moves through a cycle – pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.

Pre-Contemplation

During the pre-contemplation stage, you are not actively seeking to change your behavior, and in some cases you may not be aware that a change is necessary. Yet, external influences may resonate with you on a deeper level, beginning to peak your curiosity or interest in potential change.

Contemplation

Once you move into the contemplation stage, change is on your radar. You have realized that there is change that needs to be made, and you are considering making it.

Preparation

The preparation stage is all about getting ready for the change. You are actively doing the mindset work and strategic planning so that you can do what is necessary to make the change you desire. At the conclusion of this phase, you truly believe that you can and will change.

Action

Action is the next logical stage of the change cycle. You have done all the preparation, and now it’s time for you to make your move. It’s time for you to take that initial action that will catalyze the change.

Maintenance

The maintenance stage begins once the initial action has been taken and new behaviors have been established for a period of time. This final stage is all about adjusting to your new normal. It will be important for you to continue to engage in the practices that will help you ensure that this change is sustained in the long-term.

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Its important to remember that these cycles are not linear, and it can take a few rounds for the change to stick. As a result, self-love is essential to successfully changing yourself. Without it, surviving the change cycle and all the resistance that comes with it is almost impossible.

Self-love “acknowledges your basic worth but also requires that you take care of that worth by actively nurturing yourself … through loving behavior.”[1] Being loving towards yourself can take many forms, from writing yourself a kind letter to taking a moment to reconnect with your breath. Yet, the most important are self-compassion, non-judgment, and patience.

Like flowers in a garden, these concepts need to be cultivated. The practice of mindfulness can help to cultivate self-love. Mindfulness teaches you to bring your mind to a place of gratitude for the now. Intentionally taking the time to slow down, acknowledge the truth of now, and embrace the positive about that reality while still noticing the negatives is an act of radical self-love.

2. Bolster Your Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is fundamental to not only believing that you’re capable of change but also that you are worthy of the effort required to achieve what you truly desire.

To change yourself for the better, you have to not only believe that you can change, but you must also believe that you are worthy of the life that positive change will bring. At the core of that belief is your self-esteem.

Put plainly, self-esteem is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Trying to change yourself could cause you to have some negative feelings about yourself, which is why it’s important that we do the work of cultivating self-love first. It is advantageous to be anchored in a knowing that you will patiently, compassionately, and unconditionally nurture yourself through the tough spots as you are in the process of starting to implement change and holding yourself accountable.

A strong sense of positive self-esteem is critical. Your sense of self-esteem is based on the evidence you’ve gathered from your experiences and connections. You did a good job at work, thus you feel good and you believe you can do it again. The positive experience provides you with evidence that naturally bolsters your self-esteem.

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Your relationships are another well spring for positive self-esteem when you maintain healthy relationships with people who you believe in and admire. When those people then believe in you, their belief makes you believe in yourself a little more.

It takes a lot of courage to follow through with and maintain new behaviors that will sustain a long-term change. If you don’t believe that you can or that you’re worth it, then you’re fighting a losing battle.

3. Reconnect With Your True Self

The final member of this conceptual trinity is the true self. Reconnecting with your true self is imperative to successfully creating sustainable change for yourself. At the moment, you are out of alignment; there is a lack of consistent authenticity, and you’re over it.

It’s not that you are by nature inauthentic, but rather that you’re behaving in a way that does not align with your core of who you know yourself to be. You may even feel as though you are putting forth a façade. Therefore, it would be almost impossible to feel as though are you connected and in alignment with your true self.

Deepak Chopra describes the true self as the purest part of yourself[2]. He eloquently summarized the five key characteristics of the true self as: Love, Peace, Stability, Clarity, and Certainty, all driven by a deep sense of Truth.

Love

Love from the true self comes from within. There is no need to seek it from external sources. It simply exists without condition or expiration, in perpetuity without end. It is an internal spring that never goes dry.

Peace

Peace is the nature of the true self, its anchor. It does get rattled by the everyday foolishness of life. The true self is grounded and does not desire to alter its experience constantly.

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Stability

When the true self is in its natural state of peace, grounding takes place that produces stability. There is a sense of calm, that everything is as it should be in this moment.

Clarity and Certainty

The true self eliminates the potential for confusion because it’s not influenced by external forces. As a result, it is clear and certain. It knows its direction and sticks to it without hesitation.

Truth

Lastly, the true self is categorized by an understanding of our collective oneness, as well as balanced objectivity in which it bases all of its actions. Those two factors summarize what drives the true self – a deep sense of truth.

One way you can minimize resistance you may experience when working to reconnect with your true self is by gently reminding yourself of a truth you already know intuitively: Your true self is good.

Embracing the actuality of your true self is freeing and challenging. It will allow you to begin to distinguish the authentic behaviors, beliefs, thought patterns, and feelings from the inauthentic ones. Once you possess the ability to do that effectively, you’ve successfully set yourself up to not only change yourself for the better but to undoubtedly set out to live the life you deserve.

Final Thoughts

You are capable of change. You are worthy of the life you deserve. Life can be hard, and as a result anyone could lose their way. Unexpected circumstances can cause your self-esteem to take a hit. Along the way you forget to love yourself unconditionally, and you accidentally disconnect from your true self.

When you get ready to commit to change remember to trust your tribe – explore what evidence they can provide that naturally bolster self-esteem. Furthermore, patience and compassion are the keys to self-love, and always stay connected with your true self – it is the purest part of yourself, and it will never lead you astray.

More Tips on How to Change Yourself

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

Reference

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Awilda Rivera

Success Coach - Author - Speaker - Yogi - Advisor

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Last Updated on June 2, 2020

10 Ways to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough

10 Ways to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough

Whenever you hit a rough patch in life, it can seem like the problems you’re confronting are unique to you and that the whole world is closing in. It might be that you are struggling to find a way out and just can’t see the light of hope anywhere when the going gets tough.

Thankfully, although you might not see it, there is always hope. Nothing lasts forever—not even bad times—and doing things like remembering why you started in the first place and practicing using your courage muscle are just a couple of things that can shorten the difficult times.

If you could find a way to not only survive but thrive when the going gets tough, how would your life change for the better?

Here are ten ways you can do to make that happen today.

1. Realize How Far You Have Come

Whenever you get discouraged on the path to wherever you want to go, it is usually because you are only looking forward, not around you or behind you. Your journey through life will last until your final day, so it is no wonder that you still see a long and sometimes daunting path ahead.

To keep going despite this, it’s important to take a moment or two to look around. Look at where you are standing now compared to when you first started. Look at how far you have come since you first began. Look at how many obstacles and challenges are behind you that you managed to overcome successfully.

The benefits of reflective practice are also extensive, and it is little wonder why.[1]

Looking back at how far you have come is usually the fire you need to keep on burning brightly into the future.

2. Remember Why You Started

When the going gets tough, you need something to cling to in order to keep your grit and remind yourself why you started doing something in the first place. Without this all-important “why, you will be quick to wander from your path.

Whenever things are at their worst, your number one reason for doing the thing is going to be what pulls you through.

As ex-Navy Seal and motivation master David Goggins puts it:

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“‘Why am I here?’ If you know that moment is coming and have your answer ready, you will be equipped to make the split-second decision to ignore your weakened mind and keep moving. Know why you’re in the fight to stay in the fight!”

Sometimes, life can be a bit of a fight, especially within yourself. So, having your reasons for continuing will always help pull you out when times are tough. Try writing these down and posting them in places you look at every day to help them have even more impact.

3. Make It a Habit to Move Forward

Habits are some of the strongest behavioral predictors that we have. Most of our habits happen in our subconscious and are triggered by external or internal cues.

The great thing about habits is that they can be formed through conscious, repeated behaviors, and when practiced enough, they can eventually take their place in the subconscious and guide your life.

Of course, you want good habits to be guiding your life in the background, not bad ones. That’s why it’s a good idea to make it a habit to always move forward.

Contrary to what most people say, moving forward doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be better every single day for the rest of your life. There are going to be slip-ups, bad days, and circumstances that blow you off course.

Moving forward is all about getting back on track as fast as possible. If you can make that a habit, you can always get closer to where you want to go.

4. Use ‘If-Then’ Planning

When the going gets tough in your life, one of the most effective frameworks that you can put into place is called the ‘if-then’ planning.

This is the simplified version of something called Implementation Intention, a concept created by psychologist Peter Gollwitzer in the mid-’90s.[2] It helps you to make sense of confusing situations and to be able to take action when you are really struggling.

The simplified process is as follows:

“If x happens, I will do y.”

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For example:

“If I start to have negative thoughts, I will take ten seconds to just breathe.”

“If I feel extremely stressed for three days in a row, I will take the fourth day off to recover and reset.”

If-then planning puts a strategy in place for when times are tough. It takes away the element of thinking, planning, and worrying as you already know exactly what you need to do in each situation.

The beauty of using if-then is that you can change the if and then for different situations based on whatever works best for you at any given moment.

5. Find Some Mentors

With the internet becoming more expansive and accessible as it has ever been, there are so many ways to get a peek into the world’s top minds and see what they do in their own lives when the going gets tough.

Most successful people have had to overcome some serious struggles to get to where they are. Do a simple search online, and you will no doubt find out about all of the challenges that your favorite people have had to overcome.

Because of this, you should try to take inspiration from these people and find your own mentors. It’s worth recognizing that nobody trying to live their best life can ever get through it without their fair share of challenges to overcome. That’s just part of the hero’s journey.

6. Get out of Your Head

Sometimes, all of the reasoning, thinking, planning, and ruminating in the world doesn’t get you anywhere. In fact, for the serial thinkers and problem-solvers out there, it is oftentimes that too much time in your head results in even more struggle rather than a release of it.

Yes, some things can be solved by thinking. But when the going gets really tough, it is usually just pure heart, emotion, and grit that are going to carry you through. Your mind can become a tyrant, and it is worth being aware of this.

When you feel your own thoughts weighing you down and can’t stop the incessant thinking and worrying about the past, present, and/or future, it is time to step out of your mind for a little while and get into your body. Lift some weights, go for a run, or take a pleasant walk.

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The mind and body are much more connected than most people think—especially when it comes to emotions and fears and doing something beneficial for the body often benefits the unsettled mind as well.[3]

7. Ruthlessly Forgive Yourself

One of the worst things you can do when the going gets tough is to come down hard on yourself. Everyone has these external and internal struggles, and the harder you are on yourself for having them, the more difficult and traumatic the episodes will be when you inevitably slip up.

A lot of people are far harder on themselves than they are on other people, and to keep going in tough times, you need to be just as empathetic with yourself as you would be with your best friend.

Made a mistake? Forgive. Are you still giving yourself a hard time? Forgive. Are you still getting angry over small things “even though we talked about this”? Forgive.

The hard times are much easier to get through when you are at peace with yourself. You will be astonished by how much less pressure you feel when this happens.

8. Take Smaller Steps

It is common for people to stumble in life because they are simply taking on too much at once. Whether it be too much ambition, unrealistic expectations of themselves or others, or some extra curveballs, big steps can sometimes be too much to take.

The truth about big steps is that they are rare, disruptive, and difficult to keep up without crumbling. The big steps—the real life-changing goals and dreams that you have—can often be broken into much smaller steps that are more manageable and that will get you to the same place.

If the going is getting particularly tough, it might be the case that you are simply trying to do too much at once. Try taking smaller, more manageable steps, and see if obstacles and difficulties become easier to navigate.

9. Use Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage

Everyone will agree that the courage we have stored within ourselves is often finite and difficult to sustain for long periods. We tend to think that making a big change in our life and getting out of a rut requires courage for long periods that we simply cannot manage.

The good news is that this isn’t true. Most of the pivotal moments of change in your life—including pulling yourself out of a hole when the going gets tough—come from small, courageous decisions in short, precise moments.

Quite often, using twenty seconds of insane courage when it is needed is enough to completely change the trajectory of our lives. Whether it be asking for that promotion, deciding to go to the gym for the first time in months, or having the courage to break through your insecurities and ask someone out, most of these only require a few seconds of insane courage.

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Standing up and walking into your boss’s office, getting the gym kit on, picking up the phone or sending the text—you only have to be courageous in these few moments, and then you can relax and let life unfold.

Twenty seconds? You can do that, easily.

10. Accept That Your Motivation Will Wane

One of the main reasons that people get discouraged and struggle to keep going in hard times is that they never expected their motivation to dip.

When we start a project or enter a relationship or take something new and exciting on in our lives, our motivation is high, and we are in a mindset of excitement. We start thinking about all of the positives that could come from these things.

However, as time wears on, motivation levels inevitably drop, and you start to focus on the negatives of what’s happening or the added responsibility that you forgot to consider.

When this happens, you have two choices:

  1. You can put on your rose-colored glasses of the past and falsely remember how perfect everything was;
  2. Or you can put on your realistic glasses, face the difficulties, and keep moving forward into something better.

The true test of character comes when you hit a dip, motivation wanes, and you just don’t feel like doing stuff anymore. The secret is to realize that all of this is temporary and that you don’t need motivation to act.

It’s nice to have motivation, but the true test of character comes when motivation inevitably wanes. In those moments, will you keep going?

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. Each of these ten ideas for how to keep going when the going gets tough is versatile enough to be applied to almost any difficult situation that you find yourself in.

Life is going to present many difficulties. This isn’t something to fear but something to embrace. With these steps, you can navigate these stormy waters a little easier.

More Inspirations to Help You Stay Strong

Featured photo credit: Gaelle Marcel via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: What Is Self-Reflection and Why It Matters For Wellness
[2] American Psychologist: Implementation Intentions: Strong Effects of Simple Plans
[3] The International Journal of Psychoanalysis: Emotional Processing: The Mind-Body Connection

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