It’s the 1-Year Anniversary of my blog (Wooh Wooh!) and I want to thank everyone that reads my content. I really appreciate it.
A year passed brings a year of reflection and reflection kindles growth. As I think about the past year, the trials I’ve gone through, the successes I’ve enjoyed and the things I’ve learned the most prominent recurring theme throughout it all is our infinite capacity to change and progress as human beings.
Physiologically, our brains are equipped with a specific ability called neuroplasticity that allows them to fluidly adjust to compensate for behaviors and a variety of brain patterns. While these changes are more prominent in children, the brain retains this capability late into adulthood, virtually until death.
In celebration and appreciation for a year of change, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned as empowering tools to take control of yourself and to be an agent to act within your environment and not an object to be acted upon. The Power of Self-Reinvention.
Start Small: I was going to save this for last, but as I looked over the list i realized it can seem sort of daunting. There is no pressure to do everything now. The Process of Self-Discovery and Reformation is a lifelong venture. We’ve all experienced the passion of New Years Resolutions and the subsequent 11 month burnout. Overwhelming yourself with a page long laundry list of To-Do items is anything but conducive to success. Know yourself and pace yourself. Pick one thing and work at that one thing. As time goes on, you can start adding different habits and goals one by one. It takes 21 days to break a habit and 66 days to build one. The thousand mile journey begins with a single step.
Adopting a Growth Mindset: Often times we can become debilitated by our fears, insecurities, and general shortcomings. We can become stagnant by retreating into our comfort zones because we are terrified at the worst case scenarios in a near or far hypothetical future. Consequently, trepidation of the future keeps us from fully enjoying the present. Acquiring a growth mindset means taking joy in the journey. Obviously, we don’t relinquish all the fears, hopes and joys of the future but it is a conscious effort to make living wholeheartedly and relishing what is as an essential prerequisite of embracing what can be. Perhaps one of the greatest threats to that peace is a culture that is engrossed in social media as a medium to compare ourselves with others. Understand that your journey, while hopefully filled with people that love and want that best for you, is ultimately your own. Don’t waste your energy on the negativity of others. Only compare yourself to the you of yesterday and then strive to be better tomorrow than you are today. If you want to know more about the Growth Mindset, There’s a 15-minute TED Talk on YouTube by Brene Brown called “The Power of Vulnerability.” As a researcher, her work is centered around understanding how shame and vulnerability function in society and in individuals. She’s written several books that intimately explore those topics, one I just read this summer called “Daring Greatly.” Definitely a good read if you’re looking to understand yourself and trace out a detailed plan of your future.
Set Goals: While a lot of these steps might seem cliche, they’re simply principles that have stood the test of time. It is self-evident that you can’t possibly chart out where you’re going without a destination. So, make goals that are tied to a deep sense of purpose. If you’re goal is to go the gym, ask yourself why. Is it because you want to live a healthy lifestyle and have energy? Or is it because you want to be able to look in the mirror without cringing? Maybe both. Either one is fine, both are fine, but having clearly defined reason behind every one of your goals means that you have a solid line of defense the moment that those thoughts come telling you “It’s not worth it” or that “You can do it some other time.” Make goals that are measurable. If your goal is to read more books, how many books is that? Putting your goals into some sort of unit makes them easier to approach day by day. Say you want to read a book every other week. Start by making a list of books that you want to read within six months time, so 12 books total. Take the first book, count its pages, and then divide that over 14 days. Once you have your number, set aside time that you know you’re not busy to dedicate to reading that book and completing your goal. But remember, if you truly have a deeper sense of purpose behind your goal and you’ve adopted a growth mindset then it’s not so much about the goal as it is the process.
Get into a Routine: We don’t rise to the levels of our goals, we fall to the level of our systems. The clutter of everyday life compounds our fear of uncertainty, especially as it pertains to the future. When crap hits the fan and we want to crawl onto our beds, eat Ben & Jerry’s, and turn on Netflix we are reinforcing our base instinct and primary reactions to failure. Listen, I personally understand how the perfectly proportioned brownie bits and cookie dough of Half-Baked numb the pain. Build habits that will hold true regardless of the situation. That means a regular sleep schedule, a meal plan, time for exercise, drinking water and whatever other activities you think are necessary to help you grow but that are easy to repeat. I list those things specifically because they are scientifically proven to regulate and optimize your brain and body so that you can have a clear head and energy throughout the day. Taking brief retreats into your comfort zone is fine, and sometimes even necessary when confronted with life’s challenges. However, take the time to expand what defines your comfort zone so a temporary retreat doesn’t mean a complete defeat.
Reflect Often: While living in the past isn’t necessarily conducive to reinventing yourself and taking steps towards a new you, reflection is an important step to more precisely analyze what you need to change in order to begin that process. Write in a journal. Start a blog. Do daily voice recordings. Meditate. Do anything that will give you time to take good stock of your life, revisit your successes, ponder over your shortcomings, and renew yourself with a sense of purpose in order to stride into the future with confidence.
Go and Do: No amount of talent and innate ability can compensate for a poor work ethic. Sacrifice is necessary to change. It is impossible to become who you want be without shedding who you once were. Ask yourself what is your time worth? Is one hour of your time worth 10$? 25$? 50$? You decide that and then ask yourself, would you have paid someone else that amount of money to do what you did for the last hour. It’s easy to sit, think, and fantasize about what could be, but turning those dreams into a reality is a process. Enjoy that process and take an active part in it.
Remember that life is meant to be lived, and it’s too short to waste any more time not experiencing it as the best version of yourself. I will always be the first person to tell you that you are great and wonderful just the way you are, and I will be the first person to tell you that you are even more amazing because of who you can be. Go live and make the new you.