At the New Year, many people make resolutions for change. In fact, many of those resolutions are the same ones year after year! Yours may be to make positive changes in your personal life, improve your partnership or marriage, find a more fulfilling career, or become a better leader.
In my work, I often talk about 3 critical success factors for change. The first one is to Live Boldly, summoning the courage to challenge your status quo and step out of your comfort zone. The second is to Live Intentionally, having a clear vision of what you want. The third is to Live Strategically, identifying and taking the actions needed to bring your vision to reality.
These 3 components are interdependent with each other and requirements for achieving any type of change or goal—something that took me quite a while to learn. For several years, I was the “affirmation queen.” I attended a slew of workshops promising that all I had to do was visualize what I wanted and repeat an affirmation 100 times a day, and I would magically and effortlessly manifest that which I desired.
I wrote my first affirmation in 1982. It was during my first personal growth seminar, which I attended with the hope of learning how to feel better about myself and not be so guarded around people. The affirmation was, “I am loving myself and sharing my heart with others.” Following the facilitator’s directions, I taped my affirmation around my house—on the refrigerator and bathroom mirror, above the stove, and over my bed. I enthusiastically repeated it at least 100 times a day, but it didn’t seem to work. My self-worth remained extremely low, which I hid from others behind an image of having it all together.
One day I had a simple but very profound revelation: if I wanted to feel differently about myself, I had to do something different. I thought about what I was doing that made me feel so bad about myself. I observed my behavior and noticed how often I compared myself to others and felt inferior. I listened to my inner self-talk and was shocked at how unloving, berating, and critical I was with myself. Another awareness I had was that I would only do certain things like make the bed, light a fire, or cook a nice meal when someone else was around and never just for myself.
My affirmation of “loving myself and sharing my heart with others” was what I wanted to achieve, but I had no strategy for how to do it. In fact, the actions I did take (comparing myself to others, negative self-talk, etc.) had the exact opposite result. I realized I needed new actions to produce new results.
I developed a plan that included speaking to and treating myself the way I would a cherished loved one or friend. When I caught myself saying something unkind to myself, I immediately apologized and asked myself to forgive me. Instead of comparing myself to others, when the old urge to do so arose, I redirected my mind onto all the things I respected and appreciated about myself. And I started to do nice things for myself like make my bed everyday so I could enjoy a freshly made bed at night, making myself a cup of tea from a place of self-nurturance, cooking myself a special meal, getting massages, and other actions that with consistency and time, dramatically changed my relationship with myself and with others.
Setting new goals and resolutions are a motivating way to begin the New Year. But it’s important to remember that you also need the courage to surrender your status quo, as well as a clear game plan for how you’re going to bring your goals and resolutions to fruition.
If you're ready to bring your 2016 goals to reality, visit www.laurenmackler.com to learn about how Lauren can help you achieve them!