You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Neil Gaiman
Changing yourself is difficult, not only for you – who has to do it – but it can be a scary time for others around you who also feel uncertainty about the future, particularly partners. Change can mean moving forward and leaving some precious people in the past. This week Happiness Weekly discovers five shameless and unapologetic ways to change yourself … without hurting those around you or leaving them behind!
1. Make the decision final
If you have decided to change, then make the choice and stick to it. It’s when you’re airing between being able to change and not changing that it leads to confusion, and people around you will get impatient and possibly hurt. Generally what happens there is you’ll be on the breaks and all of a sudden you’ll accelerate and take everyone around you by surprise … or give them whiplash!
2. Be open about your change
Be positive and open about the changes you want to make. Resist the temptation to blame your partner, it will only hurt them or cause them to become more anxious about what’s ahead. For example you could say “I want to become more assertive because I think it will make me a happier and more fulfilled person, and I could see it impacting our future in a positive way because I’ll be able to step up a little more”, rather than saying something that could come across as more attacking such as: “I want to be more assertive because I feel like you’ve been controlling me because I’m going along with what you want, when I don’t really want it.” Can you see the subtle distinction?
3. Act with good intentions
Be the change you seek, don’t make your changes out of revenge for someone else. Empower yourself and focus your energies on being positive and encouraging other around you to grow. Don’t push people down to make yourself feel stronger, that kind of power is short lived. If you’re always acting with good intentions, your aura will shine to those around you and they will want to be around you through your changes and support you. However, if you choose to change selfishly and you decide not to take others on the journey with you and don’t communicate it, your aura will do the opposite and cause your loved ones to distance themselves and protect themselves from whatever you have in mind. Generally you become secretive and withdrawn when you choose a selfish change, and it’s this kind of change that will leave you very lonely for a while. It doesn’t mean it’s not fruitful in the end, but it’s certainly the harder path to take and while many psychologists support people making changes on their own (at least for six months), it’s not entirely necessary in all cases.
4. Listen to those around you
Everyone is entitled to an opinion – you can’t control everything. But when you’re amongst a lot of change in your life, and you’re soaring and feeling invincible, it’s hard to remember that. You still need to listen to the people who love you because they’re the ones looking out for you. Listening to each other is a very important part of communication. It’s ok to agree to disagree, or call a time out – but neither should leave the room without explaining they’ll be back or saying the conversation is on hold until you have both calmed down. Generally this kind of tension erupts because change is occurring and the person changing feels great and empowered, but the loved one is feeling very vulnerable and anxious because the communication has altered or isn’t flowing as it usually does – this is another reason to act with good intentions – because then they will feel unconditionally looked after. Also try to keep the communication going between you and don’t assume things or act based on assumptions.
5. Continue to act with integrity
If you always act with integrity and continue being true to yourself, then the core you should remain the same while the changes occur. This will also keep your friends and loved ones around because they feel as though they still know you – you will still be your predictable self, with a few additional features that make you mind-blowingly awesome! If you do decide to push someone away, do it openly and honestly – communicate what is happening and why it is happening, and again, stick to that decision to avoid any hurt or confusion later. There is nothing wrong with road-mapping a change together with your loved ones and going on the journey in partnership, in fact it could be healthy! Some people prefer making changes alone, some people need to make their changes alone, but if you can do it shadowboxing with a partner, it’s not such a lonely or daunting ride.
Communication is 90% of your relationship. Don’t forget to work on it every day!
The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances. Martha Washington
When applying for a job, we must all magically inherit a “can do” attitude. What on earth is that? Is that just enthusiasm? But what if you actually CAN’T do it? Are you just not meant to say anything and fake it and hope you don’t blow something up? Whatever it is, a positive attitude is vital for any successful journey.
So how do you get this positive “can do” attitude that gets you charged up and ready to tackle anything? Here are some simple tips that will help you build the attitude everyone wants, make you feel like there’s more hours in the day and give you the energy that everyone wants to be around:
Success depends heavily in believe in your ability to succeed and having a strong sense of self-worth. You can develop your self-confidence by learning and growing at every opportunity and being aware of yourself and those around you.
Be enthusiastic about life and all that it brings – including challenges! Think of it as an adventure and stay focussed on your goals to keep the motivation flowing.
Don’t put yourself down – sometimes doing it your way will be just as good as doing it any other way! Try to learn from people around you to bring yourself up to a higher level, than be jealous. What is it they do that you could copy in order to attract the same success that they have?
Revisit your achievements
List your achievements and consider how you felt when you made that achievement, find a way to achieve something again and get that feeling back. Be aware of your values, strengths and skills and also how others view you. Seek feedback as often as you can, listen to it and focus on improving where you can.
Project your image
Select positive role models and learn from what they do. Project a confident image. Remember, negativity is like a boomerang, it always comes back to you.
Watch your appearance
Take care of yourself with a flattering haircut, manicure or maintain a healthy skin care regime. Take time with your clothes and shoes. Dress professionally.
Focus on the things that are working well in your life and your strengths, rather than what is not working. Research has shown that 75-80% of daily communication is negative. Concentrate your energies on positive aspects of your life and move away from problems and fears.
Let go of the inner voice that criticises you when things don’t go well. Analyse the situation and learn from it, this will help you learn, grow and move ahead. Look at setbacks as opportunities to grow.
Step outside your comfort zone and stretch yourself to boost your confidence. Think creatively.
Learn to relax and unwind after a potentially stressful day, with challenges that have you wound up. Meditation helps get into a relaxed state quickly.
Watch what you say
Language colours experience – speak positively because it reflects on you. Take responsibility and ownership where you can. When you start saying or even thinking you can’t do something, stop and ask yourself: what would it take to change that to can do? Focus on your answer and making it happen.
Develop your mindset
Develop a problem-solving mind-set. Challenge yourself when you think you can’t and prove why you actually can.
Look for positive past experiences when you successfully solved the same or a similar sort of problem and remember what worked for you. Solve problems by playing to your strengths.
Do something different
‘If you do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always got.’ There’s always more than one way to solve a problem.
A smile not only brightens your day, but it will brighten the day of those around you. It also changes your brain chemistry and makes for a brighter day.
Use tact and diplomacy in the workplace and put any feelings of frustration, anger and disappointment aside. State facts before feelings and find ways to get jobs done even when it’s uncomfortable. The show must go on.
Set goals that drive you towards results. Focus on what you want to happen ahead, not what you’re worried will happen. Set S-M-A-R-T-E-R (specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, timely, encouraging and rewarding) goals. Concentrate on getting win-win situations.
If a conversation is going negatively, reframe it with a positive spin. Help the person seek solutions to their problems, avoid negative media and try to stay optimistic.
Fake it til you make it
Act like you are already achieving your goals, and you will rise to a higher level. Others will see you as achieving and interact with you accordingly.
Learn to let go
“Let it go and let go. Most of our problems and fears and worries and doubts come from clinging to people and objects and ideals and expectations and the need to control situations. Just let them be. You will clearly see things change just as quickly by being patient. Trust life’s flow sometimes. Don’t keep fighting it. Oh and let others shine and be right sometimes,” said news.com.au editor, Andrew Banks 2012.
Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast. Norman Vincent Peale
Happiness is not for the lazy – it’s something that needs to be practiced and worked towards every day. When admiring someone that always appears happy and confident in your life, it’s suggested you examine their habits and consider adopting some of these for yourself in order to expand on your own happiness. By adopting the habits of happy people around us, we leave ourselves flexible to change and open to growing.
Looking online for a list of happy people habits returns countless lists that each numbers the principals. This is where quality not quantity is important. You may also find webinars and courses just teaching people the habits of happy people. Once reading the list, I encourage people to do their own research and adopt the best principles for them, individually.
* Make the most of each day and appreciate life – avoid taking things for granted. Be thankful for the small things and focus on the beauty in everything.
* Select your friends wisely – surround yourself with happy, positive and encouraging people who share your values and goals.
* Try to brighten the day of everyone you come into contact with. Accept easily. Respect people for who they are, touch them with kindness, help where you are able, avoid wanting to change anyone – just because you do something differently, doesn’t mean your way is correct.
* Be inquisitive and open to learning new things. Try new and daring adventures or activities.
* View problems or obstacles as challenges that provide opportunities to create positive change. Trust your instincts.
* Do what you love. Choose a career you’re passionate about. Always make time to enjoy your hobbies and pursue special interests.
* Live in the present. Be mindful of the things in your life, your actions and your words. You can’t change the past or control the future. By living in the now you can make conscious decisions that will help you in the future and make your present much happier. The past can’t hurt you anymore unless you allow it. “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure,” Oprah Winfrey.
* Be helpful. Brian Tracy said: “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking: What’s in it for me?” When you help others, you feel a purpose, being intentionally unhelpful is negative and breeds negativity.
* Laugh readily. Learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t put people down or laugh at the expense of others.
* Forgive easily. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, take ownership and learn from it and forgive others when they wrong you or they will take energy that could otherwise be used in a positive way.
* Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say “thank you” for even small things people do for you. Take time to let people know how grateful you are to have them in your life.
* Love unconditionally. Let the people that matter in your life know you love them – even in times of conflict. Make time to spend with your family and friends. Avoid breaking commitments or promises. Be supportive where you can. Always act with love.
* Be honest. Every action and decision you make should be based on honesty. Most importantly, always be true to yourself. Deception will burn positive energy unnecessarily.
* Meditate. Meditation will increase energy and you will function at a higher level. There are several types of meditation – e.g. visualisation, hypnosis, yoga, Pilates, affirmations etc. – pick the one that best suits you and meditate regularly.
* Live your life your way. Mind your own business and avoid gossiping about others. Try not to get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t judge. Have the freedom to always be yourself.
* Be optimistic. Everything happens for a reason – look for all the positives. Don’t give up. If you can’t find a positive in something – create it! Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism. Failure is an opportunity to grow and learn a new life lesson. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
* Be persistent. Focus on what you want, learn the required skills, make a plan to succeed and take action. Have confidence in yourself – you will always be happiest while pursuing something of value.
* Dare to dream and dream BIG! Be creative and always push yourself forward. “Aim for the stars because when you aim for the stars, you will reach the moon. When you aim for the moon, you fall; rest in the clouds. When you aim for the clouds, you clench the tree tops. When you aim for the tree tops, you fall on your butt. Maintain high hopes and you will succeed,” Unknown. It’s better to aim high and miss, than to aim low and reach target!
* Be proactive. Determine how you can take control by creating the outcome you desire. Don’t worry about the future and forget about the past. Accept your limitations. George Bernard Shaw said: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing”.
* Look after yourself. Your health includes mind and body. Get regular check ups, eat healthily, drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest and exercise regularly. Constantly challenge your mind and body. Albert Einstein said: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving”.
* Be yourself. It’s exactly as Dolly Parton said: “Find out who you are and do it on purpose”. Determine who you are, your likes and dislikes, and always be yourself. Have confidence in who you are – always expect the best and always do the best you can. Avoid self-doubt completely.
* Love yourself. Be your own best friend. Learn to enjoy your own company. Accept your flaws. Dr Seuss said it best: “Today you are You – that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You!” If you don’t like something about yourself, work hard towards changing it.
*Take responsibility. Lead by example. Be responsible for your life: your moods, attitude, thoughts, feelings, actions and words. Admit when you have made a mistake.
* Set goals. Make a plan to succeed and take action.
* Make a positive future for yourself. Focus on creating a future around your dreams.
* Clear out the clutter. Don’t live in a mess and don’t hold onto things of the past … unless they’re photographs, reminding you of happier times. The only things you need are: food, shelter, clothing, loved ones and a few personal items. Do you have too many people cluttering your Facebook? It may be time for a good clean up.
* Find your passion. What gets you excited? How often do you associate with that? Perhaps it’s time to spend more time with your passion. Be creative about how you’re going to work your passions into your day.
* Have fun! Go and see a comedy, have a picnic, read some jokes… Incorporate fun into your everyday life. Learn to control your stress, rather than letting it control you.
*Nurture your relationships. Studies show that superficial interaction like chatting to the postman can make you feel like you belong to a community, but intimate relationships are what keeps us going when times get tough. Don’t be afraid of reaching out when you need someone.
* Enjoy the simple pleasures. The best things in life are often free. Make it a point to bring pleasure into your life and really savour the delights that are abundant around you already. Watch a sunrise or a sunset. Sit in the sunshine for a while. Be grateful for nature.
* Be mindful of your perspective. Practise looking at situations from all perspectives before you act or react. Sometimes a new perspective is all we need to change a situation.
* Speak kindly to people. Don’t put people down – build them up. Concentrate on the good in everyone around you. Practice acts of kindness and selflessly help people around you – this releases serotonin, not only in yourself but also for anyone watching you.
* Live with purpose. Always dedicate some time to a cause – it may be directly helping others through volunteering – know your purpose. Join something you believe in.
* Let go of what other people think. Really happy people rarely let negative people and their attitudes affect them.
* Make friends. Happy people are always looking to make friends. They just wants someone new to laugh and be happy with. By default, happy people are friendly people.
* Reflect on the good things. Make time to positively reflect on your successes. It’s important to mindfully reflect on the good, while striving diligently to correct the bad. A continuous general awareness of your daily successes can have a noticeably positive affect on your overall emotional happiness.
* Exploit the resources you DO have. Use your resources well and consider this: Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has twenty-five Grammy Awards to show for it.
* Create your own happy ending. The end of any experience can have a profound impact on the person’s overall perception of the experience as a whole. If the ending is happy, the experience creates happiness. Always tie loose ends, leave things on a good note and create happy endings in your life whenever possible.
* Focus on your strengths. Emotional happiness comes naturally to those who use their strengths to get things done. The state f completion always creates a sense of achievement.
* Avoid comparing yourself. Material blessings, good looks, social position or seemingly happy families do not make a happy person. A happy person typically compares himself to mentors and role models to improve their character. The majority of the time social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place, so if you feel called to compare yourself to something: compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.
* Practice habits of happy people. Concentrate on the present, compare yourself only to saints, be grateful and remember that present hardships are temporary.
* Develop coping strategies. It helps to have healthy coping strategies that are pre-rehearsed, on-call and ready for you at any time. Positive coping mechanisms are the best, so brainstorming them for a rainy day will certainly come in handy.
There is no right or wrong principle to adopt – if the habits of a happy person were as easy as a one-size-fits-all solution, these pages on the Internet wouldn’t exist. If you enjoyed this blog, I recommend trying some of the fantastic activities outlined on the Be Happy 4 Life website: http://www.behappy4life.com/behappyprogram.html.
When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt. Unknown
Self-doubt is a natural protective mechanism that appears when we create something beyond the “norm” – it does not mean that we’re incapable of manifesting our dreams. Every dream, every challenge, every goal, every climb … starts somewhere.
Experts have differing beliefs on how to overcome self-doubt but here are my suggestions for how you can overcome the thoughts that are holding you back from your dreams:
Let your intuition guide you
Focus on what you CAN do and start actioning that! Forget about “HOW” you will make your dream happen – and start taking the first steps to get where you want to go. Getting started is usually the hardest part.
Trust yourself and your judgement
Learn to trust yourself. Write a list of things that you do to make you feel supported and confident. Do not list people – you need to be able to do it all on your own. List all your achievements. List the things that motivate you and why you want to achieve this goal. Keep these in your own personal motivational book for when self-doubt starts creeping back in. Don’t change things for one or two doubters – maintain your confidence and direction.
SWOT your goal
Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to identify possible challenges along the way and your key strengths to keep you motivated. If you see an area that is a weakness, as for help or seek support there – sometimes a little bit of support early on is all you need.
Analyse your doubt
Figure out what triggered your doubt and why. “When you analyse feelings, you make them vulnerable to logic and reason. Questioning the validity of feelings brings them within the reach of reason,” one expert said.
Make a plan
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail – so start planning a strategy for how you’re going to succeed. Make an educated decision about what to do next. Choose a path that you think will lead to conquering your doubts and put it in writing.
Prepare for the worst scenario
Imagine the worst possible scenario that could result from your decision. Often it will be embarrassment, humiliation or rejection if our plan fails in some way. Imagining the worst case scenario is a great way to put things into perspective.
Surround yourself with positivity
Consider all the positive things about yourself and all the attributes and skills you have to realise your dream. Socialise with positive, encouraging and supportive people. Your friends should always recognise your abilities and encourage your efforts. Get feedback on your ideas from these people – most likely it will be objective and beneficial.
Focus on your achievements
Stop looking at what you haven’t done or how far you have to go: start looking at how far you’ve come, how hard you’ve worked and your key achievements to get where you are.
Break it down and research
Whatever you wish to accomplish should be broken down into smaller goals to keep you on track. Research it! Knowledge is power – so the more you know, the more empowered you will feel and the less doubts you will have.
Take the next small step
Set realistic goals and when in doubt – take the next small step. The next step will take you a step further from the doubts.
Learn to handle the setbacks
There will always be rejections and setbacks in life. If you can handle the disappointments, you will move ahead faster. Setbacks are an opportunity to improve as is criticism.
Make your own enquiries
Ask other people how they became successful and don’t hesitate to use their success model. What worked for them, may work for you too!
Fake it til you make it!
Why not act like a successful person until you achieve what you currently perceive to be success? This is what successful people do:
* Manage and control their fears
* Challenge self-doubt and expose it to be false
* Have a game plan
* Know every success if preceded by failure
* Know failure is momentary, then prepare for success
* See unlimited possibilities and opportunities
* Stand up, brush off and move on.
People who struggle with self-doubt tend to:
- Believe their emotional security depends on someone or something
- Feel inferior
- Suffer from low self-esteem
- Feel a lack of control over their life
- Believe that they are not good/smart enough to even attempt the smallest of tasks
- Anticipate failure even before they begin
- Have unresolved psychological trauma
- Suffer from depression
- Live in an environment that breeds doubt and negativity
- Be surrounded by rejection.