It’s that time of year. The time where a lot of us feel like we are supposed to have our shit together. January 1st. We were supposed to be in the gym this morning. We were supposed to have cleared out all the crap in our pantry cupboards. We were going no carb, no sugar and running a 5k. Starting a business. Starting our new adventure. Traveling. Sound about right?
My problem with New Years Resolutions is that they have always felt a bit like a Monday dieting mentality. You know which one I mean. That thing people do, I’ll go to gym, on Monday. I’ll eat properly, on Monday… I’ll start January 1st!
New Years resolutions do achieve one thing that I am all for: excitement! The prospect of big change. The idea that you have a fresh 365 days to accomplish your goals. The premise that a completely new version of you lies in the New Year. With that excitement, comes motivation, free of charge.
However, New Year, New You mentality should be prefaced by the idea that your mindset has to shift first. You are literally setting out to create an entirely new person, which means you have to let go entirely of the old one. It doesn’t matter if you plan to be promoted this year, lose 10kg’s, start dating again. If you don’t believe that to the depth of your soul you deserve it. What are you actually going to do to make it happen?
Throughout January I am going to focus the blog on the single most important change I believe you have to make this year to create your new self. Your mindset. A fluff word to most, but in the coaching world, the single most driving force of change that exists. We by now have all heard it, “change your mindset, change your life.” Its true.
The first step I want you to take, is to sit with yourself and truly identify your current mindset. This is so counter intuitive because for a moment, inside of this excitement that you have about the prospect of change, I am going to ask you a pretty daunting question. One that throws you into a space where you have to look at what you don’t have and how your own mind and thoughts have stopped you.
Knowledge is power, what you know you have a fair shot at changing.
Why are you stuck right now?
(Next week we will get even deeper into types of mindsets and their advantages and disadvantages, but for now lets focus on the idea of negative thinking and distorted thinking because in my opinion these thought patterns can be central to why we are stuck in a certain mindset.)
- Are you stuck in the belief that anything less then perfect is a failure?
- Have you negatively labelled yourself based on a perceived flaw that you believe makes you unlikeable, unsuccessful, undeserving?
- Are you waiting for external approval to give you permission to do the things you want to do?
- Are you stuck thinking that these were the cards you were dealt?
- Do you focus on the worst case scenario?
- What are you afraid of?
All of these things are just a few of the types of negative thinking that we allow to distort our beliefs of what we think we can, or should have, and they stop us from doing just about anything that could potentially propel us into the life we desire.
For you to change anything, you have to know what you want to change. It’s a really simple analogy, but we change things all the time. You try a new coffee, sometimes over and over again and eventually you find the one you like. You change your hairstyle, you change your car, you change your shampoo, you change your order at a restaurant, and you do all of these things based on what you like or don’t like in the moment. In the same vein, you can change your mindset.
I think that singularly the most important thing you could do to start changing your mindset is to start challenging your thoughts. This begins with identifying the distortion that is getting in the way of what you want, and then evaluating it against the evidence you have. There are some great resources available online. So, instead of me regurgitating information, take a look at the resources linked at the end of this post.
Other effective ways to start cultivating change could be:
- Consume positive media. Unfollow negative people on social media. Follow more people who have qualities that you aspire to.
- Go old school, create a vision board. Have a visual representation of the change you desire and put it somewhere that you’re going to see it, multiple times a day.
- Write out an action plan, identify one thing you want to change and decode and decipher everything you need to do to accomplish it. Then get SMART!
- Create routines, morning ones, night time ones, gym ones, food ones. Whatever you need to make your plan actionable every single day.
- Get out of your comfort zone. The same shit hasn’t worked and that means you have to try something different.
- Create habits that support the changes you want to make.
- Be consistent. Do it every day, until you are doing it every day.
- Trust the process. It has taken you years to learn how to be who you are right now. Give yourself a fair shot at change by understanding that it is going to be a process. Change takes time.
- Get interested in learning more from people who have endured the same journey you are facing. Implement what you learn.
- Go even more old school and seek out a role model that matches your mindset aspirations.
- Emulate the mindset you want to achieve. In the company you keep, the job you do, the events you attend, the conversations you have. Fake it until you make it if you have to!
So lets wrap this up. January 1st is here. If you have your shit together, good for you. If the Mindset series does just one thing for you and that is continue to keep you motivated to crush 2020, I’m here for it.
For the ‘others’, the kindred spirits, the procrastinators, the Monday people. This is your call to action. Start right now. January 1st. Do something.
Who cares if you have no big idea or no big plan in motion! Follow along and start the process of making big change. If all you do today is make the decision to figure out what your next step is, you had a day 1.
All great movements started with day 1.
Oh, and Happy New Year, Happy New Decade and more importantly Happy New You!
- 10 Proven Methods for Fixing Cognitive Distortions
- 17 Cognitive Distortions and 12 Ways to Defeat them