Not long a go we looked at how a small change in your thinking can take a bit of negative self-talk and transform it into positive self-talk. Simply adding the word YET to any counterproductive statement, such as, I haven’t been able to lose these extra 20 pounds, gives you a bit of momentum toward affirming the possibility of achieving the goal. (See the original article here.)
So, what comes next, after YET? YET starts the process of transforming your thinking from failure to success. Once your YET moves into action steps toward reaching a goal, your mindset changes as well. Once your mindset re-sets, you leave the previous, limiting self-talk and move on to ‘The Person I Used to Be’.
How powerful you become when you tell yourself, ‘The Person I Used to Be’ would smoke too much. I’m longer that person. Or, ‘The Person I Used to Be’ was frequently late to work. Now, I’m on time every day. Redefining yourself, in new terms, without the old mental habits, gives you the freedom to become whoever you want to be.
Unfortunately. one of the fundamental needs for every human being is consistency of self. You take a long time defining who you are. After which, you spending even more time striving to be exactly that person. As a result, changing that definition can be difficult. You are strongly invested in that person. Becoming someone new means overcoming many years of deeply-reinforced, emotionally-charged self-affirmations.
As with the ‘Power of Yet’, redefining ‘the old you’ starts with a big step followed by a series of small steps repeated until ‘The Person I Want to Be’ replaces ‘The Person I Used to Be’.
First, specifically define ‘The Person I Want to Be’. Take a hard look in the mirror. Honestly evaluate what you don’t like, what causes you pain. It’s okay to use negative self-talk at this point. In fact, it’s better if you identify these traits with strong, emotionally-charged words. ‘I’m disgustingly fat’, will impact your decision to change far more than ‘I’m a bit overweight’ or ‘I’m pleasingly plump’.
Repeat the process until you have identified every trait that requires your attention in the process of becoming ‘The Person I Want to Be’. These can include any aspect that requires a choice. Do you drink too much? Do you ever lie or shirk your responsibilities? Do you watch too much TV instead of playing with or reading to your kids? Do you fuss at your spouse over unimportant matters? This list can be lengthy and may require revisiting often as you continue to refine ‘The Person I Want to Be’.
It’s important to note two things you must avoid during the process; things over which you have no choice and becoming someone else. If you are 5’ 2” tall, no amount of self-talk will make ‘The Person I Want to Be’ 6’ 5”. As for being someone else, I recently watched an episode of ‘America’s Got Talent’, where a 9-year-old kept saying she wanted to be the next Celine Dion. Unfortunately, she never will be. We already have one and she’s not nine. The young lady needs to become the best singer that she can be, not try to be someone she can never be.
If you have discovered several traits which you want to change, prioritize which you want to change first. That’s where you start. The old-self-disapproval, new-self-definition, determination-to-become-better cycle can be a life-long process. By the time you’re done, you may find several ‘People that I Used to Be’ in your past. That’s okay. The goal is to become the very best ‘Person that I Want to Be’. If you have to shed several skins to get there, so be it.
So how do you verbally frame the new traits as you work toward your goal? Whenever possible, state the goal in positive terms. For example, if you currently down a six-pack a day, you can define drinking less as; the ‘Person I Want to Be’ has no more than two alcoholic beverages in any twenty-four-hour period. If telling the truth has been a challenge, How about? The ‘Person I Want to Be’ doesn’t lie, and hasn’t for (X number of) days. Using a timeframe milestone will strengthen the positive trait. Not wanting to blow your newly-defined personality, after significant improvement, becomes self-reinforcing. No one wants to start over counting the days after reaching a year, or a month, or even a week.
Starting with the ‘Power of Yet’, you begin the process. Isolating the traits which need some improvement and defining them as part of the ‘Person I Used to Be’, gives you permission to make the changes necessary to become the ‘Person I Want to Be.’ Once that happens you can be and do whatever you can dream.
Why not begin your transformation, right now?
Rick Artis is a serial entrepreneur and now serves as the Membership Coordinator at The Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.