A new year is a perfect time to think about renewal and change. Many of us repeat behavior patterns without even realizing that we’re on auto-pilot. Being on auto-pilot is comfortable and easy, but it’s also easy to fall into behaviors that are ultimately self-destructive. When you want to become the best you can be and live authentically, it’s time to take a look at your default mode. The things you do every day may need to change. Here are some things you can do to start making these positive changes.
1. Be Honest with Yourself
If it seems like you’re trapped in the same old patterns, you may want to examine your role in them. This can be difficult to do without an honest self-assessment. Realistically ask yourself what it is you want to change in your life. Try writing in a journal or having a candid conversation with a friend or therapist. Then, evaluate how your own thoughts and behaviors may be hindering your ability to achieve desired changes. For example, if your closest relationships are all full of drama, you can choose to stop playing your part. Recognize you can only control your half of the relationship and may need to set some appropriate boundaries in order to protect yourself emotionally. Chances are that something is keeping you trapped in the patterns you don’t like. You need to honestly assess what you’re gaining from your choices before you can make the changes you want and live more authentically.
2. Say Good Bye to Fear and Hello to Your Bliss
Changing your life isn’t just about what you want to leave behind—it’s also about where you want to go. Often, people focus on what they don’t like about their lives, and not on what they would like to be doing instead. If you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there. What would you do if you won the lottery or a genie granted you three wishes? If you have no idea what you want to do with your life, it can be helpful to consult with a therapist who is trained in helping individuals identify realistic, attainable goals and can assist you in developing a specific plan to achieve those goals. For example, a therapist can work with you to take small steps forward on a path to achieve your larger goals and avoid “analysis paralysis.”
3. Don’t be so Hard on Yourself
Breaking out of old patterns and living a more authentic life takes courage, but does not have to be difficult. We get stuck in negative patterns of behavior because they are familiar. Things that are familiar don’t feel as risky. We tend to shy away from things that make us feel afraid. But the secret to a changed life is being willing to go beyond your comfort zone and to embrace the unfamiliar. Taking a healthy and positive risk requires a bit of bravery, but can be worthwhile. Even if things don’t turn out like you planned, you likely will gain confidence and feel proud of yourself because you took a chance. As an old saying goes, if you reach for the moon and miss, you’ll still land among the stars.
4. Surround Yourself with Positive, Goal-Driven People
The company we keep has a big impact on how we live our lives. Without realizing it, most of us adopt the traits of the people closest to us. If your friends and coworkers are negative and unhappy, chances are good that you’ll start to look at life through a similarly dark lens. Fortunately, the opposite is also true: the outlook of positive, goal-driven people will rub off on you.
5. Set Your Intentions Every Morning
Breaking out of old patterns takes effort and daily commitment. Each morning, focus on the goals you want to achieve, clearly set your intentions. Resolve to overcome the old habits that sabotage your ability to live a more authentic life. Harnessing the power of our minds can be positively transformational. And, with conscious, consistent and self-compassionate effort you can turn 2017 into a breakout year!
For more information on how to live more authentically in 2017 go to naomiberrycounseling.com or contact Naomi Berry at 480-477-3553.