Self identity is a tough one. If you’re anything like me, you overthink and want to get the best out of life. Too much of this attitude and you’re chasing a carrot, a happiness or a goal that never comes. Too little of this attitude and you get too comfortable, stuck in your ways and bored with life. Having been on both sides of the spectrum, here are my 8 ways for how to reinvent yourself using visualization.
How to Reinvent Yourself: The Power Of Visualization
Before we get to the list, I want to touch on what reinventing yourself really means. See, we all have goals or insecurities. Things that we want to improve. But reinventing yourself is more than that.
It’s about changing your overall mindset, attitude and outlook on life for the better. It’s about learning how to turn into a different version of yourself (a better one) so that you can reap the benefits.
The important thing to remember here, and we’ll get into this more in the steps below, is not to hate the person you are now. The person you are now has strengths and flaws. That’s totally normal and human. Reinventing yourself has nothing to do with beating yourself up. Don’t ever look down on your accomplishments or mistakes, in fact do the total opposite.
You need to love and appreciate any hardships or struggles in your life because they have made you stronger – whether you can see it or not.
Reinventing yourself means that all your strengths can be stronger and your flaws a little weaker. You’re not a different person after you reinvent yourself, you’re simply more of that person you always had inside you. The one that believes anything you want it to believe.
1. Be Intentional
I like to think of life as a river.
If you are sitting in your little inner tube just floating down the river, your life will take you wherever it wants you to go.
Many of us finding ourselves floating down the river and we don’t do much about it. We are stuck in a boring job, in a school program that we don’t like or ended up in an unhealthy relationship. This is us just floating down the river. Following the path lead by the river of life.
In order to reinvent yourself, you must ditch the inner tube for a kayak. In a kayak, the river might pull you one way or another, but you have way more control.
When you decide to reinvent yourself, you make intentional decisions. You don’t just go where life takes you, you take control of your own life.
Visualize a life that you want, and find a way to get there.
Don’t like your job? Find a new one.
Unhappy with your relationship? Go to therapy or, find a new one.
Can’t pay your bills? Adjust your spending habits or make more money.
You might be thinking, woah woah it’s not that easy!
Are you kidding me? I KNOW it’s not that easy. It’s way easier to just let life take you down the river, isn’t it? It’s not easy to stick your hands in the river and try to change the direction of that inner tube.
If you do that you’ll barely go where you want to and your hands will probably freeze off.
Instead, you have to get a kayak and a paddle. These are the tools that will allow you to take control of your life.
So what does a kayak and a paddle look like in real life? Move onto step 2.
2. Habits are your kayak
Your goals are never something you should try to achieve.
Here are examples of goals:
- I want to speak Spanish fluently.
- It would be nice to play the piano
- I want to spend more time with my kids.
Those are all great goals to have. Having goals are an important way for us to visualize a new version of ourselves.
But nobody ever wakes up one day and speaks Spanish or knows how to play the piano.
These goals are achieved with good habits. Thinking of these outlandish goals is a good big picture thing to do, but in order to get things done you need to form habits.
Habits look like this:
- Spend 20 minutes a day on the learn Spanish app
- Spend 30 minutes after dinner playing the piano
- Make sure to read a story to my kids every night
Habits are how you reinvent yourself. Doing really small tasks is how you make big changes in your life.
3. Be Realistic
When you’re visualizing a new life for yourself, you have to be realistic. I like to think of it like designing a dream house.
Of course you want to get to the point where you can design the fun stuff, like the paint colors, the floor, the furniture.
But if you start there, you’ll have nowhere to put the paint or the furniture.
It’s better to start with the boring stuff, the foundation.
If you’re looking to start a business, start with the business plan.
If you want to wake up at 5am every morning, start waking up at 6am first.
Be realistic about your goals and then build on top of that.
4. Always look forward
An important part of visualization is to look forward. If you’re reminiscing about past events, that’s not really visualization. That’s more like rumination which will wreak havoc on your mental health.
Visualization always looks forward.
Made a mistake at work? Cool, think about how you won’t do it again next time.
Regret passing up a great job opportunity years ago? Awesome, try not to pass up the next one that comes along.
When you look forward in life you focus on the things you can actually control. The past is already said and done, nothing you do now will ever change it. Why waste your precious brain power thinking about it?
Instead, focus on the future which is nearly all in your control. What you do today will change your future for the better or for the worse.
5. The buckets of success and failure
The future of your life depends on what you choose to do every single day.
Let’s pretend that your life has two buckets. Whichever one is more full at the end of your life is what you achieved.
One bucket is success and the other is failure. These terms are obviously different for everyone, so just imagine what you would consider success vs. failure.
Every day, you put marbles into one bucket or the other. Let’s say your version of success is being able to run a marathon.
When you wake up in the morning, if you go for a five minute run, you put one marble into the “success” bucket. If you decide to sleep in and skip the run, you put a marble in the “failure” bucket.
Every day, you make these kinds of decisions in your life. You either put a marble in the success bucket or the failure bucket and its up to you to focus on one or the other.
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6. Visualize the future “you”
When you picture yourself in the future, what has that person achieved? What goals have they accomplished?
If you picture yourself in the most positive and optimistic light, what would your life look like?
Now, what habits does the future you have to help accomplish their goals?
So let’s say the future you has accomplished the goal of running a marathon.
Does that future you skip the morning run? Does that future you eat donuts for breakfast?
With any successful accomplishment, there are a series of little things that allow that accomplishment to happen.
Visualizing the future “you”, and even having a little chat with the future “you” can help you focus on what you think is most important.
7. Give more value
I have this weird feeling about life. It might be controversial or maybe it’s common sense but…
I feel like the more you give to the world, the more you get out of it.
Think about this deeply.
As a person, you either take or you give.
In your every day life, do you take time or use up money or resources? Or do you give those things to the world?
For example, someone who spends a night watching Netflix is taking entertainment from Netflix and taking time out of their life. Someone who is out there making a movie for Netflix is providing entertainment.
DON’T GET YOUR PANTIES IN A BUNCH!
I am NOT saying that you just need to be constantly working 24/7 and giving every moment of every day. I’m just saying that the ratio of give and take should lean more on the give side.
When you help others, volunteer or learn new skills, you will get those things in return. I guess, it’s called Karma? Ok, yeah I kind of believe in karma.
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8. Value your time
All of the above can start to sound overwhelming. It’s like jeeze, do I just have to be this constant working machine that never stops? Now I feel guilty for watching Netflix!
That’s not what I’m trying to get at.
I still want you to value your time and use it how you see fit. Time used for self care and recharging is well-used time. You need to take time for yourself to fill up your cup before you can pour a glass for others.
But wasted time or time spent doing things that don’t help your life should be the exception, not the rule.
If you can have an assistant do something for you, get them to do it. If you can get a friend or a spouse to help with a project and cut that time in half, ask them for help. Your time on earth is the most valuable resource that you will ever have.
You can always make more money. You can’t make more time.
9. Embrace Positivity
When you visualize your future, it should always be in a positive light. At the end of the day, visualization is imagination, it’s not real.
When you visualize your life in a positive way, it makes you feel happy and motivated to reach this happy future you.
When you visualize it negatively (ie. worrying about not making it, or not being successful) you just feel anxiety and discouragement.
Sometimes I have crazy ideas for things I want to do in my life. Whenever I picture those ideas turning into “the best decision I ever made” I find myself encouraged to continue with those goals.
But then sometimes (sigh, because I’m human) I picture those same ideas crashing and burning and being a giant failure. Whenever I do this, I feel discouraged and want to stop myself from trying anything new.
Always visualize positively.
10. Write things down
Write down your accomplishments, your insecurities, your goals, your doubts.
When you write things down in a journal, you help your brain visualize in a concrete way. It helps you focus and puts all those whirlwind of thoughts into a neat little list.
Recently I was feeling very overwhelmed with the amount of work I needed to do. My brain was racing and I was feeling anxious just thinking about this big giant to do list in my head.
Then I reminded myself to focus. I told myself to write down the things that I really needed to do.
Guess how many things were on the list?
Yup, when I decided to cut out all the fluff and unnecessary things I was doing, I was left with five really important things.
Sure this list can be longer or shorter depending on what you’ve got going on but looking at a list of a few things to focus on is SO MUCH easier than having all those thoughts in your head.
Our lives are filled with a lot of unpredictable situations and circumstances.
But the more we take control of our lives, the better equipped we are to face hardship and struggle.
A year ago I was working a high stress, underpaying job and I hated my life. I was really anxious, would have terrible nightmares and hated going to work.
One day I decided to stop going down the river of life and instead decided to make changes. A year later, I have my own business, I work from home and have overcome years of anxiety and stress.
I don’t say any of this to brag, I simply want to be that friend that tells you, if I can do it, you can do it.
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