It’s a “New Year, New You” a phrase we hear often at this time of year. Many of us have good intentions to make things different, to reach higher, to feel and be better, to do life better. But what actually has to happen to get to that “New You”?
If you didn’t guess it already – change! Yes, we will need to change the old to get to the new. Seems simple doesn’t it? But for most of us, the steps to actually achieving change are unclear. Stepping into change can be frightening because we’re stepping into the unknown. It can be frustrating because of unrealistic expectations and it can be disappointing because of unrealized hopes.
The way we define change is the way we will likely go through it.
If we fear change, then evolution will continue to elude us, or even become our enemy because it’s continually evolving. Change will seem dark, scary, abrupt, negative, shocking…you get the picture. But, if we expect and allow that change will happen, to go with the flow, or better yet, to BE in the flow, we may find coping with it a little easier. A phrase I often like to use is, “I wonder what will be offered up to me today in change?” I also like, “May today bring ease and flow in whatever change it may bring.” Either way, to be open and accepting to change as an inevitable part of our lives, can shape how we deal with it when we go through it.
So how do we go about change to become a “New You”?
To start with we need to know the things we can change and the things we cannot.
I CANNOT change the past, my partner, children, friends, what others say and do, untrue accusations, my limitations, and conditions outside of myself. I CAN change by starting to express my feelings, get rid of self-pity, be independent, say no, stop being what someone else wants me to be, stop criticizing, stop playing games, stop reacting, accept responsibility for my own behavior, be forgiving … and the list goes on.
If we want successful change, it begins with moving from subconscious driven behaviors to conscious driven behaviors.
Most of us operate from subconscious driven behaviors. We know that something we’re doing is not working for us, but we don’t know what; we don’t like our behavior, but we continue with it; we know we’re being triggered and we don’t know why; we try things with our kids that don’t work, but we don’t know what to do to make it work; we’re mean to our partner, we don’t like it but we continue to do it; we’re tough on our employees and so on. Patterns tend to occur over and over in our life. Everything we do ends up with us back in the same place. We get stuck!
But when we are able to navigate our subconscious mind into the conscious state, we can create potential for healthy change. And only then can we get out of our own way for successful change to happen.
The 4-Step formula that sums up conscious change goes like this:
CONSCIOUS CHANGE = Awareness + Acceptance + Action
- Let Awareness be your Indicator. Change begins with awareness; something’s not working, something’s not right. We may feel it in our body (our body holds all of our emotions!) maybe a pain in our solar plexus or tightness in our throat or simply, our intuition tells us we just feel “off.” We have a new awareness about a situation, a person, ourselves. Here we explore our emotions, consider family of original and original pain work, reflect on habits and patterns, look at our inner child and sub personalities.
- Let Acceptance come forth of the reality or truth of the situation. This stage may require extra time. Acceptance is a time for self-care, going inward, calming down, mindfulness, and not being afraid to sense the truth within to bring forward the subconscious feelings that “This really isn’t healthy for me“ or “This doesn’t feel right” or “I’m worthy and deserving of more.” Acceptance allows the emotions to surface and often an “aha” moment is realized as difficult as it may be to accept it.
- Then its time for Action. When we come to terms with acceptance (and this can sometimes be a long process), we can then takeaction for change. Plan for the worst but expect the best, keep a positive frame of mind, change your self-talk habits, support yourself in the change, use visualization to accomplish what you intend to change, practice relaxation and mindfulness during periods of change.
- Lastly, we’ll need to add a little Risk. There is always a littlerisk involved when we grow in our awareness, acceptance and plans to take action. Risk is the scary part, we evaluate the pros and cons of what action we might take and “feel the fear and do it anyway.” If you decide to take a chance on something, someone, or yourself, don’t think about it, just do it!
We always have full control over what we choose to change. When we achieve change, we find that instead of living an unconscious life we begin to live a conscious life. We are self-empowered with a new awareness and new confidence. And where situations used to control us, we now live in our true self with the ability to make choiceful and healthful decisions for a happy and fulfilling state of well being.
Martha Digby is a Holistic Psychotherapist with P3 Health and with her own private practice.