We’re into the second month of 2024 and people are already breaking the New Year’s resolutions they made a month ago. In my humble opinion, New Year’s resolutions are a weak plan that serves to make us feel bad, when we don’t see quick results. How about we try a different angle? Instead of overwhelming ourselves with commitments that make us feel like we’re not enough, how about we focus on reinvention, which concentrates on shifting out parts of ourselves that are no longer serving us. Too many people stick with the limited notion that this is just how I am and who I am, take it or leave it, which is fine if it makes you feel good, but I think it reflects another limiting belief that we don’t have the capacity to reinvent ourselves.
Here’s some great news: you can choose where you want to remodel your lifestyle, your friends list, your thinking habits and begin laying the groundwork for the next great chapter in your life. We humans are far more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. Yes, changing something in our lives so that we improve ourselves and our circumstances may feel uncomfortable, but the reward is considerable.
Has anyone ever told you that you can do anything? If they did, do you believe it? Sometimes the idea that we can do anything we want frightens us because it’s such an abstract concept and so hard to feel that it could be real. Does it mean I can be an astronaut or live by the beach? Does it mean I can join a band or climb a mountain? Well, yes, yes, yes, and yes if you have the will, commitment, time, tenacity, and resources to devote yourself to making these projects your reality.
Likely your first reaction to becoming an astronaut is to scoff at such an idea but before you do, consider that becoming an astronaut may not be for you and just let it go. Every one of us is in a unique life situation which I like to describe as being in our own lane. There’s only your lane for you and in that lane with your gifts and your skills is where your best crack at reinvention lies.
“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.” – Ivan Turgenev (novelist, poet, playwright).
Some of industry’s most successful leaders talk about the challenge of getting buy-in from their staff when it comes to reinvention or change. It’s a well-researched fact that we humans don’t like change but think for a second and realize that the way we got to where we are as human beings is because of change. These same leaders of industry also talk about how to get their teams on side, when it comes to change. First, they say, as leaders, they must see the value in it and then they must keep it simple for their teams. When a big idea is simplified, it makes it easier for our busy thinking mind to grasp a fresh perspective. Our thinking mind is so good at coming up with all the reasons why we shouldn’t change anything. As CEO of your life, it’s important that you’re convinced that there’s value in reinvention and it’s key that you don’t overwhelm yourself with big sweeping change. Instead focus on small shifts so that you can remain accountable to your goal instead of feeling overwhelmed and slipping back into habits that no longer serve you.
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” -M. Scott Peck (psychiatrist, author)
Having clarity about what we want in whatever chapter of life we’re in and having goals for our future is key to successful reinvention. Often clarity emerges from us examining our discomfort or recognizing what we don’t want in our lives. If you’re a chronic complainer or find yourself in the company of complainers, at some point there’s a recognition that the habit of complaining never brings joy; it only brings more situations to complain about. Recognizing that this habit needs to shift out if you’re ever going to feel satisfied and joyful is a big step. We should always feel pleased with ourselves when we recognize habits that are no longer serving us and are working against our joy. Then, by having compassion for ourselves, we can begin to replace complaints with questions or compliments. These can be directed at ourselves by speaking kindly to and about ourselves, and can be addressed to those around us, so that we gradually ease our way out of the habit of complaining and into a mindset and an approach that invites more joy.
We should always be curious about the world we’re living in, regardless of age. The National Institute of Aging studied curiosity along with other factors such as physical health risks in a group of 1200 men over 65, to see if curiosity made any impact on the quality of their lives or their longevity; a similar study was done following 1000 women. The results showed a correlation between physical and psychological health in curious people and concluded that curiosity impacted longevity. The study also showed that curious people were better prepared to respond to challenges encountered as they age such as change in living arrangements or mobility. Curious people displayed better coping skills with new experiences, were more adept at forging new friendships and were more resourceful when it came to problem solving.
“If you are not where you want to be, do not quit. Instead, reinvent yourself and change your habits.” –Eric Thomas (pastor, author, speaker)
Do you find yourself spending too much time alone? Isolation and loneliness can have a serious impact on our physical and mental health, so if this sounds like you it’s time to look at how you can reinvent your lifestyle. Let’s use the example of volunteering to up level your life and provide meaning for you and impact for others. Begin with researching services, clubs and organizations in your community and find groups engaged in something that really interests you. Perhaps contact someone within the group to find out more information and invite a friend to investigate with you a little further in person. It won’t take long before you’ll know whether it’s for you. If it is for you, you’ve opened the door to potentially making new friends and of course being of service is rewarding all around. You’ve just expanded your circle, created connections, and enhanced your community. You’ve just reinvented yourself.