Bespoken's Guide to Making (Lasting) Change in the New Year
You may be hoping that the New Year brings a New You—but we all know it's never quite that easy. Change is scary. At least that's how it can feel. Change takes time and is also constant—but it's the big changes that shake us up and move us out of our comfort zones. And here's the thing—change is hard, but it doesn't have to be! Bespoken invites you to #BEthechange you wish to see in 2016 with these steps:
"Step out of your comfort zone," is a phrase we often hear. Turn and face the strange ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. And yes, it is going to be uncomfortable. Acknowledge the excitement, anxiety and fear that naturally come when you do something completely new and unfamiliar. The simple act of embracing these feelings will not only give you strength to persevere, but also empower you to ask for support when you need it.
Look back to go forward
It's not about the New You—it's about the You that got you to where you are today. Replace judgment with curiosity and a sense of humor as you take a trip down the memory lane of 2015. You need to know where you've been to know where you want to go.
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Maya Angelou
Set an intention
For many of us, resolutions can become a list of semi-vague do's and don'ts—eat better, drink less, wake up earlier, watch less TV—leading to inevitable (and destructive) disappointment and self-beratement. Instead, set an intention for yourself and for the year. It should be universal and specific at the same time. Make it positive and affirmative. It should feel silly, exciting and new—but most importantly it should speak to you on a deeply personal level!
Make a plan
You know where you're going, but getting there may be unclear and overwhelming. Put a plan in place to help you succeed, led by the intention you set for yourself. You can write it down, throw it away and start again as many times as you want. Do a practice run over a weekend to anticipate roadblocks and challenges. Refine it. Make it work for you. Include a fail-safe to ensure you know how to pick yourself back up when you (inevitably) fall down.
Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw
Change your mindset
There is no right or wrong when you are venturing into the unknown. Let fear turn to curiosity as you observe your own reactions to change. This is a new and exciting experiment! Listen to yourself and observe what happens to your body in new situations. If you have a tendency to retreat, structure in alone time at the end of the day. If you have physical signs of anxiety, remind yourself that it is your body's natural reaction to the strenuous process of change.
Share your experience
Start a blog. Share on social media. Acknowledge what you're going through in conversations. Meditate alone or in a group (Headspace is a great way to start). Be a source of strength and support for someone going through something similar. The more you share your experience, the less alone you will feel. Slowly but surely you will realize that your experience is, in many ways, a shared one.
How can you know what you're capable of if you don't embrace the unknown? Esmeralda Santiago
Shake up your routine
As creatures of habit, it can feel like a shock to integrate big changes all at once. Start impossibly small. Wake up half an hour early. Set one goal for each morning and complete it. Think of one thing you've always told yourself you could not do and do it. Take yourself on a date. Surprise yourself. And don't forget to fail—it's the only surefire way to move forward.
Making a physical change literally alters the way the world sees you which in turn alters the way you see the world. It doesn't have to be drastic or big—dye your hair! buy a new hat! change your glasses!—but it should feel monumental to you. And remember to stay active—physical activity gets you out of your head and into your body.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. John F. Kennedy
Be your own best friend
We all do it. We apologize. We beat ourselves up. Sometimes our internal critic is so vocal and self-assured that it can take quite some time to unravel the habit of believing every word it says to be true. #UNapologize yourself. Literally take care of yourself—that means not beating yourself up for beating yourself up either. Defend yourself the way you would your best friend. When you tell yourself you can't do something, refuse to take it as a given. Practice sticking up for yourself, whenever you get the chance.
Change it up
Treat your process as a living document rather than a rule book with consequences. Be a willing participant in your journey. Make changes constantly. Make it work for you—not for anyone else. Remember that you are in control of the expectations you set for yourself! Work in little victories. Celebrate each win. Return to your intention. And if you fall, which you will, get back up again and keep moving forward.
Bespoken is a coaching firm based in New York dedicated to empowering professionals and entrepreneurs to speak with conviction and communicate with confidence through customized 1x1 and small group coaching. We believe everyone has an innate ability to communicate purposefully and powerfully. www.bespokenpartners.com.