Can you change your self? A new year is fast approaching and as the year clicks over on the calendar it is customary to make New Year’s Resolutions and it is also customary to break them a few days later; which begs the question, “Can we change ourselves for the better?”
From a self-leadership perspective, the answer lies in the question – to change we must change our ‘selves’. ‘Self’ is a matrix of frames of mind which includes our self beliefs and values which make up our ‘identify’ and we tend to conform to our identity. In short you behave to meet your expectations of how your ‘see’ yourself.
Ignoring the philosophical problem of who is the self that sees the self, the key to making a change in behaviour and a resoltion that sticks is to see your self in a new way.
Change your Self
In Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) there is technique known as the SWISH pattern and in my book Self Leadership, I descrive a similar intervention known as Best Possible Self.
The Swish works by imagining yourself as “the you for whom there is no problem”. For example if you procrastinate to exercise, overspend on your credit card or lack confidence with new people, then you construct a ‘mental image’ of the you that can easily and successfully handle these, and other, situations. Once you have a rich and comprehensive idea of what the ‘new you’ would look like, sound like and feel like, you ‘step into’ this identity and believe and value this as the you that will move into the future.
Best Possible Self is similar with a diary option. 1 ) Imagine yourself in the future. 2) Imagine everything has gone about as well as it could have, and you have gotten most of the things that are important to you. 3) Spend 10 to 20 minutes of free writing describing this person.
You have heard of self-fulfilling prophesy, so why not write the prophesy you want fulfilled? Personally I am going to combine both techniques to ensure my next new year is my best year ever. What about you?
(Originally posted on Jan 1, 2011)