ost of us go into a New Year with visions of a happily ever after, yet as the days progress, that happy ending can feel impossible. In fact, you may feel as if you will never BE happy and never reach any of your goals. I’m going to give you some advice, so listen close: My darling, if a happily-ever-after feels like an impossible dream, consider that what you need instead is to begin fresh and reinvent yourself.
Darling, each and every day is an opportunity to begin anew. No matter what has happened the day before, the week before, the year before… you can make the choice to begin anew, and from that space work toward your happily ever after dreams.
Yes, my love, at any time, you can make the choice to reinvent yourself for that fresh start.
It’s easier read than done. I know that first-hand, because I lived for a number of years believing that I was stuck in a miserable life, and that my own dreams of a happily-ever-after seemed decades away, if ever.
So let me help you with where to start when it’s time to create a new beginning.
One – Begin with Logic
Though I normally would advise you to listen to your heart, I’m going to be frank… you have silenced the voice of your heart for so many years, it will be next to impossible to hear it. Besides, when we are frustrated with the feeling that we’ll never find happiness or never reach our goals, our emotions can cloud our thinking.
Instead, the place to begin is with logic. This means that I’m going to ask you to write several lists. Writing things down allows you to begin removing the emotion and helps you focus on facts.
Two – Let’s Talk About Desire
Write a big long list of all the things you wish to experience. Dig into your secret desires and write them down. It’s ok to include those darker fantasies you daren’t confess to even your best friend. Yes, imagine a fairy Godmother magically making your life the way you dream it could be. Don’t hold back.
Take a break and treat yourself in some way. A long bath with bubbles and candles and maybe a glass of wine. A long walk. Coffee with a girlfriend.
Three – Let’s Be Honest
Now, my darling, I want you grab your pen and turn to a fresh page and get real. Make a list of all the excuses you’ve been using. Write down every way that you are trapped in your current life. Include on that list all the times you’ve emotionally bypassed what your gut has tried to tell you.
Note that often, high-functioning, survivor women who are good at emotionally bypassing will often have an “intuitive” feeling that they should stay with an abuser or in a desperate situation to “be a stand for love” or some other altruistic ideal. Their intuition is not at play here… but it can feel like it at first.
They say that honesty is its own reward, but choosing to call “bull-shit” on yourself can leave you feeling vulnerable and fragile. What you really need next is a real big reward for all that work.
Go for a run or get a massage. Meet your girlfriend for pedicures at the really nice nail salon – you know, the one that serves you little bottles of water and gives a super-long foot massage. Watch a silly movie or read a trashy romance or cozy mystery book. Something fun and nourishing.
Four – Remind Yourself You’re Successful
To remind yourself that you’ve overcome situations in the past, make a fresh list of all of your past successes. Write down the compliments and achievements of the past. Even little reminders of how you’ve overcome, succeeded, been loved, made great grades, or received beautiful attention for your hard work will help you build your confidence again.
Five – Examine Your Excuses
Return to that list of excuses the next day and look at each excuse and answer these questions:
- Are the things I’ve written down on this list even true? (Probably not, by the way, we say all kinds of mean things to ourselves.)
- What is my head telling me the logical thing to do instead would be?
- If my best friend said these things to me, what would I tell her?
- What advice would I give to someone if I were a therapist / life coach / Dear Abby?
- What would the most self-respecting action to be?
Choose a single excuse you are going to stop making this month. Create a mantra. Sketch out a plan of what you’re going to say instead each and every time that excuse tries to puddle around in your brain and exit your mouth.
Six – Choose a Simple Desire
Go back to that first list of secret dreams and desires, my dear. I want you to choose one or two items from that list that you can bring into your reality in the next six months. You are reinventing yourself by choosing to begin fresh, and you need an early success to remind you that you, my love, are worth the work.
Make a list of all the steps to bring those desires from your mind to reality. to bring into being in the coming year. What is the first-baby step towards that desire?
Yes, you are going to take some action by controlling the dialogue in your head the words that cross your lips. You are re-writing your story.
Seven – Bring in Your Feelings
Now it’s time to FEEL. I know it’s scary. You may be afraid of getting lost down the rabbit hole of crappy feelings. And you may be afraid of allowing yourself to feel the good stuff, too. Because the “other shoe” may drop. That’s one of the ways we lie to ourselves.
This is what I’ve learned: rather than avoid my feelings, when I just go with them – no matter where those feelings might take me – it passes a heck of a lot faster than the process of avoiding them!
So, dig into your feelings. Ask yourself how will giving up your excuses make you feel? What might you allow yourself to experience and feel when you achieve those little desires? And last, but not least, decide how you DESIRE to feel. Write this down, too. Each emotion is offering you clues and signals about the direction of your life.
Eight – Rewrite Your Story
Stories heal and have been shown through research to help us be happier (I wrote a guide to help you re-write your story to be happier here ). The choice to take those sad stories and excuses and put a fresh spin on them will literally shift your whole being.
Nine – Revel in Your Choice to Reinvent Yourself
By beginning fresh, you are making the choice to reinvent yourself. You are choosing to ditch the excuses of why you aren’t happy. You are taking your sad stories of failure and creating a place to start moving towards that Happily Ever After.
The calendar page is fast approaching a brand new year.
But any day you choose can be the beginning of your New Year. Instead of fretting that you’ll never reach your happily ever ever, choose to reinvent yourself by beginning anew.