A friend of mine lost eighty pounds, and she became a whole new person. It would be hard to lose thirty-five percent of your body weight and keep it off without it impacting the essence of who you are. Or maybe it was the other way around-she changed who she was, and it led her to lose that weight.
Her weight loss was not from a diet. Research, such as the one done by UCLA, shows us that diets are ineffective. I asked her what caused the weight loss.
The defining moment came when a spiritual teacher told her to love herself. She was not looking for advice on weight loss. A deeper understanding of what it meant to love all aspects of herself became the catalyst to change her lifestyle.
It must come from the inside out.
While it was evident from her physical appearance that she had lost a lot of weight, more noticeable was how at peace and confident she had become. I have not often witnessed a person change so dramatically from the inside out.
The other person to come to mind is my younger daughter. At eighteen, her boyfriend committed suicide, which became her road to Damascus moment.
She changed her entire lifestyle. She stopped going to wild parties, pursued a double master’s scholarship, makes yoga a daily practice, is selective about who she dates, and is part of a very different group of friends.
It’s been ten years since that turning point, and I know she would not be the person she is today and achieve what she has achieved if she had not changed who she was ten years ago.
The magic of being human.
Part of the magic of being human is that you can choose to reinvent yourself and start anew at any stage in your life.
This could take the form of change in your career or sexuality, dramatic weight loss, and even a change in your identity. It could result from a traumatic event like what happened to my daughter or a difference in the way we see ourselves as what happened to my friend.
Whatever it is, reinventing yourself is not about changing your appearance but more about connecting with a deeper part of yourself. The deeper part of yourself that longs to know who you are and what you’re here for
If you want to reinvent any aspect of your life, consider these five critical questions as you step into a new version of you:
1. What are your core passions?
Passion is what lights you up. What makes you come alive? Your passions are what bring you joy. Your passions could be musical theatre, writing, traveling, or organizing events.
If someone were to ask you, “If you had all the money you’d ever need, what would you be doing.”
It doesn’t mean you have to get a job, but your passions shed light on what you value. It would help if you spent time pursuing it to bring more joy into your life, whether a hobby or work.
2. Who are you here to serve?
What gives you meaning? When it comes to what makes us happy, studies have shown that living our purpose makes for a more meaningful life. Purpose answers the question; who are you here to serve. Instead of thinking of financial success, try tapping into your internal drive. Become passionate about your purpose.
3. What resources are available to you?
Once my friend started to love and honor herself, she began to reject food harmful to her body. She researched what would nourish her and chose that instead.
With a clear understanding of your passion and purpose, you can start to use the resources available to achieve the new you.
The loss of her boyfriend to suicide was instrumental in my daughter discovering a purpose to improve access to proper health care for people suffering from mental health issues. She won a complete double master’s scholarship to pursue leadership in public health.
4. What do you need to change in yourself?
The only way to make long-lasting change is from the inside out. Your mindset and your beliefs about yourself have to change.
Your mindset is the way you think about things, and your beliefs are the subconscious stories you’ve bought into. This is precisely why diets don’t work. And neither do budgets. Until you embrace that you are worthy healthier body or deserve a better financial future, nothing changes, at least not for the long term.
5. What can I do now to make this a reality?
The final question to the process of inner transformation is, “what actionable steps can I take to make his new vision of myself a reality?”
If it’s weight loss, start taking action and eating healthy food and exercising from believing you deserve a healthier body. Don’t make weight loss the goal but love yourself enough to want better for yourself.
Bringing it all together.
We are wired to look for safety and comfort. However, we are also wired to seek growth. Sometimes we feel an inner conflict trying to meet these two needs because change can only come from taking a risk and leaving our comfort zone.
Research by psychologists Shai Davidai and Tom Gilovich published in the American Psychological Association has shown that “the regrets that will trouble us the most are not the mistakes or errors we made, but rather the actions we failed to take.”
We long to live our idealized selves, but we are also afraid to let others down. So we stay stagnant and live with regret.
Once you’ve decided on a new you, become the new you. Begin by changing something within — the beliefs you have about yourself. And support it with actionable steps.
I have been reinventing myself for the past five years — I left my job, marriage, and religion. What precipitated it was the desire to live more authentically. Stepping into a new you can be daunting- what if you fail? But what if you don’t?