New Year, New You: Conscious Change in Four Simple Steps
By: Martha Digby, BSc (Hons), Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy
“It’s a New Year, New You” is a phrase we often hear this time of year. Many of us have good intentions for this New Year, but what do we actually have to do to achieve the “New You”?
Yes, you guessed it: Change!
Seems simple, doesn’t it? For most of us, however, the steps to actually achieving change are unclear. Change can be frightening because of the unknown; it can be frustrating because of unrealistic expectations; and, it can be disappointing because of unrealized hopes.
The way we define change is the way we’ll likely go through it: If we fear it, it will continue to elude us; if we expect and allow it to happen—if we go with the flow or better yet, be in the flow—we may find coping with it a little easier. To be open to and accepting of change as an inevitable part of our lives can shape how we deal with it when we go through it.
So, how do we affect change to achieve the “New You”?
To begin, we need to be mindful of the things we can change and the things we can’t. Ever heard of the Serenity Prayer? “God grant me the serenity / to accept the things I cannot change / courage to change the things I can / and wisdom to know the difference.” I can’t change the past, my partner, my children, my friends, what others say and do, conditions outside of myself, etc. I can change by starting to express my thoughts and feelings, accepting responsibility for my own behaviours, being independent, etc.
We must learn to move away from subconscious-driven behaviours towards conscious-driven behaviours. Indeed, most of us operate from subconscious-driven behaviours. We know that something we’re doing isn’t working for us, but we don’t know what; we know we’re being triggered, but we don’t know why; we know we’re being difficult with our spouse/child/employee but we continue with this way. When we’re able to navigate away from our subconscious and towards our conscious state, we can create potential for healthy change. Then, and only then, can we get out of our own way, and make change happen.
Conscious Change = (Awareness + Acceptance + Action) / Risk
1. Let Awareness be your indicator. Change begins with awareness: Something’s not working, something’s not right. We may feel it in our body (our body holds all of our emotions!)—maybe a tightness in our throat or a pain in our solar plexus. Maybe we just feel “off.” We have a new awareness about an experience, a person or ourselves, and in so doing, we we tune into our thoughts, explore our emotions, reflect on our habits, etc.
2. Let Acceptance come forth from the reality of the situation. Recognize processes, conditions or situations and do not attempt to change them. Through self-reflection and mindfulness, accept that something doesn’t feel right or that you’re worthy and deserving of more. Acceptance allows for thoughts and emotions to surface and for you to reach an “aha” moment.
3. Then, it’s time for Action. Plan for the worst but expect the best. Stay positive. Practice self-love. Use visualization to achieve what you intend to change.
4. Lastly, add a little Risk. There is always some risk involved when we become more awareness, accept and act. Risk is scary, but if you decide to take a chance on something, someone or yourself, don’t think too much about it, just do it!
Here’s to a New Year, New You with Conscious Change!
ABOUT MARTHA DIGBY: Martha is a therapist, counsellor, speaker, writer and educator who specializes in personal awareness and growth; life crisis and transition; family, relationship and coworker issues; stress; anxiety; depression; grief; loss; and, trauma.Leave a reply →