Steps for transforming from who you are to who you want to be.

Transform yourself into who you really want to be

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be…I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” — Eric Roth, Screenwriter

Humans are not meant to stop growing. In fact, no living thing on earth is meant to stop growing. We are all alive, reaching for the sun.

Do you believe that you can reinvent yourself and change who you perceive yourself to be and your relationship to the world? Or do you believe that you are destined to carry on as the person you have always been? Half of you probably like who you are, but some of you might still feel stuck in a rut, locked in an unsatisfying relationship, or just plain ridden with guilt and self-hatred.

“I can’t help it. That’s just who I am,”

There are always key turning points in people’s lives that make a difference in relation to who we become. Progress in life is all about reinvention. I am going to preface all of this by saying that reinvention is not the same thing as endlessly seeking reward or achievement. There is a difference. Seeking an achievement usually implies an “end.” You win the trophy and then you’re “done.” That’s not what you want to aim for–because as soon as you say you’re “done,” you are no longer reaching and stretching yourself, which means you stop growing.

Reinvention, however, leaves the end open–which is actually a good thing. Reinvention is what allows you endless opportunities to continue exploring new parts of yourself. Exploration is growth, and growth in this sense is not outward-facing but inward.

Whenever you find something about yourself you want to change, you need to look for a way to reinvent it

Breathe “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” — Leo Babauta

See yourself outside yourself.

Imagine you are a painter.

A sculptor looks at his or her piece of stone and endlessly questions new ways to shape it. And if he or she thinks of something to change, there is no emotional attachment.

They just do it.

This is how you need to see yourself — as a work of art, always in progress. No need to get upset, or come down hard on yourself when you see something you do not like.

Instead, like an artist, just get to work.

Find the habit associated with the thing you want to change.

Far too often, people focus too much on the thing they want to change instead of the habits that formed the thing in the first place. For example, They try to solve being overweight by doing a lot of ab exercises, without acknowledging that the problem is their poor diet. To truly reinvent aspects of yourself, you have to find the habit that created that trait in the first place–and then adjust the habit.

Practice every day, no matter what.

Change is not something you do some days and then take a break from other days.

Change is a shift in lifestyle.

It requires daily dedication, to the point where that new habit takes the place of an old one and no longer requires conscious effort.

Set realistic goals.

You can’t just wake up one morning and say, “I’m not going to be impatient anymore!”

Yes, you are.

And you actually help yourself by acknowledging that a bad habit like that won’t be solved immediately. Instead, set the goal to be more patient during your team meeting that happens every morning. Use that as an isolated practice space and a subconscious reminder of what it is you want to practice. Focus on that for a few weeks, and then go from there.

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”– Bernice Johnson Reagon

Don’t be so predictable.

Doing the same thing each and every day puts us in a rut. One of the best things that you can do for yourself is to stop being so predictable. Break out of your comfort zone at least once a week and do something new that you’ve never done before. Try that Thai restaurant. Go snowboarding. Purchase a wardrobe from a different store.

You get the point.

Opening ourselves up to new experiences makes us happier, changes our perspectives, helps us recognize new opportunities, boosts energy, and makes us more receptive to change. This cycle circles back. New experiences will make you happier.

Constantly look in the mirror.

Things get dangerous when you refuse to stop and really look at yourself — when you avoid self-reflection.

There are a time and a place for “go go go” mode, and then there is a time and place for reflection mode.

Both are necessary.

And you will quickly find that unless you take the time to ask yourself the tough questions, you will fall off track and not know how you got there.

Surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth.

If everyone around you is telling you “yes,” then you have a serious problem. You need people who are going to challenge and question you. You need people who won’t be afraid to tell you the truth. Tough feedback is essential for personal growth.

Don’t just focus on how to achieve goals, but also on why those goals matter

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Stop losing sleep over what others have and what you don’t. Here’s the truth: there is always going to be someone who has a better paying job, lives in a nicer house, drives a fancier car, and goes on more exotic vacations. Your friends may start families before you. Some might get to retire early.

Comparing yourself just makes you miserable and unhappily preoccupied about what others consider success. Instead, worry about what you define as success. When I started freelancing, I had friends who mocked me because I wasn’t making as much money as they were. The way I saw it, I had a flexible schedule, got to work wherever I wanted, and never complained about work since I enjoyed what I was doing. My friends that gave me a rough time complained constantly about their jobs, colleagues, waking-up so early, etc.

Who do you think was happier?

Tackle the one thing that you’ve been putting off.

We all put off that one thing: the phone call to your insurance company, cleaning up your desk, changing the batteries in the smoke alarms. Just like those dirty dishes, I discussed earlier, setting priorities includes making certain seemingly small tasks don’t build-up until you have to spend an entire day catching up.

If you have unfinished tasks, you are carrying a heavyweight around with you all the time, no matter how small each task is. You have to remember it. If possible, when you think of it, do it right then.

After you’ve listed your priorities for the day, add a long-standing chore to your to-do-list. For example, at the end of the workday, you’ll make that phone call or organize your workplace since you’ve already gotten all of your most important, and energy-draining, tasks done for the day.

You’ll be surprised at how much better, and productive; you’ll feel once you’ve crossed these items off your list — even if it’s just a mental list.

Free yourself.

Embrace Change

Get excited about transforming yourself and look at the process as a valuable opportunity to better yourself. Change is an inevitable part of life, and you can either resist the inevitable or look forward to new experiences and prepare for a new role and responsibility.

People can learn new things by following a growth mindset, and believing they can improve in areas of weakness and continue building on strengths. Keep your vision of the future in your mind and begin to develop a plan to get there. Organize the steps to take, start learning and practicing new skills, and work to obtain necessary resources. By doing this you can start becoming the extraordinary person you were meant to be.