New you, new year

New Year, New You

Are you wanting to create a “whole new you” in 2019?

I had the same brilliant idea two years ago as we were ushering in 2017. In fact, I even encountered this sign as I was biking near my house just before that new year. New year, new me!

It was like a sign that I was headed in the right direction. I even laughed at God’s sense of humor that He had sent me an actual sign. 😂 (I don’t think we give God enough credit for His levity.)

I was so inspired I posted it on Facebook with my loftiest declarations in full hashtag mode.

And I feel like I largely did create a whole new me.

After being part time in mental health for several years while working full time in my corporate marketing career, I decided it was time to pick something and go with it.

I knew in my heart that mental health represented a much bigger future than what corporate America could offer me. But getting paid every two weeks is a pretty attractive feature, too, and with a kid in college, doing anything different was a scary option. 😳

As we were waiting for 2017 to dawn, I just couldn’t do it anymore. The corporate gods had aligned to make my job pretty uncomfortable, and I felt almost guilty that I was just biding my time for a paycheck.

There I was, sitting among the 70% of Americans feeling disengaged and trapped at work.

That’s not what I’m about. I’m very much a “learn or die” kind of gal, so this wasn’t a good place for me to be and I wasn’t a joy to be around.

After much banter back and forth with my husband and more than a few late night Chips Ahoy!, I decided it was time.

So in March 2017 I quit my marketing and communications job and shifted out of the career that had given me so much and opened a lot of doors for me for more than 20 years.

I left behind a decent salary, benefits, and a somewhat predictable future (and I think I left my Rubik’s cube in my desk, too!).

But I was ready to embrace my new identity as a mental health professional. 🙋🏻‍♀️

All mental health, all the time. I was a walking tagline.

I felt like Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat in the air. I was gonna make it after all!

I realized at the time that I was creating a new professional identity and really had to rebrand myself. All the things I was an expert in were about to shift.

I always love this part!

I dug in and learned a ton about insurance, working with people from all walks of life in community mental health, and putting my own paychecks together as a fee-for-service counselor.

The way I worked was completely different, and the work I did was largely up to me.  After 20 years of taking direction from others, this was a paradigm shift.

I think that’s what made it feel like a whole new me. I was doing it!

But honestly, two years later, I think I was wrong about this “whole new you” thing.

While I’ve learned a lot, I’ve also put a ton of pressure on myself in the last two years to create a whole different version of myself.

  • I set too many goals that were too big for where I was in the process.
  • I started and stopped many, many things. Not finishing something is the devil for me because I use it as ammo against myself on the tough days.
  • I compared myself against what I had done before.
  • I berated myself for finding ways to be lazy in spite of being more engaged and chasing a new identity.

But I rationalized that I had jeopardized a not-so-terrible career to do this, ya know? I had to make it work — for me and my family.

Go big or go home, right?

And the reality is that I really have made it work.

I remind myself every day to look back and see how far I’ve come in just two years.

But not in any big, amazing way. Just in a million small ways, one foot in front of the other. 👣

*sigh*

If I’m honest, I’m disappointed that the “whole new me” is still out there in front of me. I think she’s probably pretty cool, if I can just catch up with her. 💃 (<—Apparently she’s blonde, too!)

Alas, I’m still just regular old me, albeit with some enhancements and a fair amount of newly-discovered discipline.

But that’s a lot to work with.

What can this mean for you?

As you start considering what kind of goals you want to set for next year, it can be tempting to upend the whole apple cart.

We have so much information available to us today that we can literally change anything about ourselves by doing a smattering of research. Keep a few things in mind, though:

There really is no “whole new you.” Just you, only better.

Please know that you can change your habits, perspectives and goals, but the person you are right now is the foundation for all of it.

If you don’t like who that person is, you should do some work to discover ways to acknowledge the good things about you. (I can recommend someone. 😉)

No amount of “go big or go home” is going to fix that deep-seated need for approval and significance.

Learn how to appreciate the qualities and talents you got right out of the baby chute.

The science people tell us that our personality is really set early in life. What we do from that point on is build on it to find our strengths and learn how we can use our unique skills to create opportunities for ourselves.

This is exciting because it means you’re like a Lego set. You can add a few new pieces and come up with something different every time.

It may not look like what’s on the box, and you’ll probably lose some of the pieces, but it’s a unique creation with room to add even more.

And Lego sets are really never done, are they?

Don’t underestimate the power of small changes over time.

Big changes are scary and can cause you to quit if you don’t have a plan for what might go wrong.

Taking change in bite-sized chunks makes the challenges easier to swallow.

There is no “magic you” behind door number two. Trying to make sweeping, wholesale changes all at one time (like, in January) is setting you up for magnificent failure. And that will get you nowhere fast.

February will come and you’ll be quite literally besotted with disappointment. Time to break out the Chips Ahoy! (Man, I really want cookies right now. 🍪)

Decide to just be a little better at something, and do that little bit every day. You won’t miss the time, I promise.

And be sure to document it in some way so you can see the line trend up when you look back. 📈

This will give you enormous motivation to keep going when you just can’t see it.

Pick one goal that can change many things in your life.

Focus on a goal that will give you tremendous benefit in several areas of your life. This is like low-hanging fruit to supercharge your life.

For example, losing that extra weight your doctor keeps harassing you about can result in:

  • improved appearance
  • more productivity at work
  • better sleep
  • improved physical health
  • more energy for sex
  • a longer life to enjoy your family

That’s infinitely better than trying to just learn a new productivity method or shop for the perfect wardrobe.

Take an inventory of the things in your life that you wish were better and see what common theme they all share.

Then focus on making changes inside that theme.

I know that 2019 will be a year of growth and accomplishment for you.

Just make sure to trust in who you already are and start building an awesome new year!

 

Subscribe to the Be Well, Do Well newsletter

GET THE BE WELL DO WELL DIGEST!

Info and tips each week to help you improve and change your life!

8 replies
  1. Anthony
    Anthony says:

    You are awesome in the manner by which you remodelled yourself confidently into a new and less known/travelled path. The only way to succeed at one’s passion is to change your methodology of doing things and surely you will get different results contrary to the former. Good advice, we mustn’t enumerate so many goals at once to realise an overhaul and big mileage,rather , small small portions towards the right direction and the results are gonna be amazing.

    Reply
    • Lori
      Lori says:

      You are right, Anthony! It takes a lot of patience to work on goals this way but ultimately it gets you where you want to go, and you learn from it, too!

      Reply
  2. Jared J. WIESE
    Jared J. WIESE says:

    Love this, Lori! So, so true. Every New Year’s we feel the pressure internally and externally for a New You.
    But we are alright as we are. I like to instead call it, “perfection in progress” 🙂

    Reply
  3. Katja Gersak Hernández
    Katja Gersak Hernández says:

    Another great article, Lori!! 🙂 Your story is really inspiring!! I believe that with your attitude, self-reflection and planning you can achieve anything!!
    I agree about setting little goals –> can help to keep us on track and little things really matter.. It’s a great idea writting them down!! Collecting a lot of small victories at the end can become a really big victory!!

    All the best in 2019!! So glad I’ve known you this year…❤

    Reply
    • Lori
      Lori says:

      Thank you so much Katja! I’m hoping to collect so many little victories this year, I think that’s where the secret sauce is! 🙂

      I’m so grateful we met this year and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for us in 2019!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *