Do you ever look around at your life, or look at yourself in the mirror and think, How did I get here? This isn’t … me?
You feel so far away from the person you thought you'd be, it's like a Twilight Zone episode, where you’ve woken up in the life of someone else.
And no matter how hard you fight it, this stranger’s life keeps you trapped.
I may not know exactly how you feel, my darling, but I can imagine.
Because I was in that same place 10 years ago. And while I won’t say I’m yet completely the woman I always knew I’d be, I know I’m getting closer every day.
See I’m not a big fan of self-improvement: we are all the perfect version of ourselves in this moment, with the values, beliefs, and choices that got us here.
BUT I do believe in self-invention, self-creation, self-evolution.
With every year that passes, I'm evolving more into the woman I always dreamed I'd be.
And so I know this is possible for you, too. You can be, do or have anything you aspire to being, doing, or having.
And it all begins with a desire for it.
Somewhere, in your heart, you know who you truly are and all the things meant for you.
In today’s post, I'll help you become her … or should I say, become the woman you truly already are.
GET CLEAR ON WHO YOU REALLY ARE AND THE PERSON YOU ALWAYS DREAMED OF BEING
Honey, never forget: you can be, do or have ANYTHING you desire.
But first: you have to know what direction you’re headed in.
If you don’t know where you’re headed, how will you know when you’ve arrived?
Somewhere, deep inside, you already know the person you were born to be. The key to becoming her is allowing her to shine through.
Ask yourself the following questions:
When other people mention you, what traits do you want to come to mind?
What personality traits do you value in yourself?
What traits do you admire in other people?
If you had no limitations like time or money, what would you do, how would you behave, and how would you show up for life?
Who inspires you, and why?
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF ABOUT WHAT YOU REALLY WANT
Now that you’re clearer about who you are and what you value, it’s time to get clear on what you WANT.
Disclaimer here. This isn’t about what you think you "should" want, what other people want for you, or milestones you think you should be hitting at your age. It’s also not about watering down your dreams with what’s “realistic”.
What do YOU want - in an ideal world, where anything is possible? Stretch yourself on the answer, and resist the urge to censor, critique or judge.
How do you want your romantic life to look?
How much money would you like to earn and save?
Where would you live? What would your home look like?
How would you spend your downtime?
How would you dress and express yourself?
Where would you travel?
Write down the biggest dreams on your heart, and use them to set yourself goals. Don’t just dream about it, be about it!
Now: think about the life you wrote down. Some things might take time and work to achieve, but the essence of others is achievable right now.
How can you incorporate those things into your life today?
SAY NO TO ANYTHING THAT DOESN'T FEEL ALIGNED WITH WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU WANT
Now, of course, this takes practice.
Learning to say no can be tough, especially if you’re used to saying “yes” (and even more especially if others are used to hearing “yes” from you).
An old coaching mentor once said to me: every time you say YES to something, it means you are saying NO to something else.
If you're saying YES to others and their needs more than you're saying YES to yourself and your desires, your life is going to start feeling like someone else’s - because it is.
On the other hand, when you say NO to things that aren’t right for you, or are a total energy suck, you create space for all the right things to flow to you.
Treat this as an experiment, rather than beating yourself up when you say YES on autopilot, or saying "NO" over zealously.
When an opportunity or request from someone pops up, hit PAUSE before answering.
Listen to your gut feeling. Does it feel good to say yes to this, or are your spidey senses tingling?
If it feels happy and light, it’s just right! Say yes with enthusiasm, and follow through.
But if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no!
Of course, you don’t have to (and probably wouldn’t want to) use the words “hell no”. There's a way to say no kindly and with grace, so that both parties feel good.
“Thank you so much for thinking of me. I can’t commit to saying yes right now! Best of luck with the project.”
“Thank you so much for inviting me. Sounds like fun! I have to take a rain check tonight though. Have a great time!”
“Thank you so much for the opportunity. After careful thought, it’s not the right one for me. I know the perfect person will jump at the offer.”
A formula of “thank you + no + future pacing” makes it easy to say “no” in a friendly, polite way which leaves little room for an awkward debate.
It takes practice - but with time it gets easier to sort the ‘yeses’ from the ‘nos’ (and to say NO without an anxiety attack).
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KEEP THE PROMISES YOU MAKE TO YOURSELF AND BUILD SELF TRUST
Just as we can’t have a meaningful relationship with others without trust, we also can’t have a self-loving relationship without self trust.
Self trust, like the trust we hold with others, is based on a series of unspoken agreements. It’s not something done once and done always.
Trust is a living, breathing organism.
The most important thing you can do to build self trust is to keep your promises to yourself.
Whenever you tell yourself you’re going to do something, and then don’t follow through, you've broken a promise to yourself.
If you had a friend who perpetually cancelled plans, saying they’d do something for you and then didn’t, it would be hard to trust them.
This also applies to your relationship with yourself.
When you say you’ll do something and don’t follow through, you break an agreement with yourself. Over time, this erodes self trust.
But when you make and keep tiny promises to yourself, it feels good and build momentum and confidence, and also builds self esteem and self trust.
RATHER THAN COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS, FOCUS ON INVENTING YOUR UNIQUE ESSENCE
It’s wonderful to draw inspiration from people you admire when re-inventing yourself. But rather than comparing yourself to others and trying to be their carbon copy, put your own unique spin on it.
A person is who they are because of their beliefs, values, stories, and choices. But you, my sweet, are on your own path, with your own story.
Whilst it’s great to draw inspiration - as you should - remember, you’re not mimicking someone or comparing to them - you’re creating YOURSELF.
One of the beauties of self-invention is that you become unlike anyone else and beyond compare.
You become unforgettable.
You become iconic.
Dita Von Teese draws glamour inspiration from many icons like Betty Page and Marilyn Monroe - yet she’s not a carbon copy of anyone. She’s an icon in her own right because she’s taken inspiration from various places and combined them with her unique talents, passions, and traits.
Go on a comparison detox. If you compare yourself unfavourably to someone on social media, unfollow them.
Celebrate others’ uniqueness, rather than comparing yourself to it. Let that inspire you to exaggerate and enhance your unique traits.
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EMBRACE YOURSELF FULLY - AS YOU ARE - STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES AND ALL
Self-acceptance and self-development can co-exist. In fact, I'd argue that true self-development can’t happen without self-acceptance.
We're all born with a unique set of personal strengths and weaknesses - traits we have, and traits we do not. Talents we have, and talents we do not have.
Be kind to yourself, rather than berating yourself or constantly trying to “fix” things you aren't good at. Our friends and loved ones aren’t without flaws - but we love them anyway.
Why not show ourselves the same kindness, forgiveness and acceptance of our shortcomings?
Think about these things you are not good at, or traits you don’t have. Does it really matter - in the grand scheme of things?
And when I ask if it matters, does it matter to you or is this comparison paralysis rearing its ugly head (see above step)?
If it doesn’t matter, forget about it. Outsource it, find workarounds.
Time you waste working on your weaknesses is usually better spent honing your strengths, exaggerating your best features, and polishing your natural talent.
If it does matter to you, then allocate a little time each day to improving by just 1%. 1% a day compounds to a 365% improvement in a year.
Remember, only work on the weaknesses that matter to YOU - not what you THINK you should work on. Embrace, accept, and forgive the rest.
Just remember - Michael Jordan could be a dreadful cook, for all we know - but even if he is, no one cares, because we honor him for his basketball talent.
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BE YOUR OWN BESTIE
Above all else, if you remember this golden rule you'll become the person you always dreamed of being.
Be your own best friend.
Treat yourself like you would your best friend in the world.
Say kind things about yourself and to yourself. Do kind things for yourself.
Get to know as much about yourself as you can: your likes, your fears, your patterns, and your interests.
Forgive yourself the mistakes you made in the past, and have the highest intentions for your future. Want the very best for yourself, just like you would want for your girlfriend.
Celebrate your wins, cheer for yourself, and have your own back. Take yourself out on dates and enjoy your own company.
Spend time on your hobbies, your interests, and the things that matter to you. Have fun even when you’re the only person around.
When you treat yourself with love, kindness, and respect, you set the benchmark for others to do the same.
TAKE THE VERY BEST CARE OF YOURSELF
You cannot pour from an empty cup! You cannot give what you do not have.
When you feel good in body, mind, and soul, you make decisions from a higher place.
You show up differently.
No matter what time, budget, or circumstantial restraints are on you: aim to do the best with what you have.
You don’t have to eat organically, go on a diet/detox/cleanse, or cut out food groups. Just choose foods that nourish your body, providing sustenance, nutrients, and energy (and sometimes - just lots of pleasure).
MOVE YOUR BODY OFTEN
You don’t have to sign up for expensive gym memberships, do exercise you hate (because it “burns more calories”), or do hour-long workouts. Find ways to move throughout the day in ways that feel good to you.
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
Eight hours sleep is the gold standard - but not always achievable. Focus on good sleep habits instead, so you get great quality sleep with the time you have.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN
You don’t need to spend hundreds on expensive cleansers or creams. It’s more important to get into a basic skincare routine. You can even use ingredients in your pantry to get started.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR APPEARANCE
Think of your physical body as a canvas - how will you adorn it, decorate it, paint it and present it to the world? Forget “beauty standards” - what is beautiful to you? What features have you always loved? Accentuate them and showcase them.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH:
Do restorative things for your mind. Find ways to switch off at the end of a hard day. Discover new techniques for dealing with difficult emotions. Set healthy boundaries. Surround yourself with things that feel good.
Discover and enjoy the art of self care. There is a true joy to discover in taking care of your body and mind.
FIND YOUR VOICE - AND DON'T BE AFRAID TO USE IT
I used to sit and listen to everyone else among a group of friends, and hear their opinions before giving my own. When I did speak, I'd just acknowledge everyone else’s point of view, rather than expressing myself.
And if I did present my opinion, I quickly withdrew if someone disagreed, going small and timid like a little mouse, embarrassed to be “wrong”.
Similarly, if I got wind that the people I was with ridiculed an interest of mine, I'd be quick to ridicule or bash it too. I'd never bring it up in that company again.
Soon I discovered I didn’t have my own opinions - I was just a mirror of everyone else’s.
To live life that way is to live a life that is true to other people, not to you.
Just because other people don’t share your interests, or your opinions, doesn’t mean you’re wrong to have them.
Fill your life with things that make you happy, and don’t worry about what other people think.
Invest in experiences and items that bring you joy, rather than just because it’s what all your friends do or have.
Research all aspects of a current issue of interest, rather than relying on one news channel. Really listen to all points of view - not just the ones you immediately agree with, or the ones that your friends agree with.
Form an opinion and stance on the issue that resonates with YOU. If someone disagrees - listen and ask questions, rather than disagreeing or agreeing.
Listen to their reply, and seek to understand without agreeing/disagreeing. Most people don’t really want everyone to agree with them, they just want THEIR voice heard, and their opinions understood.
You can say something like, ‘Interesting. Tell me more about that.’ Or, ‘What led you to believe that?’
By holding your own opinions, and infusing your life with passion, you can strengthen your unique voice and create a life that is truly your own.
BE WILLING TO WORK HARDER FOR YOUR GOALS THAN ANYONE ELSE WOULD EXPECT OF YOU
80% of success is just showing up. If you want something in life, you have to be more dedicated to it than anyone else would expect.
You must be willing to show up for the life you want - even and especially on the days you don’t feel like it.
You must show up consistently and put in your best work when you do.
Now notice here I don’t say - you have to try and be the best. Rather, do your best work.
Put love, care, and passion behind the achievement of your goals. Bring mindfulness to the work you are doing in the present moment.
Consistency and care have a far greater payoff than irregular bursts of action in the pursuit of unattainable perfection.
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BELIEVE IT UNTIL YOU BECOME IT
The last and final tip comes from this beautiful blog post on the same subject. “Don’t fake it until you make it - believe it until you become it.”
The most important tip for becoming the woman you always dreamed of being is to live as if you have already become her.
Do the best you can with the resources you have to live as if you were the woman you wish to invent yourself to be.
How would she make the most of this time, this money, these resources? What would she do here? What would she choose? How would she show up differently?
Let that be the guidepost whenever you consciously find yourself at a crossroads between the easy choice (that will likely keep you where you are) or the choice that will (with time and consistency) create the life you dream of.
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Re-inventing yourself begins with the moment you decide to live for YOU: but by no means does it end there. Self-invention and self-growth are a series of tiny choices made over time (and it means choosing yourself).
Now I would love to hear your thoughts! How did these tips help you? How have you been able to re-invent yourself in the past? What steps worked for you? Share your story in the comments below.
- keep discovering -
If you liked this article, you’ll find these useful too:- Manifest Your Goals Like A Badass Unicorn / How to Be Assertive: A Guide for Empaths / How to Love Yourself / How to Be A Unicorn: 16 Things I Do to Feel Magical, Glowy and Fabulous / Expand Your Confidence / Be As If -vs- Act As If
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