Without Defining Yourself, you cannot make long-term changes. Will-power seldom results in long-term changes. You need to go deeper.
Motivation is not the same as willpower. The way to make change and move your life forward is not by willpower, positive thinking, emotional manipulation or other gimmicks, but by focusing on your most important goals and being determined to get there.
Fundamental choices are what define us, our Defining Statements. What do you desire in life? What do you visualize for yourself? This is not just what you think is possible, but what you truly want in your life. In order to work towards these desires, you need to identify with them and be able to focus on what you are creating. This is how you think of yourself. Give yourself a name. Sexy Susanne, Slim Mary, Successful Sue, Kick Butt Amanda are some that I know. Awesome New You also works.
Here’s an example of a defining statement. If you are trying to quit smoking, and you’re thinking, “I’ll do my best, but it’s not really my responsibility”, then you are not defining yourself as a non-smoker. If your goal is written as “stop smoking”, this will keep you focused on what you are giving up, not what you are gaining. Instead, you need to define yourself as a healthy person and a non-smoker. You need to identify with this New You.
When you write down your Defining Statements, write them as if they have already come to pass, and as something you want to create, not something you want to eliminate. (examples: I am so healthy that even my Dr. doesn’t believe it. I am successful and people respect me.)
In order to more fully identify with the Defining Statements, write down what the results will be of being Awesome New You.
- I look and feel strong.
- I have the energy I need to be a great mother, wife, friend.
- I am a healthy example for others to follow.
- I feel great and confident in all my endeavors.
- People see me as successful. I feel successful.
Take time every day to visualize these outcomes. Visualization is a very powerful activity and by doing this daily, you will draw yourself closer to your goal.
Foundations, Primary Choices, Secondary Choices
Now that you know where you want your life to go, you need to break it down to figure out how to get there. The first step is determining what the Foundations are to support each Defining Statement. If being optimally healthy is one of your Defining Statements, the Foundations would be:
- Nutritious intake
- Healthy weight and waist size
- An active lifestyle
- Recuperative sleep
- Well-being, including social activities, limited stress
- A support system and healthy personal environment
The next step is to create Primary Choices. These are the choices that support the Foundations. Sometimes these are things that you would not necessarily want to do if they were stand-alone activities (e.g. go to the gym, save instead of spend money). But when taken together in the big picture of supporting your Foundations and Defining Statement, they can become fun and exciting.
Secondary Choices are the everyday choices that will support your Primary Choices. For example, if I Define myself as “I am Wealthy”, then one Foundation would be “Saving money”. One Primary Choice to support that would be “Not spending money on things I don’t need”. The Secondary Choice would come into play when a situation arises, and the thoughts might go something like this:
“Wow! Look at those beautiful shoes! I would love to own those/I deserve them/I need them to match a dress.” “But wait, if I buy them, I am not supporting my Primary Choice of saving money. I already have a pair of shoes that are kind of like that, so I don’t really need new ones. Good-bye beautiful shoes!”
The Secondary Choice in this example is to not spend money on new shoes.
Another example: I Define myself as “I am Uber-Healthy”, so one Foundation is “Nourish my body”. Some Primary Choices to support that are
- “I eat a nutritious diet”
- “I drink plenty of water”
- “I plan ahead and have healthy snacks with me if needed”
- “At a party, I do not stand next to the food table”
The Secondary Choice comes into play when a situation arises: “The Doritos are on sale! Two
for one! … too bad I don’t eat junk like that”
Do you really need to be this disciplined and linear in your thinking? Of course not. Our thoughts are not organized in a structure like this, exactly. But, kind of.
Writing down goals of any kind is actually a very powerful act. Just the act of putting pen on paper, or fingers on keyboard, and writing a goal will make you 30 times more successful. Not bad. So spending time thinking about and writing down your Defining Statements can literally be a life changing act.
Another thing that can be very powerful is visualization. Visualizing (a) what Awesome New You’s life is like, AND (b) visualizing what you did to get there will subconsciously draw your life in that direction. What You Think About, You Bring About!
Can you see how different this is than just will-power, or casual planning, “yeah, sure I’ll sign up for that 21-day diet that everyone is doing at work”? True self-defining motivation is the foundation to transforming your body and your life.