The Down Side of Self Improvement

party horn v2It’s that time of year. Just when you think it’s safe to re-enter your life, pack up your holiday decorations, and get back to a sense of normalcy, the New Year’s resolution messages creep in.

Lose weight…get healthy…build your business…fix your relationships…build wealth…make 2013 the BEST YEAR EVER…

I must admit I am a recovering self-help junkie. The lure is intoxicating isn’t it? If only this program, this product, this time will make me happy…It’s seductive. It’s inspiring. It’s marketing. And it may also be what’s keeping you stuck just where you are.

Think about the term self improvement. It implies there’s something wrong, something that needs fixing. If we live our lives based on that belief, then we ride the endless cycle of feeling broken and looking for repair. And most of the time looking for answers (aka things) outside ourselves: books, classes, pills, equipment, gadgets, relationships, etc.

I’m a strong believer that our feelings are a product of our choices, thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs. That things outside of us can’t make us feel, but rather our reaction to those things creates our experiences.

But it’s a fine line between wanting to change and feeling horrible about who we are. And this is the season for people to capitalize on that subtle distinction.

I think there are many products and services out there that can be helpful to us in our journey to change. The trick is picking ones that help rather than hurt us in the process. If messages come at you with a “this is what’s wrong with you” tone, I’d say avoid them altogether. Look for messages that expand on something you’re already doing or wanting that support you and focus on the positive.

What would YOU like to change in 2013? Here’s some things to try as you look ahead to the year and life you want to create:

  1. Make a list of what you accomplished in 2012. So many times it’s easy to focus on what we DIDN’T do. But be sure to take some time honoring the things you DID do.
  2. List all the things you are grateful for. Make this a regular practice.
  3. Spend some time alone in silence or listening to music that is calming. Think of what you want to create for the upcoming year in the areas of health and well being, relationships, career, finance, etc. Then write down one realistic, obtainable goal for each category that you can accomplish within a month.

Remember, wanting to make positive changes and improvements in your life is normal and healthy if it comes from a place of strength. Focus on the positive that’s already in your life and what you want to create and you’ll be off to a great start in making this a wonderful year.

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