by Linda-Ann Stewart
Do you identify yourself as a procrastinator, leader or optimist? How you view yourself is a component of your self-image and it affects your decisions and actions. Without being aware of it, you’ll be congruent with how you characterize yourself. For instance, if you consider yourself to be a procrastinator, then your actions will support that belief. It will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But your self-image isn’t set in stone. It can be changed. When it changes, then your actions and decisions change to agree with your new one. To achieve your goals and vision, personally or professionally, your self-image will have to shift. It will have to be in alignment with the person you need to be to accomplish your vision.
For instance, a procrastinator will not be tapped to be a manager, because they won’t have the necessary quality of being proactive. But if you start viewing yourself as proactive, and choosing those actions, you’ll be management material. You’re not lying to yourself in this new view; you’re choosing to behave in a new way.
Improve Your Self-Image
One way to expand your self-image is to imagine your ideal self. This is your vision of who you are in the future, the person you want to be. This is the same concept as having a vision for other parts of your life or your business. With your ideal self, you have a vision of the future you, so you can create strategies to achieve this goal.
This is the person you must be working towards before you can bring your greater vision for your life into being. You may have these ideal characteristics in some measure, but won’t have fully expressed them at this time. They’re qualities you’re aspiring to embody and are still striving to bring into reality. And your choice of traits may change over time.
Here are five steps to help you create the new, ideal you.
1. Select three to five words you want to use to describe yourself. They need to be reasonable and possible for you. These words are different from your values, but may have values inherent in them or made up of them. They’re concepts that reflect the way the Universe views you. And the ideas probably suggest traits of your most authentic self.
For instance, you could want to be:
- Compassionate, imaginative, and motivated
- Confident, proactive, and determined
- Resourceful, trustworthy, and self-disciplined
- Spiritual, present, and empathetic
2. Ascertain the qualities you need to develop for your words to be true. These will include attitudes, beliefs, habits, and skills that are cultivated and amplified as you work on your overall vision for yourself. What do you need to develop to fully bring these attributes into reality?
For instance, to be self-disciplined, you need to follow through on the decisions and promises you’ve made, even when they’re inconvenient. To be proactive, you take action to bring about specific results, addressing issues before they become a problem. In developing compassion, you choose to consciously seek the good in everyone and be nonjudgmental.
3. Write your words somewhere so you see them daily. This could be on your phone, tablet, computer or taped on the wall by your desk. They’ll remind you what you’re aspiring towards and that their qualities are important to you.
4. When you read these words, feel what they mean to you. This impresses the subconscious and it will take that as direction to become like them. Say to yourself, “This is who I’m choosing to be.” Identify with them because you tend to become what you identify with. Your subconscious wants you to be congruent with your belief about your identity.
5. Commit to acting on your new characteristics. For instance, to be more determined, persist when the going gets rough. If you want to be more optimistic, and you’ve had several setbacks, choose to believe the best possible outcome. Be consistent with the behaviors, qualities and traits that reflect your ideal you. Over time, they will feel more natural and it will become automatic.
What you’re doing is creating a vision of the best version of yourself. You’re molding your future you into the person you want to be. As you do, you’re becoming the person who accomplishes your goals and vision.
The Universe approves of me, as I am, and also has an ideal concept of who I can be. It views me as my best self and knows that I can grow into that ideal. It supports me fully in my endeavor to be a better person. I make the choices that reflect my future, ideal self and act on them.
Watch the accompanying video, 3 Exercises to Improve Your Self-Image.