How to Change Yourself: Step-by-Step Guide to Transformation

How to Change Yourself: Step-by-Step Guide to Transformation

If you found yourself in a bout of depression or wrapped inside another mental health condition, you may be striving for a change. Since such changes don’t simply appear, you may have stopped to ask how to change yourself.

This is a natural question. In fact, our brains are practically designed to continue evolving. This is why we continue to desire throughout our lives, we’re always looking for something more. ¹

Still, such change doesn’t come easy. And in many cases, people struggle to fully grasp a change. For this reason, we’ve laid out a step-by-step guide to transformation. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.

1.) Look Outside Yourself

Since our day-to-day lives are very internalized, we often don’t consider looking at ourselves from an outside perspective. However, such perspective may be the key to unlocking a change.

Such perspective goes beyond physical appearance (though, this may end up being a feature of your change). It requires you to emotionally detach from yourself and simply look into the mirror as you are.

With this perspective, consider yourself a work of art that constantly evolving. One that requires fine-tuning certain details in order to paint the full picture you desire.

Naturally, such perspectives may come with feelings of upset. In many cases, people who desire change find disappoint in themselves. With that in mind, it’s important to take a step back and remember that you are only human like everyone else. And no human would desire change if they too didn’t make mistakes.

2.) Build Healthier Habits

Our entire essence is made up by the little things we do. In some cases, this can be easy to identify. For example, if you’re overweight, you likely know you need to exercise more. In other cases, it may not be easy to identify. For example, if struggle with depression, you may not realize you’re faking your lifestyle in order to appear happy.

The brain is a complex machine and working out the little details of our habits is difficult. Not to mention, since we’re all such unique people, our bad habits are likely going to differ than those of others.

With this in mind, a transformation of oneself requires a change in habits. Still, this is easier said than done. The brain is not going to immediately be susceptible to a change in habit. The simple reason for this are any habits (whether good or bad) are associated with previous rewards. ² For example, if you have a poor diet, the reason may be that your brain connects unhealthy foods (i.e. sugars) with reward.

In order to break these habits, we must associate new (and healthier) habits with reward. In the above example, we would need to associate healthier foods as a means of reward for the brain.

This process is not easy and is especially discomforting at times. However, with enough time and effort, the brain will naturally redevelop itself to enjoy healthier habits. In fact, eventually you’ll be performing habits subconsciously simply because the brain associates these habits with reward.

Build healthier habits for change

3.) Persistence

With a set of new habits under your belt, persistence is the key to acquiring the change you seek. Nothing happens over night. Such efforts take time and energy.

While this is a given for many, moments will arise where you doubt yourself. Or, where you simply feel too drained to continue in your new habits.

As such, it’s vital to remember the importance of persistence. To conscious make the decision to persist in these habits so that they eventually become subconscious behaviors.

4.) Be Realistic with Your Goals

One of the biggest difficulties many have when facing change is they set unrealistic goals for themselves. Naturally, when those goals are not fulfilled, this leaves us with a feeling of hopelessness and isolation. ³

What unrealistic goals look like vary from person to person. With that in mind, it can be difficult to identify what goals are unrealistic and which are possible. Furthermore, we may always have the idea that anything we put our minds to is possible.

With all this, it’s important to take a step back and really consider what we’re capable of doing. Naturally, there are things you’re capable of that you’re simply not aware of as this time. However, we can also safely assume there are things you’re capable of that you’re not following through with as of this time.

In terms of developing goals, it’s best to start small and work your way up. For example, if you’re ultimate goal is to lose weight, have a set end goal (let’s say, losing 100lbs). From there, create smaller goals that can be accomplished on a weekly or monthly basis (losing 10lbs per month for a period of 10 months).

By creating smaller goals that work towards a larger goal, your brain will naturally feel rewarded in each little accomplishment. ⁴ On top of this, it will become easier to understand what habits need to be formed in order to reach these smaller goals.

Not to mention, by accomplishing smaller (and eventually bigger) goals, you’ll likely find things you’re capable of that didn’t seem possible previously. By taking goals one step at a time, you end up creating a snowball effect for yourself.

5.) Take the Time to Self-Reflect

If you go about completing your goals, you’re going to experience a new set of confidence. This is good and something you can celebrate.

However, it’s not something that should get out of hand. With a new-found confidence, our ego will naturally get in the way. Depending on the type of person you are, this can be of an issue.

The ego creates what psychologists refer to as “illusions.” ⁵ Some illusions are good. For example, if you imagine yourself writing that novel you’ve always dreamed of writing, you may manifest it into reality.

However, some illusions are dangerous. For example, if you start working out regularly and developing a physically attractive body, your ego may illude you to cheat on your spouse.

The human ego is far from perfect and needs delicate handling. As such, it’s important to take the time to self-reflect. Look in the mirror and remind yourself of who you are and were before the change occurred.

Beyond this, self-reflection can also be a tool to use when you’re feeling unmotivated. Look in the mirror and remind yourself as to why you need to embrace change.

Self-reflection for change

6.) Surround Yourself with Truthful Indivudals

In order to grow, we must experience harsh truths. Without these, we will only continue to plague ourselves with false illusions.

That said, it’s vital to surround yourself with people that will be honest with you. Those who are always telling you “yes” don’t allow you to grow. In fact, they only continue to perpetuate your false illusions within you.

People who sit you down and tell you you’re doing something wrong are your real friends. They’re the ones that not only take the time to notice where you go astray, but have the courage to mention it to you even when you’re unaware of such trials.

While such feedback can be tough, it’s essential for personal growth. It’s another means of self-reflection that’s much more communal than that of looking in the mirror.

7.) Take Risks

If you’re seeking out change, you’ve likely become comfortable in a lifestyle that isn’t suiting you. While such comforts are initially a pleasure to embrace, they end up destroying us in the long-run.

In order to grow, you must take a step out of your comfort-zone. You must seek out new lifestyles that will initially appear risky. That may make you uncomfortable in the moment, simply due to the fact that they are unknown. ⁶

Such risks aren’t easy. However, without them, it’s impossible to change.

Your Questions

Still have questions about how to change yourself?

We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further knowledge to share – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.

Reference Sources

¹ HHS Public Access: Wanting and Liking: Observations from the Neuroscience and Psychology Laboratory

² Perspectives on Psychological Sciences: Habits and Goals in Human Behavior: Separate but Interacting Systems

³ frontiers in Psychology: On the Maintenance of Expectations in Major Depression – Investigating a Neglected Phenomenon

⁴ Stanford Graduate School of Business: Focus on Small Steps First, Then Shift to the Larger Goal

⁵ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Positive Illusions About the Self: Short-Term Benefits and Long-Term Costs

⁶ HHS Public Access: Risk perceptions and health behavior

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