Today certainly caught me off guard. I woke up with such enthusiasm, running Monday Motivationals through my head, wondering what kick-ass, get-ready morning music I was going to dance/dress to. After my pretty chill shower, where I spent time focusing on my ability to focus on just showering, I realized that the outfit I had picked out wasn’t a great ensemble. It took just about forever for me to pick something else out that I felt good about wearing. Upon BARELY making it into work in time for my 9:00-morning meeting, someone stopped me for a ‘quick’ question. After rescheduling my 9:00 meeting (because this was worth it), I went back to my colleague and responded to the question that fueled so much thought throughout the rest of the day…
“I’m aware that sometimes I crave approval, superiority, attention, and stuff like that. Now that I’m aware of these thoughts, what now, what’s next?” - Curious Colleague
Upon hearing the question, I immediately thought, well that’s a loaded question. For those of you that have a similar question, here’s what I ended up sharing with my colleague:
1) CELEBRATE YOUR AWARENESS
First of all, most people don’t get this far. You’ve reached a vulnerable space and are accepting truths that sometimes kind of suck.
2) BE AWARE OF THE GOOD AND THAT WHICH CAN BE IMPROVED.
While you’re aware that you crave approval, attention, etc., also note that you are attentive, seeking self-improvement, and other awesome things! Make sure to take notice of all your qualities, including the ones that don’t need tweaking.
3) PLAN THE CHANGE.
Before you can change your behavior or your situation, you have to be aware of what the current state is and understand what you want the end state to be. Once you understand the beginning and the end, you get to have fun planning your journey.
4) EXECUTE YOUR PLAN. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS. START OVER.
OK. So you have your plan. Now, just work towards the plan. Check back with yourself at regular intervals. This could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or whatever timing realistically works for you. As you work through your plan, it is important to practice mindfulness. Throughout the day, think about what you’re doing and why. How do your thoughts/actions contribute to the change you are trying to make? Once you’re happy with changes you are seeing, make sure to appreciate and celebrate your Awareness>Planning>Change journey. Now surely, you’ve recognized new things you want to learn, areas that require fine tuning… This is your opportunity to start the cycle all over again.
Now, taking my own advice. I’m aware that I procrastinate and just feel like I shouldn’t care about my clothes so much. Why was I late to work? Changing my outfit 8 billion times. Why didn’t I like what I picked out? I took all of 2 minutes to plan it out the night before. Even though I feel like I shouldn’t care about my clothes so much, I do care. If it’s enough to have me searching for a better outfit until I’m late for work, then something has to change.
Oversimplified next steps:
Celebrate Awareness: I’m always celebrating my awareness.
Reflect on the Good: I did a huge purge of crap I no longer needed recently. It was emotionally difficult, but I know I can do it again if need be.
Plan the Change: a. Go through clothes, and donate stuff that doesn’t make me feel amazing. b. Buy choice clothing that works with multiple styles and DOES make me feel amazing c. Plan outfits for the week on Sundays. Make this an enjoyable experience.
Execute the Plan: Do the do. Exercise the plan, and review progress at the end of each week.
I hope this post helps those who are thinking… what’s next? Self-awareness is beautiful. Chances are, you’re here because you have an interest in self-awareness, self-improvement, self-development, and the like. What’s awesome about the process of self-growth is that you can just keep going. You can only learn more when exploring yourself and steadily pushing your boundaries. It all starts with becoming aware.