By Carol Holm, author of Take the Lid Off: Unleashing Your Unlimited Potential
We have all noticed those people who seem to be able to achieve great things with very little effort. As we observe them it’s easy to conclude that their abilities are superior to ours and that we are incapable of achieving the same things. The fact is that we all have plenty of potentials to achieve the things that are important to us; it isn’t ability that makes the difference, it’s our self-image that determines our parameters for success.
Your self-image is your mind’s conception of the kind of person you are and what you are capable of achieving. You have created this picture from all your past experiences, including your failures and successes, as well as the way others react to you, especially in early childhood. Your conscious mind is not aware of the picture you have produced, but it is there, down to the last detail, and it controls your life.
Your self-image is the determining factor that dictates your behavior and lifestyle. It determines the type of career you choose, how you handle money, the amount of success you have, how you treat your body, and the quality of your relationships. If a person wants a healthy body, for example, but sees themselves as overweight, they will continue to struggle with their weight. If they desire a fulfilling and successful career but can’t imagine anything other than frustration and poverty, they will never achieve the results they want.
A great deal of the original programming for one’s self-image occurs by the age of five, and much of it is complete by the time a child reaches twelve. This original programming will always be with us; it’s not like a bad computer program that can be thrown away and replaced with a better one. In spite of this we have the ability, through our thoughts and choices, to create a new self-image that is capable of overriding the original one. In other words, we have the power to reprogram our self-image.
The following are five tips for reprogramming your self-image:
1. Change your habits by making a list of 12 habits you want to change, and then work on only one new habit each month — As much as 90 percent of your everyday behavior is based on habit. When you change your habits, your self-image automatically changes. Be aware that as humans, we are not designed to change more than one habit at a time so work on only one at a time. They say it takes about 21 days to change a habit but my experience has taught me that it can take more or less time depending on how willing we are to accept it as part of our self-image; so work on each habit until it no longer requires effort.
2. Write a description of your desired self-image and read it daily– You need a blueprint of the person you want to be. You can write it as a detailed paragraph or make a list —it doesn’t matter what the format is, as long as it helps you to imagine the person you want to be.
3. Always say things to yourself about yourself that you want to be true—Every time you say something to yourself about yourself, you are programming your self-image. It’s what you say to yourself and not what others say to you that programs your mind. Always ask yourself if what you are saying is really what you want as part of your programming.
4. Attach a positive meaning to each event that happens to you. The formula is E + R = O (event + the response = the outcome) It’s not the events that happen to us, it’s our response to those events that determines the quality of our lives. This is why challenging times can either propel a person to greater heights, or it can destroy their self confidence.
5. Choose books, movies, TV and friends that have a positive impact on your self-image– What you continually expose yourself to, you will eventually incorporate into your life. It’s also been said that we become like the five people we spend the most time with.
Success in any endeavor, whether it’s health, financial, sports, career or relationships has the same formula, and it all begins with developing the right habits. Once you decide to program your self-image for success, the positive results come almost effortlessly.
Carol Holm is a financial advisor for the firm of “Carol Holm Financial” and author of “Take the Lid Off” Unleashing Your Unlimited Potential. Her book teaches step by step how to use your mind to reach your goals.