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Before reinventing yourself, it’s worth considering where this desire, or need, came from.
Is this something that you feel is a natural evolution, or does it feel like it’s been dictated by someone else, either personally or professionally?
While we all go through phases of wanting to change things in our lives, it’s important to retain authenticity to who you are.
That might sound like a contradiction to reinvention, but it’s actually the perfect way to ensure you stay true to yourself while still exploring other things available to you and how they make you feel and think differently.
First, let’s delve into what your identity really means and relates to. For a lot of people, identity relates to appearance – how you choose to style your hair, what makeup you choose to wear, how you choose to dress, etc.
Notice the word ‘choose’ here – your identity is something that you’re actively contributing to.
Things like your gender, height, eye color etc., are part of your identity in some ways, but they’re also things that you have no control over, which makes them redundant when it comes to reinventing yourself!
Your identity is also made up of your personality and interests – how you choose to spend your time, what you choose as a career, etc.
And how much time you dedicate to your career can be a big factor. For some of us, our job is something we do for a set amount of hours each week. For others, our job is something that gives us purpose and brings us joy.
If we actively choose to make our career part of our identity, it’s often because it serves us in a big way – through contributing to our feelings of self-worth or through providing a large chunk of our social life and personal enjoyment. Either way, it’s your choice to make!
Ultimately, your identity is the pieces of yourself that you’re choosing to represent who you are.
So, let’s consider why you’re changing your identity and reinventing yourself in the first place.
Is it because of a comment someone made that’s left you feeling like you need to change?
Have you recently been through a breakup, or loss, or massive shift (like a divorce, move, career change, etc.)?
Maybe you just want to mix things up because you’re bored of who you are and how you come across to others.
While all these reasons are valid, it’s important to retain a sense of self.
It can be tempting to change your hair color or buy a whole new wardrobe full of outfits you’d never have worn before, or even change jobs and do a complete 180. And these things could be a part of your authentic reinvention. But you have to remember that you’re still the same person underneath it all.
You won’t suddenly stop wanting to dance when your favorite song comes on just because you’ve changed your hairstyle! You won’t stop being stressed out by something that’s been bugging you for years just because of a couple of new piercings and a new name you’re asking people to call you!
Do you see where we’re going with this? You can make changes and upgrade your life, but you’re still the same person with the same values and experiences underneath it all.
So, the advice we’re offering below isn’t about how to become a totally new person – it’s about reinventing yourself in a natural, evolutionary way that means you’re staying true to yourself through the process!
1. Establish where you are – and where you want to be.
Before you start making any big, or even small, changes as part of your journey to reinvent yourself, it’s worth taking stock of where you’re currently at.
What are your current interests and hobbies, what makes up your identity, how much does work play into your personality, where does most of your time go?
This is an important exercise as it’ll help you keep track of the progress you make.
It’ll also jog your memory and help you think about things in a different way. We’re so used to thinking in a linear fashion that this kind of exercise can be really difficult and we can feel stuck in our old thought patterns.
By actively writing down facts and feelings about your current state and life choices, you’ll be reminding yourself of the things that you often choose not to think about.
Now that you’ve established where you are, think about where you want to go! This is the really fun bit as you can start mapping out what you want to look like, act like, speak like in the future when you’re your ‘new self.’
Start by doing this on your own so that you can be totally honest with yourself – there might be things you want to add to this list that you’re embarrassed about or don’t want to tell other people about just yet. Maybe some of your goals or idealizations feel unrealistic, so you don’t want people to know about them until you’ve achieved them!
Once you’ve had time to map things out and get it all down on paper, chat to those around you who you trust and love. They might be able to help you think about things you hadn’t even considered.
Often, when our goals feel out of reach or are things we’ve been dreaming about for a long time, we subconsciously stop ourselves from thinking about them.
Maybe you’re desperate to become a yoga teacher but you know you can’t afford the training, so your mind shuts it out as an option so that you don’t get upset every time you think about it. Your friend might remember this kind of thing about you and help you put it onto paper as a goal that feels exciting rather than impossible!
Your loved ones will also remember things that you might have forgotten about – talking about them might get you really fired up and excited again. If it does, it means they’re great to add to your list of ideal personality traits/ hobbies/ interests.
By mapping out what you want your future self to look like, you can start figuring out ways to become that person. We’ll go into the ‘hows’ of this later on, but this kind of exercise will help form the foundation of your reinvention.
Rather than simply saying “I want to reinvent myself and be better,” you can plan out specific things that will help you achieve your overall goal.
2. Be realistic in your goals, but don’t be scared to experiment!
In order to truly follow through with this reinvention and commit to investing in yourself, it’s important to set realistic goals.
While it’s great to be ambitious, setting yourself goals that are too out of reach may make you feel dejected and disappointed early on, leading to you abandoning any kind of effort to make a change longer-term.
Again, take some time to yourself to really think about your goals. Be brutally honest without judgement – you might want to become someone who runs 10km before work every day, but is that actually going to happen? Maybe 2 runs a week of whatever length feels good is a better goal to work towards for now.
Setting realistic goals isn’t about a lack of self-belief or willpower, it’s a way of making sure your efforts are sustainable and enjoyable! You’re working towards a new version of yourself, and that should be fun.
That being said, don’t be scared to add things to the list that you’d never really have thought of before – like going for a skydive or doing karaoke. These things might not seem realistic because they’re out of character, but they’re realistic because they’re achievable.
Rather than expecting your body to become an Olympic athlete overnight, aim for things that are within reach and that you can achieve. This way, you’ll feel much better when you get to tick things off the list on your transformative journey.
3. Start a new hobby and explore new interests.
Similar to our point above, it’s important to experiment and try new things. This is how you’ll find out what you really like.
Often, our identity can feel so linear – we only grow as we go through set experiences and at a set rate. By embracing new things, you’ll discover new aspects of yourself that will be authentic to you but still fresh and part of your reinvention process.
Speak to loved ones about trying out new hobbies together and ask for ideas if you’re struggling.
Don’t be scared to think outside the box – you can try new things without having to commit to them. Go to a craft workshop, try out a new sport, take up cooking, educate yourself on something you’ve got an interest in.
Whatever it is, by starting to open up to the idea of new ways to spend your time, you’ll be unlocking new passions and joys – and, by default, a new aspect to your identity!
4. Meet new people.
A fresh perspective can make a world of change!
As we get older, a lot of things stay the same. We’ve been in our jobs for a while, we’re happy with our friendship circle and don’t really have time to put into meeting lots of new people. Essentially, we have busy lives filled with regular commitments.
This is great, and being comfortable and content is important – but what about mixing it up a bit?
If you’re reading this article, it’s probably because something feels a bit stuck or stagnant. That means it’s time for a change!
When we talk about things with people we know, we can pretty much predict what they’ll say. And how many times have you discussed something totally new in the last week? Exactly!
Having good friends around that we can rely on is lovely, but it can sometimes limit the exposure we have to new ideas, new attitudes or beliefs, new experiences, and new conversations.
By meeting new people, you’re opening your whole world up. Someone might start a conversation about a film you’d never heard of before, or a hobby you didn’t know existed, or give you an insight into a totally new viewpoint.
The more you hear and see new things, the more your own mind and life begin to expand as a result. This will form a critical part of reinventing yourself, as you’ll suddenly have access to so many new things and perspectives within yourself!
5. Start making small habit changes.
If you want to reinvent yourself, you need to stick with it. And in order to retain authenticity, it’s important to make genuine changes.
That doesn’t mean dyeing your hair and being ‘someone new’ for a few weeks. It means making some longer-term lifestyle updates that contribute to a version of yourself that’s authentically evolving.
Think about things you can do that will contribute to the ‘you’ you’d like to be – waking up a bit earlier, planning your meals out in advance, setting limits to how many social nights you have per week. Equally, you may want to be more sociable, more spontaneous, more laidback!
Things like how many evenings you spend at home (versus out) or how often you cook meals from scratch may feel small, but they’ll be crucial to sustainably reinventing yourself.
The more you make habitual changes, the more natural they become. You’ll reach a point where you don’t even realize you’re doing something, which is the best way to make an authentic shift.
6. Make a physical change.
Of course, part of your identity will always come down to your appearance. The way you look plays into how you feel about yourself, and it can be a way to get the ball rolling in terms of your reinvention.
By making physical changes, you may start to feel closer to your ‘real’ self. As with a lot of things, you might need to experiment a few times before you hit the spot!
That might mean trying a few different hair colors before you can step back and say, “this really suits me.” It might mean trying out a few different clothing styles before something feels right or comfortable.
Bear in mind that there probably won’t be a movie-montage-lightbulb-moment where you suddenly feel like the best, shiniest version of yourself! Even if something feels good or makes you feel closer to your ideal self, it might take a little while to get used to.
This is where the opinion of trusted loved ones can really help you. For example, dyeing your hair might feel really strange, and you might not know if your new color suits you, simply because it’s so different.
You might feel like you’re playing a role or dressing up for a little while, just while you adjust and give yourself the time and space to settle into it.
Of course, it might feel a bit weird because it’s not actually quite right! Friends and family will be able to give you honest feedback and boost your confidence, making it easier to accept the changes you’re making and identify if they truly align with how you want to look and be seen – or if you need to try again with a new look…
7. Imagine how you want to be described.
While our appearances and lives aren’t all about external factors, let’s be honest: we all care what other people think about us!
This task is a way to get you thinking about how you’re seen, as well as how you want to see yourself. It might feel a bit vain or self-indulgent at first, but it’s a great way of figuring out how to reinvent yourself.
Imagine you’re at a party and you overhear a few people talking about you, describing you to their friend who hasn’t yet met you. What would you want them to say about you, in an ideal world, that would still be honest?
For some of us, we’d love it to be “That’s Sam – he’s really smart, he runs his own business, and he travels for 4 months of the year.” Sam might not have a business or travel (yet!), but that’s how he would like to be described because that’s what he wants his life to look like, and he wants those things to be true about himself once he’s reinvented himself.
Think about what you want to be true about yourself.
Do you want to be described as sporty because your reinvented self runs a lot?
Do you want people to talk about how great of a parent you are because your ideal self has kids?
Do you want people to think about the hilarious stories you tell because your ‘new’ self is really outgoing and funny?
Whatever it is – write it down! This helps you visualize and realize what your authentic, reinvented self has to do in order to be described in a way that is desirable to you.
That might mean you then commit to running because you like thinking about people describing you as a runner!
For example, I want someone to introduce me to their friends as a yoga teacher who has a dog and hikes every weekend. So, my reinvention process becomes me doing my yoga teacher training, creating a lifestyle that allows me to look after a dog, and hiking more often. That gives me a pretty clear pathway and some straightforward (if long-term!) steps I can take to reinvent myself in a truly authentic way. Makes sense, right?
Ultimately, reinventing yourself doesn’t need to be a case of abandoning everything you’re doing or everything you believe in. It doesn’t mean changing an entire friendship circle and quitting your job.
Of course, it could mean all those things – if that feels like the right thing for you to do! Whatever steps you can take to become the version of yourself you want to be are really worth investing in.
Still not sure how to reinvent yourself? You may not have considered it, but a therapist would be an essential companion as you embark on this journey. Speak to one today who can walk you through the process of creating a ‘new’ you. Simply click here to connect with one of the experienced therapists on BetterHelp.com.
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