Reinventing Self
April 30, 2006 8:42 PM   Subscribe

How does one go about reinventing themselves?

My life has gotten kind of stagnant lately. My grandfather passed away last week and it's made me re-evaluate things. I know what I SHOULD do (manage money better, right now it's check-to-check; meet new people and make more friends; get my health back; be more creative in writing and art and actually get my work out there) but I always rever to my old patters of inactivity. Yawn! I have a hard time making changes permanent, to where they're just part of me. Any ideas?
posted by miltoncat to Human Relations (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I've always done this by iniating a change of scene: seasonal work, and/or moving. A change of venue is incredibly invigorating, and creates a blank slate of personal possibilities that is amazing in its power to help you discover hidden urges and talents.

However, moving every few years has entailed sacrifices that are only becoming evident for me now, at midlife. So, while I recommend it, do be wary of making it a habit.

Here's a link
I grabbed from MeFi a couple weeks ago and have absolutely loved ever since: a long and detailed guide to living a good life through applying general, proven techniques of self-help.
posted by Miko at 8:51 PM on April 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

If it scares you, and you can't think of a good, rational reason why it should, force yourself to do it until it doesn't.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:57 PM on April 30, 2006

Pick something attainable.

It could be a single small thing, like meet one new person a month. Or, it could be a small step on the way to a much bigger thing, like putting away $5 a week is a small step on the way to managing your money better.

A series of small successes will help you gain confidence to take bigger steps and make bigger plans. Don't feel like you need a grand plan before you start, just set off in the right direction.
posted by Good Brain at 9:56 PM on April 30, 2006

I once committed to doing 30 yoga classes in 30 days. Those 45 hours completely changed my body. And how I felt about myself. I realized the power of just getting myself to show up. Hmmm...another example.... Tired of the vagaries of consulting, but knowing I couldn't just "be more disciplined," I took a temporary full-time job. My days became more regimented and my evenings, more free.

What I'm trying to say is -- decisions, control your body, controls your state of mind. Use your decision-making power to put yourself in the situations that create the changes in your mind that you want. Getting yourself to physically be somewhere or do something is huge.

Oh, another good trick -- visualize doing the new thing. "I'm the kind of person that ______. I do ______ because I want to [give myself a financial safety net]." Good for getting over the first hump of doing something new.
posted by salvia at 11:06 PM on April 30, 2006

At the risk of sounding like a loser, this book really did change my life. You read a chapter a day for seven days, each taking you through some very simple psychological techniques and also helping you to think and define what you want out of life. Afterwards you just keep putting into practice what you've learned. *Puts on shopping channel voice* "Within six months I got promotion at work, bought my first apartment, started dating an amazing girl, hugely improved my mood, attitude to life and focus on other long term goals." No joke. The one and only self-help book I've ever read but it worked, straight up.
posted by brautigan at 11:30 PM on April 30, 2006

Those Paul Mckenna books are good. One thing I would say though, if you have any tension or anxiety, you'll probably need to get into relaxation yoga etc first, otherwise I find doing the visualisation can make you very tense
posted by lunkfish at 2:05 AM on May 1, 2006

Sit down and clearly define what you want in this reinvention. Pick something attainable. And then try to stay conscious of the choices that you make... in effect ctaching yourself in the act whenever you do something "the old you" would have done... to ensure that it's a true reinvention, rather than just a half hearted attempt at it.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:56 AM on May 1, 2006

Throw out/sell everything you can stand to get rid of. It is impossible to overstate what a massive difference this can make... you're literally making space for new things to come into your life. Ideally your home will contain nothing that you do not either use or love. When you're done, treat yourself to some new clothes and maybe try out a new haircut.
posted by teleskiving at 3:44 AM on May 1, 2006

If you're really intent on this, get rid of all your stuff and move. Be the person you want to be when meeting new people in your new location. It's not easy, and life doesn't give us a lot of opportunities to do this, but if it's important to you, you can make it work.
posted by adamrice at 7:18 AM on May 1, 2006

Ever consider praying for help in this all-important matter? God created you, He knows what makes you happy and successful far better than you do.
posted by rinkjustice at 7:29 AM on May 1, 2006

teleskiving is right. Clean out all the crap you have lying around. It can be incredibly cathartic. (I mean it here a practical advice, but taken as a metaphor it can be very useful too. At their crudest, an awful lot of religions and philosophies are based around the removal of extraneous influences. Clutter is bad, physical or psychic, and I'm increasingly convinced it's the root of a lot of problems.)

So, clean, throw out, unsubscribe, edit, par down, jettison, remove. It makes a hell of a difference.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 8:15 AM on May 1, 2006

Something that kinda helped me was to create a spreadsheet of things that I knew I should be doing. I printed it out with the items in a column on the left, and labelled the other columns 1-31 so I could use it every month. Then at the end of each day I'd put a tick in the box of each item I'd done.

Examples for me were: phone a friend; phone a family member; get 8 hours sleep... you get the picture. I stuck it on the wall next to my bedroom door.

Of course, determining what should go on that spreadsheet is the tricky thing. I spent a good few days carrying a notepad around with me, trying to determine why I felt bad about certain things. Then I reviewed and categorised everything, and boiled it down to a few simple things I could do every day.

YMMV. I haven't done it for a while, but this has inspired me to review it and start again :-)
posted by ajp at 7:13 AM on May 2, 2006

I've just discovered this site, and I think he is pretty good.
posted by zgott300 at 2:22 PM on May 2, 2006

I asked a similar question about restarting your life that might help you.
posted by divabat at 6:11 PM on May 10, 2006

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