Step One – Develop Empathy for Yourself.
You’re a great friend, I’m sure of it. You serve and lift your friends, your children, your significant other. You spend time making sure others feel seen, valued, loved. You do so because you are good at empathizing with them. You can put yourself in their shoes, feel their feelings, see from their perspective, and in doing so you develop compassion for them.
Do you treat yourself with that same love and care? Are you that wonderful friend you know how to be . . . to yourself? All too often the answer is no. Our self-talk often resembles something we would never say to, or tolerate from another human being. So why do we tolerate it from ourselves? Do we even realize we are doing it? Have you ever taken a hard look at your self-treatment? Have you ever considered working to recreate thoughts and a relationship with yourself that is positive and productive?
You are good enough just the way you are! What if you knew that without a doubt? What if the bully in you just went away, and instead you embraced your current reality with love and acceptance? Would you then feel free to truly choose the path you want?
Step Two – Define Your Values. Create Your Vision.
What is your vision for your life? It may be hiding somewhere in the corners of your mind. It may have changed as you have experienced highs and lows over the years. It may be lost in the past with other unrealized dreams and disappointments. If you could have it, would you want it? Do you know what “it” is?
How do you define it? You start with defining your core values. As you explore, you’ll define what your core intrinsic values are – the purpose that drives you out of your bed each day with excitement, or would if you just felt better!
When you know what your values and vision are, you can put a plan in place to align your actions with that vision. (And just so you know, it’s okay if your vision seems to be a million miles away. Some visions, like childhood dreams of being an astronaut, may never come to full fruition. Even still, you can achieve the joy that comes from living a life that is true to the spirit of your vision, and have true joy!)
Step Three – Own Your Reality.
If you follow this model, you eventually have done a whole lot of “figuring stuff out” – and that’s great, but it’s also where people often get stuck. Owning one’s reality is something we have been trained to avoid. It’s so easy to just pick a distraction, any distraction – and we forget the epiphanies we almost had.
What if you just get quiet, get still, and observe your reality – what you have discovered about yourself so far – with complete honesty and acceptance. Accepting what is, with no judgement, is the only path to changing what is. Because only then can it be simply about what you really want and not about being “bad” or “good.” Remember the empathy you developed? Call on it now. You must break those patterns of unproductive thought and condemnation. You must replace them with positive and productive thoughts, and build on them. In doing so, you’ll realize you love yourself, just as you are, in your current and clarified reality. And you’ll feel free to decide where you are going. That’s next.
Step Four – Live the New You!
Now for the exciting part! You have learned how to treat yourself – good job! You have accepted and welcomed yourself as a long lost and cherished friend! You know how to hedge your bets by creating environments that serve you. You’ve defined your prime directive (core values), and have created your vision. You have evaluated your current situation and made peace with it.
Those steps have freed you to peacefully recognize yourself as someone who would like to live life differently. You’re someone who would like to feel better. It’s not about good or bad, pass or fail. It’s just about what you want for yourself. Do you want to live a life with freedom of movement, energy, stamina, healthy body chemistry, longevity? If so, it’s time to live true to that desire. Put your plan into action. It truly is yours now. You haven’t been bullied into it, you haven’t been made to feel like you’re not good unless you change . . . you’re simply choosing it because you want it, and because you’re armed with the inner peace and power that you have worked so hard to discover.
Step Five – Find your VERVE!
Verve (noun) – enthusiasm or vigor, vivaciousness, liveliness, animation, talent.
Who doesn’t want a little VERVE in their life?! Following this model, you’ve become a friend to yourself in all situations, and you are in charge of your environment and your attitude! You are now empowered to make nutritional and energetic changes and discover what you’re made of. Yes – now the magic happens. You find your VERVE! (It’s been waiting for you all along!)
What do I mean by that? Simply, everything we do must become part of us if we are to sustain it. When you evolve from following a program to following your passion, you have found your VERVE. You can and will discover that you are good at whatever you really want to be good at. You have a style all your own and you’ll gravitate toward certain passions in your new life. Maybe you love exploring healthy culinary delights, or maybe you have discovered Tai Chi fills your soul. Whatever calls to you, you will begin to excel at. Maybe you are a pay-it-forward type of person and will look for ways to share your verve and inspire others.
Step Six – Expand Your Horizons.
If you truly embrace the steps in this journey, it is a journey that will never end. You’ll discover new heights and break through barriers you didn’t even know existed. Don’t think of it as anything with an end point, but a never-ending process of evolving into the best you at all times.
Look back and evaluate the distance you have traveled, growth you have achieved, and strength you have gained. As you do, you will detect areas you may need to revisit and fine tune. You’ll then be able to expand your goals based on the evolved person you have – and will continue to – become. As you move forward, you can re-apply this process and build on the foundation you’ve created to shore up areas that need it. In short . . . rinse and repeat!
At some point, your body will match the amazing soul you have unleashed. Believe that! You may be there sooner or later, but have no fear – at some point, it will happen because you believe it will. When it does, and you’re sailing along with ease, maybe you’ll expand and use this technique in your life to acheive all kinds of greatness. Really, why not? You now have the tools!
You’ll also share it. You will not be able to hide your light.
Ariane Mullen is a personal trainer, weight loss consultant, group fitness instructor, and a health and fitness lifestyle contributor for MG Magazine. She manages a busy life as a single mom of five kids, and head of her own successful weight-loss and fitness brand and company. She coaches clients to a fit body and soul through her unique, self-created process which she calls EVOLVE. You just read about it. Each step in the article spells the acronym EVOLVE Ariane believes that true change can only come from the inside out. She has learned through years of coaching clients via behavior modification techniques that habits only go so deep. Routines only protect to a point. EVOLVE has become her labor of love as a means to provide the missing link for true intrinsic change.
TO learn more about EVOLVE with ARIANE, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org