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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 2 October, 2014

Column: 8 ways to change your life in 2013

Want to make a fresh start this year? Margaret Mara offers some tips on how to go about it.

Margaret Mara

THE NEW YEAR is here and it’s a bit like Marmite. Some people love it and some people hate it.

The bells rang out loudly and the fireworks dazzled – but some people are lonely this time of year, while others are ecstatic.

But there is one thing that is good about New Year – it is an opportunity for change. Here is how you can get started:

1. Get specific

Positive change starts from within, so ask yourself “What do I want to change?” If you ask your brain a direct question, it will often come up with the answer.

The problem most people face is that they use the wrong language inside their head, for example “I don’t know what I want”. So get specific with your language and say “I want…(fill in the gap).”

2. Goal setting

Goals are just ideas unless they are written down.  And if you lose the idea, it’s like losing a very important document.  It’s painful.  Research has shown that writing out your goals gives you a greater chance of success than just leaving your goals unwritten.

  • What do you keep thinking about that you would love to do?
  • What is the thing you are passionate about?
  • What untapped talent or skill could you develop?
  • What behaviour would you like to change?

3. Ask yourself what do you want

Tolstoy once said, “Wveryone wants to change the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves”. Isn’t it time to make positive changes for you? Get specific by asking yourself some of these questions over Christmas:

  • What do I want?
  • What will that do for me?
  • What will I feel when I get this result?
  • What will I see?
  • What will I hear?
  • What do I have to do to achieve this?

4. Planning change

It only happens if you plan it.  Begin to think about how you can make positive changes in your life now. Imagine feeling proud of yourself.  You deserve it.  If you make the changes you want, you will be happier within yourself and begin to believe in yourself more. It will start a snowball effect.

5. I know what I want, now what?

So now you have an idea of what you want to change, what happens next?  The truth is that most people don’t know how to set goals. The basic format for goal setting is as follows:

  • Write out specifically what you want to achieve
  • Decide how you will monitor how well you are doing?
  • Detail what action you need to take to achieve your goal
  • How realistic is your goal?
  • What date do you want to achieve your goal by?

6. Visualisation

Visualise your goal as if you have already achieved it.  If you think you can’t visualise, here is an exercise to prove you can:

  • Close your eyes
  • Imagine yourself walking up to your doorway at home
  • See what colour the door is
  • Put your hand in your pocket and feel your front door key in your hand
  • What colour is the key?
  • Put the key into the keyhole and hear the sound of the door open.
  • What smell do you smell as you enter your hallway?

If you have got this far, you can visualise. So why not imagine yourself achieving your goal?

Obviously you have to put in the work as well.  It’s not just sitting at home saying ‘Well that’s great, I did the visualisation thing.’ Goals require action too. As Einstein said, imagination is more important than knowledge. When you access your imagination through visualisation, you access your subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind is far more powerful than your conscious mind.  It files every thought and every memory you have ever had. It is like a vast filing cabinet that stores your everyday thoughts and actions. It works on repetition. So set aside time daily to imagine your goal being achieved. Make a movie in your head. Throw in a bit of sound. Make the movie nice and bright and lively.

7. Changing behaviour

If there is something you want to change in your behaviour, tackle it head on.  Get help if you need it.  Stop making excuses and start making your life more tolerable.

8. Change is inevitable

Sometimes change can be painful.  Often when we don’t change what we really want to, that causes much more anxiety.  The only thing certain in life is change.

We have come through 2012. Take the time to consider carefully where you want to be and what you want to be doing this time next year.  What achievements do you want to have realised? By making positive daily changes, you can succeed and you will be happier, healthier and begin to live the life you truly want.

Margaret Mara is a qualified clinical hypnotherapist, psychotherapist and a personal and business coach. She delivers seminars and workshops on many different aspects of personal development. For more information you can email info@margaretmara.ie.

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