I was talking to my dear friend, Barbara, recently. We were lamenting the fact that we were due for a complete overhaul. We have organized our lives, homes, and interests but as with most women, we have left ourselves for last. We have made changes to our diets, make more mindful purchases, consume less and are making our footprint on the planet ever smaller. We are good people, doing good things.
But we’ve both had this nagging at the back our minds. Our outside appearances do very little to reflect who we are inside. I have settled for easy and inexpensive, merely out of convenience. I have never taken the time to actually define (and refine) my outside appearance and let it reflect who I am inside. I look pretty conventional on the outside, aside from my many tattoos. I can usually be found wearing a black t-shirt and jeans. And while I love black, I am a wildly colorful personality… with very little style sense. People are constantly confused at the contrast between my personality and my appearance.
This year, Barbara and I have decided we are going to reinvent ourselves. We are shrugging off everything that doesn’t really reflect who we are and cultivating a “presentation” of who we really are.
Over the last few weeks I have thought about how I am going to tackle my reinvention and below is my strategy. If you are itching to reinvent yourself these suggestions might help you too.
1) Define what you want to change.
Identify what you want to change. Do you want to become a morning person instead of a night owl? Or do you want to become a vegan? Make a list as you go about your daily life and identify what you would like to specifically change about yourself. You may want to change a habit, behavior or characteristic. In my particular instance, it’s the way I dress.
2) Find inspiration.
Who has character traits you aspire to? Who is setting an example you’d like to follow? If someone, in particular, inspires you, read their autobiography or biography. It may give insight into how they became the person they are. If it’s someone current, subscribe to their newsletter or website. Listen to their podcasts. Last year Rich Roll was a huge inspiration to me. Listening to his podcasts gave me the courage to change the way I eat and help me become more mindful of the way I live. The character “Frankie” on the series Grace and Frankie is my wardrobe inspiration. Frankie’s bohemian hippy style is where I am headed.
3) Make a plan.
Aristotle said, “Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” Behaviors are learned and cultivated. Framing reinvention goals in an attainable way is important. Instead of saying “I want to be healthy and fit,” say to yourself “I want to be the kind of person who works out every day.” Break down goals into manageable, bite-size steps. Set up time in your calendar to work on your goals. If you want to work out schedule time to do it. If you want to quit smoking, map out a plan to quit. If you need help, get it. Before you know it, you will transform vague goals into a measurable path to success. I plan to take stock of every article of clothing I own (which isn’t much because I am a minimalist) and replace all of the items that don’t reflect me. I have decided to purchase one new piece a month to help me turn over my wardrobe. As I bring a new item in, I will donate an old one. By the end of the year, I will have a minimalistic bohemian wardrobe that fits who I am.
4) Be gentle.
We all mess up. We are human. Be gentle and kind to yourself. The best part of reinventing yourself is that, by definition, you can change your mind. If you realize halfway through the look you were going for doesn’t suit you, you can change it. If you run up against an obstacle, research how to overcome it or reevaluate your plan. There are no rules. If you don’t meet your expectations, try again! If I don’t like something, don’t be afraid to change it…again..and again.
5) Go for it!
When you are knee-deep in the habits of a lifetime, stepping outside of your comfort zone can be overwhelming. Defining a look that reflects me is daunting. Already others want to express their opinion or give advice. Friends may try to block you from changing. Don’t let their insecurities get in the way of your goals. Make conscious decisions every day to identify and transform into the person you were always meant to be. I’m going for it and you can too! The world would be a better place if we got real and invested in being our best authentic selves.