Becoming the Person You Want to Be
By Ruth Lukey, LCSW
Aristotle once said: “You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.”
Today there are millions of self-help books that have been written to help transform us into better versions of ourselves. However, becoming the person that we’ve always dreamed of becoming requires more than reading a book. It requires action on our part to make progress. I believe that by creating and following a plan on a daily basis, you help to plant the seeds that are necessary to grow into a better you.
As a licensed clinician, I can tell you that the best way to become the person that you want to be is to seriously begin planning to develop daily behaviors that will match your personal goals. This mindset is the beginning stage of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is a belief system in which we feel the way that we think, and therefore we behave accordingly. Simply put, daily events or past events constantly filter through our consciousness and form the framework of how we view ourselves, and how we view our environment. These core beliefs stimulate our mind and create how we think, feel and act.
Given this premise, a plan to improve our daily behaviors and help us achieve our goals is to follow this five-step Cognitive Behavior Change Plan:
1. Use the idea of “Thought Stopping Behavior”. This is literally telling you, to tell yourself to stop thinking negatively about yourself. Basically, it means to stop beating yourself up. You are reminding yourself on a daily basis that your goal is not to be like someone else, but to be you with improved positive behaviors. So stop that negative internal bashing.
2. You also must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be. This means each morning, before your day begins, be mindful of your goals and what positive behaviors you will do that will lead you toward that achievement. Then imagine yourself at the end of the day having accomplished your daily behavior goals. Visualize the specific steps that it takes and how you would feel having been successful.
3. Put a proactive, mindful behavior plan into place by setting SMART Goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound. Each and every behavior goal should have all these qualities included in order for you to really make positive changes.
4. You must journal your success at the end of the day. This is a way to document and express in writing your emotions that are connected to your progress. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of documenting your success. The more that you pay attention to your positive changes, the more you will remind yourself to do it the next day.
5. Lastly and most importantly, you need to mindfully self-reflect on what behaviors need to happen in order for tomorrow to be successful. This is giving you an internal reward. This reward is not dependent on others, but solely on you to take care of yourself and to make changes. You recognize that your reward comes from within, and that you know by completing this five step process, you are one step closer to becoming the person that you want to be. This is Proactive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at its finest—the key to making lasting positive changes.
It is time now to become the person that you want to be, so picture it and get started with these five steps. If you have tried these steps and are not moving along as well as you like, it is important to get support from a therapist or behavioral specialist. Receiving professional help may assist you in gaining the insight necessary to decide what the possible barriers are and to create a path toward positive behavior change.