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Week 52 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Personal Change

It’s the final week of this journal prompt series that I wrote to help you make introspection and deep thinking a daily habit. We made it!  Thanks for reading, liking and commenting throughout the year. I hope you found the content useful, or at least interesting, challenging, and thought provoking!   Next year’s blog project TBA!

This week’s journal topic: Personal Change

There’s a quote on Pinterest usually attributed to Lao Tzu:

“When I let go of what I am, I become who I might be.”

Regardless of the source – a fake quote or not – I like it.  It’s versatile as a reminder that progression requires letting go.  Being attached to our identity (i.e., how we choose to perceive and think of ourselves) makes letting go is a difficult and painful process.  Letting go is not a “whatever” or “don’t care” attitude, a disinterested shrugging of shoulders.  True letting go is a process requiring

self-reflection and deep looking inward,

followed by recognition of what will be let go and why,

motivated by what will be gained from letting go,

which allows the release of habits and identities.

It’s the end of 2019. Two-zero-two-zero will arrive in a few days.  The fresh page on the calendar is an opportunity to start something new and to become someone new.  If you want to become someone new – to assemble a new identity – then you need to release incompatible parts of your current identity. You cannot be two people at the same time.  Trying to be two people ensures a subtle feeling of dissatisfaction and cognitive dissonance.

what to wear.jpg

The Millennial’s version of  Steve Jobs’ “uniform”

You know how some people always look put together? Their closets are filled with items that all “go together”.  They let go of variety in “looks” and focus on pieces that have can be mixed-and-matched without effort.  It’s easy and satisfying to navigate a closet that is consistent pieces.

You know how some people have no trouble saying no?  They have figured out what makes them feel good and who they want to spend time with.  They focus on what makes their life consistently meaningful.  They let go of events and people that might seem exciting but either over-complicate life or fail to add significant meaning. By doing so, they always have room for what matters.

Have you ever owned an article of clothing that you never wore but couldn’t bear to give away?  You really loved the piece, it was one-of-a-kind, or it had sentimental value. Maybe you bought it on sale, or it was really, really expensive and you haven’t worn it enough yet.  Most likely, this piece doesn’t go well with anything and was taking up space.  It was hard to let it go, almost unbearable. But how did you feel a week or month after you finally let it go?  In hindsight you may have a hard time remembering the details of exactly what you gave up!

In your closet of an identity that’s already packed full – you don’t have room for habits and identities that are holding you back with needless complication and clutter.

Journal Questions:

  1. How do you want to perceive yourself in the new year? (Think: I am ______.)
  2. Why does this feel important to you? How will it improve your life and well-being?
  3. What activities do you do now that are inconsistent with your “I am ____” statement? Did you just become conscious of them?
  4. What beliefs do you have about yourself that are inconsistent with your “I am ___” statement? (List negative self-talk, self-sabotaging behaviors, comments from other people that result in self-doubt, willful negative interpretations, etc.)
  5. What are you afraid of in letting go of an old identity? Why does giving up certain old activities and beliefs scare you?
  6. Write 5 scenarios in which you will likely confront these old activities and beliefs and how you want to respond.
  7. Imagine your life five years from now, having let go of an old identity and having fully become your “I am ____” statement. Why do you feel more comfortable with yourself?

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