At one point or another, we all get to the point in our lives where something needs to change.
Life just feels stale. We wake up and look ourselves in the mirror and realize there shortcomings we’re not addressing, and goals we’re not making progress towards.
It’s these kinds of wake up calls that give our life clarity. It’s these moments where we’re raw and real with ourselves about where we’re at and where we need to go.
Reinventing yourself is not easy, but it’s never too late or too early to do it. In this article, we’ll talk about how to reinvent yourself and start taking steps towards becoming the type of person you’ve always wanted to become.
How Do You Know When It’s Time To Reinvent Yourself?
Before talking about how to reinvent yourself, it’s important to recognize when that process needs to start taking place. When it comes to knowing when it’s time to change, the most reliable source you have is your inner wisdom.
The most important conversation we have in life is the one we have with ourselves. We wake up with it. We walk around with it. And eventually, we act on it.
To put it simply, you know it’s time to reinvent yourself when you feel stuck.
If you’ve been telling yourself for months or years that you’re going to change something about your life, but no progress has been made – that’s a sign that you need to do some things differently.
Here are a couple more signs that it’s time to start shifting your identity and making things happen:
Sign #1: Pillow Talk
Nope, not that kind of pillow talk. You’re on the wrong site if that’s the kind of advice you’re looking for.
When you lay your head on your pillow at night, what do you think about? Do you feel content with the direction of your life, or is it the same story repeating over and over again?
It’s different for everyone. For some of you, you may lose sleep over the fact that you’ve been stuck in a job that you hate for the last five years. Maybe you toss and turn because you lack social connection, or because it’s been years since you were in the best shape of your life.
Whatever story comes up around bedtime, it’s important that you listen to it. In my life, I’ve found that the thoughts that swirl in my head before I go to sleep are some of the most important.
If you’re hearing the same repetitive story before you go to bed each night, that’s a good indicator that whatever is bothering you needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Sign #2: Your Life Feels Easy
People who find themselves in a rut are usually trapped in the dungeons of their comfort zone.
One of the most common habits of successful people is that they are constantly exposing themselves to discomfort. They’ve chosen to forego the luxuries of a life shrouded in comfort in order to pursue one that’s meaningful and challenging.
Your brain is an amazing organ, but it’s not perfect. It’s primary goal is to keep you alive while expending as little energy as possible. This is the fatal flaw that often keeps us from living up to your full potential.
In order to achieve that goal, it naturally steers you towards actions that feel good in the moment. It actively sabotages your efforts to change by convincing you to avoid situations where you may experience fear and discomfort.
When you avoid discomfort on a regular basis, you’re not growing. And if you’re not growing, you’re not changing.
If you’re in the habit of making choices that are guided by what feels easy, that’s yet another sign that it’s time to reinvent who you are.
Imagine if someone you’re close to asked you the question, “So how have you been? What’s new in your life?”
Would you answer with, “Oh, you know, same shit different day.”
Or, would you say something like…
- I actually joined a gym recently and have been starting to workout a few times per week. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life!
- I’ve met a bunch of new people recently and have finally started expanding my social circle.
- I actually started a new job recently! It’s a really exciting opportunity and the work is challenging but it’s something I’m naturally interested in learning about.
- Me and my wife have started to fix our marriage and I don’t think that we’ve ever been as close to each other as we are right now.
If you answer this question honestly, you’ll know whether or not shit needs to change.
How Long Does It Take To Reinvent Yourself?
This question is central to the topic of how to reinvent yourself because most people start their behavior change journey with the wrong expectations.
Realistically, it will take you to 3-6 months of consistent, focused action to transform a certain aspect of your identity. It could take longer, and in rare cases you’ll see results quicker, but that’s the baseline timeframe you should expect.
Why? Because you’ve made thousands of choices that have formed the beliefs you currently hold about who you are.
There’s no B.S. 14 day challenge that will create the radical change you’re looking for. Your brain needs concrete evidence to start believing that you’re a different person. This only happens when you repeat good daily habits over long-term timeframes – think months and years, not days and weeks.
The good news is that life is long. Reinventing yourself is a slow process, but quitting after three weeks because you’re not seeing results won’t do anything to speed it up.
It’s amazing what six months of focus and dedication can do for you if you’re willing to be patient.
The Simple 3 Step Framework For How To Reinvent Yourself
Alright, we’ve made it to the section of the article that led you here in the first place.
So let’s get right into the reason you came here – the blueprint for how to reinvent yourself and start the process of changing your life for the better.
Step #1: Identify Your Biggest Demon
“That which you most need will be found where you least want to look.” – Jordan Peterson
I wanted to start off this section with that quote because it forms the backbone of the first step in the process of reinventing who you are.
When you start thinking about the things about your life that need to be fixed, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. That list can get pretty damn long if you think about it long enough.
But trying to fix all of these things, or even just a couple of these things at once is a futile exercise. That’s why you’re going to channel your time and energy into fixing the area of your life that is bringing you the most anxiety and grief.
If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s this – we all have that one thing that eats at us daily.
Remember when earlier we talked about pillow talk? Well, if you’re like me there’s probably one thing that stands out to you the most during these late-night reflections.
It’s that one thing that you’ve vowed to yourself over that you were going to get control of. It’s that one internal story that seems to be stuck in your head on an endless loop.
That thing is called your biggest demon, and it’s exactly what you need to address first.
For me, it was social anxiety. I wrestled with it for years. It was the last thing I thought about before I went to bed and the first thing I thought about every morning.
It didn’t matter that I couldn’t stick with an exercise habit for longer than three weeks. It didn’t matter that I would occasionally hit the snooze button and get some extra sleep.
My social anxiety is the one character flaw that brought me the most shame. I was ashamed that I avoided social gatherings because I was afraid of rejection. I was ashamed that I couldn’t hold a conversation with a girl that I was attracted to for longer than ten seconds. I was ashamed that my personal relationships lacked depth because I was afraid that people would see me for who I really was.
If social anxiety isn’t your struggle, it’s something else. Maybe it’s the fact that you’ve vowed to get in shape for the last five years yet still feel ashamed when you step on the scale.
Maybe it’s the fact that you’re not the best mother or father that you could be. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re stagnant in your career and hate going to work every day.
Whatever it is, you’re going to have to face it eventually. Because your only other option is to let it fester until you’re on your deathbed wishing you hadn’t.
You don’t need me to tell you what your biggest demon is, but here are a few powerful questions that will cut through the fluff and get to the heart of what’s taking the biggest toll on your life.
- If you had a magic pill and the benefits of this pill were being able to instantly change one thing about your life, what would you pick?
- If you were rich and financially secure, what do you think you’d still lose sleep over?
- When you think about what’s wrong with your life, what’s the most common recurring thought that pops up?
Step #2: Harness The Power of Small Habits
In step two of this blueprint for how to reinvent yourself, we’re going to talk about how you can harness the power of small, incremental change.
The biggest barrier to long-term change is consistency. We have a bad habit of overestimating our willpower and aiming too high.
We tell ourselves that we’re going to start lifting weights for an hour each day, or that we’re going to write for three hours per day. And usually, two weeks later these new habits have fallen flat and we’re no closer to our desired future.
It feels good in the moment to set these grand intentions, but when the time comes to take action we’re often met with a massive wall of internal resistance.
Small habits are the most powerful method out there for mastering consistency and shifting your identity. The worst way to face your biggest demon is to think that you can take massive action starting from day 1.
It’s just not a sustainable formula for behavior change. Want to know the habit that helped me take control of my social anxiety? Simply walking out the front door every day.
It was this small act that then gave me the momentum to start saying hello to people, giving out compliments, and eventually start having engaging conversations with complete strangers.
The big changes in your life start with a tiny seed, and small habits act as that seed.
Taking repeated action every day, even in small ways, slowly builds up evidence in your brain that you’re a different person. It’s this evidence that propels you towards your most ambitious goals.
So first things first, come up with a daily habit that will help you address your biggest demon.
Then, scale it down to something that’s too easy to say no too. Make it super tiny so that you can show up and get the reps in even when you feel like you have zero motivation.
Here are a few examples of what really small looks like:
- Walking for fifteen minutes every day becomes walking 50 steps
- Reading for thirty minutes per day becomes reading two pages
- Having conversations with five strangers per day becomes saying hello to one person every day
Don’t let these small habits act as a constraint either. It’s totally fine if you exceed expectations and get 1000 steps in instead of 50, or read twelve pages instead of two.
In fact you’ll notice that once you get started, it’s actually harder to stop than keep going. But the important part is for the first month, the minimum target doesn’t change.
The key with small habits is to get humble. Think about a target that you can actually reach on a daily basis. It’s the act of showing up every day that will create those subtle identity shifts that allow you to reach higher.
Step #3: Raise Your Target Every 30 Days
After a full month of consistent action, you’re well on your way reinventing yourself and turning your new habit into a permanent part of your identity.
Now that you’ve crossed this thirty day threshold, you’ll want to take advantage of the subtle shift in your identity and raise the bar a little bit.
Think about a way to raise the difficulty of your habit without overwhelming yourself.
For example, if you started with a mini habit of walking 50 steps every day, you’ve probably broken through that barrier multiple times by now.
So use this as leverage and make your new mini habit walking 125 steps every day. If you started with writing 50 words per day, make your new minimum target 100 words per day.
Just make sure that you’re not raising the bar too high because after all, your goal is to still maintain a minimum requirement that you can hit each day without having to exert much willpower.
If you miss two days in a row, or miss more than five days throughout the month, then that’s a good sign you’ve gotten a little ahead of yourself and need to lower the bar.
All you need to do is continually raise your target each month until you find your breaking point.
And if for some reason you’re worried that these small habits won’t do much for your life, then allow me to prove you wrong.
About a year ago when I started this blog, I began a mini-habit of writing 50 words per day. As evidence started to build in my brain that I was the type of person who writes every morning, I continually raised my target.
Right now, that target sits at 200 words. But that doesn’t matter, because I routinely write 1,500 words per day without breaking a sweat.
So don’t get hung up on the fact of the simplicity and ease of small habits. With months of repeated consistency, you’ll be hitting targets that you never thought were possible.
Final Thoughts On How To Reinvent Yourself
I hope you enjoyed going through this simple 3 step framework for how to reinvent yourself and face your biggest demon.
Once you address your biggest demon, you’ll notice other aspects of your life start to improve as well. It’s like lifting a giant weight off of your shoulders – everything else becomes easier when it falls off.
You have to realize that everyone is after big change, and 98% of those people will spend the rest of their lives stuck and stagnant – wondering why the hell nothing changes despite their best efforts.