As we all begin our New Year we seek new hope for new habits. Here’s one question you may want to ask yourself that will change your life. It’s beginning to change mine.
Do you ever begin to do something and realize that you already did it? When this happens, I thank my past self. I’m happy and proud of myself—myself in the past, having chosen to finish something and saving myself time now.
So lately I’ve been starting to turn that around. I’ve been thinking about my future self instead of my past self. What would make me proud of myself later? That’s the question that could change your life every day.
Here’s the method that’s keeping me focused on that question, each moment and each night, to make this new year full of days that I’m proud of.
Step One. Every night or every morning, record what choices you’ve made that day that make you proud. They could be as simple as getting up early, giving someone a compliment, taking out the garbage instead of letting your spouse do it, or just brushing your teeth really well.
As you do this every day, you’ll notice your choices more in the moment, as you do them, and start to repeat the positive pattern.
Step Two. Begin with the end in mind. Think about the end of the day to begin or the end of the week. Think about a goal you might be struggling with or even poor choices you’ve noticed from your daily reflections on your daily proud list.
For example, I want to be proud of myself today for following through on my promise to eliminate gluten from my diet. Gluten hurts my stomach and it makes me tired but I love cookies. I would be really proud of myself at the end of today if I chose an alternative to gluten.
I don’t have to get past today. I just want to be proud of myself today when I lay down tonight. I want to be thankful I chose not to eat gluten. How stoked would I be if I ended up giving up gluten for good, just thinking about today?
Step Three. Always choose proud. This is by far the most important step. So what if I ate a cookie? Would I beat myself up over it? Nope. I would be proud I only ate one cookie. But what if I ate a dozen cookies? My stomach would ache and I would be tired–both which would remind me of the reason I chose not to eat cookies in the first place. Then, I could be proud I noticed how I felt. There’s always a way to be proud, even after a choice that isn’t your best at first glance.
I have a teacher friend who diets often, but always allows herself a cheat day once a week. She can focus on feeling proud of herself throughout the week for eating well, and then when she eats like crap on her one day, there’s no guilt. She feels great physically and emotionally, and she maintains her ideal weight.
Feeling guilty doesn’t pay off. It doesn’t make you choose differently, it only makes you feel bad. That’s why always choosing to be proud is the biggest favor you can do for yourself.As children, we always wanted to make our parents proud. As adults, we need to make ourselves proud by making the choices that bring us into alignment with who we want to become.
What choices would you make—you will make this year–that would make you proud? Write them down. Share them with me.