3 Ways You Can Change Yourself Into The ‘You’ You Want To Be

When I was younger, I didn’t like to wake up early.

If my parents would have let me, I would have slept in until around noon every day.

However, as I grew older, the benefits of becoming a morning person became more and more obvious.

In order to get all the little things done that I needed to do so I’d be organized and prepared for my day, it was clear I needed to get up a whole lot earlier.

The problem was this: I just couldn’t break all the habits that kept me a “noon person.”

I had heard the statement that “you are what you tell yourself you are.” I wondered if it were really possible to change yourself just by thinking it so.

change yourself

So I thought I would do a little experiment on myself.

Talking Myself Into Change

My path to success demanded I become an energetic early bird. Instead of saying, ‘Well, that ain’t me, so forget it!” I decided I would change my self-image.

I began to visualize myself as a morning person and would tell anyone who cared to listen that I was. When my alarm clock would go off, the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed, but I would say to myself, “I am a morning person!”

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Related: 5 Advantages Early Birds Have Over Night Owls

I would repeat it all morning, but would especially say it at night, every time I found myself dreading getting up at dawn the next morning.

It worked. I am now a morning person. I actually look forward to getting up early. It took about six months to a year—but the absolute truth is that I am now a very productive early-riser.

What’s Your Self-Image?

Some 40 years ago, a Dr Maxwell Maltz coined the term “self-image” in a book called Psychocybernetics. Self-image is a belief about ourselves and what we feel we are capable of accomplishing.

According to Maltz, self-image is determined by what we continuously tell ourselves. He said that you will not outperform nor will you underperform your self-image for long.

Related: Self Talk 101: Why You Need To Believe In Yourself

I have proven to myself over the years that he was right. It’s pretty simple: you can change yourself if you tell yourself you can. But you have to want to make the change.

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What’s Holding You Back?

If your self-image is that you’re not good with money, I could write you a check for a million dollars and you would find a way to lose it all.

Why do 80% of all lottery winners end up back in the same old financial rut within five years? Because they have the self-image of being out of luck.

If your self-image is that you’re a terrible singer, a klutz, an incompetent coworker, a D student, or a chronically ill person, you will be—until you decide that you want to change your self-image, and start transforming your life.

Related: How To Stop Negative Self Talk

Here’s how to change yourself.

Three Steps To Self-Transformation

1. Visualization

Picture in your mind the person you want to become. Close your eyes and see that image as if on a movie screen, and replay it over and over, every day.

2. Affirmation

Create a mantra for yourself, starting with the words, “I am….” to help you reach that goal.

Keep it simple. For example, “I am a nonsmoker,” or “I am the leader of my team.”

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3. Confirmation

Repeat the mantra the same way each day, and especially whenever you feel yourself falling into old, self-destructive habits or unhelpful behavior patterns.

Related: 10 Powerful Mantras That Can Change Your Life

It takes time to reshape the unconscious self-images many of us form in childhood, but once you do, you will be a whole different person.

The Takeaway

Your self-image affects how other people see you, even before you tell them how you see yourself. You can become more popular, more attractive to a potential mate, more sought after as a leader, and a more effective speaker just by telling yourself you are.

With these three steps, you can become the “you” that you know you are, deep down.


Jason-SelkJason Selk, EdD, trains companies and organizations—including the world’s finest athletes, coaches, and business leaders—on how to achieve optimal performance. He’s the bestselling author of 10-Minute Toughness and Executive Toughness, both published by McGraw-Hill. He’s a regular television and radio contributor to ABC, CBS, ESPN, and NBC, blogs for Forbes.com, and has appeared widely in print.

Photo by W. Rhea

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