The beautiful thing about being a twenty-first-century woman is choices. You get to choose what you do for a living, how much money you earn, and who you’ll marry. Despite all these choices, far too many of us are living by default.
We get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner and go to sleep. Rinse. Repeat. Before long, decades have flown by and you and the woman you dreamt up have parted ways without so much as an afterthought.
Then life intervenes — a job loss, a divorce, a parent dies or becomes ill — and suddenly life becomes one big question mark.
So, how do you become reacquainted with the unapologetic, fearless female you envisioned?
At first inspection, the concept of becoming the woman you want to be will have you burning your bra and doing fists pumps. There’s an assumption that this process is a hop, skip and jump down the proverbial yellow brick road. However, as someone currently entangled in this endeavor, be forewarned this is a messy and arduous process — one in which you’ll find friends, family members, and romantic partners falling by the wayside.
If you’re ill prepared for this journey, you’ll quickly find yourself right back where you started. Below are three things getting in the way of your level up and strategies for pushing past them.
1. You can’t spot her out in a crowd. Sure, on a few occasions, you’ve caught glimpses of your badass self. But have you ever sat down and mapped out in detail what your ideal self looks like? Often the reason we come up empty after attaining a goal we anticipated would make us happy is because the objectives we set for ourselves are based more on the expectations of others than our needs and desires. So we get the dream job, the amazing husband, or the luxury house and ride the subsequent emotional high only to realize it was just a temporary fix.
Having a clear picture of the woman you wish to become ensures your goals align with your desires and help you chart your progress. More importantly, a detailed vision will encourage you to stay the course on days when you want to throw the covers over your head and stay in bed.
Action step: A fun exercise for determining the life you want to lead is to create a character in your head and write out a script that details a day in her life. You might include things like her morning routine, the projects she worked on, the people she spent time with throughout the day, and even the outfit she wore.
2. You’ve got a sweet spot for junk food. You may be wondering what food has to do with who you are as a woman, so let me explain. When you overindulge in foods high in sugar, sodium, and other highly addictive chemicals, it affects your energy level and ability to think clearly. If you’ve ever experienced a caffeine crash or the sluggish feeling that occurs after you’ve had a plate of pasta, then I’m sure you can identify with this. Furthermore, what we eat also impacts how our bodies look and how we feel about ourselves. We’re less inclined to take risks if we don’t feel confident in our appearance.
Action step: For the next seven days, keep a food journal and write down everything you ate along with how you felt afterward. If you find yourself reaching for a cup of coffee or a Snickers bar after lunch, pay attention. Then start researching healthier alternatives. Instead of potato chips, grab some baby carrots and hummus or opt for a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with fruit versus a doughnut to satisfy your sugar cravings.
3. You have analysis paralysis. Have you ever found yourself struggling to move forward on a project? You’ve done hours of research, but still, you find yourself stuck in limbo. If this is the case, you may have analysis paralysis. In other words, you’re overthinking. It happens to the best of us. We spend so much time in our heads thinking about every possible scenario, usually everything that could go wrong, that we stall on making decisions.
When I started my freelance writing business, one of the best pieces of advice I received was simply this: pull the trigger. There’s never going to be a perfect time to make a move, and the longer you wait, the more likely it is that you’ll talk yourself out of your dream.
Action step: Make a list of all the tasks required to complete a project or accomplish a goal and take action within the next 15 minutes. That may mean making a phone call to a prospective client or sponsor, buying a website domain, or paying off a bill that’s been lingering for the last couple of months. The key is to build enough momentum so that you get out of your head and start making progress towards your goal.
Becoming the woman you want to be is no easy feat. To successfully navigate this course, you must be willing to tear up all the rule books and set all the well-worn trails behind you on fire. But to do so, you must decide what you want, the path you’ll take, and then fight like hell to get there.