The Anatomy Of Transformations — Renew Yourself For Better Life

I’m sure you’ve seen people who have radically changed their life for the better in a matter of months or years.

The simplest example is the transformation pictures we see on the front page of most health and fitness products.

We wonder — How did that person change so fast? Did they take some sort of magic pill?

Then, we appreciate their dedication and move on with our normal lives.

Imagine if you could make that level of transformation every few months or years in your life.

I’m not just talking about the physical looks. I’m speaking of the internal character or attitude, succeeding in different aspects, learning new things, etc.

If you constantly transform yourself, you will live many epic lives in one body. It’s almost as if you will be reborn and keep creating better versions of yourself.

Most people will never experience such transformations in their lives. They will stay in the reactive mode and let life happen to them. They will stay the same all their life.

But you can change because change is good when it’s intentionally used to improve yourself.

Let’s talk about each stage of a transformation.

Stage 1: The Spark

It’s when it hits you — I (seriously) need to change.

For some, the source of the spark is fear while for others, it’s inspiration. For example, looking at your blood profile and deciding to change your lifestyle is fear based. Looking at your heroes and deciding to be like them is inspiration based.

Inspiration-based spark
Fear-based spark

Both are powerful enough to create initial momentum in your life. But none of them are strong enough to keep the momentum running for transformable change.

Sometimes, the spark works against us when we try to skip the journey and want fast results. We start with level 10 habits instead of level 1 because of the initial rush of motivation.

In such cases, we soon burnout and go back to our past lives. To avoid these situations, practice patience. Use the spark to get started but don’t use it to try to skip the process of transformation.

Stage 2: Daily Actions

The spark is the sexy part. It puts you in a peak state and you get a rush of motivation right away.

The small daily actions are the difficult pieces of the puzzle. At first, the spark helps you to do the daily actions. But soon, the spark fades away.

When the spark is gone, the daily actions may feel like hell. At this stage, you can use your willpower reserves.

Keep willpower and energy saved in your reserves for the daily actions you need to create the change in your life. Don’t waste your decision-making power on other useless activities so you can use it later when you need it the most.

But don’t worry, you only need willpower for few days until you reach the next stages. So, keep going even when you don’t feel like it.

Use reminders and triggers to stay on track. But don’t just remind yourself of the actions you must take. Keep reminding yourself of the deep reason you’re doing what you’re doing.

Set the stakes high by giving consequences to your actions using reward or punishment rules. Adjust the difficulty of the tasks if you have to but don’t quit at this point. A beautiful transformation is coming your way.

Stage 3: Environment Shift

This is the stage where most people quit and it’s not their fault. They don’t even know why they fail. They blame themselves for not being strong enough but in reality, they only needed a few tweaks to make it easier for them to sustain new behaviors.

First, you must change your environment. Your environment should support your growth and not derail you from the daily actions.

Make it harder for yourself to perform the destructive tasks. Take willpower out of the equation by crossing out your options. For example, if we had the choice between watching Netflix or practicing a new skill, we’d probably choose Netflix because it’s easy and comforting.

There is nothing wrong with watching Netflix but it should not come in the way of your transformation. Your downtime should be intentional and not based on impulse based actions.

To make sure you watch Netflix only when you intend to, log out from the website every time you’re done watching. Keep it blocked (using browser extensions) during the times of performing your daily actions.

In the same way, you can make it easier for yourself to do the new task. Let’s say you want to learn to play an instrument. Keep it in the sight and within your reach. Don’t pack it every time you’re done playing it. This way, you can use any free time to practice for a few minutes.

Next, comes your social environment. People around you change the way you think and live. If the people you see in your life don’t support you, there are high chances of you falling back to your past lifestyle.

Raise the standards of your social environment by keeping strict policy of who you spend your time with. Consciously or unconsciously, they impact your mind in positive or negative ways. If you have to spend time with such people for some reasons, then be cautious of their presence. Try not to let them affect you as much.

It’s a good idea to join a community of like-minded people who are following a similar journey as you. You will get support and hear other’s struggles so you can support them as well. When you get to discuss and express yourself, you feel connected and stay focused to keep going through the change.

The last thing you need to set your environment for success is accountability. Some require personal accountability while others may need social accountability.

Track your behavior and use a journal to do daily and weekly reflections for personal accountability. Or you can keep yourself accountable by sharing your progress with a group or a coach. But either way, you must take full responsibility of your transformation.

Stage 4: Cognitive Dissonance

According to Wikipedia, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.

When you change your identity, you perform your daily actions effortlessly because that’s part of who you are. It’s not about who you want to be any longer. You are already that person and all you’re doing is performing your duty.

If you identify yourself as a healthy person, you will not do the things an unhealthy person does. This is the difference between people who “don’t” do certain activities and people who “can’t” do them.

When you do activities that are not aligned with your identity, beliefs or values; you experience cognitive dissonance. You feel mental discomfort because that’s not what you do.

Changing beliefs and values takes some time. To accelerate the process of change, you can feed your mind with the knowledge you need that supports your values. Get inspiration from top people in the field of your new identity.

Use your leisure time or empty time to read books, watch courses, listen to audiobooks or podcasts related to your desired change in your identity.

Stage 5: Change Of Will

The last stage of transformation is the change of your will. At this stage, you change so much that you no longer need to use willpower to make right decisions. Now, you crave the habits you used to procrastinate on.

You invest so much of your time, effort and energy that going back to your previous lifestyle is not an option anymore. Now, your progress is too precious for you to lose. It’s one of the best use of the behavioral economics theory ‘loss aversion’.

You become intrinsically motivated. You transform. People notice the difference in you. (Warning: You may even get bad dreams of you engaging in destructive past behaviors)

The great philosopher, Aristotle says that an individual’s character development ranges on a spectrum of worst to better:

  1. Vicious character: Taking pleasure in acting wrongly.
  2. Incontinent character: Acting wrongly out of weakness.
  3. Continent character: Acting rightly using willpower. (inclined to act wrongly)
  4. Virtuous character: Acting rightly because of strong will.

When you reach the virtuous character in your transformation, you know the life cycle of a transformation is complete.

And what happens next?

You go back to stage 1 (the spark), set (beyond SMART) goals, and prepare yourself for another transformation.

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My number one priority in life as a 22-year-old.

On 23rd of June 2017, I turned 22 years old.

In the past 4 years, I’ve learned more things about life than rest of the 18 years of my life.

About 4 years ago, I stepped outside my house and started living in a hostel after enrolling in a college. I was away from my parents for the first time in my life.

I was free. I had full control of how I wanted to spend my time and who I wanted to surround myself with.

At first, I wanted to be cool college kid because I was shy at school. I had only a few close friends. I wanted to change my identity and become a famous guy whom everyone loved. Now that I look back, I was insecure. I wanted to be accepted by as many people as possible.

After 1 year of a hardcore trail and error, I was back to myself.

I eventually ended up with few close friends again. But I was happy. I formed great friendships with few people who inspired me in one way or another. For example, I learned to be carefree, have self-discipline, find humor and many other traits that I learned from different friends.

Most of all, I became friends with myself. I gave myself permission to be me. I started my journey to follow the path of personal growth and become a better version of myself.

I started following people on the internet who played the role of virtual mentors for me. I started reading self-help books, I started training my body. I learned the principles of living a life of purpose, growth, and fulfillment.

Soon enough, I was a different person. In essence, I was the same person but I was becoming a better version of myself every day.

As I got closer to my graduation, I started to think about career and wealth. By the end of 2016, I took a pledge to consume less and create more. I started learning about online business and bringing value to other people’s life.

Out of all the things that I learned in the past 4 years about health, wealth, business, relationships, and life; there is one thing that stood out the most. I’ve set my number priority in life based on that.

The number one priority of my life is not my goals. It’s not my career, not my business, it’s not even my freedom.

The number one priority of my life is the person who I am becoming.

At any given moment, I could lose anything. I could fail at reaching my goals, I could lose my arm, I could be robbed, I could go broke, I could be locked up in a prison, I could become sick, I could lose my strength and muscles that I’ve trained hard for.

One thing that no one can take away from me is the person that I have become. My values and my character traits will stay with me.

In the end, my values will determine my story and the quality of my life regardless of the life circumstances. I trust my ability to figure things out and make the best out of any situation.

7 character traits of a lifestyle designer

1. They are rebellious

As a child, I used to crave freedom and independence. I had a burning desire in me create my own rules and live by them.

I hated most of the things that I was supposed to do because of no solid reason. As a child, I wasn’t wise enough to make decisions for myself. So, most of the times the reason for my rebel could be wrong. But the character trait of a rebellion passed on as I grew up.

In the past, freedom fighters used to rebel and fight for their freedom. Today, lifestyle designers still do the same. Only the context has changed.

2. They are dreamers

Goals and dreams should be separate.

Dreams could be unrealistic or maybe even impossible. The important part is to have a dream and pursue it as your life depends on it.

Goals, on the other hand, could be short-term that could be connected to your dreams. They can be logical and realistic.

Failing to meet a goal is part of the journey but giving up on dreams is not an option for them.

3. They are self-starters

Lifestyle designers do not wait for the motivation to come. They don’t rely on willpower. They start working on their dream lifestyle regardless of the current circumstances.

While most people find excuses for not starting, lifestyle designers find excuses to start today. They design their present life such that they can eventually move a step closer towards their dream lifestyle.

4. They are go-getters

For lifestyle designers, obstacles are not fatal. They don’t give any obstacle the power to kill their dreams.

They are willing to take risks and leave their comfort zone for their dreams.

They protect their dreams and do whatever it takes to get what they want. Most of the times, there are roadblocks that they have to tackle. But sometimes they have to take an alternative route to move towards their destination.

5. They are skeptical

They don’t assume what society, culture, family or friends have told them to be correct. Instead, they question assumptions.

They are ready to run experiments and allow themselves to run trails before coming to any conclusion. This sparks creativity in them and they are able to rise in spite of the ‘rules’ set by society.

They never stop learning. They even question themselves and seek creative ways to deal with problems.

6. They are self-assured

Self-assurance or self-efficiency is the belief in one’s own abilities and character. They truly believe that they will succeed.

They have an abundance mindset. They think big and believe that there is plenty of space and opportunity for success. They don’t let scarcity poison their mind.

7. They embrace change

They don’t fear change. In fact, they embrace it. They adapt to life situations and make changes as needed. They understand that change is part of the process of growth.

They adapt to circumstances and accept uncertainty in life.

Do you have what it takes to be a lifestyle designer?