So we reach the final part of our Goal of Life series. The purpose of part three is to give you a practical personal transformation tool, should you wish to work on revealing the ‘higher’ (for want of a better word) version of yourself. It is a process inspired by the mussar approach to spiritual growth. Initially, we simplified the goal of life down to the pursuit of being the best possible version of ourselves. I say pursuit because it really is a lifelong journey, there will always be work to be done. We then had to select four character traits we felt we could improve upon in our daily lives and meditate/reflect as to why we included each of them and what it would mean to our lives if we could address these issues.
For the record, mine were:
What happens next takes commitment. Not much, but commitment nonetheless – four months of it actually! For the next four months you are going to dedicate 1 week of that month to focus your attention on each of the traits you selected. This will take 1 month. Then you will repeat this cycle another three times, totalling four months. If we were to use mine as an example, I would be working on honesty in the first week, decisiveness in the second, faith in the third and courage in the final week of the month. Then I would repeat this process 3 more times.
Our commitment comes in the form of a two-step daily practice. Step one takes place in the morning and step two takes place in the evening, before you go to bed.
Again we will use the traits I have chosen as the example. First, you need to write down an affirmation that concerns the first trait you are working on. It could be a definition of the word, a quote about the word, basically anything that truly captures the essence of why this trait is important to you. Mine is done below.
By acting with honesty towards others and myself I am openly expressing my true self to the world. I will have integrity and be considered genuine.
Place this affirmation in a location that will guarantee you see it first thing in the morning. Slowly and deliberately read it out loud for as long as it takes to embed the affirmation into your psyche for the day. Only when you are confident you have done so, do you move on with your day. That is step one.
Now just go about your day as you would normally – until you arrive at step two, just before you ‘hit the hay’. Hopefully you keep a journal, if not I recommend you do. It is a great habit for everyone to get into. In your journal, diary or notebook simply write about how that particular trait impacted on your experiences that day. Pay particular attention to how it affected your thoughts and actions. Your reflection should be brief and to the point, and should be private. There is no need to produce literary genius – it is not being published – simply stick to the facts. This process is about personal honesty not beautiful writing.
I am not going to elaborate on what may or may not happen should you engage in this process. If you do it you will find out, if you don’t then you would never really know anyway, other than through the descriptions of others – and everyone is different.
What I will say is that it is very likely you will be amazed at some of the behaviour patterns you have adopted and are not even aware of. Quite amazed!
Over to you…
Step 1 – Write your trait and the relative affirmation on to a card (or something similar) and locate it where you will see it every morning. Read it out loud until it is embedded in your psyche for the day ahead.
Step 2 – Write a reflection about how your chosen trait showed up in your experiences that day, paying particular attention to its impact on your thoughts and actions.
Dedicate one week to each trait making up 1 month. And then repeat this process three more times…and let’s see what happens. You are now on your way to a better version of yourself.
Remember, this process does take a little bit of commitment but when we commit to something our results, generally, are pleasing. If an inability to commit is a problem for you, maybe this could become one your traits.
Tim Guthrie is the author of ‘Saving our Sons: The Making of a Modern Man’ –
http://tinyurl.com/nqv9qr8 – on Amazon