We always talk about New Year’s resolutions and goals for the year and all that jazz but it’s really hard to set these goals if we don’t have a vision. When companies set goals, they usually have a vision and the goals are in line with the vision. When you can visualize the type of person you want to be, it is easier to motivate yourself to work towards your goals.
When I first found out about the affair, my life was the pits. I felt so bad and embarrassed about myself. I was overweight. I was living with my in laws. I wasn’t exciting anymore. I’d lost myself in that marriage.
So I started to build a vision for myself. My overall goal was to LGFG – look good feel good. I know looks aren’t everything but I wanted to feel good about myself again. And the one thing that was within my control was my weight. I wasn’t looking to be stick thin. I just wanted to be within a weight range where I could feel good about myself. So I started to eat healthy and exercised more often. Every time I felt tempted to stray from my diet or gave excuses to not go to the gym, the vision of my physical self would be at the forefront of my mind, reminding me not to give up.
The vision that you build for yourself should not be limited to physical attributes. It should also extend to other parts of your life – you could envision where you would like to live or how you are going to build your career. It could be a far reaching fantasy right now – that’s ok – the best ideas come from the wildest dreams. And my mantra for you is to Never Say Never.
Here are some tips for you on how to envision yourself:
Envision how you would like to look like physically. If there are changes that you would like to make to your physical appearance, it’s easier if they are within your control to change – for example adjustments to eating habits to lose weight. Or getting a hair cut. Or getting a new wardrobe. For me, I wanted to lose ten pounds and made sure I always dressed well. So I envisioned a slimmer well dressed version of myself and that vision was my constant motivation.
- Where you would like to live
Envision your ideal habitat. It could be a place. Or it could be the type of home you would like to have once you are out of the bad situation. For me, my vision was to move to New York City. I envisioned how life would be like once I’m in the city. My other vision right now is to lead an international life – I would like to live in London and Singapore for a few years and then retire in some remote village facing the Mediterranean Sea.
Envision where you would like to be in your career in the next year and the next couple of years. Maybe it’s a career switch.
Envision the sort of life you would like to lead. A quiet, peaceful life in a small town? Or maybe the excitement of a big city?
Happy dreaming! And let those dreams guide you towards your goals!
When I was in the throes of the affair discovery, my then-husband was desperately trying to make it all go away. He seemed very anxious to just have me forget about the affair so that life could get back to normal. He actually tried to date me again. And it felt nice and familiar but at the same time strange and crazy that he was trying to act like nothing happened.
In the midst of my confusion, my good friend told me to create a ‘shit list’ – to list out all the bad qualities about him and whenever I felt confused or tempted to get back together with him, I should refer to the shit list to remind myself not to go back to him.
One of the reasons why we remain stuck in a bad situation or find ourselves in the same bad situation time and time again is because as humans, we are drawn to the familiar. The bad situation is familiar to us and we are reluctant to step out of our comfort zone to face the great big world of unknowns. So even if the bad situation is getting increasingly ridiculous, we find ourselves giving excuses to explain why it is ok to stay stuck.
Creating a ‘Why You Should Never Go Back’ List gives you a tangible list of reasons of why you should never look back. The road to recovery is filled with many temptations to return to the warm, comforting world of the familiar, make all the bad memories go away and hope for the best. But we know the bad memories will not go away and hoping for the best is like leaving everything to chance. Hence having a list that you can refer to whenever the going gets tough will remind you why moving on and out of the bad situation is the best and right thing you can do for yourself.
I wrote my list at the back of my notebook and probably listed like 50 reasons why I should never go back to my husband.
And I never did.
This is the fun part.
While your short term list is all about taking care of pressing needs, your long term list is about what you envision your future self to be. And the one skill that’s needed for your long term list is – daydreaming!
There are no limits and no right or wrong when it comes to daydreams. Some of the stuff may not even be fulfilled and it’s ok. Your long term list is mean to set a direction for you and give you hope!
I would divide your long term list into two distinct time frames – your immediate long term (6 months to a year) and your future long term (> 1 year out). The immediate long term list should contain things that are not as pressing as your short term list and that would take some time to fulfill. Some examples would be – fully paying off debt, losing weight, working hard to get a promotion etc. Your future long term list should contain tasks that would take a couple of years to fulfill e.g. saving for a house or earning that degree if you are just starting out.
There will be days when you will waver off your plan. You may have days when you cave into certain foods for instance and veer off your diet plan. You may go on an impulsive spending spree. It’s ok. The sun always rises and you have tomorrow to get back on track.
A good motivator whenever you feel tempted to veer of track is to envision your end goal. And this is where you can build your ‘healthy revenge’ in.
One of my biggest goals after breaking up with my husband was to LGFG – look good, feel good. I wanted to look so good that he regrets leaving me. Although that never happened (because a narcissist will never give anyone the benefit of seeing their regret), everytime I felt tempted to cave into junk food and every time I felt the hunger pangs, I reminded myself of my end goal.
The other thing I wanted was for my ex to miss me so much that he’ll come begging for me to come back to him. Again, never happened (and even if it did, I’m wwaaayyy past going back to him ever again). I decided to go no contact on him because I’d read somewhere that going no contact on an ex is a good strategy to make them miss you and come back to you. And I had to go no contact for an extended period of time hence it was on my long term list. So every time I was tempted to text or call him, I envisioned the long term goal of him begging for me to come back and I stopped myself.
Your long term list should also contain things that might never be realized. And why is that ok? Because you’re daydreaming and brainstorming. And you always have to dream big. Only you control your own destiny. No one else can tell you what you can or cannot do. And no one’s gonna be looking at your list and judge you for not fulfilling it. A good thing about recovering from a bad situation is – it’s a chance for you to build another version of your life story. So own that life and build out that vision today.