Stop Being Sleeping Beauty and Become More Like Maleficent
I think we can all agree that being a passive princess is not the way to achieve a rich, happy and adventure-filled life. It’s time to give Sleeping Beauty a rest, which is just what Disney has done in Maleficent. The movie instead tells the fairy tale from the perspective of the villain who cast the spell that sent Ms. Beauty into a long-term stupor. Played by Angelina Jolie, Maleficent is a reminder that action -- not slumber -- is the modern girl’s mantra.
And here, from three modern self-help books, is some advice on how to cast a spell of empowerment in your own life.
Practice Self-Love Meditation
You know how you’re always telling your best friends how amazing they are and that they deserve all the goodies in life -- a great guy, great job and great apartment? Well, it’s time to turn that love on yourself.
“You can choose to wish yourself well,” writes psychologist Barbara L. Fredrickson in Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become. “You deserve this kindness as much as anybody.”
Sit in a comfortable chair, your feet flat on the floor. Take two or three deep breaths, bringing your awareness to your heart. When you’re ready, repeat to yourself the classic wishes of what’s known as loving-kindness.
May I feel safe and protected.
May I feel happy and peaceful.
May I feel healthy and strong.
May I live with ease.
Strengthen Your Stick-to-it-ness
Whether it’s quitting smoking, getting to spin class more than once a week or cutting down on chips and cookies, we all need willpower to reach our goals. In her book, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters and What You Can Do to Get More of It, psychologist Kelly McGonigal says that we’ll all experience lapses in self control now and then. Instead of being ambushed by these willpower dips, prepare for them.
Ask yourself: When am I most likely to be tempted to give in? How am I most likely to let myself get distracted from my goal? What will I say to myself to give myself permission to procrastinate?
Imagine yourself in the scenario of facing a willpower failure and turn it into a willpower success by identifying specific actions you could take to stick to your resolution. These might include re-focusing on your motivation, getting yourself away from the temptation or calling a friend for support.
Make a Where/When Plan
When you wish upon a star it might make no difference who you are. But, as you’ve no doubt learned by now, wishing alone won’t make your dreams come true. What you need is what Shane J. Lopez, a Gallup scientist and author of
Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others,
calls a “when/where” plan. It’s simple and straightforward: Each time you set a goal, choose the day and time you will start working on it and the place where you will work. For example, if you want to clean up the thousands of email messages that have piled up in your inbox, your plan might look like this:
When: Saturday, June 14 after yoga.
Where: At Intelligentsia Coffee Bar. Bring laptop.
If you need a reminder, you can use a website like futureme.org to write yourself a note that will be delivered to your inbox on the day of your “when.” It’s a method that’s way more reliable than a crystal ball.