Expect the Best: Look Within, Not Outside

Published on December 16, 2013 by

2014 will be here before you know it.

Have you slowed down enough to imagine what you want for the next twelve months?  And have you reviewed how the last twelve months have been for you?

Maybe you've had a stellar year, if so, I'm happy for you. It's easier to expect more "success" when you can look back and easily see a track record of success. If that describes you, now is the time for you to challenge yourself and reach new heights.

How can you become healthier, happier and develop a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment? How can you enjoy life more, give more to yourself--and as a result, have more to give to others?

2013 has been spectacular for me in so many ways, but I remember not too many years ago, it was a different picture. I won't go into details here, but I didn't just have a "dark night of the soul,"--I had dark years of the soul.

If that is where you feel you are, even if on a lesser scale, this post is for you. If you feel stuck or frustrated--or if you've been running on fumes--I know what that's like.

If you've had a tough year and it's been hard for you to imagine things turning around for you, really turning around, it's time to get a new strategy.

The strategy I'm talking about is on the mental, emotional and spiritual plane. This new way of thinking involves realizing that our outer circumstances are clues for what is going on within us.

Have you been hypnotized by your circumstances, thinking, "I've done everything I can do and I

Stephen Covey, Ph.D, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said something like "When we think our problems are the problem, that's the problem."

Our problems aren't really money problems, lack of sales, relationship problems, conflict at work, conflict at home, anxiety, depression--or other things we routinely label as the problem. They seem to be the problem--but they're not.

When we think our problems are external, we go to work on our circumstances.  That's understandable.

It's also backwards.

To make things change on the outside, we have to begin work on the inside. "As within, so without."

We are talking about your beliefs here--your beliefs about yourself, your self-worth, and about how much power you feel you have or don't have.  And the self-worth aspect is bigger than most of us realize.

Do you really feel deserving of all the abundance and good that is waiting for you to receive? Do you feel incredibly good about yourself?

It's almost impossible to elevate our outer circumstances when we're feeling down about ourselves. Success doesn't breed happiness; it's the other way around--happiness fosters success. But many of us are still trying to criticize ourselves into doing better.

This can be tricky. We don't want to think we're critical of self or that we're too hard on self. We think the problem is something else.

We think what we need to do is to work harder, to be more disciplined--or that we need to just quit making excuses for ourselves. But haven't you already "been there and done that?"

All change begins with self-awareness. We need to look inside and make shifts there. I don't have a formula to share with you to do what I'm talking about. When someone talks to me about coaching, they almost always ask how I'm going to help them change in the areas they want to transform.

I can give them some generalities, but not specifics. The reason for that is coaching is very personal and has to be designed for each person I work with. But one thing I know: the real work is done within. That's the fastest way to change our outer circumstances.

Expecting the best for 2014 has to come from within, not from everything on the outside being the way we would like them to be.







  1. TJ


    Great post!

    I was at Cross Fit this morning and after we completed the warm up the coach announced the workout of the day. 150 Wall balls as fast as you can. I was like "yeah right I might as well quit now." After a few minutes I realized myself talk was not motivating me. I should not have been surprised I was telling myself I could not do it.

    It was then I quickly devised a plan and began attacking the 150 wall balls. Talking to ourselves is not different than talking to others. It has one or two results:

    1. Inspiration


    2. No inspiration

    • Alan Allard

      I like what you say here TJ:

      Talking to ourselves is not different than talking to others. It has one or two results:

      1. Inspiration or 2. No inspiration

      Few of us pay close attention to our self-talk. The reason I have an entire chapter in my book "Seven Secrets to Enlightened Happiness" is because there is incredible power in our self-talk. It either inspires us or deflates us. Good for you for paying attention to what you were saying to yourself and shifting it to what put you in a place to achieve your goal. That's inspirational.

  2. LB

    You've given me a lot to think about. It sounds like I need a new perspective for the new year, and I can accomplish a lot more. You always get right to the heart of the matter. Thanks! You're inspirational!

    • Alan Allard

      Thank you Laurie for the kind words. I always appreciate your comments here!

  3. Tim

    Hi Allan,

    Thanks for your insight again. Some how I have to find a way to reprogram my thought pattern. I have been believing that God does not want me to succeed so I have been programming my self talk to enforce that. I suffer with a poor self image but my self talk is what is reinforcing my poor self image. So it is like a circle of destruction. There is no way to break out of this thought pattern with out physically and mentally forcing myself to think differently. Sounds great right, how do you make that change after 50 years of living and beating the hell out of yourself for every failure you ever experienced? I know all to well what I need to do, but how?

    • Alan Allard


      I didn't see your comment until today or I would have responded earlier. We all need support in our journey through life and there are different levels of support. An effective therapist or coach can accelerate your growth in the areas you mentioned, have you considered getting this level of help? Next would be a book that is the right fit for you or an audio program. Have you read my book that addresses the things you mention? It is Seven Secrets to Enlightened Happiness: Live the Life You Were Meant to Live and is available on kindle via amazon.com and will be out in soft cover in two weeks. If you don't have kindle, you can download a free kindle reader on your laptop or desktop. My book has many strategies and exercises that are simple to use but life changing.

      The key is to take a small step and build on that. You can dramatically change your life with small steps if you keep going. You will build momentum and soon what used to be difficult becomes natural and easy. I have an entire chapter on self-talk and how to gently persuade your subconscious mind to change.

      I wish you all the best. Feel free to email me and respond if you would like, or leave another comment here.

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