In 1980, there were over 2,200 murders in New York City. Last year, in 2017, there were less than 300. Other types of crime had dropped dramatically too. NYC today is, per capita, one of the safest cities in the United States. So what happened and what the heck does this have to do with our self image?
In 1984, the mayor of NYC instituted what came to be called the ‘Broken Windows’ program, focusing on policing and correcting minor crimes in the belief that today’s petty larcenist would become tomorrow’s drug dealer and gang member. It worked. They began by cleaning up graffiti, mostly in the subways. All the stations and trains had existing graffiti painted over. They even had graffiti stations between the public platforms. A train could be ‘tagged’ at one platform, and the graffiti painted over before that train arrived at the next platform.
New Yorkers, seeing their city transformed began to take pride in it, and in time the attitude of the entire city changed. Rather than being seen as a dangerous cesspool of theft, murder and drugs, New York became a tourist destination that the residents were proud to live in.
From small changes can come unimaginably large improvements.
It’s the same with us as people. What we see in the mirror forms the foundation for what we think of ourselves as a whole. You may be successful in business, or have great artistic talent, or be a kind and compassionate person, but if you’re ashamed of your body it will affect your belief in yourself in all aspects of your life.
One of the reasons I have always looked after myself is so I can like what I see in the mirror when I step out of the shower in the morning. When I see my reflection, I think to myself, ‘If I can look like this at 52, I can achieve anything I apply myself to’.
I haven’t achieved all my goals yet, not by a long way, but I believe that I will and I work diligently toward those goals every day, despite any obstacles that life might throw in my way, and gradually, over time, I see progress toward them.
All because I’m proud of what I see in the mirror.
Changing your body can pay dividends beyond just your health and looking better in that new dress or suit. It can change your life.