The way you tell the stories about your past and future matters. You may think you’re just telling it like it is but, you do have options and the option you choose may be having a greater effect on you than you think.
In this episode, I’m going to help you tell your self-stories in a way that will help you create change instead of keeping you stuck in the same patterns. Listen in to find out how you can help yourself to start making changes right now.
Hi! How’s it going? I’m feeling great, I just got back from a long weekend trip to Denver Colorado and Copper Mountain!
I’d never been to Denver nor had I ever skied in the Rocky Mountains and it was so awesome. Copper is such a great mountain and resort and if you’ve never been I highly recommend you go. I haven’t skied on a legit mountain in years and it felt so great to be out there and my goodness, the view as you’re skiing down is incredible. There’s beautiful mountains right in front of you as you’re skiing down them mountain. I couldn’t get enough of it!
And then I had about a day and a half in Denver and it was really fun checking out a new city and seeing the sights. And! On the way back to Denver from Copper I went to Red Rocks Amphitheater and wow, what a cool venue! And so cool they let people just visit when there’s not events happening. I absolutely loved it and maybe someday I’ll actually see a concert there and get to experience the amazing acoustics.
Now, let me tell you why I went on this trip, other than to ski in the Rocky Mountains and check out the city.
As I mentioned in a previous episode, I turned 40 this year, and I decided that instead of celebrating with a big party or something on my actual birthday, like I did for my 30th which was SO fun, I decided to celebrate all year long.
I wanted to do 40 of something and I decided to do 40 nights away and I’m so excited for this year-long adventure! I love traveling and having new experiences and I actually haven’t traveled very much in my life. I haven’t been to a ton of places in the States and the only time I’ve been out of the country was the two trips I took to Canada – Montreal and Vancouver. There are so many places I haven’t been to that I want to go to and now is the time.
Now when I look back at why I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to, there are a few reasons that come to mind but the reason that stands out the most was because I was waiting and assuming.
I assumed I didn’t have anyone to go with and I was waiting for when I was in a relationship so I could share the experience with whoever I was in one with.
I would use those reasons a lot, even for like day trips. I was single for most of my adult life and I also wouldn’t ask my friends to go places and I’m not even sure why. I know so many of them were busy with work and creative projects and I think I’d just assume they wouldn’t want to go because they’d already been there or aren’t interested in going there, or they wouldn’t be able to go and it’s all BS and totally just an assumption and I probably could have found someone to go with me.
So instead of going alone or actually reaching out to friends, there were so many times I just didn’t go and then I’d feel so much sadness because I wasn’t doing cool things like I heard about other people doing and wasn’t doing cool things I really wanted to be doing.
But not anymore.
I’m not letting being alone stop me from doing what I want to do.
I’m not waiting for anyone else to be in my life or be available.
I’m done waiting. I’m doing it.
So, I’ve made a list of places I want to go to for long weekends so I can still work, so don’t worry group members who are listening, you won’t even know I’m gone, I’ll still be as available as I always am, and as I’ve been telling friends and family about it, I see if they want to join me for any of the trips.
I’m actually making the effort to ask instead of just assuming people won’t want to or be able to go. Then when it comes time to plan and book, I’ll check in with them and if we can make it work with our schedules, great and if not, I’ll have an awesome solo trip. I know I can enjoy time alone. I have before on the few short trips I actually did do partly or entirely solo and I did for the first part of my Denver trip before I met up with my friend who lives there.
For most of the first day, I was alone. In the morning I did a bunch of work in my hotel room which was so nice, so much more enjoyable than sitting at my desk doing work at home, and then I explored around until it was time for us to drive to Copper. So my friend in Denver joined me for skiing at Copper, Red Rocks on our way back to the city, and showed me around the city when we got back.
It was so cool experiencing it with him, and I was so excited when I text him last month and he said he was 1000% down for all of it but, if he hadn’t been available or interested, I would have gone anyway and done it all solo. Like I said, I’m not going to let being alone stop me from doing what I want to do.
I will ask my friends if they want to join me and if no one wants to or can, I’ll go alone. I can still enjoy myself when I’m alone.
So my message for you is to do the same if you ever find yourself in that position. If you want to do something, anything, and no one else wants to do it with you, do it with yourself.
And while you’re doing it, don’t think about how much better it would be with someone else. Intentionally love being there with yourself and just being with yourself, like I talked about in the episode on Self-Love, #185. Yes we all want connection and experiences with other people but when you love yourself, you can love time with just yourself and not miss out on things you want to do that maybe your husband, wife, or friends don’t want to or can’t do. You can just be with you, doing what you really want to do, and love it.
So that’s my adventure for this year, 40 nights away and Denver and Copper were a great start to it! 4 nights down, 36 to go!
Alright, enough about me, let’s talk about you and your past and future stories.
What I see a lot of people do when they’re feeling discouraged is to start telling the story of their past.
They might do this after doing well for a bit and then bingeing.
Or if they haven’t been doing well and just can’t seem to kick it into gear.
Their story sounds a little something like this:
This is how it always goes.
This is how I always am.
I always do well and then screw it up.
I’ve never been a person who can eat in moderation.
Basically, they’re looking at how they’ve been up until this point, looking at their patterns, and deciding that this is who they are.
They’ve been this way for however long, and what’s happening now is just more evidence to show that this is how they are.
It then starts to feed into their belief that they can’t change.
This is a problem because if they don’t believe they can change, they won’t even try.
There’s no point in putting in effort if it will all be for nothing.
I’ve seen this happen with my group members sometimes when times get tough.
There was someone recently who kept doing this every time she overate or binged.
She would start talking about how she’s always been, what’s she’s always done, and how this is how it’s going to be.
And you know what that did for her?
Telling the story of her past like that was not helping her in any way.
What it was actually doing was keeping her in that story.
As long as she kept telling that story she would keep living it.
If you think this is how you are, you’re going to act this way.
How you think about yourself and who you think you are matters.
The story you tell about yourself matters.
You can tell any story you want and if you keep telling the one where you’ve never changed, you’re going to not change because of the effect your thoughts have on you.
Your thoughts will make you feel a certain way and that feeling with drive you to act in a certain way.
If you think about all the times you have repeated the same patterns and believe that you’re destined to continue them, then you’re probably going to feel hopeless that change can happen and guess what happens when you feel hopeless.
You stop trying to change. You stop putting in effort when you feel hopeless. There’s no hope so no point in trying.
Then if you stop trying to change and don’t put in effort, you’ll keep repeating the same patterns.
That’s what happens when you keep telling the story of your past patterns of fails and use your past as evidence to show how you are.
So stop telling that story and start writing a better one.
Start writing the story of your future.
Have you ever heard the saying, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have?”
That’s what this is.
Talk about the life you want and who you want to be, not only about who you’ve been.
Becoming the person you want to be starts with you thinking about what that looks like. It starts with you imaging that version of yourself and what you want.
When you’re thinking about the future and what’s possible, you’re going to feel and act so much different than when you’re thinking about all your past patterns of failure.
Going back to what I was talking about at the beginning of this episode, it feels so much better for me to think about what I’m going to do this year than to think about how many years I didn’t put in effort to do things I wanted to do and how the years passed on by without me exploring the country and the world.
Yes that happened and it was a pattern for me for years but, I don’t tell that story nearly as often as I tell the story of my future.
And when I do talk about or think about my future, I get excited. I plan. I follow through. I start to actually create this future I want to create.
And it’s not just with my 40 nights away, it’s with so much of my day to day life and my career. I spend way more time thinking about the future than the past and then I end up creating a future that is better than the past.
The story of your future begins now with what you’re thinking about your future self now.
If you want to become them, start creating them now by talking about who they are.
If you want to be someone who eats what they say they will and doesn’t eat what they say they won’t, talk about becoming that person.
Instead of, “I’ve always been this way,” it’s “That’s how I was and this is who I’m becoming.”
Talking about the amazing things you’re going to do feels so much better than talking about all the times you screwed up.
And talk about the amazing things like they’re happening….because they are.
Now, some of you might have a hard time believing that it’s happening and belief in this is important.
You don’t have to be 100% in belief but at least have some.
This is because not only is belief necessary for you to put in effort but, if you don’t have belief, you won’t even be willing to dream of the future you want.
For some of you, your lack of belief is coming from believing your past will be the same as your future and I can’t stress enough times that that’s not true.
You past happened how it did because of the decisions you made and your future will be different because you’ll make different decisions.
That decision could be as simple as not treating yourself like a jerk as much as you have been when you’ve made mistakes in the past.
It’s amazing what can change when you decide to stop doing that.
And as a more advanced decision, deciding to feel urges and feelings without eating to make them go away. When you make that decision and commit to it, your eating will change.
But for others of you, the lack of belief is happening because you’re so focused on the how.
You don’t know how you’ll become them and therefore, don’t believe you will.
But you don’t need to know how, at least, not all of the how.
You only need to start with one part of the how.
Consider where you want to be, what you want to do, who you want to become.
Consider the end of the story you’re writing about your future.
Now just ask yourself, how do you think your future self got to where they are?
See what comes up.
You’re not going to know every little detail but, see what comes into your mind.
Even if just one thing comes to your mind. That’s where you start writing your story.
It could be as simple as, “They started allowing themselves to eat the foods they love instead of telling themself they couldn’t eat them.”
That’s a great place to start the story. So now your story, that you’re going to write begins like this:
“I’m becoming a person who doesn’t binge anymore and the first thing I’m going to do is stop telling myself I can’t eat the foods I like. All that does it make me feel deprived and want them more, which isn’t helpful. So I’m going to work on catching myself when I hear myself say ‘I can’t’ have something’ and tell myself I can if I want to…because I can. And then maybe I’ll plan for them.”
Isn’t that story so much more inspiring and uplifting than, “I try to not eat certain foods and fail at it every time. I always and up bingeing on them.”
I think so.
And here’s another example:
Let’s say that comes to mind when you think about how your future self got to where they are at the end of your story is, “They stopped being such a jerk to themself when they failed and made mistakes.”
Then here’s the story your start telling: “I’m becoming a person who doesn’t binge and I’m going to start by being kinder to myself if I do binge, overeat, or eat off my plan. I’ll forgive myself and encourage myself. It will be so much easier for me to move on and start doing better if I do that.”
“I keep bingeing. I suck. I can’t believe this keeps happening. But I actually can believe it because every Friday, that is exactly what happens.”
Oof, no. Choose the first story.
If you want to change, imagine who you want to change into and decide one thing you are going to change now to become the future you.
Spend more time thinking about that than thinking about your past mistakes and patterns.
Stop spending so much time re-telling the stories about how you have had patterns of fails over and over and also, telling those stories like they are evidence of who you are, and start writing your future success story that tells who you are becoming.
Who are you going to become? What are you going to be doing? What’s the first thing you’re going to do to become them and do that?
Now that’s something fun to talk about. That’s something that will lift you up and get you moving.
You’re going to break the patterns of what you used to do. Talk about it and when you do, you’ll start feeling better and start creating new patterns.
And you’ll do it one step at a time. As you go through the first step, you’ll figure out the next one, and then the next, and so on.
You’re going to figure it out and write the story as you go. You don’t need to have it all figured out right now.
You will become who you want to be.
Have a wonderful week thinking about who that is and one thing you’ll do to become them.