Is this something you think or say when someone says they are looking to make positive changes in their lives and they want to rewrite a chapter in their story?
The story we are telling ourselves determines who we are, while also telling us who we think we're not. If we tell ourselves we were born to do X or that we were destined to become Y we have the option, if we believe our storytelling. If we believe what we are saying we can begin to see and then chase what we are capable of. Within reason, of course.
For instance, if you continually tell yourself you are not good at something or that you always fail at certain skills, then you will likely always fail. But if you approach these things with a mindset of I’m not good yet, but I am learning and I am getting better, you just might flip the script within reason. The outcomes generally are outside of what is controllable, it is our approach and our story that we have some semblance of control of.
Speaking of control, let’s take a quick look at what we can control in our lives. To start we have our actions, thoughts, words, opinions, and boundaries. Beyond that we have what we eat, whether or not we exercise, what we say and do, and what we are feeding our brains online. To give us some context and something tangible to think about let’s look at a scenario. This is an example of where one individual experiences a defining moment and looks to turn the page, while another stands by in quiet resentment. If we were to guess, there is a chance you or someone you know has been on one side of this or the other.
It’s a Friday evening and you’re sitting around talking to one of your long-time friends over a couple drinks. Upon asking if they are ready for another, they respond that they’re going to take off; they’ve got to train in the morning. You immediately scoff at this remark, then ask, “What are you training for?” They respond with “I’m going to do a half-marathon next spring, exactly 9 months from today.” Again, you scoff, roll your eyes and make a smart ass comment like “yea I’ll believe it when I see it, let’s grab another.” They say “no thanks” and take off. You sit there confused and grab another beer to process what just happened.
Your initial thought is dismissive. You’ve known them for 10 years and they never stick to anything. In fact, every time they’ve started any kind of diet or exercise thing it’s only lasted a few days before they were back hanging out and double-fisting McDoubles with super-sized fries and Cokes. This time it’ll be just like each time before is what you are thinking. What you do not know is there has been some things going on. They have sat and watched their parents’ health deteriorate over the last year or so. Their "free time" has been to help their parents, who are only in their 70's, take care of normal household duties. Because you dismissed them you failed to realize "the why" behind the pursuit of a different story. They’ve decided they no longer wanted to be sedentary, they were not overly happy with how they felt physically and mentally, and they had come to a realization they had some control over these aspects of their life. It was time to start taking care of their health because they want to be a more capable and functional human in their seventies and eighties.
You, on the other hand, are perfectly content with the life you lead and you are now going to sit and wait, hoping that your friend falls flat on their face, gives up and fails. That, by the way is just not cool! It’s not cool to root for people to fail. This is deemed socially as being an a**hole!
Six months have gone by and they’re still at it and haven’t missed a training session yet. You haven’t really talked to them since you last saw them, but you have given their Insta a lot of attention the last few months. As time has gone on you have begun to change your tune a bit and have become a little inspired by their commitment and discipline. You are now seeing what it looks likes when someone wants different for themselves and does it. Although you are not quite ready yet, doesn't mean that at some point it may happen to you too.
I guess the moral of the story here is we are all, at one time or another, trying to be something that we are not. Many of us have started as one thing and became another over a period of time. I will leave you with this.... In the above example we have an individual who is writing a new chapter in the story of themselves. They are shifting to becoming a more health conscious person. Do you have a similar story you'd like to share? If so drop it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.