I remember when I first learned of the human tendency to tell ourselves stories that we believe so powerfully, every cell in our body, thought, feeling and behavior acts accordingly. Maybe it was the rude awakening that I had the power all along to change my story; or, maybe it was just too painful to admit to myself.
Think about it: If you tell yourself going to the gym is going to be hard, and every time you think about it you cringe and feel tired instantly, you’re never going to want to go to the gym. But, if you start telling yourself that working out is fun and going to the gym feels good, you’ll start to crave to work out, making it easier to get the gym.
It’s all a story in our heads. What are the stories we tell ourselves daily? How have they impacted us? How can changing the story feel and look for us?
I’m not going to get into a bunch of scientific nerdy stuff about how the brain works (even though I so want to), but I will drop some neuroscience knowledge bombs because this is what truly blew me away and made me believe that the stories we create and tell ourselves repeatedly, decide the outcome and quality of life we have. It’s that simple and that powerful.
These stories we create: “Working out is hard;” “all relationships suck;” “I am fat and ugly,” etc., in time, become recorded in our unconscious minds. Every fiber of being in your body believes these stories. So much, that your brain creates what I call teleports (or neural pathways if you want to get technical). When you try affirmations, or a positive thought or phrase, your brain teleports you directly to the limiting belief you’ve created not allowing you to stick with the positive thought about that goal.
“In life you are one of two people: the one believing your old stories or the one creating new ones.” Vanessa Rende
What does that look like? You keep doing the same things, getting the same results and riding the same roller coaster. Yes, the stories we tell ourselves are that powerful.
For example: You look at yourself in the mirror and try to say “I am beautiful,” but because you don’t believe it yet, you are teleported to your limiting beliefs, thoughts like “Yes, but you could lose another 50 lbs;” or, “No, you’re not, look how fat you still are;” or, “losing weight is so hard for me.” Those limiting beliefs are strengthened every time you believe them; each time you give into them, you give them more power and proof in your subconscious mind.
We create these stories at all stages of our lives, but the most powerful ones come from our childhood, making them more challenging to undo. I said more challenging, not impossible, though. If you are truly at the point of no return and are ready to change your life, and subsequently everything in it, start paying attention to the stories you are telling yourself.
So how do we tackle these stories, so we can do and be the better versions of ourselves we’ve been reaching for?
- Think of a goal you really want to achieve.
- Identify the main story you’re telling yourself about this goal that may prevent you from accomplishing it. For example, “the goal I want to complete will take me a long time.” In this example, the story is that accomplishing the goal will take a long time.
- Every day for the next 21 days, as soon as you get up in the morning, tell yourself the opposite 100 times (or write it down). For example, “achieving my goal is easy and fast.” You can say/write it more if you wish. I say 100 times because repetition and consistency is the key to changing the old story to a new one.
- Watch your unconscious beliefs and conscious thoughts change about that specific goal.
- Rinse and repeat in all areas of life, relationships, business, etc.
Fine print? None of this works unless you work on it. You didn’t come to think, feel and act the way you do overnight. Changing the strongest stories you’ve been telling yourself can be easy and fast, if you choose it. But there is no magic pill, surgery or short cut. Get in there, dig deep, call yourself out, commit to change, and enjoy your new life.