How to Change Your Life, One Story at a Time
In How to Achieve Your Health Goals in 2018 and Beyond With “Stories”, I talked about how we need to change our minds first before we can make significant changes in 2018. We went through the four parts of the story that we tell ourselves: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
I'm going to challenge you to construct a new story. I'm not talking about a fictional story. I'm talking about the ability of all of us to be able to change some of the things about our lives in realistic ways. The story that you construct is not going to change the authentic person that you are, but it's going to change those things that are not serving you and it's going to help you become more authentic in the process.
Why Construct a New Story?
The answer is simple: it’s because we can’t achieve something that we can’t even imagine for ourselves. What we're doing here is we are reshaping our self-image to be consistent with what we want to happen. If you’ve made health resolutions or any life-enhancing resolution for 2018, creating a new story for yourself is the way to make it a reality.
A lot of us have this image and story of who we are in our head. And as long as that stays inside our minds, it's going to be very difficult for us to make substantial changes.
This reminds me of a story in a book that I read many years ago called Psycho-Cybernetics, a self-help book written by American cosmetic surgeon Maxwell Maltz. I remember there was a story in the book where a woman gets plastic surgery done and Dr. Maltz does a perfect job. All of the defects she saw were all gone and while she was looking at herself in the mirror, she says, "I see what you've done,” and "I see my face as beautiful, but I'm still ugly."
Like the woman in that book, a lot of us have a self-image inside of ourselves that is inconsistent with what we want to happen to us. What we need to do is focus ourselves on the present, because anything that we do, anything that we are associated with, and anything that we birth into our lives come from an image in our mind. And if we are not conscious of that image and what we are birthing into the moment, then we're not going to be able to make the changes that we want to make.
“Garments Around Our Soul”
Be aware that all of these stories about our lives are often garments around our soul. They are the ideas of our culture, families, and our own thoughts about ourselves. They are tidbits of suggestions that people have given us that we've taken on as our own and that we believed without critical evaluation. And at the core we are a soul. We are a part of God. The rest is very malleable. And by changing it, you don’t betray who you really are. It is you becoming more authentic. It's getting to the core of who you are.
This reminds me of a quote from Proverbs that says, “The soul of man is the candle of God.” It means that at our hearts, our purpose here is to be a light. All of these external things that we think are ourselves aren't necessarily authentically who we are. It's almost like we swallowed them and we are living out these ideas that are not consistent with the ultimate nature of who we are.
We get to who we are authentically by examining all of these images and beliefs that we may have accepted without critical thought.
5 Steps to Changing Your Story
- Make a list of all the stories that you tell yourself.
Make a list of all the stories that you tell yourself. Segregate them into physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual stories. Leave a space beside each story.
- Frame all stories in the positive.
Evaluate the stories on your list. Frame each negative story in the positive. But you shouldn't say things like:
"I am no longer going to think like X, Y, Z."
"I won’t be like the people around me.”
"As opposed to before, I’m now going to do this."
Negative words like no, not, won’t, shouldn’t, as opposed to, before, and negative comparisons shouldn’t have a place in your new story. Everything has to be framed in the positive.
- All statements should be in the present tense.
Most New Year’s resolutions start with, “I will…,” as in:
“I will be 150 lbs. in 2018.”
“I will be eating more vegetables and less animal meat.”
You want to make it in the present tense because this is the magical moment that we're always given. Here we are in this present moment and we have the ability to make changes for ourselves that can construct a new story. The past is no longer there and the future is not yet happening.
If you want to change your life, you are starting your story today and that starts with your thoughts. You are making a story in the present tense. In effect, you are telling a new story that begins the moment you write it down.
Here’s an example of how to do this step:
Negative Physical Story
Positive Physical Story
I am ugly, fat and unattractive.
I am getting healthier and more attractive as I choose to walk more and eat 1 lb. of veggies every day.
Negative Emotional Story
Positive Emotional Story
People make fun of me because of my weight.
I am an inspiration to those who love me.
It's difficult to choose healthy foods.
It's easy for me to choose healthy foods.
I fail at dieting and exercising every single time that people around me see me as a failure and doubt whether I'd be fit and healthy again.
When people see me eating healthy food and exercising, which is good for my body and soul, I radiate happiness and strength that people can feel.
Negative Mental Story
Positive Mental Story
There are too many health strategies out there and they're too complicated for me to understand.
I receive help to understand my healing path from unexpected sources all the time.
Negative Spiritual Story
Positive Spiritual Story
God has nothing to do with my health. God can't help me improve my health and my life.
My soul soars knowing that I am choosing a path of health, wholeness, and holiness. I am in the process of reaching a healthy body fat percentage of X, whatever that may be, by 2019. I learn to give to others as a thanks for my progress.
- Include all four levels, the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual into your story.
Notice how the example on the table above includes the four levels of being. When you construct a new story, you need to create one that touches on all four of those levels to make the story stronger. It works like a rope that has four cords intertwined; it is much stronger when you have four cords than a single cord.
- Include what you're going to give in exchange for making these changes or for receiving these improvements in your health.
When we receive something, it has to be balanced out by something that you're going to give. Giving and receiving is a natural cycle of life. You can be very specific with what you are going to give back as an offering to God to help you in this progress. The more specific you make it, the better your story is going to be. You could say:
"I am volunteering to tutor a child each day as a thanks for my progress."
"I give 10% of my income to charity as thanks for the continual progress."
“I am expressing love to my family by spending an uninterrupted hour with them each day.”
Weaving Your New Story
Refer to the list you’ve made again and weave the story that you have written. Combine the statements that touch on all the four levels of being.
Going back to the table above, here is how you would turn the positive statements into a complete story:
I‘m getting healthier and more attractive as I choose to walk and eat 1 lb. of veggies every day. I’m an inspiration to those who love me. It's easy for me to choose healthy foods. When people see me eating healthy food and exercising, which is good for my body and soul, I radiate happiness and strength that people can feel. I receive help to understand my healing path from unexpected sources all the time. My soul soars knowing that I am choosing a path of health, wholeness, and holiness. I am in the process of reaching a healthy xx weight by 2019. I am volunteering to tutor a child each day as thanks for my progress.
Notice how the newly constructed story:
- Is positive and contains no negative words or statements.
- Is in the present tense.
- Includes all four levels of being.
- Makes sense on all four levels.
- Includes what the person will give back.
Write Your Own Story
If you're up for this, write your own story. You can post this on the Weight Loss Awakening Group or you can send it to me personally via Facebook Messenger or email. Feel free to contact me. I can help you hone this into a story that is really transformational when it comes to health. We can go over your story together and make it really powerful, positive, and easy to memorize.
Remember though that you can use this for any aspect of your life. You can use it for relationships, for business, for your ability to socialize, or whatever it is that you want to not just “improve,” but more importantly, to reach an authentic place where you can see things the way they are.
Expect the unexpected when you start this transformational exercise because this is a new path. This is a new way of looking at things. And any time you start on a new path, it can be very bumpy. But once you get the hang of it, it's really amazing. You just have to push through and you have to use your imagination and reinforce yourself.
*This article was first published on drcarp.com.