What Is Your Life Story?
What’s your life story?
I don’t mean where you grew up, went to school, got your first job, etc. I mean what’s your STORY? What narrative have you constructed from all the events of your life? And do you know that this is the single most important question you can ask yourself?
As we get closer to the end of the year, it’s always a good time to reflect. Instead of taking it up a notch, I always take the much-needed rest and do a lot of soul-searching. I determine what went well for me throughout the year, and what didn’t – and why. I set goals but give myself permission to change them as I see fit.
Believe it or not, the stories we tell about ourselves are important to our well-being. If you’ve interpreted the events of your life to mean that you’re unlucky and will never achieve anything in life, it’s hard to be optimistic for the future. But if you acknowledge that you’ve made mistakes and faced difficulties - but keep going - you’ll feel a much greater sense of agency over your life.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been fired and laid off from jobs. Did that mean my career was going nowhere? Or was it that my best thing hadn’t happened yet? What about my divorce? Did that mean I was difficult and incapable of love? No, it just meant the marriage didn’t work out and a greater love was waiting.
The idea is not to trick yourself into thinking that bad things are actually good. It is, instead, to find meaning in the progression from one event to the next. It is to recognize that everything constantly changes. In your life, you will move from triumph to heartbreak to boredom and back again, sometimes in the course of a single day.
Truth is, what we tell ourselves is what we believe. Oftentimes, we limit ourselves by deciding we can’t do something before we even try. These limiting beliefs may cause us to ask ourselves, “Why bother?” or tell ourselves. “This is stupid.” When we do this, we are effectively telling ourselves the answer is “no” before we even ask the question. We’ve stopped our growth and our path to success.
Negative talk is a clear sign that you need to rewrite your story. Our story affects everything we do, where we go, and how we approach life. It may sound too simple but – change your story, change your life. The first step in changing your story is to stop telling yourself disempowering ones.
How many times have you said: I have to be perfect…I’m too old…I’m just not that kind of person…I don’t know enough…I’ve never done that before…I don’t have enough experience.
These are exactly the type of thoughts that keep us from achieving our goals, and our dreams.
STEPS TO REWRITE YOUR STORY
Examine your habits Instead of focusing on what you want to change, turn your attention to the bad habit that leads you to wanting to learn how to change yourself. Is your habit of sleeping in and arriving at work late getting in the way of your promotion? Is your habit of scrolling social media for hours every day getting it the way of you finishing your book? Once you’ve identified the negative habit, you can create a better one that will help you rewrite your story.
Practice every day Once you know what your new healthy habits are, put them into action every single day – no matter what. Have a backup plan in case circumstances get in the way of your new habits and don’t allow yourself to cut corners.
Focus on self-reflection One of the habits that lead you to wanting to learn how to change your life around was not facing reality. Focus on realistic self-reflection throughout your journey and, when needed, ask those you trust for their perspective. Are you improving? If not, what else needs to change?
Surround yourself with good people When you spend quality time with people who love you, you develop a natural support system for your new habits and you are able to rewrite your story in a nurturing environment.
Keep taking risks If you want to learn how to change your life, you cannot stay in your comfort zone. It’s so hard, I know! You need to take risks until you get comfortable with those risks – then take more. The more you push yourself, the easier it will become to rewrite your story and change your life.