Live Life Fully: What story are you telling yourself?

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Do you feel stuck? In the doldrums? Can’t seem to get any traction?

A major reason could be the story you keep telling yourself:

  • I can’t seem to lose weight, no matter how hard I try.
  • My kids never do what I tell them.
  • Why can’t I get organized?
  • My boss never listens to me.
  • Why can’t I save any money?

Cue the sound effects of Charlie Brown’s teacher: “wah-wah-wah-wah-wah-wah.”

Rewriting your script

If you’re tired of your excuses, it may be time to write a new script.

Here’s the thing. When you tell yourself your story over and over, it almost becomes part of your DNA. You let yourself down — again and again — and this chips away at your integrity.

Tough love

So, it’s time for some tough love. Check out this formula: E + R = O. Events plus Responses equals Outcomes. You’re 100% responsible for those stories in your head. While you may not be able to control the events in your life, you sure as heck can control your responses to those events.

The sooner you take 100% responsibility for that, the sooner you’ll be on track to getting unstuck.

It’s not your boss’s fault. Or your kids. Or the economy. These can all be contributing factors, of course. But they don’t have to control your destiny. Get out of your head. STOP IT!

Collecting evidence

Your story has taken a long time to weave and you’ve “collected lots of evidence” along the way to support it. You may think it’s impossible to change or the steps are just too overwhelming.

The point is knowing you can, although that takes lots of convincing — and lots of repetition. If you’re ready to rewrite your script, here’s a start:

Get out a notebook or legal pad.

During the coming week, be aware of when your story pops up.

Do some “automatic writing” — off the top of your head — when you find yourself making excuses or blaming someone else for the reason you’re stuck.

Tear up the pages after you write them. This is only an exercise for you to help you rewrite your script, not for anyone else’s eyes.

Repeat. The more you “get out of your head” — and purge those demons onto paper — the more clarity you’ll get.

Chunk down your goal into baby steps and start with the smallest milestone.

Find an accountability partner that you can text every day to report your progress (or lack thereof). Trust me — this makes a huge difference. We get accustomed to letting ourselves slide (“just this once”) and then the downward spiral begins.

Changing your story, changing your results

Once you’ve convinced yourself you’re sick and tired of your story and want to move on, here are a couple of resources you may want to scope out: business author Michael Hyatt’s podcast, “Change Your Story, Change Your Life,” and personal development author Lynn Grabhorn’s book, “Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting.”

On the personal front, I’ve had a goal of drinking more water for a long time. Logically, I know the major benefits of hydration on my health. I’ve tried all kinds of systems and containers, but nothing seemed to work. I’d start out gung ho, and then slide back.

I’m happy to report that I’m now consistently drinking a quart to a half-gallon of water every day. I chock this up to finally changing my story and putting into place an accountability partner that I text every evening. I started out small and then built up the amounts of water. I’ll admit there have been times I was too busy, tired, on the road, fill-in-the-excuse-blank, etc.

I probably would have let myself slide. Knowing that I had to be accountable to my “coach” kept me going, though. At some point, I’ll be confident enough to take off these training wheels and this will become one of those ingrained habits I automatically incorporate into my life. A month into the most success I’ve ever had is a bit too early, though!

I’ll never forget a seminar exercise I learned a while back. We were role playing that we were Navy SEALs. You know how precision-oriented those teams are and how they rely on one another for the success of their missions, as well as their very survival.

Our exercise dealt with showing up after the break and being in our seats — pretty simple, right? If one of us didn’t show up, we were presumed dead. If anyone broke the cycle, they had to answer the question, “What was more important?”

When you start to see these leaky margins showing up in your life, you can definitely spot them — and pay attention. After that falter by one of our seminar participants, you’d better believe we all showed up when and where we were supposed to!

A-ha moments

The first step to rewriting your script is to know you can. Feel free to send me an email with any a-ha moments you have. While I can’t be everyone’s accountability partner, I’ll definitely validate your efforts and celebrate your success.

As simple as it sounds, this stuff really works. And once you conquer one of these challenging stories, you can build on that confidence and move on to another goal.

Scripts were made to be rewritten. You’ve had the power all along!

•••

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers, stepfathers and those filling this vital role. On your special day — and all year long — know that you are appreciated!

©2020 Linda Arnold Live Life Fully, all rights reserved. Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at linda@lindaarnold.org. For information on her books, go to www.lindaarnold.org or Amazon.com.