HOW TO BECOME YOUR NEXT BEST VERSION
You are off to such a great start! You feel excited, energized and ready to make that change happen! You set the date. You write it in your calendar, maybe you tell a friend or family member, you know, to hold you accountable.
You have what you need: DESIRE - DEDICATION - DETERMINATION.
The first few days, maybe even weeks, are awesome!
You are on track, doing the thing/sticking to it/feeling proud of yourself.
You think: "Wow, this is it! I have finally found the thing! This isn't so bad, I can do this!".
Then, something happens.
Stress at work, at home, in your head, a really bad sleep, an illness or injury...or the same shitty thoughts come back and sabotage all your previous good ones.
Something breaks and you feel totally defeated once again.
"Here we go again. I never stick to anything. I don't have the willpower. I'm just not strong enough. What is wrong with me?"
And you scroll through Instagram and Facebook and see all the posts of women who are down blah blah blah pounds and inches and are sleeping sooooo much better and have so much energy they want to climb mountains and swim oceans and cross deserts and climb trees and flip a bunch of tractor tires or whateverrrrrrrr.
We humans are hard wired to compare, it's okay we all do it.
So what are you left with? DESIRE. Maybe still some DETERMINATION? But the DEDICATION is out the window. (No judgement just fact).
Why bother when you know it will fail eventually.
The problem: It is the same YOU wanting to be the healthier, fitter, stronger, slimmer, more energetic, better sleeping, 'less need for lists to remember shit', less irritable, more vibrant future YOU.
You want to have all those things and be that new version of YOU.
A you that doesn't exist yet, but when she does, she is all over it!
The problem is, you are still the same YOU!
It's the same version of you, you are just doing the work to get there that you expect the future you should be able to do.
The solution: Already see yourself as that future YOU, that DESIRED YOU.
Imagine yourself already 'there'.
It's a bit of a mind fuck because it is about you, so let's go with an example, using two women.
Woman #1: She wants to be something other than what she is now. She sees a need for change and improvement in her health. The desire is there. She is determined that this time she will stick to it and white knuckle her way through the tough times. She will force her way through and hope for willpower and strength. She is hoping that her desire for change will be stronger than her desire for the not so healthy but super comforting habits.
What do you think her thoughts will be?
"Just get through this". "Holy shit, this totally sucks". "I can't believe how much I want that bottle of wine". "GET EVERYTHING BAD FOR ME OUT OF THIS HOUSE!". "I hate this so much" "This isn't worth it" "I can't do this" "This is never going to last" "Why am I bothering" "God I am so weak" "I am doomed to be fat and miserable" "I will never change" "What's the point" "I messed up again" "I can't have that." "If I have that I better hit the treadmill for an hour tomorrow"
Woman #2: She wants something other that what she is now. She sees a need for change and improvement in her health. The desire is there.
Here is the switch: She begins by imagining what it would feel like to be that next best version of herself.
What would that look like? What would that feel like?
She starts to BE that future self. She embodies that future version of a woman. She allows the gift of her imagination to picture what her life would be like.
How she would look and feel getting out of her car to go to the store.
How she would look and feel walking into the coffee shop to meet her friend.
How she would look and feel getting up, showering, and putting on her clothes without having to try on 6 different outfits before feeling "okay".
How she would look and feel at the end of a busy day relaxing with a glass of wine and not shame herself for doing so.
How she would look and feel going for an weekend hike with her family.
How she would look and feel enjoying a delicious dessert without beating herself up or worrying about how many calories are in it.
What do you think her thoughts are going to be? "This is amazing!" "This feels so great!". "I can't wait to go on that hike" "These clothes are going to feel so good" "I'm finally at peace" "I'm finally comfortable in my body" "I can't believe how energized I feel" "Having a good night's sleep is awesome" "I am LOVING how I feel"
Who is more likely to get to where they want to go?
Realistically, there will be pitfalls, bumps in the road, bad moods, stress, etc. for both women.
But who is more likely to become who they want to be? The brain is amazing at so many things. But one thing it simply cannot do is tell the difference between real and imaginary.
Visualization is a very powerful tool.
Sadly, it got a cheesy rap when vision boards became a trendy and then mocked thing! You don't need a vision board. You simply need to allow yourself to daydream.
Give yourself permission to imagine what it would be like.
It is a super power! It brings much needed fun and excitement to the table! I have shared something with a couple of people lately: (Back story is that I am a MASSIVE Peter Gabriel fan. I mean it is borderline obsessive. His voice sends me somewhere that I always love to go. It is a deep cellular level connection (that he doesn't even know about hahahaha!)
When the song 'Lay Your Hands On Me' by Peter Gabriel comes on my shuffle, I am on stage with the band. I am the drummer. I am ROCKING THAT SHIT OUT. I am a rock star extraordinaire. I can FEEL it. I AM it. I am BEING it.
It is fantastic and uplifting, and pure joy.
And it makes me love life that much more! Why wouldn't it? What a gift! What a blessing to be able to transport myself into that person?!
[PS: As a kid, I was Bionic Woman. I mean I WAS HER. I ran that fast, heard that whisper from miles away, opened a can with my fingernail (it was in one of the episodes, I couldn't make that shit up).
Did you have someone you imagined you were?! Where did that awesome gift go?!]
When I told them that I imagine myself on stage they all said something along the same lines: "I can totally see you rock that out!"
And I bet they can.
Why? Because I become that energy!
I give off that feeling, that vibe. I AM it.
When I feel like a rock star I give off the energy of a rock star - the confidence, the free spirit, the fun vibe.
Same goes with woman #2.
When she feels like who she wants to be she behaves like she wants to be.
She becomes the energy, the feeling of the next best version of herself.
Therefore she will act like that!
She will behave in a way that matches how she is feeling. She will build healthier habits, more positive and motivating thoughts, and make the choices that match her healthy vibrant self.
Then she will have all the things she wants as that new version: fitter body, more energy, clearer head, calmer mood, better sleep, etc.
She will BE, then DO, then HAVE.
We need to switch our main focus to how it will feel, what it will be like as this next best version.
Then, that will help override the old, limiting beliefs and thoughts of the version we wish to change.
Woman #1 may think she is focusing on what she wants to become, but she isn't. She is focusing on what she doesn't want to be: "I don't want to feel this way anymore"
"I don't want to constantly worry about what and when to eat"
"I don't want to diet and fail over and over again"
It may seem productive but it isn't. It keeps you stuck and negative. It keeps you hooked to the same image of how you see yourself and then attaches "You are going to fail again" to that image.
It doesn't hold the door open to possibility. The door opens a crack in the beginning thanks to desire and hope, but it gets shut quickly by the thoughts and actions of your status quo self.
There is a part of your brain that loves familiarity.
Familiar is safe and comfortable.
It is a powerful part of that brain!
It is part of your innate survival of the fittest system: Don't seek change because change means potential danger.
This section of your brain is hard wired to protect you from danger.
It will fight any changes you are trying to make!
It means well, so don't be too hard on it.
Thankfully, there is also a part of your brain that knows better.
This part of your brain came later to the evolution party.
It came along to help us adapt, understand and grow in and with our environment and community.
It knows that you need to be the next best version of yourself.
It knows that change is challenging, but really good for you!
We need to help this part of the brain calm the more ancient part down.
The brain is really good at so many things.
But, there is one thing it isn't good at: distinguishing the difference between reality and imagination.
So, if we let our imagination take us to who we want to be and then feel what that is - the brain will see it as reality (eventually) and it will become the familiar (eventually). And your body will feel it :)
That means the ancient lover of status quo part of your brain, the one that tells you CHANGE IS BAD, along with these classics:
GO AHEAD AND HAVE THOSE COOKIES LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.
GO AHEAD AND BAIL ON YOUR WORKOUT PLANS LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.
GO AHEAD AND LEAVE THAT PROJECT TO THE LAST MINUTE LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.
GO AHEAD AND TAKE THAT ROUTE HOME LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.
GO AHEAD AND ORDER THAT TAKEOUT LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.
GO AHEAD AND TELL YOURSELF YOU HAVE NO WILL POWER LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.
GO AHEAD AND TELL YOURSELF THAT YOU HATE EXERCISE LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.
GO AHEAD AND PROCRASTINATE LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.
GO AHEAD AND BE SCARED TO TRY NEW THINGS LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.
GO AHEAD AND TELL YOURSELF YOU NEVER HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO COOK LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.
That part of your brain will start to see the next best version of you as your new normal. Your new safe. Your new familiar. Your new style of living. Your new way of being. Your new thoughts. Your new habits. Your new actions. Your new behaviour. Your new outlook. Your new energy. Your new vibe. Your new experience of life.
Part of why we don't allow ourselves to imagine something better for ourselves is because we fear the let down.
We fear the disappointment.
But here's a couple of things: How do you know that will happen?!
Isn't that happening with how you are doing it now?!
Why not give it a try?!
If you have tried every diet, done every work out, read every mindfulness book.....and are still not where you want to be, do this visualizing/imagining thing.
I mean, if it kind of makes sense to you.
If you doubt that you can do this, I am here to tell you that you totally can.
Let yourself feel a bit silly at first and then just fucking go with it.
Trust me on this one. It feels so good. It does good things.
Let your brain know what your new normal is before you physically become it.
Because to physically become it, you have to do the work to get there.
And you can't do the work needed unless you embody the kind of person who is it!
Doesn't that make sense?
If the current version of you is not who you want/need to be anymore, there is no way that current version will be capable of getting there.
If the current you wants to be something else, do you really expect the current you to be able to do the things necessary to become it?
Don't you think you need to start by being that new you first?
Then the rest will come?
You'll be better equipped to do the work that need to be done.
You have to start with feeling what it is like being the person you want to be.
From there, you will start to behave like that person FULLY.
Not just the current you doing the things to force yourself into something you simply are not.
Tough truth, but the truth.
Ultimately, when you are looking to become healthier (whatever that is for you) you are looking for how that will FEEL.
We have it backwards. We think we need to DO the things to BECOME the thing to start to FEEL the thing.
The reality is we need to FEEL the thing in order to DO the things to BECOME the thing.
It takes time and practise. Start by asking yourself: What feeling am I looking for? Confidence? Freedom? Peace?
Then, start imagining things that would make you feel that.
It may be difficult at first because you have put your imagination in a locked box for a long time. Open it up!
Come on stage and drum with me!
We don't need to take drumming lessons, we just need to imagine it!
Or picture yourself walking barefoot on a beach wearing a gorgeous, cool cotton dress and a big relaxed smile on your face.
How does that feel? Peaceful. Serene. Free. Relaxed. Soft. Connected. Natural. Confident.
You can bring that to your table. You can enter into a room with that.
What kind of behaviour and thoughts would you create with that energy? With that feeling?
I am here to help you with this if you ever want to work on it with me!
Not a sales pitch - just my offer to be here for you....plus I didn't know how to end this blog any other way. Awkward truth, but truth!