Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you tried to make a change in your life, and no matter how badly you wanted it, that you always seem to wind up back in the same place you started? I believe that it has to do with your identity. Who are you? More importantly, who do YOU believe you are? How do you label yourself?
Let’s say the area of your life that you seem to get nowhere in is losing weight. You’ve tried countless diets, pills, shakes, and exercise routines. I believe any of those choices could work for you, and probably have worked for other people. But what happens when you try? Maybe you get excited to try your new routine and wind up doing it for a couple of months. But slowly, your discipline starts to erode. Your old habits start creeping back into your life, and before you know it, those 20 lbs you lost have all been gained back! What happened?
What happened is that your mind never changed in the first place. You tried to force youself into losing weight through action. But in your mind, you still see yourself as someone who is out of shape. That’s your identity in your own head. Do you say these things to yourself or others:
“I’ve been overweight all my life. That’s just the way I am.”
“My whole family is overweight, so that’s where I got it.”
“I’m just a naturally chubby guy.”
“I’m fat and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Those are fairly mild statements on the surface, but in reality, these are devasting self-imposed limitations.
Here are some other things you may tell yourself:
“I’m ugly. Nobody would ever want me. What’s the point of trying?”
“I’m stupid. I was just born that way.”
“I wish I were born with a special talent like successful people.”
“I’ve failed before and made a complete fool of myself. I’ll never do that again.”
“I’m just a boring person. I’m not that fun to be around.”
“Rich people are just lucky. It must be nice.”
I could go on forever, but the point is that these are not just little statements we make or thoughts we have. They speak volumes about who we really think we are, and what we think is possible for ourselves. And that’s the problem- all these actions you’ve been trying to force yourself to take will never stick if you don’t change your mindset first and reinvent yourself FIRST in your own mind. I can hear the groans already- “Oh, here we go with the positive attitude stuff. It’s all in your mind. Yeah whatever. Tell that to my crappy job and my $10 in the bank!” I’m telling you, your life will never change for the better if you just believe that you are who you are. You CAN reinvent yourself and make lasting change. You CAN have the life you really want in every aspect.
Here’s what you need to do: Break your old patterns of thought. Change your identity. Don’t live in the past. Replace your self-imposed limiting identity. Change who you are in your mind first, and the right actions will follow and become good habits much more easily.
OLD- “I’ve been overweight all my life. That’s just the way I am.”
NEW- “Yes, I want to lose a few pounds. But this overweight body is not who I am. I am a strong and capable person with a whole world of possibilities. I can achieve whatever I want. I’m going to lose this weight starting now.”
Again, you may not see a big difference, but I can tell you there is a world of difference in these mindsets. If you took one person with each of these two mindsets and put them on the same program with all the same tools at their disposal, I can guarantee which one will fail. Don’t tell yourself, ”I’ll believe it when I see it.” That’s a fatal blow to your dreams. You have to first believe it, and only then will you be able to see it.