Adapting to new challenges and new change all boils down to the story you tell yourself. You should always be the hero of your story and even if you don’t make yourself out to be – usually you will be regardless. Each story involves the hero not believing he or she can do it, wanting to give up and give in to the easy route. Imagine if the great stories of all time went along the lines of our stories and ‘Frodo heads back to the Shire, because he believes he doesn’t have enough discipline to stick with something very long.’
The story we tell ourselves goes along these lines. They’re different for each of us, but if we’re not succeeding at something, it’s quite probably because we are telling ourselves the wrong story.
Try it now: think of a habit change you’re trying to make or that you’ve tried but failed at in the recent past. Maybe exercise, meditation, writing, defeating procrastination, etc. Now think about what story you told yourself about yourself. What image did you see in your head of yourself? Was it a brave hero triumphing over all odds, never to be deterred by the forces marshaled against him by the cold harsh universe? Or was it of an ordinary character who probably would give in to the donuts and Netflix when things got hard?
Maybe you can’t hear the story you’ve told yourself. try to sense what feeling is in your heart as you think of yourself conquering this new habit change or life change. Does it feel full of doubt, anxiety, fear, dread? Or is it full of joy, triumph, deep caring? Whatever you are thinking – that is the song your heart is singing… what goes in will come out.
We fail because of this story. It stands in our way, more than the actual thing we’re facing. When things get tough or uncomfortable, we tell ourselves: it’s OK to quit, it doesn’t matter, we’ll do it next time, we’re not disciplined enough, we suck at this, we can’t do it, it’s too hard and so on and so on. We make excuses… or try to justify our failure.
So what can we do if our story is working against us?
Change the story. Create a song to sing about yourself as the epic hero of your dreams. Sing this song daily, and be proud of it. Go after the dream, fight the forces of distraction and dullness and self-doubt, rise up to be your best self. You are the writer of your story, the composer of your song, and every moment is a chance to rewrite it, a new draft ready to be crafted into something better.
“Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes”– Johann Wolfgang
Article composed based on original from Zenhabits