"One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interest." - John Stuart Mill
Today I want to talk about what I feel is the most critical part of growth and evolution. Yes, you need knowledge and resources, or the how. You of course also need to know very clearly what your goals are. Certainly knowing why you want to grow and change is significant. But there is one critical piece that is often left out and I want to describe it as the who.
If you were to describe yourself to someone who has never met you, what would you say? Who do you believe you are? What are your tendencies and habits? What are your limitations and expectations? What are the little idiosyncrasies that make you the person you are?
Go ahead, write it down. List everything about yourself, positive and negative. I’ll wait.
Now take a look at that list. Does this size you up? After all you should know yourself pretty well.
Now burn it.
That’s right. Make a bonfire, toss it in and watch it disintegrate because that is not you.
Of course there are morals and character traits that we value about ourselves and hold dear. Those are not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about what we describe ourselves as being capable of. What we believe we are good at and bad at. We so often want to shove ourselves in a box or category. We stick limitations on ourselves that literally stop us from progressing, often stop us from even attempting new things.
“I’ve always done this…”
“I’ll never be able to…”
“My body won’t…”
“I suck at…”
Here are two individuals describing themselves:
I’m a partier who loves to drink and socialize. I can outdrink most people. I’m a night owl and need to be out and about most nights and especially weekends. Life would be boring without alcohol. I’m an anxious person and get panic attacks regularly. I need xanax to function. I would rather die than give a public speech. I need a few drinks to calm my nerves in social situations. I love to eat and can’t control myself. I have an eating disorder so I wont get too fat. I have low self-esteem. I am curvy and big-boned just like everyone else in my family. I can never be smaller than 140 lbs, my body always stops at that weight unless I practically starve myself. I struggle with my weight and feel bloated all the time. I have a chronic stomach issue that doctors still can’t figure out. I float in and out of depression. I like to exercise but prefer working out on my own, away from other people.
I’m a wife and a mom of three. I’m a morning person and usually am up by 4:30-5:00am. I rarely ,if ever, drink. If I do drink, I rarely have more than one drink. I enjoy occasional social time with friends but I am usually happiest at home with my family. Sometimes I’m energized being out in social situations but it’s very important that I get a lot of alone time to recharge. My job includes public speaking on a regular basis. I love to eat and I allow myself to indulge on not so healthy treats once in a while but overall stick to a healthy diet that makes my body feel good. I weigh 125lbs and consider myself muscular, not at all skinny. My weight fluctuates between 4-5 lbs based on water weight and my cycle. I rarely ever get bloated because I know what foods my body is intolerant or allergic to. I feel confident and self-assured. I have tough moments but rarely ever feel depressed. Group fitness is a part of my daily life and I love it. I would rather exercise in a group setting than alone.
These two sounds like polar opposites right? What if I told you Person A was me 15 years ago and Person B is me today?
I haven’t had a panic attack in over 10 years.
I have been recovered from my eating disorder for over 10 years.
I haven’t had stomach issues in over 3 years.
Hard to believe?
Let’s focus on the word believe. Who you believe you are is who you will be. If you believe you aren’t good at math, you won’t be good at math. If you believe you will never be an athlete, you will never be an athlete. If you believe you are an anxious, depressed person who can’t control their weight…guess what you will manifest?
I’m not saying that believing is the only thing you need in order to change these things. These things will not change without hard work, unwavering effort and consistency and the willingness to change. However, none of it is possible without the key ingredient of belief.
I used to believe I would have to live my life with constant anxiety, and panic attacks that only xanax and alcohol could temper. I used to believe that I would always be heavier with a certain body type and an eating disorder that would be my ultimate demise. I believed I was that girl, so that’s who I was.
It wasn’t until I committed to years of therapy, realizing the root of my issues and building an arsenal of coping strategies that I found out my mind and heart could change. It wasn’t until I studied for years to figure out nutrition, worked with doctors, nutritionists and naturopaths and revamped my fitness routine that I found out my health and my body could change. It wasn’t until I pushed through these barriers that I started building the confidence and self-love I needed to support myself. I continued to make positive choices that changed every aspect of my life and showed me who I was capable of being.
Now I know I don’t fit in any box. I have infinite potential. I have no expectations or limitations. I believe I can do anything and be anything and that is how I now live my life. I will pick up that heavy weight. I will speak in front of that crowd. I do not need that drink or that pill. If I don’t succeed right away who cares, because I will succeed eventually.
Most importantly you need to know that you can do everything I’ve done and more. You are not stuck in that box. Punch your damn way through it. Seek the support you need, find the resources. Be who you want to be and let go of the bullshit you’ve been telling yourself your whole life.
Time to go find out who you really are. Until next time BOOMers.
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Coach Loni also runs the LFT blog, bringing you informative, uplifting and motivating articles and videos to help you achieve your goals and live your best life.