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New Year, New Narrative: Taking Control of Your Life Story

The turn of a new year puts a lot of things into perspective. It opens our eyes to the time that has passed and the speed at which it went. It’s a point of reference to reflect on our choices and decide if the choices we made in the past 365 days are aligned with how we truly want to live for the next 365 and beyond.

The goal shouldn’t be “new year, new me.” The goal is to clear away the blocks that have been standing in the way of you stepping into the truest version of yourself (that already exists inside of you) and living from the place of your dreams.

New year, new narrative.

If you want 2020 to be a year of transformation and forward motion, then that’s completely within your power. A key to making real change and unleashing your creativity is to check-in with the stories you tell yourself ─ your beliefs about yourself and what is possible. We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can control the narrative around it and how we react to it. As long as limiting beliefs are holding you back and fighting against what you want, you’ll find it hard to move forward because you’re still operating from your old, limited reality.

Think about any movie you love. Something always shakes up the hero’s world and turns it upside down; often, they have difficult beginnings and the odds are stacked against them. But what defines their journey is the action they take in response to it. No one likes a passive character that gets dragged around by the story. We respond to characters who grow through challenges and take action to move the story forward.

What’s the narrative that you’ve been telling yourself? That you struggle to be creative? That you’ve had a lot of bad luck? That life has been working against you? That you just can’t seem to get moving and always take a step forward only to take three steps back?

The stories you tell yourself fuel the decisions you make and actions you take on an unconscious level. It’s time to take control of YOUR narrative in 2020. Here are some ways to start doing that, continuing with the film analogies (because I’m a movie nerd).

Reframe the Story

Not only are you the author of your story, but you’re also the director. The role of the director is to set the tone for the story, frame each shot, and decide what to focus on. All of these elements have a strong impact on how you experience the story. How the director chooses to interpret the events of the story affects the entire film.

In any given situation, you can shift your perspective and choose what to focus on. When you go through a negative experience, it’s up to you to decide if that experience will make you crawl into the shadows and feel sorry for yourself or look for the lesson in it and grow from it. You can let it pull you down deep into the darkness or use your experience to pave a new path and light the way for others.

You have the power to decide where your focus goes. Are you focusing on problems or solutions? On what you’ve lost or what you’ve gained? On what you wish you could change about the past or what you can do right now, in the present? Are you a victim or a hero?

Rehearse the Scenes

Visualization plays a big role in priming you for what you want. Our brain doesn’t know the difference between what we’ve really experienced and what we have imagined, so use this to your advantage. Get a clear picture in your mind of how you want to feel, what the highest version of yourself is like, and where you want to be in life. Think about how you move, how you dress, and how you show up every day. Step into your future shoes for a moment.

The more you do this, the more your mind will get used to thinking and feeling like that version of you rather than the one you’ve been accustomed to ─ because for your life to be different, it comes down to the small decisions you make every day.

Start rehearsing your dream life in your mind and gather information from that version of you to give you a map for what you need to do differently now. What skills do you need to acquire? What are your priorities in life? How do you structure your day? What do you need to do in order to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be? How can you bring elements of your dream life into your current reality?

Choose the Right Cast

Pay attention to who is around you on a regular basis. We’re social creatures who are naturally influenced by those around us, so we pick up cues on what to believe is possible and create habits based on how the people around us are living. If you’re spending most of your time with people who don’t live in a way that is aligned with what you want, then be more mindful of how much time you spend with them and start building a circle of people who are living the kind of lifestyle you want and share the same values as you.

Even if you can only find these people on social media, start there. Curate your feed. Join Facebook Groups filled with like-minded people. Audit where you are putting your attention and who is getting a pass to take up residence in your mind. Who are you going to cast to play alongside you and share your most important scenes?

Watch the Coming Attractions

So, where do you want your story to go? Where has your origin story been leading you to? What’s the next big transformation? Where does the next season in your epic series take you? Picture the trailer for the coming attractions in your mind ─ and make it good.

As the author, you decide how you react and where you go. As the director, you decide what you focus on and who is cast in your story. Get to work creating the story you want to live.

The stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what is possible directly affect our ability to create change. If you’ve been hoping for a breakthrough, it starts with checking in on your limiting beliefs that are unconsciously holding you back. Download the New Life Narrative worksheet to take control of your life story.

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