What a quote from high school can teach you; about fitness and life

This morning for my job at Spurling Training Systems, I wrote a post about learning to recognize the stories you tell yourself about you. 

And half-way through the post, I was reminded of a quote that was painted on the walls of my high school cafeteria. 


"Believe to achieve."

Our assistant principal, Mr. Lutz, was a big fan of this quote, so much so that you couldn't enjoy Taco Tuesdays without the words hanging over you.

High school is often filled with quotes that can seem corny and hokey. Teenagers, myself included, might reflect on them for 30 seconds before moving on to the next teenage crisis/party/relationship/I don't really know what teenagers do actually.

I thought this quote made sense and I translated it to my skills as an athlete. I believed I was good, I worked hard, I achieved success.

That's what happened when you believed good things about yourself. But what about the other beliefs? 

The original question that made me think of this topic came from a podcast on meditating. What stories are you telling you about yourself?

That got me thinking, but the follow-up question turned me on my ear. 

What have you done or not done as a result of that story?

I've talked before about my struggle to be a writer. Sure I could write about high school sports for a newspaper, and I could write a weekly column about nothing (literally). It's not that I ever thought I wasn't good enough to write for a living. But that belief system came to a crashing halt when the success I imagined didn't come as easily or as quickly as I thought it would.

And after spending a semester studying for my Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing, I looked around the room and came to a conclusion: I wasn't good enough. I could be hired to write the instruction manual for a lawn mower, but that novel I always dreamed about? Nope, I'm not good enough. 

So that's the line that I've been working from for almost 15 years. 

My effort recently, aside from a renewed commitment to writing, is to change the story. 

The difference between you and the people doing the thing you’ve always wanted to do is the story you tell yourself. How on earth could I become a successful writer if my conscious and subconscious mantra revolves around not being good enough? 

I can't change my life until I change the story I'm telling myself. And neither can you. 

What stories are you telling yourself about you? I'm too scattered to keep a food journal. I'm too uncoordinated to take a Zumba class. I'm too out of shape to try the spinning class with my friends. I'm too overweight to show up at the gym when everyone else looks fitter than me. 

You can change your life by changing the story you’re telling yourself. 

That's so important that I want to say it again.

You can change your life by changing the story you're telling yourself. 

But you have to believe what you are saying. 

Make your list. Recognize the story that you can change. The story that isn't true. And re-write it. Tell a friend. Write it down and put it on your mirror. Memorize it. Make it into a mantra that you repeat at every opportunity.    

You can change your life by changing the story you're telling yourself.