Chances are good that you’ve already updated, downloaded or upgraded one piece of software for your tech devices this week.
But do we ever stop to consider updating our own internal human operating systems? It’s rare that we spend much time on our inner world. We are so concerned with keeping up to the pace of technology outside of ourselves, we fail to consider that perhaps it’s our inner framework that needs a refresh to lose old, outdated methods of interacting with the world.
You know how an Apple iPhone uses iOS as its’ operating system? Well we humans have an operating system too, it’s just a little tougher to figure out, and a heck of a lot more challenging to re-program.
Our operating systems are essentially the mental constructs we use to shape our beliefs, thoughts and perceptions about the world around us and how we interact with it. A large part of how we operate is based on how we see ourselves, and what we believe about ourselves.
Most of us go through life with an underlying story that runs the show. We base this story on our past experiences, our insecurities, or even words that loved ones have uttered that we’ve taken personally.
Our stories are usually complex. We often have a few different stories running in our subconscious. Maybe it’s that we are lazy. Maybe it’s that we will never have the job we want. Maybe our story is that we are not a ‘fit person’ and we will never be good at active pursuits. Maybe it’s that we will never receive the true, loving partnership we desire.
We tell ourselves lots of stories. These stories make up our operating system whether we realize it or not. Our actions, habits and beliefs are based on the story we believe about ourselves. And we do this because we try to make sense of what has happened in our past or because we want to protect ourselves from the pain of potentially not experiencing what we want in the future.
Here’s what I’d like you to know about the stories we tell ourselves…
—> Our stories are often not true. We are so freakin’ hard on ourselves.
—> We get to re-write our story any damn time we please.
—> Our past, the habits we had yesterday, the mistakes we’ve made, and our genetic predisposition do not have to dictate our future.
—> What you actively think about and pursue is what dictates your future outcomes.
So here’s a story about a story that I’ve been living for the past number of months. This is just an example, to give a real life idea of what stories look like in our lives.
I have been living the ‘I’m sick’ story since about week 7 of my pregnancy. I’m almost 33 weeks pregnant now.
There are lots of days when I have been quite physically sick in the past 8 months. But there are also days when I feel much, much better.
My biggest awareness has been to not act out my story of ‘I’m sick’ on the days when I’m actually feeling good. So on the good days, I get workouts in. I eat well. I get lots of work done for my online training business. I cross things off my to-do list, work in the garden, clean the house.
And then when I am not feeling well, I do my best to make myself comfortable with outdoor walking, lots of sleeping, a warm bath or a movie. It has been challenging not to live out the sick story on days when I am feeling better. I’m sure you can relate to waning motivation, it’s the effect inertia has on us.
Another way to think about the power of our stories is the snowball effect. Let’s say we have one week of not getting our regular workouts or great food choices in and it snowballs into reduced motivation, more excuse-making and less self-belief. We knowingly or unknowingly turn this into part of our personal story.
Our daily habits and actions are based on our story and translate into months of lowered activity levels and poorly planned eating all because we believed the story that we made up in our heads based on one experience or even a week of experiences.
So what’s your story? If you’re like me you’ve probably had a lot of them over the years.
If you are living the ‘I’m just not a fit person’ story, then I’ve got a couple powerful thoughts I’d like you to consider.
There is no such thing as a person who is ‘just naturally fit’. Fitness is a practice. We only benefit from the habits we continually put into practice week after week.
Yes, there are people who may appear fitter with less effort, but if we want to reap the benefits of exercise and great eating habits, we’ve got to practice day after day.
Let’s get rid of the story that ‘so-and-so has it easier than we do when it comes to fitness’ and work on what we can control: our daily decisions.
You get to be fit by practicing being fit. It doesn’t happen overnight. Keep adding little bits of walking, working out, eating better and stressing less to your daily life. After a few weeks you’ll be kicking more than a little ass, I promise.
If you don’t use, you lose it.
This is what I would like you to realize: that you have SO much control over your story. You get to re-write and change and edit that story any time you want. It will be tough, and it will require owning up to your own bull crap time after time.
Spend a few moments thinking about the stories that run the show in your life. Could you give them up? Could you try running on a new operating system? It could be giving up the story that you are not a fit person. Or it could be giving up the story that you are not disciplined.
By giving up your story you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. After all, one door has to close in order for you to look around and choose the next one you’d like to open.