Many people don’t keep New Year’s Resolutions because they are still beating themselves up from past failures. Ironically, the way to break free is to forgive yourself. It frees you up to learn from past mistakes so you can take bold action again.
3:10 – What’s really at the core of procrastination
7:05 – Why it’s so crucial to examine how you interpreted past mistakes
10:00 – Writing a letter between to past and future selves
17:15 – The most powerful tool in your mind to hone and sharpen
MindStory Inner Coach + 2 Sample Neuro-Blueprints
The Full Neuro-Blueprint Course – 66 Days to Retrain Your Mind
Rate This Podcast
Subscribe to the MindStory Speaker Podcast
Connect with Carla Rieger:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/carlarieger
Twitter – https://twitter.com/carlarieger
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlarieger/
This is Ep 85 – Self Forgiveness and New Year’s Resolutions. Many people don’t keep New Year’s resolutions because they secretly don’t believe in themselves. The way they can break free from that is to learn from past failures, and forgive themselves. This is one of the most powerful coaching tools I’ve ever used with people. In this episode we’ll explore how to do that. Hi, I’m Carla Rieger and this is the MindStory Speaker podcast.
It’s hard to move forward, taking actions on important goals if you don’t trust yourself to follow through. And the truth is most of us have sets goals, then failed to finish or even start them. In fact, most people do that most of the time. So, if you’ve ever struggled with this, its common but not necessary. If you have the tools to break out of this self sabotage habit, you’ll be far ahead of the average person.
Say you’re thinking about a year from now and what you want to accomplish, you’re really telling a mindstory to your present day self that will be the reality of your future self. You are, in essence, creating a new character who is your future on a possible new timeline.
Now you may think that’s strange. But think about it. The future doesn’t actually exist except in your mind. And you go to your future self often. Say you’re lying in bed imagining yourself eating something you like for breakfast. Or while thinking about a goal you want to achieve like losing weight, you imagine yourself thinner. You go into a future self who is thinner. Or, if you want to achieve higher income this year, you imagine yourself as a future self with a bigger bank account.
In other words, it’s not a weird woo-woo thing, it is a very practical thinking process that everybody utilizes as a human because we naturally plan for our future.
Some of us do it more than others. So, an important concept to grasp is that you have a relationship with this future self that is based on the thoughts and imaginings that involve that future self. Sometimes our relationship with this future self is good and empowering, sometimes is disempowering, and we don’t even realize it.
So I’ve talked a lot in other episodes that how you think about yourself past, present or future determines how you feel about yourself. And how you feel determines what you do, which determines your results. In other words if you think you failed in your business in some way in the past, you will feel a lack of confidence when you imagine your future self trying something again. So you will avoid taking bold actions and so you won’t find the success you want in business. Much of this is happening below your awareness. You might just think you’re lazy, or disorganized or just too busy, but really it all starts with what you think about yourself, what meaning you give to the circumstances you find yourself in.
That is the whole concept behind our AVARA Model that we teach in the book MindStory Inner Coach, which you can get for free at MindStoryAcademy.com. So that’s why we focus so much on the way the MEANING you give to situations and how you think about yourself because once you can change that — it creates a domino effect towards changing feelings, actions and results.
So, between Dave and I we have coached thousands of people especially those building online coaching businesses or those in some kind of sales role. We often see similar circumstances happen to people, but what’s really interesting is the meaning they give the situation. For example, two people vow to increase their income as part of their New year’s Resolution. One way to do that is to finally launch that online product. They meant to do it last year, but life got in the way.
So both do it. One person launches the online product, and spends more than she makes in getting it out there. The meaning she gives to the situation is that she is a failure. It proves she is unworthy of success, that she is incapable as a business person. So, she feels defeated, stops doing any more launches, so loses income and that reinforces her interpretation that she is a failure. So, she doesn’t get to realize her New Year’s Resolution and another year goes by.
Another person in a very similar situation gives a different meaning. She goes into it deciding she will have her own back no matter what. When she loses money, instead of beating herself up, she forgives herself for any mistakes. This act of self compassion allows her brain to absorb the wisdom and learning, which she can then use to get better. She decides that trying the launch alone proves she is worthy of success, that she is capable as a business person because she takes these kinds of risks to grow. So, she feels encouraged, which leads to the action of trying another launch implementing what she learned. Eventually some of her launches pay off, so she gains income and that reinforces the meaning of being a success. In the end, she does get to realize her New Year’s Resolution that year.
Now, of course that’s common wisdom to view failures as feedback on the way to success. But it’s one thing to share it as a platitude and quite another to really analyze and deconstruct your own thinking processes that lead to results or lack of results in your life.
Now those are two extreme responses. Most people go back and forth on the scale of positive to negative interpretation of failures, many times over. But where do you land, which perspective wins in terms of driving feelings, actions and results? That’s why it’s so crucial to stop and really look at the meaning you give to situations. Much of it happens at a subconscious level. The only symptoms are things like procrastination versus motivation. Tension headache versus high energy. Worry in the morning versus jumping out of bed ready to take the day by storm.
We often forget that these meanings are all arbitrary. We think that the thought “I am a failure” is you just giving the facts of life, but it’s just simply an opinion. It’s just one of many ways you could look at any one situation. Give yourself the freedom of changing your mind, changing the meaning, changing the interpretation.
Now you might say that’s easier said than done. We do get caught up in well worn train tracks of thinking. It is easier to think a certain way because you’re well practiced at it. Many of us were taught very young that making mistakes equals you are a failure as a person. When you’re young you don’t have the reasoning ability to go…wait a minute…that doesn’t make any sense. But you do now as an adult.
And if you really look at the cost to not changing that train track of repetitive thinking, you’ll buck up and allow some cognitive dissonance to happen. By that I mean, you are willing to go through the discomfort of changing the train tracks. So, its effortful at first like when you first started driving a car, but then it becomes second nature. You just need a way to keep focused regularly. Repetition is king. That’s why we offer the MindStory Neuro-blueprint audios to help people with that. More info on that at MindStoryAcademy.com or in the shownotes.
So let’s expand your relationship with your future self. Imagine him or her as a someone, like a friend you really care about. Now, it is you, but we’re going to use the future you versus the present day you as separate just so we can start to view that relationship.
One of the suggestions that I teach and I’ve taught for years is that you write letters to yourself. You write a letter from your future self to yourself now. You write a letter from your present self to your future self. And a lot of times people will say that’s weird, that’s hard, and resist it. But once you do it, you realize how fun it is, and how powerful it is.
So I have them start with writing a letter first from their future self to their past self. Now, that’s often easier. For example you write a letter to your 18-year-old self, say just as you’re leaving high school, and tell them what to do. Like don’t go to university, travel instead. Or don’t give up guitar. Or don’t date that guy, or don’t do that dare that gets you arrested, or whatever it is that happened in your past. We’re pretty good at giving advice to our past selves.
And you can often get into helping your younger self calm down about things he or she took so seriously. Your grades don’t really matter, what that group of friends think really doesn’t matter. That guy you like, you’re never going to think about him again after you leave home. So that’s a great way to start. Write a letter to your past self.
A second way to do it is to imagine yourself when you’re, say, 18, writing a letter to you now at whatever age you’re at. What are her hopes and dreams for her future life? That’s kind of trippy. That can be very revealing, because sometimes we had dreams we forgot about, that we shelved, because we tried and failed, didn’t have our own back, beat ourselves up, so never tried again. But there it is still burning, but burning brighter in the 18 year old who hasn’t been beaten down by the inevitable obstacles of life. For example, when I was 18 I wanted to travel the world. But my parents talked me into going to university. When I wrote a letter to myself from the age of 18 to the age of 41, I remembered that and decided to spend many years after that finally travelling the world.
Then a third way to do it is to write a letter from the age you are now to an age in the future, say 10 years from now. I did that experiment about 10 years ago and am now realizing what my past self wanted, in many ways. In other words, I am my future self to myself 10 years ago. You know that old saying, People tend to overestimate what can be done in one year and to underestimate what can be done in ten years. Each year in January I would list what I want to accomplish that year, and many of the things wouldn’t have come to pass a year later. But I kept track of that list each year since 2010, and I have accomplished 80% of that list now. About 10%, I’m glad never came to pass. Each of those things I accomplished I can say with certainty that I decided to have my own back going forward with the inevitable failures I would have to face to get there. I had to do self forgiveness many times over. The last 10% I can say that I did not have my own back going forward with the inevitable failures I had to face to get there. I did not forgive myself, so gave up. There it was in black and white.
So, the fourth way to do it is to ask your future self to write to you now. I’ve recently done that with my future self in January 2031. So try that yourself. What is the month and year 10 years from now when you’re listening to this? I know sometimes people freak out thinking about how old they’ll be. But your 18 year old never dreamed they’d be as old as you are now, right? Time marches on and it’s never nearly as scary when you get there. If you create a relationship with that future self now…it has a far higher chance of getting realized than if you don’t create a relationship.
If you think this is weird, or have resistance, that’s ok. I challenge you to just give it a try for 15 minutes. This is one of the most practical and beneficial things that you can do when it comes to really creating New Years Resolutions that can come to pass.
So, say you’re 49years old now. So in 2031 you’ll be 59. What do you want her to know, see, do, understand, take action on, stop doing, let go of, or realize? See what you can learn. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship in your life. How you treat yourself in any timeline, how you talk to yourself, how you think about yourself, is by far the most important relationship in your life…and the biggest indicator of how much fulfillment and success you’ll have.
People will tell you that paying attention to yourself and working on yourself is self-indulgent. They are wrong. The unexamined life is not worth living as the old saying goes. It think it’s one of the main reasons we’re here. Not to navel gaze constantly, but to go back and forth between interacting in the world and then really meditating on, examining your experiences and deciding how you want to interpret them.
And if you’re in any kind of influencing role, doing any kind of sales, coaching, speaking, educating, training, consulting, the better a person you are, the better your results. Period. We have to start with ourselves. Your imagination, which is the tool that you will be using to practice this exercise is the most important tool for you to hone, because it determines your vision, which determines what your life becomes.
You cannot give more of yourself if there’s nothing of you to give because you’re not paying attention to yourself. All that paying attention to my self and my growth I am so grateful for now. Because my past self for created this great life that I’m currently living. I listened to my own advice, and I took action. I’m so thankful and that relationship is so good because of it. And if I didn’t take some of that advice and wish I did, then I have my own back. I forgive myself so I can learn from it.
I say all this because some of us have bad relationships with our past selves and our future selves. We’re beating ourselves up for the things we did in the past and we’re beating ourselves up for who we are now, and we’re beating ourselves up for our future because we don’t believe we’ll amount to anything.
But if you have an amazing relationship with yourself in all the timelines, so to speak, you can create an amazing life for yourself. My past self set me straight. She started a business that’s fulfilling, she lost the weight, she quit drinking, she took care of her health, exercised and ate a good diet…so now I have a great life. I don’t have to deal with the problems I would have if I didn’t take her advice.
Of course, it’s often not just instant gratification. It’s the long game. But long games often pay off in a way that short games never can. The best gifts that you have to give your future self are often arduous, or boring right now..but great in the long term. So being responsible with my health, managing money, keeping up with self growth, resting, pacing myself, working every day on big complex projects like an on-going course, a book or a marketing platform. All of those things personally that I’m doing for myself is because I love myself in the future. In the future, I will be so delighted that I did all the arduous, boring things.
One of the best ways of doing this is to think about your future self as someone you love and care about. I say that because many people do to their future selves what they would never do to their best friends. For example, saying that we were going to do something and then just not show up. We would never just blow them off, and ignore that agreement. We would at least apologize, ask for forgiveness and re-negotiate the agreement because circumstances change. But often we just make an agreement with ourselves and then blow it off. Think about how your future self, your good friend, your cherished relationship feels about that?
What many people do is think – well that’s 10 years from now – that is a long time way. It won’t really mater. But it does at the profoundest of levels.
So try writing these letters to build that relationship, to build the love and commitment. Then these small regular actions that create this future self, won’t be from a sense of obligation or that you have to. It will be second nature because you have practiced that skill within yourself, that relationship is strong and so worth it.
So, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out some of our other free tools at MindStoryAcademy.com/free such as our book MindStory Inner Coach with the 2 neuro-blueprints. If you get that you’ll get to hear about our entire MindStory Blueprints course that supports you over 66 days to change those train tracks of thinking for good.
So, that’s it for now. Do post a review of this podcast if you liked it. It really helps other listeners find the podcast. Here’s a quick and easy way to do it. Just go to: https://ratethispodcast.com/speaker. You’ll also see that link in the shownotes. And hit subscribe if you want to hear about other episodes coming up, which you can do on our website MindStoryAcademy.com\podcast. https://mindstoryacademy.com/Podcast Until next time, I’m Carla Rieger. Thank you for listening.