I'm reading Atomic Habits by James Clear (an early start of my monthly goals for 2022!), and very early on he talks about changing the way you speak about yourself. For example, instead of saying "I like to draw", you say "I am an artist."
By making it part of your personality you're more likely to do things that are aligned with what that type of person would do. It's one step further from asking yourself "What would a reader do?" when deciding between reading and watching TV.
By saying "I am healthy", you're more likely to eat healthy foods.
By saying "I am a musician", you're more likely to play your guitar.
By saying "I am productive", you're more likely to cross things off your to-do list.
And I realized that I have never thought of myself as a writer.
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Use what you are as guidelines for what to do
Even though I've been writing my whole life (I wrote short stories and poems all through my school years, including a 26-page book when I was 9 which I was terribly proud of; started this blog four years ago and was even asked to contribute articles to other blogs; I journal regularly), I only thought of myself as someone who likes to write. In my mind, a writer was someone that does it for a living -- a journalist, a published novelist, a screenplay writer. When in reality, anyone who writes is a writer.
If you run, you're a runner. If you play tennis, you're a tennis player. If you read, you're a reader.
And it is a very powerful mind shift! If you are something, then you do that thing.
When I was eating 100% Paleo, it was very easy. Instead of agonizing "should I have this cookie or not," it was a simple "no thank you, it is not Paleo." It was a very clear-cut line, either yes or no. And that's how it can work with your habits as well!
Should I go running after work? Yes, because I am a runner.
Should I cook dinner or order take-out? I'll make dinner myself, because I am a cook.
Should I clean up the kitchen and run the dishwasher before bed? Yes, because I am a tidy person who enjoys a clean house.
While it's not as distinct as the Paleo scenario, it still gives you good guidelines to look to. If I am a writer, writing is not a chore. It's not something I "have" to do. It's just something I do, something I am.
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Use the power of words to your advantage
It's the difference between "I should" and "I will." By rephrasing your inner monologue you change the way you perceive yourself and how you act based on your thoughts. If you always think "I'm so lazy", you're probably going to keep wasting time. If you think "I'm not confident" you're going to act like you're uncomfortable in your body.
There's something to the "fake it till you make it" cliche, because if you keep doing things in accordance to a personality trait, you will become that. If you keep practicing the piano, then guess what -- no matter how badly you may play, you're a musician!
They say that you are what you do, so take that to heart. Think of what you would like to be, tell yourself that you already are that, and act accordingly.
Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
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