Throughout life, we are constantly inventing and reinventing ourselves. And if you look back, there’s probably be some versions of you that you like more than others.
The majority of the time, when we set out to change something about ourselves, it’s because we’re not happy in a particular area. It could be with health, relationships, financial, spiritual, actions, or something else.
But when you do successfully make the shift or have a transformation, I propose that the old version of yourself is still lingering within, hoping that he/she will have the opportunity to show him or herself again.
For example, let’s say that one day you stood on the scale tonight and the number that stared back at you was much higher than you wanted it to be. And of course, you had a feeling because your favorite jeans were either getting smaller or you were getting bigger.
You then became motivated to drive that number on the scale down by driving up your activity and motivation to eat better. You start going to the gym. You start eating salads and drinking shakes like they are going out of style. And over time, you start to see that number on the scale go down and your favorite pair of jeans are starting to fit like you had remembered.
And over time you notice how much better you feel, how much more energy you have, and how much more clearer you can think. Before you know it, a new version of you has emerged. And you tell yourself that this is the new you, you’ll always be motivated to eat better, workout, and live a more active lifestyle. You know the drill.
The previous version of yourself, the one that let the motivation to eat better and be more active dwindle into nearly nothing, is suppressed. You believe that old version of you is gone forever, however he or she is still there – and will always be there sitting on the sidelines waiting for just the right moment to jump back into the game… even if you don’t want him or her to.
As you progress through life, you will end up with having a room full of previous versions of yourself. The old you that wasn’t so nice to others. The old you who never went to church. The old you that worked out like crazy. The old you that ate terribly and never worked out. The old you that was hugely successful. The old you that was a huge failure. The old you who was on the wrong side of the tracks. The old you who wasn’t.
All of these previous versions of yourself are still with you. Their DNA has been tattooed onto your brain and there is absolutely no way to rid them for your life. You carry them around with you like a broken suitcase from the 1950’s that is overstuffed, falling apart, and probably smells a little funny.
As you progress through life, you may have a dozen or even dozens of different versions of yourself running around in your head. After all, there’s enough of you to start your own football team.
But what it all comes down to is the title of this article: Which version of yourself are you living?
Are you living your life as the highest version of yourself in each and every single area of your life? Are you living with a version of yourself that is downright depressed, unhappy, and one who lost their zeal for life? Or, are you living your life allowing some of your earlier versions of yourself run the show in at least some areas of your life?
The good news is that the longer you stay away from entertaining and listing to your old self, the more muted that inner dialogue becomes. And that’s all that it really is. It’s that mind-chatter that goes on in your head that your previous and current self has with you. You can’t see all the versions of yourself, but you can certainly hear them when they speak.
It’s that, “I’m going to the gym right now!” VS. “You’ve got a lot to do today. There’s no time for the gym. Oh look, a doughnut. Yum. I’m going to it!”
When you are trying to make a positive change in your life, i.e. establish a new, healthier mind-chatter presented by a new self, you’re going to go to battle initially. In the beginning, both internal voices, of your current self and the self you want to become will be chattering away in your head at the same sound level.
You have to make the conscious decision which inner voice you’re not only going to listen to, but most importantly, which one you’re going to respond to.
At first, it will take quite a bit of effort. A lot of questioning yourself. And a lot of mistakes. But that is the secret to successfully moving from an older version of self to a new version.
The only way you you can make consistent forward progress in both creating and maintaining the new, better version of self is awareness.
Becoming aware of self is the first step you need to take to successfully transition from old to new. But more critically, it is that awareness of self that will keep you on the right path and prevent you from returning you to your old ways and state of being.
Once you’re aware, you’ll become more conscious of that mind-chatter and be able to make better decisions about which version of yourself to listen to.
Over time, with consistent effort, the old versions of self begin to lose their voice and the new, stronger, more aligned version of yourself becomes the dominate voice in your head that speaks louder and clearer than all previous versions.
However, you can never ever let your guard down. Never. Whether you have 10 or 100 previous versions of yourself swimming around your head like sharks, they will never ever go away. And each and every single one of them is extremely smart. They will do literally anything and everything to make their voice heard and attempt to regain control.
They can spot an opportunity from 10,000 miles away to get into your head. These old versions of you need to be considered armed and dangerous because they will stop at nothing to get back to their position being the one in control of your life.
The old versions of you are power-hungry. They are willing and able to fight til death. And all they care about is themselves.
So how to you keep all the old versions of yourself at bay, locked up for life, and the new, improved version of yourself front and center?
1. Define Your Current Self: Who are you today and who do you want to become tomorrow? Take inventory on every aspect and in every area of your life. What are your beliefs in all of these areas? What areas are you lacking in? What areas are you excelling in? Ask close friends and family to be honest with you about about what areas they feel you could improve in. It sucks hearing and realizing where you’re falling short, but the pain is only temporary. First and foremost, get to really and deeply know your inner self.
2. Define Areas You Want To Improve: What does the highest version of yourself look like, act like, and feel like in each and every area of your life? Get crystal clear on this. For example, would you like the new you to be on the Life567 Plan™, where work out 5 times a week, eat healthy 6 days a week, and be more active 7 days a week? (I just made that plan up and it would make a good book or report. For now I’ll trademark it.)
3. Listen To Yourself: Learn to really listen to your inner voices – that damn mind-chatter. Pay attention to what it is saying to you. Pay attention to what it says about others, situations, successes, failures, and most importantly, the beliefs that your current version of yourself has. For example, do you believe money is the root of all evil? Do you believe that successful people just got lucky? Do you believe that you don’t have the potential to impact the world in a positive way within you? Does your current self put you down, say you are fat, ugly, or make you feel bad about yourself?
Pay attention to what the current version of yourself saying to you on a daily basis about anything and everything. You will begin to notice the areas that definitely in need improvement to reach the new, better version of yourself that you would like to (and need to) become.
4. Fight Yourself: There’s no way around it. If you want to change something about yourself for the better, the old version of you is going to come out swinging at you like Mike Tyson in his prime. Put on your gloves and kick the spit out of yourself when the old version of you is doing anything and everything to ensure that things don’t change – that you don’t change. If in the past, if you’ve had a negative outlook on the world and in life in general and you loved to share your thoughts and feelings with others, when that starts to happen, immediately make a decision that you’re not going to go down that path again. You can tell your old self, “That’s not who I am any more. I’m a positive person now.”Sure, that path can be all rosy filled with unicorns and butterflies, but to REALLY make it stick, you need to literally YELL at your old self.
Get in your car and go for a drive. Scream at yourself that you are tired of X (whatever you want to change), it no longer serves you, you are now X (who you want to become in that area). Show your old self you mean freaking business and scream your heart out. You’re never going to get through to your old self and intimidate him or her by talking back to it in your head silently. That’s the weapon your old self uses. That’s like a machine gun. When you physically yell with massive emotion at your old self, about who you are NOW (who you want to become), that’s like dropping a bomb. Ka-boom.
5. Stay Present and Pay Attention Consistently: Change is never easy, unless you’re trying to break a $1.00 bill into 4 quarters at a laundromat. Always check in with yourself. Ask yourself, Am I living and being the highest version of myself that I had previously defined? Am I making this decision based on my old self and my old ways of thinking, or am I making this decision as my new, better version of myself?
6. Stay Focused On Your Highest Version of Self: Because you’ll have many previous versions of yourself running around in your head, it takes work DAILY to remind your new self who you are and who you are working towards becoming. Read books that move you closer to the highest version of yourself. Journal. Do affirmations. Make a dream board. Go to seminars. Associate with others who are living the highest versions of themselves and are doing and being exactly what you want to do and how you want to be.This journey is not a one-time fix and then your work is finished.
The journey to the highest version of yourself is one that lasts a lifetime. And the moment you stop traveling down the path towards your higher version is the very moment that all your previous versions of you will jump out, attack you, say everything they used to say in that mind-chatter, and try to regain the throne. Keep your eyes on the prize. Always. No matter what.
7. Constant Corrections & Consistent Actions: In the beginning, you’re going to slip a few, a dozen, or even a hundred times. You’re not perfect. Accept that. You’re going to make a ton of mistakes along the way and make decisions that may have not been the highest version of your new self. You need to recognize when these slips happen and take consistent action by correcting the course. For example, let’s say the new you wants to earn more money, so you start a home-based business on the side.
You then carve out one hour a night that you’re going to focus on your new business. You do amazing for the first 15 days, but on day 16 you hit a wall. You just veg out and watch TV each night for the next couple of evenings. The old you spotted an opportunity and is trying to make his or her way back in. Instead of beating yourself up for not sticking with something like your old self used to do, you recognize that you’ve fallen off the path, get back to the normal scheduled program, and take the actions needed to ensure you stay focused on becoming how you envision the new version of yourself.
Pay attention to your old self and what he or she is saying when you slip and go back to your old behaviors. The more aware you become, the easier it will be to recognize the voice of the new you vs. the previous version of yourself that you’re moving away from.
At the end of the day, we are all living as a wide variety of previous versions of ourselves. What it comes down to is silencing the previous versions that no longer serves us, creating newer and improved versions, and continuing to create better versions of yourself. Over time, you’ll be a mix of much better versions of yourself that are much more in alignment of who you are now and who you want to become.