“Growth is uncomfortable because you’ve never been here before. You’ve never seen this version of you. So give yourself a little grace and breathe through it.” ~Kristin Lohr
I was kinda sorta showing up.
To the outside world, it looked like I was doing all of the things. I was smiling. I was talking about exercise and eating well. I was posting happy, positive vibe quotes, but I wasn’t really showing up for myself.
I had experienced a miscarriage at thirteen weeks. This was supposed to be the safe zone. I had told family and friends. My husband and I even had names ready to go. This was baby number four, so I thought I was a pro.
I was in a toxic work environment, but I kept going. Even after my miscarriage, I felt I had to be back there quickly so others didn’t need to deal with my responsibilities.
After experiencing this loss, I spent quite a long time kinda sorta being serious about my well-being. But let’s be honest, I pretended for years. I was hearing “Take care of YOU!” on repeat. It was well intentioned, but I had absolutely no clue how to do that. Nobody told me how to take care of myself.
I knew all of the shoulds and suppose-tos. But I was overwhelmed by those concepts as I added them all to my to-do list. I knew I should eat healthy and move my body, but what was I going to do about these negative thoughts of not being good enough floating through my brain every single day? The guilt was overflowing, but I just smiled.
I took on more responsibility and wore so many different hats that it looked like I was able to do it all. In reality, I was so stressed that it was coming out physically through an annoying eye tick.
I made an excuse of being tired when people noticed it. I defended that excuse because I needed to believe it. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was eating junk in between the occasional healthy meals kick. I was moving, but not on a regular basis. I continued to smile, make excuses, and pretend all was good.
One morning, I realized that I couldn’t keep doing this. I opened my eyes and accepted that I was only kinda sorta showing up for myself and that I couldn’t keep sustaining this lifestyle without causing irreversible damage to those I loved and to myself. So I said the scariest words: “No, sorry. I can’t.”
Admittedly, I only whispered these words to myself at first. Then something powerful happened: I started to say them out loud to other people.
First, it was only to my inner circle, and then it started spilling out everywhere. I was talking about taking my power back. I was talking about an exit strategy from my toxic work environment. I was talking about how my miscarriage did, in fact, hit me hard. It rocked me to my core.
I was open about my feelings. I was letting myself experience all of my emotions. I was shifting. I was becoming a new woman—a similar version to the happy and healthy woman I once was. I was emotional. It was scary. It was worth it. It took a lot of work and guidance. It’s still evolving. In many ways, I expect to always be growing and shifting.
I told myself: Believe in your future self. That sounds like it should be easy to do, but it’s tough for most people. Chances are you are afraid of change. We all are. And it might be hard on your ego to admit you need to do something different.
As humans, we want to be right. We don’t want to admit a choice we made was the wrong one. We may have second thoughts and see lots of red flags going up all over the place, but we still hate to admit we made the wrong decision. So we stick with what we’re doing even if it feels wrong.
I have a little secret to tell you: The most successful people are the ones who push through the fear of change and do it anyway—even if it’s hard on their pride. It can be done. It will be messy in the middle, but you’ll get through it. When self-doubt creeps in, you need to follow two steps to make a change.
1. A mindset shift
You absolutely must believe that you can and will be successful to become successful. No matter what the goal is, you must believe in yourself and see the success as a real possibility.
For example, if you want to move your muscles more through exercise, start your morning off with the mantra of “I am making my health a priority. I will move my muscles today.” Start acting like someone who exercises. Make decisions like a person who moves on a regular basis. Schedule it in. Talk about it.
If you want to be happier and healthier, use these I am statements to help get you there: “I am enough.” “I am worthy of happiness every day!” Many people say they want to feel happier but don’t believe they deserve it, so they end up sabotaging themselves. Say those statements out loud. Write them down. Get to the root of any traumas or past conditioning that prevent you from believing them.
Once you shift your mindset, your choices and path will align with the new you. You will reach your goals, or at least make progress toward them. You may experience imposter syndrome along the way. Keep going. That is a part of the mindset shift process. Talk back. If you believe you can do the things you want to do, you will.
2. A strategy
The second part of your success journey is the roadmap to move you forward. You cannot just wish and hope for things to happen. You must do the work.
If you’ve shifted your mindset, now you need to travel the miles to get where you want to go. How do you do this? Set realistic goals. Make a plan. Follow the plan and stay consistent. You’ll need guidance along the way. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you’d like to do. Listen to the advice of those who have traveled this road before you. Ask for help to stay accountable.
Do not assume that this will be an easy path to travel. Most things worth having require a good bit of work. Expect roadblocks and push past them.
Know that not everyone in your current circle will be ready for you to shift. Change is scary on a personal level. When others change around you, it’s frightening if you aren’t shifting alongside them. In some cases, your change will create positive ripple effects for those closest to you, but it will happen for them once the timing is correct.
Your future self is waiting to meet you—you just need to get moving. The path will not be all sunshine and rainbows, but you can travel it. You can make a change, even a great big one.
Once you are on the other side, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get there. You’ll be happier. You’ll be healthier. Other people will ask you how you did it! Take that first step and keep going. I promise you it’s better on the other side.