Let’s play a game.
Take a pen and piece of paper and make a list of any and everything you would change about yourself if you could.
For example, the list may contain statements like: I would like to stop procrastinating; I want to quit smoking; I would like to lose 70 pounds; I would like a better job; I would like to earn more money.
In other words this list can contain anything that is present in your life today that is changeable. If you are presently 5’8” and wished you were taller don’t put that on your list, instead, buy lifts for your shoes.,
Once you have completed this list let’s give it a name; let’s call it The Life I Have.
Now, on a separate piece of paper, let’s begin another list.
Examine each sentence from The Life I Have list and write an affirming statement that brings what you want into the present.
For example, if The Life I Have list did in fact begin with the words “I would like to stop procrastinating,” then your statement on this list might state “I always do what is needed, as soon as it is needed.”
Or if The Life I Have list contained the sentence “I would like to stop smoking” the second list may contain this sentence “I do not smoke, I am a non-smoker.”
Every sentence on your second list needs to contain a positively worded statement changing what you wanted to be different from The Life I Have list and stating it as if it is already accomplished.
A done deal.
Once you have completed this list read through it even if you do not believe a single word on that page.
Now, let’s give this list and a name; let’s call it The Life I Want.
Once more, read through The Life I Have list.
Remember everything on that list reflects who and what you are today and what you would like to change. In other words, this list is your present life. It truly is “The life I have.”
It is your life today.
Now read, once again, The Life I Want list.
As this list is “The Life I Want” list then we can safely say that if you live this life – if this truly became your life – you would not procrastinate, you would not smoke and everything else on your The Life I Want list would now be part of your everyday life.
This has to be true because living the life you want – when you are inside that life – you do not have the option of doing anything this is on your The Life I Have list.
You can either be in The Life I Have or The Life I Want.
It is not possible to be in two places at the same time.
This is what I think happens when we try and change something about ourselves.
First, let’s imagine there is a bridge connecting our two lives.
Now, let’s pick, from the first list, a topic that is familiar to so many of us – weight loss.
Each time you commit yourself to embarking on a weight loss program you usually do so with a strong level of commitment and a high degree of excitement.
As this happens you cross the bridge from The Life I Have to The Life I Want and dutifully follow your weight-loss plan. And it goes very well, and you start feeling very good about yourself, until…
Somebody in the office is having a birthday and a cake arrives to celebrate the event. This is not just a cake it is your very favourite cake in the entire world. And plates with forks and napkins and, of course, cake are being passed around.
And one is finding its way right towards you and not only does it look amazing it smells so tantalizing.
And you really want that cake.
And you are doing so well.
And the moment of truth is now.
And the “Should I, Shouldn’t I” debate begins.
And you begin to rationalize why a “tiny sliver” of cake is ok.
And you start to negotiate with yourself.
And the negotiations conclude with you convincing yourself to eat the cake (“because I deserve it, I have done so well, I won’t eat for the next three days …”).
But, remember where you are. You are in The Life I Want.
And this life does not include eating cake now.
It is not optional while you are in The Life I Want.
And you really, really, really, really want that cake.
In that moment you want the cake more than you want to have The Life I want.
So you scurry back across the bridge to The Life I Have where you have eaten cake so many times before.
And it is delicious.
And it feels good.
And then it doesn’t.
And you feel guilty.
And you feel disappointed in himself.
But you also feel comfortable in your discomfort because you’ve done this before.
Many times before.
And in this place – The Life I Have – you have repeated this routine many, many times.
And a little time passes.
And you recommit to your weight-loss program and back you go across the bridge to The Life I Want.
And you do well for a while.
Eating only those things you committed to eating that are in your program.
And you feel good.
And then some fool brings pizza into the office.
And boy, does it smell good.
It’s not just any pizza.
It is your absolute favourite pizza in the whole wide world.
And the negotiation begins.
Do I, don’t I?
Should I, shouldn’t I?
And you decide you will.
And so once again you grab your pizza and dash back across the bridge, back to The Life I Have, where the pleasure of pizza is followed by the disappointment and pain of regret.
But at least, thank God, it is happening in a familiar, comfortable place – The Life I Have.
And some time later you recommit.
And cross the bridge to the The Life I Want.
And you do really well.
Anyone seeing a pattern here?
Of course there is. We have done this many times. We go back and forth the cross that bridge so many times and each time we desperately scuttle from The Life I Want to The Life I Have we become more and more reluctant to try again.
This constant back and forth journey from The Life I Want to The Life I Have is soul destroying.
There is a solution.
Ask yourself this question from within the warmth, safety and comfort of The Life I Have; How badly do I want the life I say I want?
You see, by our words, we always choose the life we want. And by our actions we choose the life we have.
- Draw a horizontal line on a piece of paper.
- On the left side write these words Nice to Have.
- On the right side write these words Must Have.
- Now place your finger exactly on the spot where you feel you are in regards to leaving The Life I Have and moving, permanently, to The Life I Want.
- If your finger is on, or close to the words Nice to Have, then make a decision NOW to stay in The Life I Have and spare yourself the pain and despair of trying to relocate. You can live a happy satisfying life here without the pressure of constantly attempting something that, in reality, is just not that important to you. After all, it’s only a Nice to Have.
- If, on the other hand, your finger is on, or close to Must Have then get up, RIGHT NOW and boldly cross that bridge with more serious intent than anything you have ever done.
- Once you have reached the other side, The Life I Want, take a can of gasoline, pour it over the bridge, set it on fire and burn it to the ground.
Welcome to The Life I Want.
The only choices available here are those that give you the life you want.
There may be times when you yearn for that other place but there is no way of getting there.
You MUST create The Life I Want.
There is no other choice.
You’re going to love it here.
Till we read again.