How To Change Your Story

3 Simple Steps To Take Control Of Negative Thoughts

Not too many years after I moved from Michigan to California, I was teaching fitness classes before and after work. By day, I worked as a paralegal for a Southern California law firm. Before and after my job that paid the bills, though, I was teaching fitness classes at any gym that would hire me. I loved dance/music/martial arts and I kept playing around with new ways to combine these things to give people a workout that was powerful, fun, and different.

There were plenty of “not so good classes” I taught. One such class started with about 30 eager spandex-clad participants. As I tested the moves and music, things began to get awkward. Which is weird because it all worked so brilliantly at home in my apartment instructing my audience of walls and furniture. Anyway! The first person walked out. Okay, no biggie. Then the second. Ummm. And the third, the fourth… until it was just me and one very lonely student. (I think she just felt sorry for me!)

Eventually, though, it all came together and that program I spent so many hours developing became the most popular format in Southern California clubs. The program was called Turbo Kick. Other instructors actually wanted to learn it. WOAH.

Before any success, there’s always loads of experiments.

So, I set out to develop a video program that would teach other instructors how to teach this format. Even though I had created the workout, I couldn’t bear the idea of being the person in the videos teaching the workout. That was a painful and terrifying thought.

When I imagined being in the video, teaching my own workout, I was terrified! No way did I THINK I was good enough on ANY level.

I was certain people would think I was too short. I was too new to fitness. I figured people would say stuff, like…

  • Who does this girl think she is?
  • Isn’t she a paralegal?
  • Oh man, she’s terrible on camera.
  • She doesn’t look like a fitness person.
  • She’s too soft.
  • Her face is crooked.
  • She talks weird.

No one said these things to me, of course. These were the things I was saying to myself.

This was the STORY in my head.

Things didn’t change until one day I had rented a gym to film another series of videos. I was there to direct the talent. But, that day, the person I had hired to be on camera didn’t show up.

I had just had a baby. I felt gushy and frumpy. Self-conscious and ill prepared.

But in that moment, on that day, I decided to tell myself a different story. Like…

  • People would be relieved to see someone on camera who looked like them.
  • Women felt inferior being made to watch those other fitness stars and seeing me on camera would help them feel accepted and normal.
  • I’m real, humble, goofy, and unique – and, while some may not get my vibe, others will. They’ll find me relatable and, in turn, feel more confident and relaxed.

When I had hired other fitness pros to star in my videos, the company barely eked by. Once I changed my story and put myself out there…. our business exploded! Today, my workout videos are featured in #1 infomercials; I’m in the Guinness Book Of World Records for having starred in the most fitness videos; and, most importantly, I’ve been able to help tens of millions of people fall in love with fitness. PRAISE.

I think almost every problem, every limit we experience in life, can be traced back to the stories we tell ourselves. There may be plenty of reasons why we hold on to these stories, but we have the power to change them.

When you change your story, you change the outcome… and you change your life.

Let me suggest 3 ways to take control of the story you’re telling yourself – whatever it is: from love life to career status to health and everything in between.

Step 1: Identify the story. It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from or whether it’s true or not. Just recognize that it’s what you’ve been thinking about YOU. This is how: jot down some of the statements you allow to bounce around in your head. For example:

  • Love life: All the good guys are taken.
  • Career status: I’m too old to quit and seek out my passion.
  • Health: My family members are all overweight so it’s in my DNA.

Write them down word for word. Transcribe it from your head, even if you’re embarrassed to accept that these are your thoughts.

Step 2: Write a children’s book. (Yeah, for real!) Imagine the outcome you want or the ideas you wish to instill in an impressionable child. What would that story read like? Here’s a fun fact: the best selling children’s books have about 30 positive phrases. I want you to rewrite your story in the form of a children’s book… simple, positive, uplifting, and first person affirmations.

  • I have the potential to do anything I set my mind to.
  • I am beautiful for so many reasons.
  • I have more knowledge and determination than ever before.
  • I’m making progress every day.
  • I’m so much closer than I realize.
  • I love how strong I’m feeling.

Step 3: Read, repeat, read, repeat. Start telling yourself the new story! When my children were young, each night, I read them the same three children’s books. Long before they could read, they knew every word and had committed them to memory simply because of repetition. I want you to put YOUR words on paper, maybe transfer them to your phone, and turn it into a real book. Read and repeat this story over and over again and accept it as your new story.

Changing my story changed everything for me. And it didn’t take long!

It happened because I applied my determination mindset. At all costs. I had to make a decision to change my story with just a moment’s notice on that life-altering day. 

Eventually I was able to apply this technique to every area of my life and every part of my life changed.  It didn’t happen overnight, but more quickly than I expected.

We have stories we tell ourselves about our relationships, our financial situation, our home, our abilities, our potential…

Today, I ask you, to focus on the story on the main aspect of your life you want to change. Master this technique and then apply it to any area of your life that you want to improve.

Change your story. Improve your outcome. Transform your life.

Let me know in the comments below what aspect of your life you want to change the most! And, hey, if you want to share one of your (Step 1) limiting beliefs, followed by (Step 2) an affirmation to reverse that… I think you would help a lot of people, yourself included. LOVE YOU.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “How To Change Your Story

  1. I need to change my mindset about being worthy of love. I need to know that I am enough and it is ok to be vulnerable or uncomfortable .

  2. Thank you SO much Chalene! You always seem to brighten the day for me when I start thinking inside my head too much!
    1) limiting belief: I’m too old to make a difference with my passions in a new career line.
    2) affirmation: I’m never too old to learn new things and since I’m going to MIA in 2018 I’m going to take advantage of it and make it work!!

  3. I needed this today!! I’ve been struggling in my business and have fallen into the nasty trap of quitting when I get frustrated or I don’t see the results that I expected/want!! I need to stop focusing on the negative and focus on what IS going right and continue to push on with my consistency!

    Success isn’t easy and requires hard work…and, I refuse to quit at something that is my passion and brings me so much happiness!!

    Thanks for always being an amazing inspiration…

  4. Great article. Thanks for the creative idea. I am definitely going to follow through on writing a children’s story. I had never heard of that approach before but I believe it is going to be quite helpful for me. I will let you know how it affects my journey. I have realized lately how much, through the years, the stories I told myself held me back. Thanks for sharing, your kindness & brilliant words of wisdom are greatly appreciated.