Stories create reality. They shape our perception of what’s possible and what isn’t hence enabling actions that manifest similar results.
However, some stories in our heads do more harm than good. And therefore need to change.
You can use the following steps to rewrite your story and change your life.
1. Challenge the Negativity Bias in Your Current Life Story
Even when you have a balance of positive and negative experiences, the negative ones are easier to remember.
This phenomenon is known as negativity bias. And challenging it is the first step to rewriting your story. Since you now know that it’s in your nature to fixate on negative parts of your life, you can force your mind into thinking about positive ones as well.
For example, if you keep thinking about how you are a failure, direct your mind to remember the times you were winning. Moments you helped someone. Times you showed competency.
This will help you stay aware of negative thought loops so you can cut them short before they lay havoc to your life.
2. Set Yourself as the Creator
It’s futile to rewrite your story while viewing yourself as someone life keeps happening to. This means that you don’t believe you can create the future you’re writing. Yet you can.
After sharpening your awareness by acknowledging the negativity bias, it’s time to position yourself as the person creating the story. You are in charge of the personality you want, the characters involved, and the location of the scenes as well.
As the creator, you might be inspired by other people’s opinions but you are the one to decide which ideas to work with. This phase helps you develop self-confidence so you can live life on your terms.
3. Rewrite the Origin Story to Reshape Your Life
Since you are the creator of your life story, any discouraging narratives in your head should change.
- “I’ve made too many mistakes to start succeeding now” to “I’ve made mistakes that taught me lessons I can use to continue trying until I make it.”
- “I was born at disadvantage and therefore, can’t make an impact” to “I was born disadvantaged but used those challenges to become stronger and impact others.”
- “I wasted my youth and now I’m too old to make a difference” to “I wasted my youth, learned from it, and can now become my best self with the time I have left.”
Changing your origin story can help you find the inspiration to push forward. When you choose to see your experiences in another transformational perspective, chances are, you’ll find the strength to change your life.
4. Set a New Theme
What’s the main theme of your story? Tragedy, contempt, perseverance, love, redemption, rebirth?
When you’re stuck, chances are, you are associating your story with a discouraging theme. But what if you could look at your story from a different angle?
What if you could change tragedy to perseverance? Or condemnation to redemption. When your theme changes, your life feels different and your actions shift.
In a study on sobering stories, alcoholics who reported that their last drinking incident improved them showed a higher probability of staying sober and healthier than those who didn’t.
The above subjects took an event that could otherwise cause guilt or condemnation and turned it into a story of redemption. When themes change, realities change and that’s why you should change yours for the better.
5. End Chapters You Don’t Need
Like a book, your life is a series of chapters — good and bad. But one bad chapter doesn’t mean you need to end the story altogether, no.
When you reach a chapter that doesn’t promise a future, one that you don’t need anymore, end it. You’ll have to gather the courage to start a new one no matter how hard it is.
Ending one chapter provides a chance to start a fresh one. It ignites growth and hence will help you change your life.
6. Eliminate the Illusion of “a Concrete You”
Change is difficult, but not impossible. Yet when you try to change and fail multiple times, it’s easy to say, “That’s just the way I am.”
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We all have strengths and weaknesses but with the growth mindset, you can completely change the concept of “you”.
You may tell yourself that you’re naturally lazy and a serial procrastinator with no hope of acquiring the success you desire. But gradually, as you act your way to improvement, you’ll notice that the story in your mind starts to change.
So no matter what your current story is, you have to know that your habits are changeable. Tell that to yourself every time it all feels impossible.
7. Establish Ways to Defeat Your Villain
Now that you know you can change any habit you have, it’s time to identify and determine how you can defeat your biggest enemy.
What holds you back? What obstacle keeps revolving in your life?
You may be unable to conquer your enemy once and for all. But you can find ways to overcome every time they come along.
Let’s say you have a toxic friend who keeps pulling you down the wrong path. You can cut ties and eliminate them for good. However, chances are, something else, like the fear of the unknown, will arise and you have to devise ways to overcome that as well.
I talk about challenging your fears in the following video:
8. Shift Your Location
Studies by the American Psychological Association reveal that people who work abroad become more creative than others who stay within their borders. This shows how changing locations impact our stories.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to travel across the world to rewrite your life. You can change the places you hang out, your workplace, and neighborhood among others.
For example, if you were used to clubbing every Friday, you can decide to refresh your mind by going camping or watching a documentary instead.
9. Acquire New Skills
Your current life story is majorly based on the skills you’ve amassed so far. When you acquire a new skill, your story changes again.
So after shifting your life with the above steps, you should develop your story with new powers. For instance, if you are a financial director looking to start a business so you can move from the 9 to 5 to freedom, you can take a course on business administration.
Your new skills don’t have to relate to your career. They could be for your hobbies or interests. As long as you’re learning new things, you would change the course of your life.
10. Get a Better Supporting Cast
As you strive to rewrite your story, shifting your supporting cast becomes inevitable. You have to surround yourself with people that positively influence your current life.
So if you’re rewriting your story through a switch in careers, you can join groups of peers in the same field. When looking to recover from addiction, you have to drop people who influence you to relapse. And so on.
Whatever strategy you use to rewrite your life story, always seek people who can help you accomplish and maintain your goals.
11. Change Your Personal Narrative Through Practice
The easiest way of becoming who you want to be is through practice. While rewrite your story quotes may inspire you to get going, practice turns the life-changing wheel.
Yet practice can get boring, especially when you finish the learning curve. It’s extremely unsexy when it becomes a routine. But it’s the most essential of all these steps.
Think about it:
- When you want to become healthier, you don’t get there after one meal on Thursday, no. You have to eat healthy often.
- If you want to acquire graphic design skills, you can’t wait for the day you feel artsy, you have to compound your efforts over time.
- If you want to be a minimalist, you can’t imagine a single day you’ll get rid of things you don’t value. You have to gradually drop clutter.
You get the point.
Henry Ford once said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” In other words, you can’t keep rewriting your story with words alone.
Your Rewriting Life Story Questions Answered
Before you go, check out answers to the following questions most of my clients ask about rewriting their stories.
How Do You Rewrite Your Trauma Story?
You can use the 11 steps outlined above to rewrite a traumatic story as well. You however need to be prepared for the flow of emotions that you’re going to experience.
Also, when devising ways to defeat the villain in your story, you need to remember that emotional triggers exist everywhere and they’re your enemy.
Most importantly, seek the help of a professional while taking this meaningful healing step.
How Do You Write a Future Story?
You can use these steps to create your future story:
- Visualize where you want to be in the next 5, 10, or 20 years depending on your preferred timeline.
- Categorize your dreams according to what’s valuable to you. You can choose among physical, mental, emotional, career, finance, hobbies, and relationship aspects of life.
- Start writing freely and go where your mind takes you. Use present tense like I feel, I see, and I am.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It shouldn’t be.
It should be raw, reflecting your true desires even if some might change along the way. You can then start practicing who you want to become and watch how your life transforms.
Can You Rewrite Your Memories?
According to various scientific studies on the human brain, memories change every time we recall them. So with certain cognitive therapy treatments, you can alter your memories.
You can use the third step in the above guide to rewrite your memories. As long as you’re still living, your memories could be distorted to fit a positive ending you’re comfortable with.
For instance, instead of thinking of the way the traumatic event left you with ugly scars, think about how you overcame the challenges you faced. Change your story to one that gave you courage and shaped your sensitive perspective.
However, if you’re still facing difficulty coming to terms with your past, it’s best to consult a professional who can help you with a tailored, thorough healing process.
No matter how fixed you think your story is, it can be rewritten. Using these steps, you can finally get unstuck and change your life.
What’s your rewritten story? Feel free to share it with us in the comment section. Also, help others change their lives by sharing this piece!