It’s amazing how many of us desire change, yet don’t do anything differently to achieve it.
We often get caught in a circle of repeating the same processes we’ve done our entire lives.
So, what gives?
Why is it so difficult to take the steps necessary to accomplish our goals?
What’s crazy is that even if we brainstorm all the steps required to reach success, we can still find ourselves repeating the same mistakes we’ve made in the past.
I’ve been through this so many times!
I would plan for the results I wanted, convince myself that this time would be different, and still not follow through the way I should have.
If you’re in this place, I understand how you feel.
It’s incredibly frustrating and disheartening.
But, I’m here to tell you the great news: there is a way out of it.
And not only that, there are specific reasons why this is happening.
Which means you can stop being so damn hard on yourself. ?
Here, we’ll discuss why we repeat our pasts and what we can do to start creating the future we desire.
This is super powerful, life-changing stuff.
So make sure you soak in this knowledge so you can apply it to your life, STAT!
Now, I know you may not feel like you want to repeat the past, but make no mistake about it.
You brain freaking loves it.
With all the best intentions for success in the world, a mismanaged mind can leave you with zero results to show for it.
There are a few key ways your brain loves to keep you repeating the same mistakes from your past.
Basically, your brain loves what it’s familiar with because it knows it can keep you safe there.
Anything new or unfamiliar you add to your life puts your brain into a state of panic.
It seeks to protect you from what’s unfamiliar, thereby tricking you into thinking it’s a bad idea.
Back in caveman times, this was useful, as this method of thinking is what likely prevented us from being killed by predators.
But now, this only prevents us from doing what is necessary to achieve our goals.
This is because the primitive part of your brain, the cerebellum, seeks to keep you in a comfortable, safe state of being.
Which is in stark contrast to the goal-setting/planning part of your brain – the prefrontal cortex.
Makes total sense, right?!
This explains why we can plan our dreams into existence so meticulously, and still feel drawn to our past ways.
It’s not you, it’s your BRAIN playing tricks on you!
Much like your brain avoids actions that it’s not familiar with, it will also avoid thoughts it’s familiar with.
Your brain seeks to believe what it’s always believed.
This is where it feels comfortable and safe.
For example, if you lost a bunch of weight and someone says you look amazing, your first reaction from your brain will be to convince you otherwise.
It’ll give you thoughts that there’s still something wrong with your body, or that you have extra weight you still need to lose.
This is because you have always had thoughts that your body “wasn’t good enough,” and your brain will try to keep you there as best it can.
So, this response occurs because of the “confirmation bias” you have towards your body.
See how this works?
While this is a common example, it’s not the only one that occurs.
This can happen in all areas of your life.
Your brain will always look for evidence to support what it’s already been thinking.
Despite your best intentions to change into your best self.
Whenever you try to create new thoughts about yourself for your future, you will feel this overwhelming sense of discomfort.
Imposter syndrome will settle in and you’ll feel like you’re being delusional.
When I set goals that contradict my past beliefs, it makes me feel just plain “icky.”
Like I’m almost lying to myself.
This is natural, my friends. And let me explain why.
The gap between your past and future beliefs is called “cognitive dissonance.”
It’s a thing, guys. This has nothing to do with you or your potential for growth.
This is hard. Because many people think that becoming their future selves should feel good, right? But this is so the opposite of true.
It feels really, really NOT good when you transition your thoughts from your past to your future.
Bridging that gap takes mental toughness and determination.
So, don’t let the discomfort make you feel like your beliefs about your future aren’t valid.
It’s (once again) your sneaky brain playing tricks on you.
In order to create the thoughts necessary to reach your future goals, you’re going to have to step into your future self.
I want you to write down the current one-word feelings you’re having.
Then, I want you to write down the current thoughts that are causing these feelings.
Do a body scan and really examine what feelings you’ve been carrying on a daily basis. Then, brainstorm what thoughts are causing these feelings.
For example, you could be feeling “frustration.” The thought causing that feeling could be, “I never follow through with my plans to reach my goals.”
This takes some practice, so don’t get discouraged if it feels mentally taxing at first!
After this exercise, I want you to write down all the feelings you want for your future self.
Then, I want you to write down the thoughts your future self would have that would manifest those feelings.
For example, your future self will feel “confidence.” The thought to cause that feeling could be, “I have everything I need to commit and achieve my goals this year.”
Keep these future thoughts handy ALWAYS.
This practice takes intentionality and commitment.
Have them in your phone, hang them on your fridge, put post-its on your mirror – whatever you need to do to see these future thoughts every single day.
Eventually, your brain will catch up and start believing them.
As we previously mentioned, your brain loves to keep thinking thoughts it’s always believed.
It loves to be proven right again and again.
Which prevents you from changing or growing in life.
What this means is you’re going to have to be willing to be wrong about yourself.
As much as you want to change, it’s not going to feel good.
Believing thoughts about our past selves actually makes us feel comfortable.
Even if confirming the beliefs feels awful.
Isn’t this insane?!
When you start believing thoughts about your future it doesn’t feel good.
It’ll feel delusional and just plain wrong.
Your brain will want to get defensive and convince you of your past identity.
You’re going to have to be proven wrong in order to create your future self.
As we previously discussed, you’re going to experience a gap between your past and future thoughts.
Which doesn’t feel good.
In order to make this easier for your brain to adjust, you can create a less intimidating thought that leads from your past to your future.
For example, your past thought could be, “I hate my relationship with money,” and your future thought could be, “I have an abundant relationship with money.”
A neutral thought that you could start believing is, “I have money.”
It avoids the negativity of your past thoughts, and passively leads you towards a more positive future thought.
You’re going to have to accept the mental discomfort that comes with creating thoughts from your future self.
Just know that this is part of the process.
You’ll reap the rewards of being your future, amazing self when you get through it.
Eventually, you’ll become really good at ignoring your brain when it tries to hold onto past beliefs.
I truly hope this article shed some light on how we can loosen the ties on our past so we can better create our future.
It’s something I’ve struggled with, and I’m betting there’s a good chance you have as well.
The wonderful news is it has nothing to do with us or our potential.
It’s due to our high-maintenance, “oh-so-wonderful” brains!
So, go easy on yourself and know this problem can be dealt with.
Start creating thoughts that will create the future you desire – right now!
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified eating psychology coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.