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How to Become the Person You Always Wanted to Be (Without Losing Yourself)

The gap between what you say and what you do is called cognitive dissonance. For me, that gap was more like an ocean. The Pacific ocean. The astronomical space between who I wanted to be and who I was. I hated it. I was embarrased. I said things like: I want to work for myself, I want to build my own thing, I want to be fit and healthy, I want to be a runner. Yet every night I would retreat to my comfort zone. My sofa, hiding underneath my favourite blanket, pretending I didn’t have the time to do any of those things. The realisation of time 6 years ago I never thought about time. Ever. I thought I would live forever. Nothing could touch me. A diagnosis in 2020 brought me back down to Earth. Ulcerative Colitis made me realise I wasn’t invincible. It meant medicine for the rest of my life. It was the first time I realised that if I keep kidding myself I’ll do it for the rest of my life. If I didn’t make a change I would be that person that always said they would, but never did. I would be that dreamer. Always dreaming. Self-love is at the centre of ambition Self-love gets a bad wrap. Instead it’s cooler to hate yourself. I’m telling you, self-love is the better option. In fact, the reason I’ve turned my life around is because I’ve started to actually love myself. It’s cringe but it’s true. The only reason I’ve started to pursue my dreams is because I believe I’m worthy of it. I know I’m good enough. I know I deserve it. I know I’ll work for it. Before I was drenched in self-hate. The secret ingredient After 7 years pretending, I finally started an online business. It took several hundred talkings too, approximately 5 moments of inspiration and one breakdown to do it. It wasn’t easy. The thing that finally tipped me into action was the art of mentally fast-forwarding. I spent time imagining the future. There was me, bed-bound and wrinkled telling my grandkids ‘just do the things you want to do, don’t let life hold you back.’ That thought made me rethink. Did I really want to be having the same conversations with myself over and over? Did I want to be setting the same New Years Resolutions every January? The answer was no. Fast-forwarding gave me clarity. Your greatest fear It feels like a weakness in the human psyche that we can’t embrace uncertainty. Uncertainty plagues us with fear. It stops us doing anything exciting because what if something goes wrong. The funny thing is, the ultimate is the same for us all. That is certain. One day, who knows when, we’ll stop being able to ponder such things. It seems odd then live conservatively. To live a life stuck to the status quo. To live for others. My hunch is that your biggest fear isn’t failure, it’s success. Because that was mine too. Sat in the darkness of my living room mid-breakdown my greatest fear wasn’t that I couldn’t. It was that maybe I could. Becoming the person you want to be I didn’t want to be the person that made promises and didn’t stick to them. I didn’t want to be the person that always talked about ‘one day’. I didn’t want to be the person that would start running next week. I wanted to be the person who did. And what was the secret ingredient? Self-love and embracing the fear. The deal You get one go at this thing. One. There are no warm ups, no restarts, no trying again. It means if you have a dream it’s your duty to take action on it. If you care for yourself, go out and do it. No one will do it for you. If you’re lucky someone might encourage you but for most people, the difference between living their dreams and living a life in their head is only one person. You. From someone who used to dream to someone who is doing that thing I dreamed of, take it from me, it’s worth it. Every second. When you become the person you thought you could be, you’ll find a happiness unlike any other. More than that, you’ll find a proudness unlike any other. Feeling proud to be who you are is a lovely way to live.

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