Change Your Story, Change Your Life


The single biggest lesson I’ve learned from quitting alcohol, putting on my running shoes, and remaking my life is this: Everything you think is true about yourself is only true until it’s not.

You’re awkward on camera. You’re too broke to travel. You’re a bad cook. You’re never going to find love. You’re always late. You’re afraid of commitment. You’re addicted to sugar. Until you’re not.

Our lives are made up of stories, and the most powerful stories are the ones we tell about ourselves, to ourselves. If you tell yourself you don’t deserve to be loved, then that becomes true based on the sheer fact that everything you do and say and think makes it true. If you’re telling yourself you can’t change your eating habits because you don’t have enough willpower, then surprise surprise, that’s your reality.

Changing your life comes down to changing your habits, one small step at a time, but the first and most important step is to change your story.

So, that’s exactly what I’m doing. On January 1, I mentioned that I’d be working on a personal project this year – the Change Your Story Project – and I’ve been spending the past few months trying to identify the self-limiting stories I tell myself that hold me back from being who I want to be and doing what I want to do. Then, as I identify each story, I’m working to re-write it and I’m planning an activity I can tackle to get me moving away from the old story and into the new story.

Take photo shoots, for example. I’m constantly telling myself how un-photogenic I am, how bad I look in photos, and how much I hate having them taken. So guess what? I hardly have any pictures of myself and of the ones I do have, there are maybe five that I actually like. My old story is that I’m horrible at having my picture taken, but I want my new story to be that I’m comfortable in front of the camera and can totally rock a photo shoot.

So I’ve scheduled a photo shoot for March 21. But not just any photo shoot – a BOUDOIR photo shoot. You know, like in my fucking UNDERWEAR. Because I mean, is there anything more uncomfortable for someone who hates having her picture taken than spending an hour and a half posing in the almost-nude? Absolutely not. But that’s the point. If I want my new story to be true, I need to do things that someone living that new story would do, and I know that over time, the combination of telling myself this new story and acting like it’s true will make it true.

(Look at me, Mom! Re-writing my story one naked photo shoot at a time, haha.)

But seriously, I know this works because I’ve done it before. Not the underwear-clad photography, no, that’ll be a first – but the idea of actively changing my story. It’s what I did when I quit drinking, when I ran my first marathon, when I quit sugar, when I switched to a plant-based diet, and when I spoke in front of 1,000+ people at World Domination Summit last year to change my story from “I hate public speaking!” to “Holy shit, I can do this!

The formula works. Identify your old story, write your new story, and then start committing to activities that move you from one to the other. For me, that doesn’t just mean the naked photo shoot, and I’ll be working on this project all year – tackling a different self-limiting story each time. And here’s where you come in, because I want you to join the Change Your Story Project, too. Making a personal change is powerful, but joining up with other people who are making their own changes at the same time is the most powerful of all, and I’d love to get some serious group momentum building as we all change our own stories, together.

So here’s what I want you to do: In the comments, share the old story you’re going to change, as well as anything else you want to tell us about the new story you’re writing and the activity you’re going to commit to to get yourself there. You can grab the badge below to use on your own blog (perfect for sidebars, blog posts, or wherever you like!) and then, as you start to change your story, you can jump back into the comments here and update us on how it’s going. If you need help, ask for help. I’d love to support you! I’d also love to feature a few of you later in the year, and I’ll be giving out some fun prizes for story changers, so definitely keep me up to date on your progress.

Because together, I know that we can prove something incredibly simple, yet incredibly powerful: If we change our stories, we change our lives.


What I’ve done to change my story so far:

Old Story: “I’m so un-photogenic and hate having my picture taken!”
How I Wrote My New Story: 4 Unexpected Life Lessons From My Afternoon as a Boudoir Model

Old Story: “I’m not a real athlete.”
How I Wrote My New Story: Fill In The Blank: I’m Not a “Real” [X]

Upcoming Stories I’ll Be Tackling Soon: “I’m not a good adult.” // “I can’t build a 6-figure business on my own.” // “I can’t figure out how to have a clear personal style.”

{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Latebloom March 11, 2013 at 11:32 am

I will change my story from being a bitter ex girlfriend trapped in a going-nowhere job to that of a creative, content blogger with a day job she loves and healthy relationship, to boot!


Maggie March 11, 2013 at 11:44 am


Just yesterday I decided to take charge of this whole “I need to get clutter under control” thing. My apartment is really very neat, but there are a few “trouble spots” that I can never seem to keep tidy. So it’s time to start just getting rid of stuff. I bought a box of CD jewel cases on the way home from church (a sermon inspired me, SORRY NOT SORRY) and went through my CD wallet of movies and pulled out like 26 of them, not to mention 6 seasons of TV on DVD. All will be sold or donated. Next up: closet, organization system for mail/papers, a few kitchen cupboards, coat closet. One step at a time, I will become The One With The Immaculate Apartment.

Also, my pastor preached yesterday about living with open hands (Jesus talk, again, SORRY NOT SORRY), how you should be open to receiving AND giving. So I’m thinking I’ll use some of my “found money” from getting rid of stuff to buy supplies from the animal shelter where I volunteer. The “I want to be more giving and involved with animals” part is developing nicely… might as well take it one step further!

Also, a-effing-men to this line: “If you’re telling yourself you can’t change your eating habits because you don’t have enough willpower, then surprise surprise, that’s your reality.” My motto: the minute you tell yourself you can’t do something, you become right.

I CAN attain a Martha-Stewart-degree organization system in my apartment that, once established, is easy to maintain. And I CAN give more time and money to homeless critters. And dammit, I will.


Mary March 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm

You sneaky Nicole! I bet you knew you were gonna write this post when you gave me my “homework” assignment last week! I am only a few days into my own “Change Your Story” project, as you’re well aware, but I can absolutely attest to the empowerment that just identifying the change can provide. I’m super psyched to participate in this more publicly.

My old story: I hate mornings! I’m a snooze button addict! I can barely get out of bed with enough time to get to work without looking like a homeless person, let alone make breakfast or do any chores. I am incapable of getting up early to workout. I’m always tired and I never have any energy. I know what I need to do to improve my life but can’t find the energy to DO IT.

My new story: I wake up at 6:45 on weekdays because that is what I need to do to be the productive person I want to be. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it, and with every day that I do it, it gets a little more “robotic” and takes a little less willpower. When I wake up and scale the exercise mountain first thing (or whatever other task needs completing), I feel accomplished and energized, and it makes the rest of my day more productive and easier to get through. I like myself better when I stick to this routine, and that is why I am building this habit, one day at a time.


Manda Rave March 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm

This is incredibly inspiring! I have been struggling to change my story. Unfortunately, I have terrible anxiety. Most of the time I am paralyzed by fear, worry, and paranoia. I am only now realizing just how deep this anxiety is embedded within me and I’ll be honest, it’s freaking me out. I don’t want anxiety to rule my life anymore and I am slowly working towards seriously lessening the amount of anxiety I feel on a regular basis.
I don’t want to be the mentally abused poor girl who put herself through college but is still too afraid of the world to make something of her life. want to be just a girl with a lot of willpower and motivation who makes healthy choices and does what she loves. I don’t want the things that have happened to me to continue stunting my life.
Hopefully I can make a change.


Jenny L June 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Hi Manda

Reading your comment brought back a memory of the fear soaked terrified girl/woman that was me for the first 30 and a bit more years past childhood. So frightened (sometimes with reason) that I would die, that I could not live, that I could not provide, that I was hideous inside and out (absolutely not true but fact in my head); panic attacks every night, bone deep fear of death for my children, of travel, of people, of going outside, of opening a letter… Are just a few. Years and years of terror.

You wonder if you can. Well yes, you can. Not overnight but every tiny little step is a victory. I will be 50 soon and the only people who can believe who I was are those who lived that time with me. I like a lot of what i’ve seen on this site. Believe it and do it. Bit by bit you will succeed.

Best wishes.


Breanna March 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I love this. I once read something similar about forgiveness – that you can’t truly forgive someone until you change the story you tell yourself about that person or about the situation.

My old story: I don’t have enough willpower to stick to a diet of healthy foods. I had it at one point, but I fell off the wagon and I can’t get back. I have a good couple of days and then self-sabotage. I can’t give up happy hours with friends because then I would become anti-social and besides, I really enjoy drinking. Restricting what I eat is no way to live my life, I want to enjoy life. I’m incapable of losing weight because I will just gain it back through eating shitty foods.

The truth is: I feel 100% better when I eat the foods that are good for me. An occassional treat is OK, as long as it’s occassional. Also, I’m not always the best moderator. Sometimes, it’s easier for me to abstain than moderate.

My new story: I am able to cook and enjoy healthy meals every day and when I do eat out, it’s always a restaurant with healthy options. I lost the weight through lots of hard work and discipline and it’s something I’m so proud of. I don’t feel deprived or like I’m missing out because I have so much more energy and feel great.


Heather March 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm

My old (current) story: I am lazy. About everything. Eating right, working out, making time for relationships, doing crafty things, ect.

New story: I got this shit. Yup, I do. It might get done slower than I’d prefer, but I’ll get there. I am strong and capable of change.



Heather May 16, 2013 at 11:07 am


I just wanted to say that the oddest thing just happened to me. I was randomly scrolling through here, and saw your name, made the comment “oh, hey, another Heather” but then…..then, I read what you wrote. Everything you wrote….it was like I was reading it about myself…..and I think that’s way too cool not to share. I guess my point is that I want to encourage you with the fact that you encouraged me, and when the going gets rough, just remember there’s another Heather working through the same exact things you mentioned. Weird, but oddly cool to think about. Keep on keepin’ on!
Heather (2)


Lydia W. March 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Ooh, yay! I often find it hard to set goals because I don’t know what I WANT, let alone how to get there. I like this way of thinking about goal-setting because it seems way more manageable than tackling MY WHOLE FUTURE OH MY GOD and doesn’t end with me freaking out in my car because I have no marketable skills. Or something.

My old story: I kind of eat whatever I want whenever I want (usually in front of the TV) because I don’t have enough willpower to stick with a healthy eating plan.

My new plan: EATING WITH INTENTION. I will eat at least one meal per day without any technological or literary distractions so I can totally focus on the flavors and textures of my food. I will chop and pre-portion veggies and other snacks ahead of time so I can grab them when I’m in a rush. I will remember to enjoy my food and stop eating when it stops being enjoyable. And lastly, I will choose foods that help my body be healthy, but also savor every bite of foods that nourish my soul.


Laura March 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Oh, I needed to read this. I’m in the middle of a year that will hopefully bring really big changes for the better, and the way you’ve framed this has given me new insight & resolve.

The biggest goal I’m focused on right this second sounds like this in “my old story”: I don’t have enough money to buy a car. I don’t make enough money to ever own real estate. My skills are valued at under $50,000 a year in the workplace, so nobody will ever pay me more than that.

My new story: I am worth more than $50,000 a year and I can find a job that will pay me what I’m worth. And if I actually can’t convince someone to hire me for more than that, then I can hone my skills until I am worth more.

How I’m going to do it: Well… this is the hard part where I do need some help. I’m obviously going to start applying to a lot of jobs that sound interesting. No applications = no job offers! But beyond that effort, I’m not exactly certain how to go about this one.


Natasha March 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

My old story is that I always felt that I needed to live an extraordinary life, full of extraordinary, intentional moments. I felt like I had to follow rules set for me or overly compare myself and it still overwhelms me to no end even when I think about it.

My new story: my life is my life, and it’s great as is. I don’t need to compare and I don’t need rules like I’m 8. If there’s anything that needs to be changed, I’m changing it on my terms.


Ashley // Our Little Apartment March 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Love this. I just wanted to say this is exactly what Mike (he’s a counselor) says is the key to solving most of his clients’ problems (you know, the ones who aren’t homeless or felons – they have Serious Hurdles).

I asked him what he’s learned from being a counselor for 4 years. He said that people tell themselves why their life has to be the way it is instead of imagining something else.

You’re basically a counselor, Nicole! ;)


Ashley March 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm

The story I’ve told myself for decades was that I hate sports, I hate working out, I am not one of those girls who will ever live an active lifestyle. I have fought against it, despite living in one of the most active communities that focuses so intensely on working out and healthy living. It just wasn’t me, I keep telling myself and I have tried to accept that.

I’ve been on this change my story plan (without knowing it) for the past couple months. I am trying to become more active, trying to tell myself that I do like running and working out and that I CAN be awesome at sports, even if I’m not the most competitive. I am toying with the idea of joining a kickball league or some sort of fun team sport and that thought? IS TERRIFYING. That’s a step in the complete opposite direction of where I’ve been taking myself over the past 30 years and that’s exactly the kind of step I need to take, like you said. Yikes!


Brittany March 11, 2013 at 8:19 pm

I have a few stories I need to change:

- My room is always messy
- I don’t make very much money
- I always pick the charismatic, bad boy with issues

Activities I’m doing to change my stories:

- Spend five minutes a day picking up my room
- Working on a promotion
- Being FRIENDS with guys before dating them (I’m less likely to get attached….)


Chelsie March 11, 2013 at 8:42 pm

LOVE THIS! This is something I’m working on right now, so like many others have said, you have perfect timing.
Old story: I can never eat like a healthy person. I’ll always sabatoge myself and I’m not strong enough nor was I meant to be healthy.
New story: Everything I’ve been through has prepared be to finally understand what works for me. I’ve been given many experiences to learn from and I’m stronger than hunger. I’m stronger enough to make this happen NOW.


Sid March 11, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Gah! I’m too terrified to even write my bullshit story in the comments section.


Naomi March 21, 2013 at 5:21 am

DO IT SID! You can, you can, you can! Everyone is here for the same reason!


Mercedes April 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I gotta agree with Naomi. Write it girl. Own it. Share it and change it. You got this. Take this baby step.


Amanda March 11, 2013 at 11:14 pm

My Old Story: I’m too out of shape/too awkward/too shy/etc, etc. to take a fitness class of any kind. I don’t know what I’m doing and don’t want to embarrass myself!

My New Story: I took the leap and signed up for yoga classes! My first one was last night and even though my first instinct was to hide in the back, I laid my mat out at the front. I figured, if I’m going to be brave enough to go to class, might as well be in the front so I can (hopefully) get as much as possible out of it!


Cassie March 11, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Soooo I wrote you a love note. And told my story. All at the same time. Thank you for making me think things I needed to think.



Noodles March 12, 2013 at 5:45 am

Old story: Formerly fearless girl becomes scared and intimidated by everything. New story: Pushing myself to reclaim ME, while finding the willingness to really PUSH myself beyond the comfort of very calculated risks.


mandy March 12, 2013 at 6:21 am

I so need this. My story has been that I am not built to ever become a serious runner, I love food too much to lose the weight I need to lose, I will not be able to get out of debt as quickly as I want to because I don’t want to miss out on pricey dinners and movies with my friends.

New story: I’m going to become a goddamn runner if it kills me (it won’t!). I am going to lose the weight I need to lose (30-40 pounds) because that will help me with my running and working out. I might even do the juice cleanse I am dying to do but am afraid to do because I don’t want to suffer the first few days of feeling like crap. I will also not be afraid to say no to my friends when they invite me to go to the movies, or shopping, or wherever else, because sometimes I need to save the money and put it toward my debt.

I might just blog about all this to hold myself accountable. :) Thank you for doing this. It has put this into a perspective that I have been too lazy/afraid/hesitant to actually think about.


Jena March 12, 2013 at 6:47 am

The bullshit I’ve been telling myself for years is that, I will never make it to doing what I want. Because I don’t have any sort of higher education, and because of my health have not hit some of the other major independent milestones. I also have a job that I don’t particularly care for, and don’t want to be doing for the rest of my life but I need the money. I keep telling myself that because my dreams are big, I’ll never live up to my own expectations of myself.

New Story : I need to stop being afraid and just do the things I want to do, without fear of my health or anything else holding me back. I’m going to be the healthier person I want to become and I will have the career I want. I will save the money I can, while still splurging on little things. I also need to keep tabs on my health and make sure there are no real concerns, and if there is, get them taken care of so I’m not held back.


Leslie March 12, 2013 at 9:19 am

Old story: I’m not “that” girl…

The girl that loves to sweat it all out…
The girl that thrives will looking polished and put together…
The girl that outlines her goals and hulk smashes them one by one..
The dog-park girl…
The farmers market girl…
The writes “thank you” cards girl…
The washes-her-face-and-goes -to-the-hair-salon-multiple-times-a-year girl…
The fit girl…
The girl that reads…
The has-a-signature-dish girl…
The green juice girl…
The always-on-time girl…

New story: I’m sooo that girl


Naomi March 21, 2013 at 5:23 am

I LOVED this Leslie! (have you written those down for yourself outside of on these comments? Awesome!)


Suzanna May 7, 2013 at 8:23 am

I love this! May I “steal” it for myself, Leslie? :)


Tricia March 10, 2014 at 5:03 am

I love this! This is me! As well as a few comments above, the “I am lazy.”

New me:

is like clock-work reliable
is always on time
is ahead of schedule with projects
keeps to her To-Do list
works on her masters project that she doesn’t like every day for a minimum of four hours — wait, that’s the old story- new story: works on her masters project that she finds inspiring and motivating every day for four hours

Thank you!!!!!


Ally March 12, 2013 at 10:47 am

Wow! Perfect timing! Just have been so frustrated that I am the person who works so hard, is taken for granted and never gets the kudos or money she deserves. This change is going to happen


downfromtheledge March 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I would be comfortable with someone taking a picture of just my underwear, without me in it. Props to you!

But seriously, great piece. I believe so many shit things about myself, I don’t know where to start.


Alexis March 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm

So, I wanted to write a bit more than what I felt was decorous to shove into the comments & also wanted to share it with my readers.

My stories are here: http://foxxandfeather.com/?p=874

Thanks, yo. ;)


kelly March 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm

My old story: I won’t ever be a runner because I’m not dedicated enough, I’ll never be someone who accomplishes my personal goals because I use my career as an excuse, I’ll always be the overweight one because I can’t commit to the changes I need make to get healthy. New story: Fuck. all. that. noise. New job. New goals. New plans. Thanks for this.


Linda March 13, 2013 at 12:18 am

I have been contemplating making a change over the last few weeks, but as soon as I start to plan for it, during my only real free time of the day, I just click on the tv and forget about it. With a young child to get ready in the morning in a flurry, I tend to just forget even further by morning. That’s my old story – and I need a kick in the pants to start a new story.

My new story is a conscious commitment to using my free time wisely, to make myself a healthier, happier self. To forego mindless tv shows at night for a workout, a walk, or reading – anything to benefit my mind and spirit.


Rynna March 13, 2013 at 3:15 am

Hi Nicole,

I don’t really know how I end up at LLB, I’m not sure whether I even ‘googled’ it – regardless of any, I’m so thankful to come across your site.

I don’t have much of old & new story to be shared here, but somehow I have tons of them stacked in my head. I can’t be sure enough whether I would be able to do it, and that’s the fear which is blocking my way – which I’m aware of and hate it sooo much from the very beginning (those cranky, horrified inner voice that would just say “yaaa right, you think so?”)

3 years ago I was having quarter life crisis, not knowing the direction of my life, and what I would like to achieve. It’s pretty crazy. But one thing for sure, I realize that one of the reason is because of the debt that I get caught into, so I can’t find my way out and not knowing where to head to.

I would want to take this challenge of changing my bullshit stories and will share again with you. Thanks Nicole for being such an inspiration. You’re right about reading others’ stories will lead you to eventually able to achieve of what you want and rewrite your own stories, too.


Katie March 13, 2013 at 9:37 am

I have a lot of “old stories” that I’m currently trying to change- being neater, eating better, exercising more, going to sleep earlier, doing something useful with my life, being more financially savvy- but honestly, the one I’d like to change the most has a lot of factors outside my control.

Old story: Girl who has never had a boyfriend or been in love.

I’d like for the new story to be “girl who is in a relationship with a guy she loves who loves her back,” but although I’m doing my best to put myself out there, this story depends on the right guy being there at the right time- not just things that I do.


Pure Power Panda March 13, 2013 at 10:23 am

Nicole I think your blog is so inspiring! I’m definitely putting that badge on my blog.
My old story: I thought I’d never be a good writer, that I would probably end up in some lame office doing boring work.
My new story: become an awesom fulltime blogger! Can’t wait!


doniree March 13, 2013 at 10:30 am

Because I keep using it as an excuse not to do it, I want to change the story I keep telling myself about how bad of a party planner I am and how I could never pull off throwing a party for someone without someone else’s help.


Kerry March 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm

This is fantastic and I am happy to get on board! I have been telling myself that I will never be able to quit smoking and that I will never be able to run a 5k because of said smoking. These habits need to change and what better time than right now? I’m thinking I’ll start out with a jog around the block and increase steadily from there, while working on identifying triggers for smoking. The more running increases, the more smoking will decrease. Thanks for kick starting this idea and good luck on your boudoir shoot! I can’t wait to hear how fantastic it turns out! :)


Sharron March 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Inspiring as always!

Old Story: setting ridiculous unbelievable all or nothing goals, dedicating myself to the the pursuit of getting thinner not healthier. Crashing and burning after going from nothing to all out. Tired, all the time with all the insomnia brought on in no small part by the nagging voice in my head telling me I should be doing everything so much better.

New Story: You already know some. Making delicious green smoothies for breakfast, slowly replacing my processed food choices with real whole food. Giving up Diet Coke, double espressos and seriously contemplating an alcohol free future. Cooking with thought, eating mindfully, walking, taking in the sea air and going to bed at a reasonable hour each night, not because I should, but because I want to. One small change after another, after another, after another. Your blog inspires and encourages me from afar, and for this I thank you.


Maritere March 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I love you Nicole! It is very funny because March is my January. I gave birth two years ago and since then I’ve always feel a need to do a massive cleanup during the beginning of March (the same happens in September – my birth month). This year I feel the need of doing extra changes and by that I mean to start new projects and stop limiting my goals to a weekly To Do List. So to bring new projects into my life I’ve to give up old things and memories (books/papers/things/etc). And tomorrow I’ll be going to the Salvation Army to donate them. It was hard to detach to those things but I need empty space to bring these new experiences and knowledge. Thanks again!

-Maritere (Puerto Rico)


Karlyn March 17, 2013 at 6:24 am

Old story: I am a 24-year-old single female who lives at home with her parents in VA and commutes to Landover, Md daily for work. I keep making the excuse that it’s just too expensive to move out in this area without burning through a shit ton of cash. And since my commute takes a total of two hours out of my day I just “don’t have time” to get everything I want done, done.
New story: 24-year-old taken female that lives the city life away from home in her ideal location with a shorter commute. Phew!

guess it starts with feverishly applying,networking and searching for a new gig that’s closer to where I would ideally want to live when I move out. Which would require me to actually move out.


Terese March 18, 2013 at 12:17 am

I’m a little late to the party, but better late than never, especially in this case!

This time I just had to chew on this for a while because I’ve chosen a pretty big and scary story, for me at least. I’ve chosen the “nice girl” story.

My motto the latest few years has been “You are who you choose to be”, and I think it’s time to start working on that for real. (Seriously considering putting it up on a wall at home as a reminder. )
Anyway, I’m kind of a pushover who can’t say no to people because that would be mean or evil or something. The truth is of course that I’m scared as all hell of confrontations. Apparently it runs in the family on the female side.

But it doesn’t even stop there. The even bigger issue is that I don’t trust myself to make my own decisions. Big and small. What should we eat today? Ask the boyfriend instead of myself. His opinion matters more. What courses should I take at school. Make a sort of weird poll among friends and family and ignore your own opinion. I guess I don’t trust that my own opinion and experience is worth as much as someone elses. But it’s time to change that story now, because I’m so fed up with this.

So new story: I’m an independent girl who DO know what I think, and are capable of making my own decisions. For myself, not to please someone else.

Every time I realize I’m about to ask someone a question I could answer just as well I will try to stop myself and think it through on my own first. I’ve also recently started a half-way anonymous blog where I write about creativity, inspiration and life. And I wrote a post about this a couple of days ago: http://whereismygenius.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/choosing-a-new-story/


Mary Nolan March 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm

I can totally identify with everything you have written here, Terese. It is time that we put ourselves into the spotlight and shine. :)


Mary Nolan March 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Change has been a very serious word for me lately. My former self : I have always been the kind of girl who needed approval from everyone. Did well in school to get teachers’ attention. Obsessed with being a neat freak because it felt like the only thing I was good at. Always thinking someone is out to get me. Anxious socially. Putting doubt into my own mind about what I can achieve. Feeling about two inches tall. Living at home with my parents still (at 30) and feeling ashamed. Always envious of others.
Me now : I have changed my outlook on many things in the past few years. I have gone from extremely bitter to so much better. Have great friends as a result of previous relationships (looking at the brightside of something that didn‘t quite work). Advice from others has actually had great impact (some from people I’ve never met…like you, THANK YOU) Saving money, but not feeling deprived. Getting the things I want with a smile on my face. Learning to relax and not need to be constantly doing something. Learning to let go of some control. Learning to say no to situations that I am not comfortable with. Learning to not fall for the first man who shows interest in me. Learning about goals vs. wants and needs. Eating healthy and working out (huge part of this change). Having a positive outlook. Many people have things much worse. Realizing that I love my family – they are my best friends no matter how much they annoy me and how much we don‘t agree on certain aspects of life. And that’s the reason why I haven’t moved out. It’s not as bad as I’ve always made it out to be. Now is the time to be worrying about me. Not what everyone else is doing. Taking care of the things I’m lucky enough to have and getting rid of things I don’t need. Sucking it up and not living with self-pity.
Just went to the orthodontist last week. Getting braces for the second time in my life. I could look at it as a complete waste of money or looking like a dork for a few months, but am instead focusing on my want to stop living in pain, literally and figuratively. Get rid of the little annoyances that can create a big headache.
Now I see others going through difficult times. Divorce, infertility, job loss. Seems like roles have reversed. I’m happy to have experienced a lot of heartbreak early in life, so I can enjoy the many blessed things to come.
Took the plunge to start my own business with Origami Owl Custom Jewelry. It has been a huge success and advancement in my personal growth. When the company came out with a “Changed Tag” (http://marynolan.origamiowl.com/changed/), I was instantly hooked. It is a constant reminder of where I was and what I’ve become, that I can wear day in and day out. When I saw this post, I wanted to share this information with you. I’d like to send you one (if possible) as a thank you for what you write about and encouraging us to share our stories.


Peach March 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Best of luck on the photo shoot, which is in just a few days now! Yay for you! Funny, the more I read of you the more we’re having similar, life-changing years. Ever heard of Maggie Mason of MightyGirl or Camp Mighty? Highly recommend.

This is gold: “Identify your old story, write your new story, and then start committing to activities that move you from one to the other. ” <–it isn't just saying you'll do something. It's actively taking baby steps towards it, no matter how small.

My old story: Letting fear of judgment dictate my decisions.
New story: Live my life, my way, regardless of what other say or think.

I've already begun, in small ways and big ones. And I'm proud that I have.


Naomi March 21, 2013 at 5:24 am

OLD : Being content with just enough (in all things). Parenting, blogging, running, volunteering.

NEW : striving for MORE. Working towards better, better precision and more results!


Shelly Cunningham March 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I have two:
One is: “I am not a cook”
After moving to rural Alaska with my husband and our three sons last year so he could pursue a career in teaching and I could (finally!) be a stay-at-home mom, I have transitioned into quite the cook. Yet the story in my head remains “I am not a cook.” I hope to embrace my new talent and let myself move on to declaring proudly, “I’m an awesome cook!”

The second is: “I am a people pleaser”
To be quite frank, I am sick of putting other people first. It’s starting to piss me off. I have got to stop putting people, especially strangers’, feelings before my own.

Thank you for the inspiration to look at what stories I tell myself, and to have the courage to try and change them.


Joyce April 1, 2013 at 10:33 pm

My BS Story is too long to write here lol, but I think overall, I need to stop caring about what others think and start standing up for myself, and start working on ME, MYSELF, and I (in all areas). Start seeking out positive people and things, and just stop caring about BS in general! I believe once I start caring about things/people that really matter, and stop focusing on the things that don’t, things will get in line. Basically, people that don’t give a shit or appreciate you, you don’t need to be around them. Family, friends, relationships, whoever. I ranted a bit, but I think you guys got the overall point. Good luck to everyone and I hope we all achieve out goals. :)


Erika April 24, 2013 at 7:26 am

So here I am, almost 3 months late to this Change Your Story party… But THANK YOU Nicole – for making me face my current story head on and actually do something to change it! From 0 to 13.1 is kicking my butt and my story is changing. Everyday.

I wrote about it last night, WOOO!



Jennifer April 30, 2013 at 8:38 am

I’m changing my previous, I’m fat and I can’t change that story, to a new healthy, I can run story. So far I’ve lost 7 pounds, and I feel incredibly great, and happy! It’s amazing to me that going outside and eating better can do such wonderful things to a person! I have to thank you Nicole! Yourself and my doctor are the two people who showed me that I needed to change, and I’m so greatful for it!


Elsa May 6, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Old Story: I’m not “fit enough” to be a rock-climber, marathon runner, cycling instructor. I’m not able to build a community while living/working abroad. I’m perpetually single because “I travel too much”. I’m not able to stick to a whole-foods based diet because there isn’t “enough time in the day”. There is an excuse and/or a fear for everything “I can’t” “Or won’t” or “Would, but unable” to do.
New Story: I can do whatever the fuck I want. I can be whoever the fuck I want. I wanna be awesome! I wanna FEEL awesome!


Sara May 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm

It’s taken me a little while to figure this one out – to figure out that all the little stories I told myself as I tried to sleep meant something. That every time I dreamed about calling myself a little shit so that someone would tell me I wasn’t, I was really trying to figure out a way to tell myself that. That when the same villain kept showing up in my stories, maybe that person wasn’t someone I should be talking to anymore, even if all the stories I made up weren’t true, they meant something. I’ve been trying to tell myself something important for a really long time, and it wasn’t until now and reading your blog that I was able to start putting it together. I’ve been telling myself stories my whole life, but I didn’t really realize that they had such power, to be hurtful and damaging, but also to be uplifting and inspiring.

But I think I’m starting to get it now.


Carol ODwyer June 6, 2013 at 5:19 am

Love this post and love this project, Nicole. One of my biggest insights into stories came when I started teaching Crucial Conversations 10 years ago. It helped me understand how I create stories based on facts and the danger of believing these stories.
Old story: I don’t know how to support myself and make my current business successful.
New story: I have a clear vision for my business. I take joyful action every day. I easily triple my annual income.
Action steps: Write about all the learning from my 30 years of experimenting with right livelihood, look at what worked, what didn’t work and the lessons learned, and put these ideas into action my business.


Tarun Raina August 5, 2013 at 4:21 am

Hey hi!
I don’t know how to put this, but i’m kind of loser, always have been, i did try changing my story couple of years back but gave up in the mid, since there’s SO MUCH to change! But i guess, i’m goin’ to start o’er again and “giving up” is the first thing i’m gonna change! thanks, i guess, for the activation energy! Lol!


Sharlyn November 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I’m a long time follower of yours and these are the stories I wish to rewrite:
“I like yoga, but I never ever make time to practice it.” “I don’t know how to save money and stop myself from living paycheck to paycheck.” “I don’t know how to be a good adult.” “I don’t have time for more than one friendship at a time.” “I always sleep in my makeup and don’t take care of my skin”


Abbie November 9, 2013 at 1:00 am

Older story:I hate going going to school I’m going to drop out when im 16.
New story: my goal for my new story is to believe in myself that I can finish school, (btw I turn 16 in 2 weeks.) Im going to find fun ways to motivate myself im not going to quit im not a quiter


Jo December 2, 2013 at 9:38 am

I started the process of change and transformation this year
Old Story: Years of living with the effects of my trauma and living in constant fear and anxiety till I lost my sense of self and my self worth and spiraled into rock bottom last year

New story: Embarked on a journey of healing and creating the life I want this year – I did a lot of things I really wanted to do and in the process, discovered who I am and who I want to be; I got out of rock bottom to a place of strength and I’ve been facing a lot of my fears – I decided this year I wasn’t going to live in fear anymore.

Next step, I want to resume my masters and challenge my old story where I lost all faith in myself, and I want to take up a few athletic activities (never been much of an athletic person before)


Oli December 4, 2013 at 11:18 am

I try too hard and give up too easily, I’m a very whinny person. And have nothing to be overly proud of.


Kina December 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I spent 12% of my life believing/thinking/knowing that I am worthless and that no one should love me. For the past 4% I’ve been trying to UN-believe it and UN-think it and UN-know it. I am blessed with a husband who loves me unconditionally and has loved me even during the time I knew I was worthless. He has helped me so much to change this story of mine, but I want to be able to have the story changed when he’s not home or whatever – I don’t want him to be the only one who believes without a doubt what I’m worth. But I don’t know how. If anyone has any ideas about how I can re-write this story, please let me know.


Anna December 18, 2013 at 8:36 am

I live in London. I would like to stop being lonely. London is a lonely place! It’s big, fun, interesting but if you have a day off work you can honestly go a whole day without having said a word to a single person.

I have fewer friends now than I did in my 20s. I’m embarrassed by my loneliness and I now find it hard to make new friends because I feel like I have nothing positive to offer.

I think I can start to re-write my story by A) Saying Yes to every social situation that comes my way even if I don’t feel like going out or feel bad about myself. B) Start phoning people instead of texting their mobile (cell) phones. I need to start talking to people. C) I will try to stop feeling bad about myself.


Mog December 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm

The story I want to change:

My mental health is fragile, I am limited in what I can ‘safely’ do; really it takes all of my energy and effort just to stop going backwards. Using fear to protect my boundaries.

The story I want to change it to:

Sometimes I need to be protective of my mental health and take good care of myself, but having built on my natural resilience and my courage I have been able to face many fears, and in facing them realise that I am not always afraid, and that there is rarely a need for me to be afraid…

How to do it:
*Get my sleep under control (in progress)
*Get my physical health improved by getting my body moving
*Put into practice daily essential techniques like CBT, Mindfulness, NLP, NTF, Meditation etc that I KNOW work but am often too ‘lazy’ to use.
*Remember that when I take action I feel GOOD
*Start facing my fears instead of avoiding them


Jess January 19, 2014 at 10:21 pm

I am a writer…yes, I am. I’ve been telling myself the story that I’m not good enough, worthy enough to even write a little story for myself…to imagine something and write it down and just see where it goes, well….

Spent the day on the sofa after a monster sugar binge yesterday and basically just read your blog, Nicole, and downloaded your workbook. I started a story last night in my notebook that made no sense, I’d no idea where it was going and didn’t even think about anyone reading it but me. THIS IS A FIRST! I’m so excited and my new story is:

I’m a writer and I finish all the stories I start. I just love editing for improvements AFTER the story’s finished. I’m a creative person who can trust their own instincts.

I’m enjoying my first cup of coffee without sugar this morning and that’s because my new story is:

I can live without sweets, chocolate, sugar added by me, and refined foods, for one week. That’s all I have to commit to- one week. I can then assess how I feel and commit to longer if I choose, because it’s safe to experience ALL my feelings without reaching for something to relieve them.

Great book helping me: ‘MEET YOUR HAPPY CHEMICALS’ – takes the personality out of fear based decisions and turns it into chemicals and science.

Speak soon!


Megan February 19, 2014 at 11:54 am

Old Story: I don’t have time to change my diet and exercise habits so I have to learn to be happy with my body as it is.
New Story: I schedule time to exercise and make better food choices so that I don’t have to learn to be happy with body, I will be happy with my body because of the efforts I made to get it back to where I want it to be. I will stop making excuses and start making positive changes on my road to a happier and calmer lifestyle.


Chance February 20, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Hmm iis anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this blog loading?

I’m trying tto determine if its a problem on my
end orr if it’s the blog. Anyy responses would be greatly appreciated.


Simona March 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Old story: I always start a goal whether diet , career or personal and never reach it
New story: I am going to reach short term goals one story at a time!! I will reach all of my goals!! I am a beast!! Beast Mode button activated!!


Amber April 12, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Old Story #1: I hate myself because I was abused by my cousin and I have constantly been working hard for her attention and approval. I can’t do anything without first considering what she’d think or say in response (or if she’d respond at all).

New Story #1: I give myself unconditional attention and approval. My life is lived on my terms. I work on intimacy and healthy boundaries with my family.

Old Story #2: I am broken and damaged goods. I am too much to handle. I am unlovable and unstable. I can’t give myself what I want. I can’t do anything because of my mental health diagnoses.

New Story #2: I am working on it. Just as I am, I am worthy of love from myself and others. My emotional experiences allow me to be a more empathetic and passionate helper. My life is possible.


Niki April 13, 2014 at 4:04 am

I will change my story…
1-I am lazy
2-I always lose my Opportunity
3-I am wacky
4-I am soOOoo emotional
5-I am really impressed by other’s thoughts
6-I am shy
7-I am really bad in social life
8-I am not stylish
9-I am not up to date
10-I always forget about my goals and programs
11-I am sometimes jealous
12-I have a weak will
13-I don’t care about my health
14-I think that I am not really beautiful
15-I am Pessimistic
16-I waste my time talking about others life
Can I fix all of them?!!!
well, I am going to start
I’ll be back


Niki April 13, 2014 at 5:15 am

Once up on a time there was a girl who was lazy, wacky, so emotional, she had lost her opportunities a lot. She was really impressed by other’s judges and she was shy with a weak social behavior. She wasn’t stylish and up to date. She forgot about her goals and programs. she sometimes was jealous, pessimistic with a weak willpower. She though that she isn’t beautiful enough and she didn’t care about her health and she wasted her time talking about others… But suddenly she started to change her story.
She starts to rewrite her characteristics carefully… one by one… step by step
and she is going to change it :)
(Sorry to comment two times, but I think that this one is more impressive for myself!)
Thank you


Vickren May 9, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Great post to read. i am inspired by you guys:the writter and the comments.

My old story is me having trouble to reach my academic potential, its me being undisciplined, its a lack of belief in my ideas, its a constant failing at everything that i say i will achieve.

my new story is reaching my academic pinacle, turn my every words into actions. :)


Fiona July 16, 2014 at 8:44 am

I came across your website Nicole when typing into Google something like ‘people who have changed their lives’ and you popped up.
I thought I’d join in as I am at crossroads right now, actually the biggest ever in my entire life and it really scares me!.
I’ve had two (quite lengthy) marriages and a couple of serious relationships, a lot of travelling and living abroad, and many ups and downs. I should have written a book according to friends (maybe later!). With both parents now gone and the last of my three sons having left home I am now selling my house which is far too big for a singleton (out of choice) like myself.
But I need a plan. I WANT a complete change…but I NEED to change. I’ve become far too complacent in my comfort zone and I want to get whatever I do in the future right. I have taken massive risks in the past, moved house and country on a whim and always had balls! But now I’m scared…ME..?? I’m no spring chicken at 56, but I’m not old either (and been told I look 10 years younger, just thought I’d drop that one in!) but I need to conquer this fear.

I’d love some feedback. What would YOU do in my position…bearing in mind I probably won’t be chasing a career or serious full-time employment. And I’ve looked into the Caribbean so don’t go there!


Reema Singh September 4, 2014 at 12:50 am

Old story:..my weight is 76 kg..I am 19 years old and i m very sad from inside..I failed in everything I.e., my exam my lyf n everything..I made my parents so dissapointed dat whenever I think to make dem proud n do my best ireally can’t move forward because something is bringing me back to my failure n dat is nly cz of me..I m really dissapointed of myself..failure is making me weak n it is spoiling my whole lyf..unlike other teenager I don’t click my pics cz i think I m ugly I m scared of my family because I think they r dissapointed widme n I cn’tnjy my lyf..I spend my whole 3 year in dis depression..bt outside I hve to show everything is fn bt it is nt..


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