By Cali Byram
For the majority of my life, I’ve been a start-stopper. If you’re not familiar with that term, it’s because I made it up. It means I start something with overwhelming enthusiasm, but I stop when it becomes difficult, uncomfortable, or dull. Even if it’s a good idea or lights me up. Does this behavior sound familiar to you? If so, you may relate to this too; whenever I need to decide, I consult an outside source such as my parents, best friend, or Google. Asking for advice can be helpful at times, but it can also be tricky. Our heart is the compass that takes us in the direction we’re meant to go, and the person that knows our heart best is us. If we’re making decisions based on what other people tell us to do, it may not align with our values. If our actions aren’t aligned with our values, we’re less likely to feel fulfilled and more likely to give up. Having said that, the reason why I hadn’t achieved what I desired was because:
- I allowed society to form my beliefs
- I allowed the anxiety of decision-making to stop me from making any decisions
- I allowed temptations to distract me
- I allowed my low self-esteem to limit me
- I allowed myself to become comfortable with mediocrity
As I trekked into my mid-twenties, it became increasingly clear that my entire life would be ruled by phrases like “I could’ve done that, but….” and “I almost did that, but….” If I was going to make my dreams a reality, I knew I needed to make a change. I’ve made several. But there’s one that aided the others. I’m going to share it with you because it will improve your life too. Ready for it? I talk to myself. I know, right? This is not to be confused with responding to the random thoughts that cross my mind. I’m talking about having intentional conversations with myself, which include:
- In my head (when I’m around other people)
- Out loud (when I’m alone in the car)
- On paper (when I’m sorting through deeper issues)
This practice has helped me understand the root of my issues. Now, instead of reacting in fear, I am capable of responding in love. If this type of self-care seems daunting to you, here are the three questions I ask myself that have helped me redirect the course of my life.
When I began asking myself “why,” it reconnected me to my curiosity. A question like, “Why am I allowing him to treat me this way?” led me to realize that I didn’t believe I deserved to be treated better. If I desire people in my life that treat me better, I have to start living as if I have self-worth. So the next question was, “Why don’t I live like I have self-worth?” Because I’m afraid of rejection and play small to avoid that feeling. “Why am I trying to avoid that feeling?” I want to feel safe. The conversation of why’s led me to the root of my issue. From there, I began working on accepting myself fully.
Your why’s will be tailored to you and your needs. They could be about anything. Why do I endlessly scroll before bed? Why do I smoke when I know it’s bad for me? Why am I always tired around 2:00 p.m.? Taking the time to answer these questions creates a healthy relationship with yourself, which is the foundation you need to live the life of your dreams.
2. Is this decision going to lead me in the direction I want to go?
After I read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, something clicked. Olson defines the “slight edge” as a way of thinking where every decision we make decides whether our lives are stagnating or moving forward. He talks about how our lives are being governed by the slight edge whether we’re aware of it or not. Basically, we need to take action on what benefits us. So a way to stay motivated is to get a clear vision of what you want your life to look like. That way, when you’re making decisions, you can start by asking yourself, “Is this decision going to lead me in the direction I want to go?” Asking myself this question inspired me to:
- Give up alcohol
- Give up eating copious amounts of M&M’s when I felt sad
- Give up hanging around with people whose lives weren’t aligned with where I wanted to be
Everyone’s ideal life is different, and making these changes isn’t always easy. The point here is to be consistent about making intentional decisions. Each time I made a positive decision for my future self, I knew I was building the life of my dreams.
3. Would my inner child be proud?
This one hits deep. As time passes, we become disconnected from our inner child. We forget what it’s like to live in the moment, play, and be curious. We start believing that who we are isn’t good enough and that what we want out of life is unobtainable. If you’ve let yourself believe that lie, it’s okay. We’ve all been there. Now is the time to leave that story behind. Imagine your 7-year-old self looking at the person you’ve become. Isn’t that enough to make you want to be the best person you can be? You’re capable of that.
Make Your Dreams Your Reality
Since I began talking to myself I:
- Consciously choose my beliefs
- Make intentional decisions from a place of peace
- Remain focused on the present moment
- Remove my “limits” day by day
- Live a life of abundance versus mediocrity
With these changes above, I am certain that I will not only arrive at my desired destination but also experience joy on the journey.
You deserve to live the life of your dreams. I hope that asking yourself these three questions daily will help pave the way. Why are you still here talking to me? Go talk to yourself.
About the Author
Cali Byram is a woman committed to creating a beautiful life. She is co-founder of B. Publishing and co-author of Suzi and Sally: The Golden Rule. When she isn’t writing, she’s more than likely playing in the dirt with her daughter and two pups.