There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

           Maya Angelou

 

The beginning of a New Year always has magic built into it. The countdown to a fresh new start, the end of something old making room for something new – all of that has renewal and rebirth written all over it. But sadly, there is also a little catch build into it too: this positive momentum tends to wither away rather quickly – unless you manage to hold onto it and use it to support you long term in your journey into the new year.

So here is a little ‘perspective switch’ we like to use to frame this New Year and set ourselves up for an energetic, aligned and flowing start of the year.

 

Decide what character journey you want to be on in 2019

We are all on a journey here and we get to live within our own life story every day. Imagine, however, that you are given the chance to script how that story is going to evolve over the next twelve months. If it helps, imagine that your life is a Hollywood movie or a West End play and that you get to play the main character. Where do you want the storyline of your life to evolve to in 2019?

You can apply this ‘character narrative’ lens to think about any areas of your life, be it your professional life, your love life or the course of your life as a whole. But let’s focus on your fitness life for a moment. What’s the story being told here? Where is your ‘athletic character’ really going? Is it a story of false starts, detours, and unexciting workout routines, with few if any juicy bits to relate and no major character building involved? Or is it a story of progression, of amazing states of flow, of milestones reached and passed, of fitness gains and challenges conquered?

Wherever you are in your story, reflect on the possible paths you can take to advance your athletic narrative over the next year. Evolving your story might mean, for instance, mastering martial arts and learning to throw a punch like a pro. Or it might mean joining a ballet class and mastering the pointe technique. Or maybe it means getting your mind and body ready for your first marathon. What makes for an exciting story? The choice is entirely up to you – and your own taste in gripping story plots and interesting character evolution.

The benefit of this kind of framing is that it focuses your awareness on the big picture, on the important character-sculpting bits that often happen to us by accident rather than by choice and that we often see retrospectively, but don’t often look straight in the face.

Framing your athletic journey as an evolving story also makes you less focused on the destination and much more on the process. After all, stories are not about endings and destinations, but about exciting trajectories and exhilarating twists and turns that sculpt us as characters along the way.

The story lens can also be used as a motivation device for those times when your grit vanes and you are tempted to just pack everything up and go home. You can always do that, but you better have an interesting way to fit that into your character narrative!

Ultimately, the reason why the story lens device is useful is that it forces us to challenge ourselves, to be brave and to push our own limits. And risk and adventure, when we are ready to undertake them, turn out to provide their own rewards. Or in Dan’s own words:

“We are born with the neurophysiology to respond instinctively in positive ways to novel and exciting forms of living. The brain’s “seat of adventure” is a structure called the ventral striatum that forms part of the dopamine reward system.

When you encounter something novel, unknown or unexpected, the ventral striatum pings to life – it’s because our brain just loves challenges! It loves to focus and it loves to go through the process of doing something new. If we never did anything new we wouldn’t survive!

Think about the greatest, most profound achievements in your life so far, be they romantic, career, sporting, travel-based or anything else. I’m sure they all featured stepping into the unknown and an element of risk and adventure.”

We hope you can take some time to reflect on the script of your most exciting year yet – and that you chart out the next chapter of your story with courage, zest, and eager excitement. If you fancy narrating your story together with us for a while, check out our newest challenges starting early in January – our NUK SOO and Methodology X experiences that now involve daily support, coaching tips and motivation from Dan Roberts.

Have the Happiest New Year… and go out and make 2019 your own kind of blockbuster year!