The Art of Leaving the Story Behind

A funny thing happens each year. The closer we get to December 31, the closer we feel like we are to a fresh start. Most people focus on what they want in the New Year, setting new goals and creating new vision boards. Often, these goals start with “This year, I am going to FINALLY ___________.”

Often, these “New Year Goals or Resolutions” involve things you’ve always wanted to do or have but have not been able to make happen. It’s great to set goals…but if these are things you’ve attempted to do before, how will you ever reach your goal if you don’t know what has stopped you in the past? Ask yourself that one question “What stopped me from reaching this goal last year?”. Chances are, your answer includes a “story of why” it couldn’t happen before. A story that you’ve told yourself, and probably told others for a while now. The Art of Leaving It Behind is all about erasing that story so you truly have a clean slate.

Since 2005, Rob and I have “Left the Story Behind” every New Years. It started in Rio de Janeiro, before we ever created Jet Set Life. Rob had kept telling himself and others a story of why he wasn’t going to achieve a goal he set. It was keeping him up at night. In reality, this story WAS the thing preventing him from ever reaching this goal. So, after a long, honest and emotional conversation, we decided that it was best that he “Leave the Story Behind.” We wanted it to be symbolic. We found a balloon, he told the story one last time and let the balloon fly into the air with his story attached to it. After that he never told the story again. He found peace, and with that he found success.

A friend of ours had gone through a crazy divorce. I mean, the kind of divorce you read about in the tabloids – scandal, cheating, money, kids…it was awful. But 3 years later, she was still telling the “story” of her divorce to anyone within 5 feet of her. As a result, it was really difficult for her to start a new relationship, as  telling the emotional “story” of your divorce to a potential date, doesn’t make a great first impression. She also kept mentioning that “She’d never find love again.”. We asked her if she was ready to move on in her life, she said yes. So we suggested gently that for her own sanity she try our “Leave the Story Behind” invention. She did. A few days before New Years Eve, she had one last teary story telling moment where she wrote the story in a cathartic way on loose paper. Then, she burned it in a bonfire. She no longer tells the story unless someone asks. And when she does tell it, it’s not emotional, she actually laughs.

Another friend of ours had always struggled with weight loss. And consistently, every year he says he’s going to lose weight and get in shape. And like clockwork, he joins the gym in January, goes in without a structured plan and by February quits because  “He’s tried everything and nothing works”. So, last year he mentioned again his goal. We asked him what his plan of attack was come January 1. He outlined the same thing he had done in previous years and again said “He’s tried everything and nothing works”. In reality, he had not tried everything. He tried ONE thing, over and over again. We suggested that he take his story of “nothing working” and “Leave the Story Behind” and then, create a new plan, one that he’s never done before. He agreed, he left his story behind and joined a 4 time per week bootcamp in a park with a friend (to keep him accountable) and started the Jet Set Body nutrition program. Boom! By February he was still going strong – thanks to the buddy system, structure and variety of his bootcamp program and Jet Set Body eating plan…and he had lost 20 lbs by Valentines Day!

So….the moral of “Leaving the Story Behind” is that you can’t start the New Year with new goals and have a clean slate, without actually cleaning the slate. To clean the slate, the story must go!

Your homework: Find the story that you keep repeating for why you can’t do or have something and “Leave the Story Behind” in 2013. Get creative, make it symbolic and stick to it. If you don’t know what the story is, ask your best friend, if they’re honest, they’ll tell you!

For us, it truly feels like a wall has been removed from us reaching our goals. We wish you the same!


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