It’s Saturday morning. You’re super hungover from the night before. You woke up and stumbled into your wreck of a kitchen, which you tore apart at 3AM in your quest for drunk food.
Or maybe you didn’t. Maybe you passed out at 9:30 watching Gilmore Girls reruns like I did. But hopefully you see where I’m going with this.
We all have mornings where we wake up regretting the night before. My college roommate—who remains to this day, my best friend in the world—used to keep a post-it on our bulletin board with “KARA WILL NEVER DRINK AGAIN” scribbled in Sharpie across the top. Lord knows how many broken promises were tallied on that tiny piece of adhesive paper.
Just because you repeated the same mistake one thousand times, doesn’t mean you have to repeat it today.
Some of my best-forgotten late-night accolades include: Bitching out a best friend, housing a week’s worth of calories between midnight and 4AM, and the one, shining moment when I ate French fries that I spilled in the back of a taxi. Oh, to be twenty-two again.
I cannot count the times I woke up regretting skipping the gym, missing a deadline, losing it on a coworker, or not getting out of bed to move my car before it got towed. Every time I commit one of these routine fuck-ups for the umpteenth time, I ask myself, “Will I ever break this habit, or will I spend the rest of the learning from the exact same mistakes?”
I am here to tell you it is 100 percent possible.
It is possible for your life to change overnight
In a former life, I worked for a start-up for the Paleo diet—by far, the most fun job I ever had. My favorite part of my job was running a bi-monthly column called Paleo Success Stories where I interviewed people who lost 50, 100, or even 200 pounds on this diet.
The people I interviewed—quite literally—transformed overnight. There was no step-by-step program as seen in every nicotine commercial ever. The people I spoke to spent their entire lives eating crap and feeling like crap because of it. Then, magically, they woke up morning and poof! Fed up with their lifestyle, they decimated the contents of their kitchen cabinets—Incredible Hulk style.
One of my favorite interviewees ever was this girl named Jenn from the middle of nowhere, Michigan. Jenn is heart-stopping beautiful. Unless you saw pictures, you would laugh in her face if you ever heard her speak of a weight problem. When I interviewed her for the first time, and asked what traumatic life event could possibly cause her to bid adieu to pizza and frosted cinnamon rolls, she said she read about it in a magazine. Yep, one article on Paleo and homegirl quit sugar, alcohol, dairy, and grain overnight.
I interviewed Jenn twice, with a year gap in between. In that first conversation, she was down seventy pounds and never cheated. By never cheated, I mean she once brought her own salad to a wedding because the couple served fried chicken. That’s the level of strict we’re discussing.
Almost a year to the day later, I caught back up with Jenn for Where Are They Now? sequel. “It felt so good to say that I never cheated,” she started. “Before, I thought, ‘If you eat one slice of pizza, you’re done. That’s who you are.’ But that’s NOT who I am anymore!”
That conversation taught me the person I was yesterday, does not have to be the person I am today. There is a publically held belief that people like Jenn are the exception, not the rule. That if you have a habit of eating too much, exercising too little, losing your temper, overdrinking, underperforming—then THAT is who you are. And there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.
We believe if we have always been this way, that is the way we will always be. That belief is bullshit.
As we come to the conclusion of this post, I would like to kindly remind you to gather your belongings, be careful when opening the overhead compartments as some items may have shifted in flight, and remember the above sentence is complete and utter bullshit. You came into this world with a blank slate, and you wake up each morning with that same slate. Do not let memories of the past influence your choices in the future.
There is no written rule that says the person you were yesterday has to be the person you are today. Everything you do is the result of a decision you consciously make.
Never underestimate the fact that your life can change overnight. And never forget you’re the only one who can make that change.