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Notes to self: You are what you think

Globetrotting writer Gaby Doman reflects on the everyday ups and downs of being a modern woman

  • By Gaby Doman
  • Published: 17:00 March 22, 2013
  • Tabloid on Saturday

When I am feeling at my most positive, I believe that your biggest opposition to anything you want to do is your own perception of yourself and the world.

For instance; my friend Dan wrote as his Facebook status yesterday that he can’t stick to a workout and diet programme for longer than a month because he gets busy or runs out of motivation. I truly believe that’s rubbish. The reason he quits is because he’s got it in his head he won’t last longer than a month, and so he never does. He thinks of himself as a little overweight, a busy dad, someone who’ll always struggle with temptation and motivation. So that’s exactly what he is. That’s what he always will be unless he changes his own ideas about it.

I have another friend who’s jealous that someone she knows has had a book published. But she hasn’t yet finished the book she’s writing, so how will she ever get it published? I believe that if she thought of herself as a brilliant writer and stopped being so stunted by fear, she’d get that book done and just maybe it would get published too.

I really think you have to put yourself in a new mindset if you ever want to achieve something new.

It’s amazing how quickly other people respond to the ideas you put out there, too. When I decided to get serious about freelance writing, I put status updates about it all over Facebook, posted my work on social media and generally put across the idea that I am a writer. I started to get a lot more new work that way. People took me more seriously.

Now I’ve decided to reinvent myself as a Bangkok fitness personality. I’ve been able to sweep away my party girl reputation really quickly by changing a few simple things (profile pictures, the content I Tweet about, the people I follow, the features I write). Now, instead of asking for bar recommendations I get a lot of people asking me how to improve their fat loss. I don’t have any qualifications in anything health related (though that is on the cards), but in these small ways, I’ve marketed myself as a fitness type.

At school I remember my report saying that in Physical Education I found it “difficult to string movements together”. And that’s how I’ve always thought of myself: unsporty, unfit and with two left feet. I thought that even when I tried, I was bound to screw it up.

But now, I’m starting to realise it’s not true anymore. I’m not that school girl who fakes notes to get out of cross country and I’m not last across the finishing line. I am fit and I am strong. I am confident that I wouldn’t be the last to be picked anymore. And I want to be thought of in that way, and so I market myself that way.

I think that’s the key to making any change; marketing. If you can convince yourself and others that you’re hard working or you’re a talented photographer or you make the best bread anyone has ever tasted, you’re halfway there. I’m not entirely sure if it matters whether or not it’s true.

So now I have to take my own advice. Because there’s one idea I have about myself that I can never seem to shake; the fact that I am unlucky in love (I always call flat The Spinster Pad and write lots of features about terrible dating stories). But, perhaps if I can convince myself and other people that actually I make great relationship decisions, I’m quite sure I’d stop falling for playboys and find someone more worthy of my time. It’s worth a try, at least.

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