Listen to the Full Episode:

For so many people, it feels like there’s this big, secret ingredient for creating lasting change. And, even more frustrating – nobody will share it.

That changes today.

How to become your future self now.When you think of an area of your life you really want to change – getting your finances in order, finally eating better, changing your relationship with alcohol – how have you tried to change it in the past? If you’re anything like I was, I would take tons of action to try to change myself.

Of course, I’d get exhausted and inevitably give up. Because little did I know, I was starting at the wrong end of the process. Instead of changing how I acted, I needed to change who I was if I wanted to create change that stuck.

I needed to upgrade my identity.

Once I figured that out, change no longer felt like some confusing puzzle that everyone understood but me.

In this episode, I dive into the concept of upgrading your identity in order to create long-lasting change. I share the two most powerful words you will ever speak, how to become your future self now, and why it’s important not to expect yourself to completely change overnight.

What You Will Discover:

  • Why trying to force change to happen by taking tons of action is usually a fast-track to exhaustion.
  • How to move from a mentality of lack to one of abundance.
  • Why the key to changing your life is changing your identity.
  • The two most powerful words you will ever speak to yourself.
  • Why you can’t expect yourself to change overnight.
  • Why changing doesn’t have to be a stressful, painful experience, and can be a relaxed, inspiring one instead.

Featured on the Show:


Episode Transcript:

Hey, can I ask you a question? Is there something that you really want to change in your life; maybe you want to get healthier or lose 20 pounds? Maybe you want to make more money, pay off debt, or just get your finances in order. Or perhaps you want to stop drinking too much or you want to create amazing relationships.

However, every time you try to change, it just feels so hard, like you’re white-knuckling it to make it happen. And then, like clockwork, you go back to your familiar ways and you keep wondering, what is wrong with me? Well, I have some great news; there is nothing wrong with you.

In fact, you are an amazing human being and your brain is simply doing what it thinks it needs to do. However, if you are committed to creating change in your life, I’m going to give you the secret. It’s the secret to how I finally lost the weight and have maintained it for years. It’s the secret to how I’ve built a successful company and created so much change in my life. It’s the secret to change that no one tells you about. But that changes today.


Bonjour and welcome to The French Kiss Life Podcast, where personal development meets style. I'm Tonya Leigh, certified master life coach and the hostess of this party, where we explore how to live artfully and well. Each week, I'll be sharing inspiring stories, practical tips, and timeless wisdom on how to elevate the quality of your everyday and celebrate along the way. Let's dive into today's episode.


Hello, hello, my friends. Welcome back to another episode of The French Kiss Life Podcast. Have I told you lately how much I appreciate you? I really, really do. I so look forward to sitting down each week and recording these podcasts. I feel like we’re friends at this point. I hope you feel that way.

I have people tell me often that they feel like they are a friend of mine because I’m in their ear a lot. And that means a lot to me that you would trust me enough to listen to what I have to say and to implement it. And that’s a great segue to this part of the show, which is all about Community Spotlight.

This is where I feature someone in the community who has benefited from the French Kiss Lifestyle. So today’s Community Spotlight is on one of my Slim, Chic, and Savvy ladies. Now, if you’re new to me, you may not know about Slim, Chic, and Savvy. It is my classic French Kiss Life program that I’ve been running for many years.

We’ve actually had over 2000 women go through the experience. And each time, I’m just really blown away and feel so blessed to work with these women and see the incredible shifts and change that happens within them. Now, you may be like many of them when they first heard of Slim, Chic, and Savvy, and they thought to themselves, “But, Tonya, I’m not slim, chic, and savvy.”

Well, I just want to reframe the phrase so that you can decide, is that who I want to be? So when I use the word slim, the way I use it is to let go of everything that is weighing you down. Chic is all about living your life in an expressive style that represents who you truly want to be. And then Savvy is the knowhow, the savoir faire as the French would call it, to create a life that you love.

Now, before I do the shout-out to today’s Community Spotlight, I do want to let you know that tomorrow, I am going to be revealing the brand new Slim, Chic, and Savvy. You see, I went to New York with my team and we filmed for 10 days all new content for this program, and it is mind-blowing. It’s so amazing. I’m so excited.

And tomorrow, if you are an FKL Insider, meaning you’re on my email list, you are going to get the first sneak peek of the program, the new program, and a special offer only for people who are FKL Insiders. So if you want to know more about that, just go over to and that will put you on the list, and you’ll also get a free copy of The French Kiss Life Manifesto that women love. They’ve printed it off. They keep it on their desk. It’s just a beautiful reminder of how to live an incredible life.

So, let’s talk about today’s Community Spotlight. This is from Laurie Caudle, who is one of the Slim, Chic, and Savvy alumni. And I’ve had the honor of knowing Laurie for a long time, and this is what she said, “Slim, Chic, and Savvy did more for me in 10 short weeks than what 10 years of therapy could not do. Tonya Leigh will give you all the tools you need to wake up and get off the hamster wheel and start living your best life. She teaches you that if you want a miracle, it’s staring back at you in the mirror. She has a way of reframing old thought patterns and getting to the root of what’s really going on while making you laugh in the middle of it all. These tools are lifelong companions and can be with you wherever you go. Once I realized that I can create my own happiness, that I can be at home wherever I am, everything shifted. I got a promotion, I gave up relationships, I quit complaining, I got disciplined and realized I had so much freedom. You will learn to be the author of your life and how to make it inspiring.”

Thank you so much, Laurie. I love what you said about the miracle is staring back at you. You know, we can often look outside of us to find the answers, but what I tell my clients all of the time, they are within you. And when you have the tools and the skill set to discover them, life becomes magical.

Now, if you want to be featured in an upcoming Community Spotlight, just let me know how French Kiss Life has touched your life. You can take a screenshot of this episode and share it on your Instagram stories. You can find me on Facebook at Tonya Leigh, or you can simply email us at – now it’s time to saunter right into today’s episode.

I want you to think about an area of your life that you want to change. Maybe it’s around your health and your wellness, maybe it’s around money, maybe it’s around relationships, maybe it’s career. And I want you to think about how you have gone about change in the past. What I know is that most people go about change by trying to take a lot of action. And what I also know is that action alone is not the secret to change.

Take it from someone who knows all about change, I have had many evolutions of myself during my lifetime. I have gone from being someone who struggled with weight and body image issues and finally lost over 75 pounds and I’ve been able to keep it off for many, many years. I also went from growing up in a trailer and having a lot of lack mentality to now living an abundant life; abundant, yes, with money, but also with experiences and memories and friends.

I also have gone from being a critical care nurse to now running a very successful company. So yeah, I know about change and I know what works and what doesn’t work. Women will come to me and they’ll say things like, “Tonya, I want to know your secret to losing weight. Do you eat Keto or do you do Paleo? Do you lift weights or do you do cardio?”

And here’s the thing; I could give you all the diet advice in the world, I could tell you about ab-workouts and different routines, but none of that really matters. How many times have you gone on a diet only to find yourself going off of it like three days later? Or you create a budget for yourself, and then three days later, you find yourself on Amazon spending crazy amounts of money?

Action alone does not work. Yeah, you can white-knuckle it like I did until I starved myself down to a size two, but guess what, I was more miserable at a size two than I was at a size 20. That is not the answer. What doesn’t work is taking a lot of action without changing this one thing, and this is what does work.

If you want to create change in your life, you must upgrade your identity.  Here’s what I mean – and the best way for me to explain this is to share a little bit about my story. So, as I was saying earlier, at one point I was 75 pounds heavier than I am today. And I remember wanting so badly to lose the weight. I was obsessed.

Every day I was looking up new diet plans. I was looking for the miracle that would help me lose the weight. And like so many women, I would go on these crazy plans and I would be able to maybe do it for two days. Towards the end, it was more like two hours and I was like, I’m done.

And so I was trying to create change in my life by being the same person that had put on the weight in the first place, and it does not work that way. The same goes with money. So many women will tell me, “I want to make more money, I want to be better with money,” but they’re trying to become better at money as the person who is not great with money.

If you want to create amazing change in your life, you have got to uplevel and upgrade your identity to the person who is great with money, to the person who does take exquisite care of her body, who doesn’t overeat. That comes first. But what we do, and I know this from experience, is we tell ourselves, “I’ll be that person once I create the result.”

But that is not how it works, my friends. You have to become that person first to create the lasting results. And I finally got it. I remember, for me, it was when I was in Paris for the first time and something within me shifted. I remember sitting there and watching these French women eat. And I would watch them have like two spoonfuls of pot de crème. And I thought to myself, who does that?

Like, you put some pot de crème in front of me and I was going to eat all of that plus some. But there, they just savored two spoonfuls of pot de crème and I finally realized that if I wanted to be a naturally slim woman, I had to think like her. I had to feel like her. I literally had to become like her in order to create that kind of result versus trying all of these crazy diet plans and still being overweight in my mind.

This leads me to the two most powerful words you will ever speak, and they are, “I am.” Really hear me out, my friends, because this is the secret to change. So, as I was saying earlier, to create change, you have to uplevel your identity, and your identity is created by a combination of I-am statements.

So going back to my story and my example, I had an identity of being a woman who struggled with food and her weight, and my identity was created by I-am statements such as I am fat, I am out of control, I am lazy, I am not enough. And so what I was trying to do was go out there and change my body in order to create a new identity. But as long as I was saying I am not enough, I am out of control, I was proving myself true over and over again.

No amount of action was going to be lasting because we will always come back to our identity. So I want you to think about I-am, telling your brain what to do, what to focus on, what to create. So when you’re walking around the world and you’re saying things like, I am fat, your brain is like, “Oh, we need to show her that she’s fat because that’s what she’s looking for.”

Equally, if you’re walking around the world saying, I am overwhelmed, your brain will look for all of the reasons why you’re overwhelmed. If you’re walking around saying, I am broke, you’re going to have lots of evidence of being broke, and this is how we go about trying to change.

It’s like, well then let me make a lot of money and prove to myself that I’m not broke. But I don’t know if you’ve heard the statistics on lottery winners, but lottery winners typically go bankrupt because their identity is not one of having money. Their identity is one of lack, typically. And so we will always prove ourselves true.

So if you want to create change in your life, you need to be thinking about the person who has created the change that you’re seeking and what is their identity? What is their I-am statement that’s created their identity? And you’ve got to start practicing becoming that woman, or gentleman, ahead of time in order to create the lasting results.

Now, what I can tell you is that this is not an overnight transformation. And that’s the problem. So many of you are wanting the quick fixes. You’re wanting the 10 pounds in 10 days, you’re wanting to become rich overnight. But even if you lost 10 pounds in 10 days and you did become rich overnight, the chances are you would gain the weight back and you would lose the money quickly because your identity is not matched with the result that you want. And again, we will always live into our own identity.

But the good news is, you can change your identity. Trust me, I’ve done it many, many times, and it takes time and it takes effort and you don’t go from, I am fat, to I am skinny, overnight in your head. You have to really work on inching your way there.

There’s this thing in psychology called cognitive dissonance which basically means that your brain is always seeking harmony. So if you’re holding two opposing beliefs in your mind, it is going to go to the one that is most familiar. That’s what the brain does. It wants to keep you in the familiar, which is why change is so difficult. But you can begin to inch up your I-am statements.

For example, if you’re telling yourself, I am fat, you could begin to practice, I am learning how to take care of my body. If you keep telling yourself, I am overwhelmed, you can begin to practice, I am learning how to bring more calm into my life.

What if you just inched your way up to a completely new identity and therefore creating completely new results in your life? Again, your I-am statements are so powerful because you’re basically telling your brain, this is what I want you to create for me. But a lot of times, we’re walking around unconsciously saying I am to all of the things you don’t want. I am lazy. I am not enough. I am insecure. I am not lovable.  Or maybe you say things like, I’m not good with money, or I am broke.

And you think those things are really true and you have a lot of evidence for them, but if you want to create something new, you’ve got to become a new person. And to become a new person, you need to start practicing new I-am statements. You know, women will come to me and they’ll say, “I’m so disorganized.” And I tell them, I say, “The future you who is organized, did she get there by constantly telling herself how disorganized she is?” And the answer is no.

Or the same around I am out of control with my eating, and I ask them, “Okay, the future you, who has a pleasurable relationship with food, who eats when she’s hungry and she stops when she’s satisfied, who maintains her ideal weight with ease, did she get there by constantly reminding herself of how she has no control with her eating?”

You have to begin to practice the woman you think you’ll need to become now in order to create the results that you want in the future. And what I can tell you is that when I finally got this, it changed everything. I am very mindful of my I-am statements. It is very rare for me for me to say I am overwhelmed or I am worried or I am, fill in the blank of something that just I don’t want to be.

And it’s not that I deny my feelings. I’m very honest with how I’m feeling and I allow all emotions to my table. But I don’t want to speak into existence things that I don’t want to experience. I think about how some of you may be waking up in the morning and you’re saying things to yourself like, I am dreading this day. What a terrible way to wake up.

All of a sudden, you’re telling your brain, let’s look for things to be miserable about. What if you woke up and you started saying things like, I’m excited about this day? I am joyful about another day? I am thankful for this day? I am grateful for this day?

Imagine how you would feel starting your day, and how you feel is determining what you do and what you don’t do. And this is why I-am is the two most powerful words that you will ever speak, because again, it’s creating your identity, and your identity is creating your life because you will always come back to who you think you are.

But you get to change that. You get to decide to literally recreate your identity to create new results in your life. So if you’re wanting to become a millionaire, you can’t be walking around telling everybody how broke you are or how you can’t manage money. The millionaire you in the future, she is not saying that to herself.

You need to start becoming her now. If you want to have a fit and healthy body, you’re not going to get there by saying how fat and lazy you are. You’ve got to practice becoming the fit and healthy you on the inside now to create that result on the outside.

Recently I shared my big goal right now is to reach a million women in five years. And I think about the woman who has done that, and what is she telling herself? What are her I-am statements? And I imagine her to be saying things like, I am so grateful for this amazing community that I’ve created, which, by the way, I’m already grateful because I already have an amazing community and I am excited about it becoming even greater and larger.

I imagine that she’s saying things like, I am so excited, I am abundant, I am inspiring, I am worthy, I am relaxed. Really think about that one. A lot of you think that you have to worry your way to get there, that you have to be anxious. But if you think about the future you that’s created what you want, she’s relaxed. She’s not in a hurry. She’s already there.

And I believe that in order to get there, you need to embody the energy of already being there. You need to be her now. How does she think? How does she feel? And then, what actions does she take? How does she show up in the world? That is how you create results, my friends.

That’s how you create lasting change, which is why the two most powerful words you will ever speak are, “I am.” I don’t know how many times I’ve said it during this episode, but it’s true.

So, what I want you to do is, just this week, notice what your I-am statements are and do they feel like freedom? Do they feel inspirational? Do they feel expansive? Do they feel like love? Do they match the woman you are becoming or are you simply in a habit of saying I am to things that you have evidence for now, but when you think about your future self, she’s created something totally different. And she didn’t get there by telling herself how she’s not enough, how she doesn’t have control, how she’s disorganized.

She got there by practicing being the woman who is already there by being very deliberate and intentional with her I-am statements. So again, notice what your current I-am statements are and how they are creating your identity. And then, I want you to think about the future you; the woman in the future that has created the change that you are seeking. What is her identity and what I-am statements has she practiced so much that now she has so much evidence for that she really believes them?

In closing, I want to say this; I want us to be a community of women who wake up in the morning and say things like, I am so excited about today, I am beautiful, I am healthy, I am strong, I am rich, I am confident, I am capable, I am overflowing with love and joy, I am in awe of my life.

Imagine the kinds of lives we would create if that became our identity. I’ve said it once, and you’ll hear me say it many, many times if you stick around, and I certainly hope that you do. But to create something that you have never had, you are going to need to become someone you’ve never been. And to become someone you’ve never been, you’re going to have to be deliberate and intentional with your I-am. And you know what – I am so grateful for you and I am also very excited about the woman you are becoming.

It is time for a J’adore; the part of the show where I share something that I am adoring. And this week, I am so excited to share with you something that I have upgraded in my own life that I look forward to every single morning.

So, I don’t know about you, but I am a coffee lover. I’m one of those people that go to bed at night excited about the next morning because I know I’m going to have coffee. And for a long time, I was doing French press coffee, which is great. I also have a Nespresso machine, which is great too. But nothing, my friends, nothing compares to my new morning coffee ritual.

So, about six months ago, I upgraded to the Chemex coffee maker. So, basically, this is a pour-over system that is very elegant and pure. There’s no electricity involved. There’s no fancy gadgets. It’s just this beautiful one-piece hourglass-shaped vessel that’s made of heat-resistant glass. And then it has this beautiful wood collar with a leather tie.

So let me just explain to you what my morning ritual looks like when it comes to my Chemex coffee maker. So I go down in the morning and I get my natural filter that fits into the Chemex. And they have two types of filter; one is natural and one is white.  I prefer the natural. I don’t know why.  I’ve used both. It looks better and I think it performs better. But that’s my personal opinion.

And so, then I put the filter in, and then I grind my own beans. And I like medium roast. I used to drink dark roast, and then I started to realize it tastes burnt. I like medium roast coffee and I get my coffee beans from a place where I live. So I grind my coffee beans. I put the grounds into the filter. And then I take my new pour-over coffee kettle, I put my filtered water in there, I heat it up on the stove to the perfect temperature, and then I commence just slowly pouring the water over the coffee grounds.

And I take a moment just to smell the aromas because I’m getting more and more excited about the cup of coffee I’m about to have. And this is a process. It’s a commitment. It’s not a, “Hey let me just throw some coffee in a coffee maker and press a button.” This is a true ritual and I am all about having beautiful rituals in a woman’s life. I think they’re needed. They’re necessary.

We need more pleasure and we need things that require us to slow down a little bit because we tend to be going 1000 miles per hour most of the time. And so this is, for me, such a lovely way to start the day, with attention and intention and taking our time. And this is one of the reasons why I love the Chemex system. But I also love it because I personally think it creates the best cup of coffee.

So, if you’re interested in the system that I use, we’ll put it in the show notes. I’ll make sure that they’re there. But again, it’s the Chemex coffee maker and it comes in different sizes, I think I have the eight-cup, the natural filters that come with the Chemex, and then the pour-over kettle.

You know, I’m a big believer, if you’re going to do it, do it. Do it right. So if you’re interested in the Chemex, get the filters, which you’ll need anyway, and get the kettle. The kettle is like my favorite part of the morning routine, waiting for the water to heat up and then the fancy spout that you use to pour the water over the coffee.

So that is my weekly Jadore, and you’re welcome. You’re going to love me for this. Have a great week, everyone. I’ll see you in the next episode.


If you enjoyed this episode and you want to dive even deeper into the French Kiss lifestyle, let’s start with a makeover; a mindset makeover. You can download my free training, The 3 Mindset Makeovers Every Woman Needs by visiting – because after all, mindset is the new black.

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