Decisions From Possibility
How to make decisions for the future you want
Why is it so hard to make decisions for ourselves that we’ve never made before? These are decisions that I would classify as "new decisions."
These can be anything from deciding to start exercising when you’ve never lifted weights in your adult life, deciding to use a calendar when you’ve never planned out a day in your life, or even deciding to follow a budget even though you don’t have a clue where to start. Or, investing in that course or that coach. All of these decisions feel really daunting and our immediate reaction is to say 'no.' Why?
We make decisions and we decide what’s right and what’s wrong. What’s “right” or “wrong” is based off of our belief systems from the past. Our brain looks to our past results to see what’s possible for us in the future. If it's something we've never done our brain clams up and says no. way. Not possible. Never done it before. Not interested! But why?
Our brain doesn’t like to create new thinking because new thinking, according to our lower brain, is hard and dangerous. Our lower brain really likes to be efficient. Thinking the same thoughts = efficient. A great example of this is: think back to a time you started a new job or took a class in school that was really challenging. You were probably very focused, grasping to make sense of things and at the end of the day - very tired. That’s because it requires new thinking.
When you go to make a new decision - ESPECIALLY one that you’ve never made before AND it involves money, time, effort and adopting a new identity, your lower brain is like lol no. This is definitely not a good decision. But the other part of your brain - the higher level, conscious brain that is thinking in possibility is saying YES.
Here’s where the pain comes in. In order to get new results you have to think new thoughts and make decisions from possibility, not from your past. Meaning you literally have to override your lower brain’s very well-worn way of thinking with your conscious brain to get to the new decision. Your lower brain will be telling you NO WAY. The whole time while you're considering your new decision AND in the aftermath if you take the leap and say yes to the "new decision."
However, if you say no, you'll feel relief. And that's where things get tricky. It feels good in the moment but what you're saying 'no' to possibility, to growth. Saying 'yes' to new decisions feels harder but it's so worth it. I firmly believe we are here to evolve and grow and become more of who we are. Notice I didn't say better. We're already 100% worthy - growth or stagnation doesn't change that fact, but that's for another post.
Making new decisions for ourselves is disorienting and scary, but it's unbelievably exciting, too. If you want to learn to get from where you are to where you want to be, schedule a consultation! It's totally free, fun and great practice at making new decisions for yourself!
You either have it or you don’t, right? Thankfully, that’s not true. If you would have asked me 4 months ago if I considered myself to be a disciplined person, I would have said absolutely not. If you would have asked me the same question a year ago? I would have looked at you in total confusion. The concept of discipline wasn’t even on my radar. In fact, I was only first introduced to this concept last summer from a podcast by my teacher, Brooke Castillo (The Life Coach School podcast – 10/10 recommend, btw). I truthfully had never even considered the concept of self-discipline and how it might apply to my life. When I thought of the word ‘discipline’ I thought of being a kid and getting in trouble. The word ‘discipline’ had a very negative connotation for me. In my mind, discipline = trouble = feels negative = avoid at all costs. No wonder I avoided discipline like the plague and no wonder my life was kind of a mess. Especially in the areas of money, relationships, time, and my physical and emotional health. I think the only area of my life where I had a modicum of discipline was at work. I would describe my approach to all of those other areas as impulsive, reactive, unstructured. I felt out of control and at the effect of my life. It seemed like I just couldn’t catch a break. It was always one thing after the other. Now? I would absolutely describe myself as a disciplined person. I follow a budget, I follow a workout plan, I follow an eating plan, and I follow a schedule – 7 days per week. I was so discipline-resistant because it felt intrusive and overbearing and like it would be no fun. When in fact, it’s been the exact opposite. I have more freedom because I’m disciplined, not less. I enjoy my free time so much more. I feel confident when I spend money now, instead of out of control. I love my morning routine, my exercise routine and the fact that I have zero drama around food and what I eat. It’s the loving and compassionate thing I could have done for myself. So if discipline isn’t this terrible thing, what is it? To me, discipline is: the freedom gained by implementing self-obedience and structure. Discipline is 100% a learned behavior and when it’s rooted in love, it’s kind, caring and compassionate. I know this is cliche, but hear me, if I can become a disciplined person – anyone can learn to become disciplined. Up until a few months ago, my life was the antithesis of discipline. There are many, many examples of this in my life, but right now I’m thinking back to a time where my car was literally packed – the trunk, back seat and front seat – PACKED with clothes, perfume, books, dishes and appliances that I never bothered to move into my apartment. I lived that way, with my car in that state for several years. Becoming self-disciplined is a process. Even now, I’m still working on being even more disciplined with my schedule but my house is clean, my car is clean, my bills are paid on time, my blog photos are taken, blog posts written, birthdays remembered, and we have the groceries we need for the meals we want. Y’all, I would literally not go grocery shopping for weeks and sit around and wonder why I never had the ingredients I needed to make meals. It felt like a mystery to me. Same with money. I’d spend it at will and wonder why I didn’t have enough by the end of the month. It’s not a fun way to live. I know. I spent basically my entire adult life up until this point living that way. Now that I’m on the other side, I want to shout from the rooftops, “Life doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it with lack of discipline!” If this sounds like you – I can help! I’ve been there, now let’s get you out of that cycle, too. Book a consult and we’ll get started right away. P.S. If you’re like no way, I’m sure it wasn’t THAT bad. Ahem. Please see below. I’ve provided photographic evidence below. Notice the dates. YEARS my friends. YEARS. And this is just ONE example. Whew. I could talk about my relationships (yikes), the state of my emotional maturity (omg), or my finances (disaster zone).Read More
When we can take control of our emotional life, we control our entire experience of being alive. Do you feel like your life is happening to you? Or do you feel like you’re in charge of creating the life you want? If you said you feel like life is happening to you, you’re in good company. Why do we feel this way? We’re taught that circumstances cause our emotions. It’s why we want to change our jobs, change our partners, change our careers, change our house, change our friends. We attribute all of our feelings to external things, so we try to change all of the external things so we can feel better. We look to and depend on external things to solve our internal emotions. We blame others and world events for our negative emotions. We buy things that we think will make us happy. When we try and fail to control our circumstances, we feel powerless and at the effect of the world. When we try to change our circumstances and succeed, it perpetuates the idea that external solutions fix internal problems because we give credit to that external thing for making us feel better. As long as we don’t take responsibility for our emotions, we’ll always be at the effect of the world. Think about the areas in your life where you think something outside of you is providing you with: happiness frustration aggravation pain When you think something external is the cause of your emotion, you’re wrong. It never is. So, what’s the alternative? 100% responsibility for every single emotion that you feel. Emotions are the most important things. They determine the quality of our lives. Everything we experience in our lives is through emotion and through feeling. Everything. When we take control of our emotions, we take control of our very experience of being alive. No matter what’s happening in the world, you get to decide what you want to think about it, and what you feel. How do you start? First, simply be aware of what emotions you’re experiencing and label them. Second, own the reason why you feel hurt, or happy, or sad. You’re feeling that emotion because of the way you’re thinking about a circumstance. And, you’re in 100% control of what you’re making a circumstance mean. Does the way you’re thinking about your circumstances serve you? Emotional work is everything because emotions are what create all of the important things. If you want success, money, better relationships, or simply to feel better – it all comes down to emotional ownership. All of it. I’d love to help you take this work deeper. Book a free consultation so you can be on your way to taking all of your power back. It feels amazing and I want that for you, too.Read More
Progress and What I’m Trying Now If you missed my first Living in the Breakthrough post last Wednesday, I’ll recap: I started a new series called Living in the Breakthrough. The purpose of this series is to show how I use coaching tools to accomplish. my goals. I want to do this real time so I can take you all along for the ride. Each week, I’ll share what I tried the previous week and what the effect of that was, and then I’ll outline what new strategies I’ll be trying in the upcoming week. My hope is that if you had goals you’re going after, that you could use these same tools to help you accomplish them. The process always looks like this: set a goal, put in the work, staying committed to doing the work, even when you fail over and over again, manage your mind, and continue taking action until you achieve the result. That’s it. If you want to read my first post, and why I’m trying to use social media less/more purposefully, you can check it out here. Let’s get started. Week 2: My plan from last week: I wrote two specific goals for myself: 1. I will spend an hour on Instagram, per day. 2. At the end of the day, my screen time will be 2 hours or less. And I practiced thinking the thought: I like when my screen time is less than 2 hours per day. The result/data: Thursday: Instagram: 1 hour, 24 minutes | Screen Time: 3 hours, 33 minutes Friday: Instagram: 1 hour, 10 minutes | Screen Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes Saturday: Instagram: 1 hour, 21 minutes | Screen Time: 6 hours, 1 minute Sunday: Instagram: 1 hour, 21 minutes | Screen Time: 3 hours, 46 minutes Monday: Instagram: 1 hour | Screen Time: 3 hours, 9 minutes Tuesday: Instagram: 1 hour, 52 minutes | Screen Time: 5 hours, 23 minutes Wednesday (today, as of 2:11pm): Instagram: 34 minutes | Screen Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes I hit my Instagram goal 1 day (Monday) and hit my screen time goal 0 days. My plan to not have a schedule did not help me reach my goal. I did however gain valuable insight into why things weren’t working. Insights: I had a couple. The first, is that I see using my phone as inherently bad/negative. So when I was on my phone or using it more, it lead to me feeling shame, which of course feels awful. Instead of just feeling the same, I would use my phone more to escape the shame, aka I’d buffer with my phone to avoid feeling shame. Once I realized, this, I worked on asking myself why I saw it as negative. Did I like those reasons? Who says using my phone is negative? The other problem this was creating for me is it caused so much negative chatter in my head; I kept getting stuck in a feel bad -> use my phone loop instead of asking myself why I wanted to use my phone. What emotion was I trying to avoid feeling? The second realization I had was: I’m not 100% committed to decreasing my phone use. I didn’t have a compelling why. Because someone else says so is not compelling. Because I’m telling myself it’s bad is not compelling. I got clear on my compelling ‘why’: I realized my phone use feels very, very similar to a job that I had in the past and that I have the opportunity to go back to next year. Part of me loves the job, but a *slightly* bigger part of me knows I’ve outgrown the job. Both the job and my phone use feel really comfortable, familiar, and there are things that I love about them. But, future me, the one who has hit all of my big goals, knows that I can do more. I can keep growing and keep challenging myself. Both the job and the phone keep me stuck where I am. It’s not bad here, but I can help more people if I keep growing. What I’m doing this week: Decided last night that I’m 100% committed to spending my time intentionally on social media. I deactivated Twitter. Again. For good. I can just look up Sarah Cooper every so often to watch her videos. I scheduled in 3 times per day for me to consume social media and news and I’m sticking to it. When I want to post something or share something on stories, I do. But what I don’t do during this time is scroll. I get on, I post what I want to post, I get off. If I catch myself unconsciously scrolling – hello, habit – I just notice and I say, oh yeah, we’re not doing that right now. I don’t beat myself up or make it mean anything. I know it’s an ingrained habit that will take a little bit to unlearn. Set 2 new goals: I will follow my phone schedule, 7/7 days. I will keep my total phone use to 3 or fewer hours per day. The thought I’m practicing when I have urges to check my phone when it’s not on my schedule is: I respect my schedule and I’m 100% committed to following my phone plan that’s written in my schedule. I follow it for everything else, my phone is no exception. The other thought I’m practicing is: I do want to check Instagram/the news/whatever it is that I’m currently wanting check, but I want to grow into the person I’m becoming more. This thought acknowledges how I’m currently feeling but then shifts my focus to my future. The skill delaying pleasure instead of giving into instant gratification is a huge piece of developing new habits. Instant gratification always has a net negative result. Even “small” moments of instant gratification. It’s like death by 1000 cuts or taking 10 steps forward only to take 9 steps […]Read More
You only need to do two things: calendar it and track it. If you want to start and keep any new habit, the only things you need to do are: put it in your calendar 24 hours in advance, complete the activity when your calendar tells you to, and after you complete the activity, write it down. Repeat. It really is that easy. I’ll show I used this system for implementing a new workout routine but first, I’ll take you through my history with working out and the pitfalls I used to encounter. I’m using working out as an example but this works with any new habit you want to implement. I first started lifting weights when I was 17 and up until April of this year, I considered myself to be “inconsistently healthy.” There were times when I would work out for months straight and there were times where I went full years without touching a weight or running a mile. In the last 6 years the longest I’ve gone without weight lifting is about 6-8 months. Even though my “off” times were significantly shorter, I was still wildly inconsistent. I just felt like I couldn’t get it. I told myself I could never get into a habit or a routine with working out. It either felt really hard or it felt really easy and effortless. It seemed there was no in between. What was happening? Two things: 1st, when it felt easy, I was being driven by motivation and accountability from workout buddies on the gram (heyyy LG sisters). 2nd, when it was hard, I let my old thought patterns take over. I didn’t fully believe I was a person who worked out consistently. I saw myself as someone who was great at starting new workout plans but couldn’t maintain it over a long period of time. When things got hard, and motivation was low, I would stop working out and I would prove myself right. See? You’re not a person who can work out consistently. How did I break this cycle? 1. I decided to start working out consistently. Specifically, I committed to working out 6 days per week on April 1st. 2. I put it in my calendar. On Sunday, I put in my workout times in my calendar for the following week (Monday – Saturday) 3. When my calendar told me to work out, I worked out. 4. During my workout, I wrote down the the date, the exercise, number of sets/reps and the weight I used. To make this easy, I kept the journal right next to my weights. 5. Repeat. I’m currently on week 11 of 6 workouts per week. That’s it! I’ve also used this same system with writing this blog (I’m doing 30 blogs in 30 days – this is day 19. If you saw my post on IG that said day 20 – I counted wrong. Math is hard.), significantly decreasing the amount of sugar I eat, and with budgeting. It works. If you want help creating new habits in your life – let’s talk! Schedule a free consultation and let’s get started!Read More
It’s the small, daily changes that produce big results. I am currently reading the book Emotional Agility by Susan David, PhD and one of her principles is the Tiny Tweaks Principle. She states, “… small deliberate tweaks infused with your values can make a huge difference in your life. This is especially true when we tweak the routine and habitual parts of life, which, through daily repetition, then afford tremendous leverage for change.” It struck me in two ways. The first is that I am now starting to reap the benefits of making small changes. 10 weeks ago, I started: following a budget, a meal plan, and a schedule and I started working out 6 days per week. One positive change snowballed into the next (first was the schedule, then the working out and following a budget, and finally the meal plan). The results that I’m now reaping, 10+ weeks later: I get to enjoy a clean home daily, I’ve made significant progress in my business, I’m on top of bills, birthdays, and appointments. I no longer feel out of control about money, I no longer have back pain or stiffness, I’m a lot stronger and I am starting to see some muscle definition. I have way more energy, I know exactly how certain foods make me feel, and no drama around food. It took almost 10 weeks for me to really start seeing process in these areas but I stayed committed. And, my commitment each day to small daily actions is now really starting to pay off. I felt like this quote also applied was in regard to learning to be an ally. I, like many other white people, felt a significant amount of urgency over the last two weeks to make drastic changes. Taking big, giant action, making big statements, trying to change all at once. Unfortunately, that all leads to burnout. The phrase that kept coming up for me is, “I feel like I’m out over my skis.” It’s impossible to make these big changes all at once. Where the real power is, is in making small, sustainable changes and leveraging the power of time. I’ve already witnessed the power of this in my personal life. I know it works. It doesn’t feel sexy and it often doesn’t feel like much, but that’s where we can make the biggest change. Commitment to small daily action. Some of the “small” things I’m doing/have done are: set up recurring donations to any of the organizations on this list, making it a point to make recipes from black bloggers, rating the recipes, photographing those recipes, and sharing them on social media. Following black coaches and hiring black coaches/CPA’s/employees. Reading books by black authors. Watching documentaries. Buying from black-owned businesses. Voting, helping other people register to vote, and staying active in your local politics/elections. Even if you picked only one thing off of the list and 100% committed to it weekly, it would have a huge impact. Small, tiny, sustainable tweaks will create the biggest impact over time. If you’re feeling burn out, or having trouble processing emotions or want help with making a change in your life, schedule a consultation and we’ll chat!Read More
From surface level to a deeper understanding The more I learn and teach, the more I learn how little I know. And that’s ok. Growth thrives in the environment of vulnerability, humility, openness, and willingness. We strangle growth with ego, pride, fear, unwillingness, and resistance. I can speak to this first hand. I’ve learned (and taught!) about the concepts of life being 50/50, being willing to feel any emotion – negative or positive, the damage resisting and avoiding emotions can cause, that we’re not supposed to be happy all of the time and that being human, not happy, is the goal. And yet. I didn’t really know it. Honestly, I still don’t fully grasp these concepts. This has become painfully clear to me in my many, many attempts to spend less time on my phone. I took what I had heard from various authors, teachers, and business owners about social media use and consuming the news and filtered it through a very judgmental and negative lens. The result were thoughts like: “Any time I spend on my phone is negative.” “I shouldn’t spend time on my phone.” “I could be doing way more productive things.” “I’m wasting my time.” All of these thoughts lead to shame, self-loathing, and of course, maddeningly enough – increased phone use. Why? Well, it’s two fold. I didn’t examine what these authors, teachers, and business owners were saying and see what, if anything, rang true for me. I didn’t slow down and try on these new beliefs. I just filtered them through my “I’m doing this all wrong” lens and papered them over my beliefs that I kind of really enjoy Twitter. I think Sarah Cooper is hilarious and I really want to see her work. I also like connecting with people on Instagram. I love being in my 2k for 2k Facebook group, aka the only Facebook group I’ve ever loved. I like social media and I like reading the news. When I tried to blindly adopt the belief that social media and the news are evil and a waste of time, I kept butting up against my true beliefs. This lead to feeling terrible. For a long time. Like, a year. Straight. And it lead to me hating myself for not being able to “fix” my problem. I didn’t realize my actual problem was I wasn’t acting in integrity with what I truly wanted to believe. It only exacerbated the behavior I was trying to extinguish. This also bled into my belief that I should be using that time I was spending on my phone and any extra down time I had to work on my business. Which lead to not only more phone use, but also me being wildly impatient with myself, my fur babies and husband when I was doing anything that wasn’t directly related to my business: walking the dogs, making dinner, spending time with my husband. You know, normal life things. I can see now how I was acting from shame, self-judgement, and fear – to name a few. All because I adopted other people’s beliefs and assumed since they were “successful” that I was clearly wrong, and they were right. I just figured I had to take the beliefs on as my own without asking myself: What do I believe about this? What do I want to believe? I realize I’ve made these error in other areas of my life, too. And it really comes from a belief that others know more about what’s right for me than I do. This leads me to my next point. Only when my coach pointed out the benefits of “off time” or diffuse time, and how our brains use that time to make connections and come up with really good ideas. Only then was I open to seeing walking the dogs and any other activity that wasn’t directly business related, as valuable. Seriously. Even as I’m writing this now, I’m like, really Gretta? That’s insane. But it’s 100% where my mind was at. My coach and I had that conversation almost a week ago and I’ve been mulling it over since. Trying to see how she could be right. My eyes were further opened by a colleague in my beloved 2k group – Ruth Duren. She stated, “When I heard ‘your level of success is determined by your willingness to be uncomfortable,’ I thought I accepted it and I thought I understood it. Yeah I did not.” She went on to provide several examples where this showed up for her. She went on to say, “When I said I was doing everything and not getting the results, I meant I was doing all of the actions and missing the second piece. feeling all the emotions. As an action person this has been hard, but the best thing I’ve done yet.” That resonated with me so deeply. That’s EXACTLY what I had been missing. Feeling. And it’s why I kept chasing my tail with using my phone. Trying to avoid feeling shame for using my phone, lead to more shame and more phone use. She then went on to list all the positive results she’s gained by feeling her emotions and finished by offering, “Slow down, step back, feel your emotions and take the actions from a different energy and see what is in store for you.” YES. So that’s what I’m learning. It’s deepening my understanding of the concept of feeling emotions. It’s taking what others say and filtering it through curiosity and asking myself, how might this be true for me? How might this be for me? Also, intentionally allowing myself to feel emotions – especially the negative emotions. Truly being willing to be uncomfortable. To sit in discomfort. In order to do this, I have to slow down and stop being in a hurry. Do less and feel more. Thank you Ruth, for sharing your wisdom.Read More
For this post, I’m mostly going to speak about negative self-judgement. By negative self-judgement, I’m referring to the thoughts you have about yourself compared to the expectations you have for yourself, and making that mean something negative about yourself as a person. As a highly ambitious perfectionist and people pleaser, I experience self-judgement on the regular. I have a running dialogue that I’m only now becoming more aware of and it goes something like this: I’m doing it wrong. I could be doing more. I should be doing more. I should have gotten more done. I should be better. I’m in trouble. Why does it matter? Several reasons, but it really hit home for me this week how I’ve been using self-judgement and the judgement of others to sabotage myself. Judgement leads to separation, and lack of understanding – with ourselves and with others. We think that judging ourselves will make us do more, do better, live up to our own expectations. It doesn’t work like that. Judgement stalls us out. Love and acceptance for ourselves moves us forward. The key is awareness. This can come in two ways. The first is to notice what I call “frequent flyer” thoughts, or thoughts you think regularly. For me, “I’m in trouble.” is triggered regularly when I’m in a student or employee role. The other one for me is any sentence involving the word “should.” That’s a dead giveaway. The other way to start to gain awareness is to notice what you’re feeling. I’ve learned for me the bright red blinking warning sign that I’m in judgement is when I’m feeling shame or self-loathing (when judging myself) or self-righteous or angry (when judging others). The other fun thing I like to do is judge myself for judging myself. Or get mad and frustrated with myself for feeling shame. I don’t recommend this strategy. I do recommend noticing the thoughts and feelings you’re having. Start to notice the frequent flyer thoughts. Write them down to help yourself see patterns. What triggered that thought? What was the situation? Notice if you have the same thought in similar situations. These frequent flyer thoughts are beliefs and beliefs are just sentences we keep thinking. Once we’re aware of them, we can question if we want to continue to believe them. We can question if they are useful to us. Do they serve your highest good? Do you feel good when you think them? Remember, no thought is truer than another for you. Your beliefs just feel truer because you’ve had a lot of practice thinking them. They’re automatic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change them. You just need to decide what thought you’d rather think instead and practice thinking that thought on purpose. What does that look like? When you notice a frequent flyer thought pop up, acknowledge it. This might sound weird, but I like to say, brain, I hear you, but we’re not thinking that thought anymore. We’re thinking (replacement thought). You can also write down the new thought and practice saying it to yourself whenever you remember. It takes some effort and time, but it really does work. You don’t have to stay in self-judgement, it’s totally optional and pretty useless, if you ask me. If you want to learn more about how to think on purpose, I’d love to chat with you!Read More
Building self-trust Think about your life right now. What results do you have right now that you’re thankful to your past self for creating? What results do you want to start creating right now for your future self? When deciding to work towards a new goal, or pick up a new habit, it can be helpful to think of your future self. What would she love for you to do? What would she tell you about this moment that you’re in right now? To keep going and that it’s worth the struggle? To not worry? That it gets easier? One of my favorite ways to develop this relationship between your past self and your future self is writing a meal plan. That probably isn’t what you were expecting me to say. Hear me out – it isn’t about losing weight or healthy eating. Although it can be, if that’s your goal. I didn’t have weight loss in mind when I started writing my meal plan 24 hours in advance. I did it because I wanted to feel my emotions instead of eating. I would eat when I was bored, or happy, or worried. The key to developing this relationship is you have to follow the plan to the letter, especially when you plan let’s say, not so well for yourself (it’s going to happen – plan on it). If you stick to it, even when you plan poorly, you better believe when you go to write your plan that night, you’ll be a lot more mindful and careful when planning your next day’s meals. After a few weeks you start getting really good at planning and you’ll start to develop trust with your self. You’re teaching yourself to follow through and that you can rely on yourself and that you have your own back. But I don’t care about losing weight or eating healthy. I hear you. The way we do one thing is the way we do everything. If you get good at this skill – especially if food isn’t a big deal to you – I can promise you it’s going to build your self-confidence, self-trust and you’ll be adding to your result bank. If you trust yourself to hit these small goals, it will absolutely spill over into other areas and larger goals. If you want to learn more about how to start this process – I’d love to chat with you!Read More
and goal setting. They go hand in hand. If you’ve ever tried to implement structure into your life, or tried to make a big change, you likely know resistance well. In this context, it’s the pushing away or pushing against a new, self-created idea or plan. For example, you decide you want to start working out in the morning. The first week and a half go smoothly – you’re getting up early and working out. You’re feeling proud of yourself! However, you feel this sensation of pushing through. You notice it’s starting to get a little hard to wake up early. Now, it’s Wednesday of your second week. You accidentally forgot to set your alarm. Shoot. You miss your workout and spend the day beating yourself up. Thursday morning rolls around. Your alarm goes off. Hello, resistance. Now, if you don’t know what’s going on here, and you’re thinking negative thoughts about yourself and your new goal – what’s going to happen? You’re probably going to do one of two things: ignore your alarm and get some sleep, or you’ll berate yourself into getting up and getting your workout in. Neither is going to get you lasting results. Obviously not working out at all doesn’t get you to your goal of working out, but using self-loathing to get to your goal is unsustainable. You’ll burn yourself out in the getting to your desired result. So what happens when we want to make a change? Our higher brain makes a decision with our highest good in mind. In this example, working out. Your brain may be making this decision from a positive place, for reasons like: I want to build strong muscles and strong bones, I want to move around easier and with less pain and/or I want to feel more comfortable in my body. Our brain can also come up with negative reasons to make a change, too, such as: I’m fat and disgusting, I have to lose the weight. I hate my body, I have to change. One will lead you to a sustainable, positive result. One will burn you out. You may still get the result, but you’re going to still feel awful even when you get the result you’re after. Your negative reasons may get you started and they may keep you going, especially if the self-loathing you’re feeling is deep and powerful. But you’re going to be in a hurry and desperate to get to your end result. You’re probably more likely to take drastic measures – skipping meals, eating in a very restrictive way, and spending hours working out, to name a few. How does all of this relate to resistance? At some point, no matter if your starting point is positive or negative, resistance to this new habit and new identity will come up. It’s how our brains work. They like to keep us safe and keep us the same, so anytime we change something, our lower brains say: NO. This is not who we are. This is not what we do. This will get us killed. It’s completely illogical. But our brains our sneaky. They deliver these messages in code, essentially. They don’t out and out say: this will kill us, they say something like, oh, you’re tired. You need more rest. You should really get more sleep. You don’t need to workout today, you really need a rest day. If you’re unaware that this is just your lower brain trying to keep you safe, you’re far more likely to follow through with what your lower brain is telling you. It seems reasonable, logical, and true. So what’s the solution? Plan on the resistance. Start to listen for how you like to get yourself out of new activities. Usually there’s a common theme like, rest is important. Or this new activity is not important or not a big deal. Just start to listen to the reasons your brain offers you. Awareness is key. If the resistance chatter is really strong and you spend the entire day arguing with yourself, one thing that works for me is to make a plan, 24 hours in advance, to purposefully NOT do the thing that you’ve been trying to do. And remind yourself, all day, no, we decided that we’re not going to do that today (eat on a plan, workout, follow a schedule) or yes, you have permission to do that thing ALL day (Netflix, Social Media). Notice the thoughts that come up for you. You’ll get to see the real reasons why you haven’t been wanting to follow through with the new activity, or why you haven’t been able to stop something that you’ve been wanting to stop. I’d love to hear if this was helpful for you! If you’d like to learn more about starting some positive habits or stopping bad habits, I’d love to chat with you!Read More
A new series. I want to start sharing how coaching is transforming my life and I want to do this real time so I can take you all along for the ride. I’ll let you know the history, why I want to change, what I’ve tried in the past to solve for this, where I am now, and what I’m doing going forward to reach a specific goal. My hope is that you’ll see that I’m not unique and that you can absolutely do this work and reach your goals, too. It’s just a matter of setting a goal, putting in the work, staying committed to doing the work, even when you fail over and over again, managing your mind, and taking action until you achieve the result. That’s it. Please hear me. The ONLY difference between someone who reaches their goals and someone who doesn’t is persistence. That’s it. Not giving up. Getting up and trying again. And again. And learning from your mistakes and trying something new. Let’s get started. The goal that I will be talking about today is my goal of using social media in a purposeful way. Now, this is not a measurable goal the way it’s written, which I do think is a part of why I haven’t achieved this goal yet. I have this vague idea of what it would look like but I haven’t clearly outlined what that would look like today. I’m going to back up and let you know why I want to work on this particular goal. The History: Awareness. Awareness is always the first step to making a change. So, when did I become aware that I might want to consider changing the time spent on my phone? Last May, so a little over a year ago. I had joined a group coaching program and one of the concepts taught was the idea of buffering. Buffering is using something external like social media, TV, Netflix, food, or alcohol to avoid feeling emotions/to feel better. I think most of us aren’t even aware that’s why we turn to those things. I certainly wasn’t. Why I want to change: I first wanted to change because my teacher told me it was important, if I’m being honest. Of course this didn’t lead to permanent change, changing only because someone else thinks it’s a good idea never leads to lasting transformation. Only because if you don’t believe in the change 100%, you’re always going to be fighting against yourself to make the change. When it’s you vs. you, you lose every time. I legitimately just got to the point – today – where I 100% to change for me. Not because someone I respect thinks it’s a good idea to eliminate all buffering. I realize I was using her beliefs against myself – anytime I’d buffer with my phone I’d tell myself I was a failure, that I’ll never be a successful coach, and I’ll never make it in my business. Those are not helpful thoughts when wanting to make a change. You cannot beat yourself into positive change. I know this, and yet, there are areas of my life where I think this rule doesn’t apply. What I’ve tried in the past: I initially just went cold turkey when I first learned about buffering. I left my phone upstairs and wouldn’t touch it all day. I wrote a schedule for what I wanted to get done in a day, and I pretended like my phone didn’t exsist. I would complete each activity at the scheduled time and spend a lot of time feeling really uncomfortable, restless, and bored. Wondering what I was supposed to be doing with my time. I did gain a lot of mental clarity during those days but this new behavior only lasted for a few days before I returned to my excessive phone use. Except this time, I layered guilt and shame on top of my phone use. So fun. That cycle lasted from June 2019 – February 2020, or so. Then, I tried to change my thoughts around my buffering. I also tried various times to make it inconvenient to access my phone by leaving my phone upstairs, setting screen time limits, and most recently (about a month ago) creating a phone protocol by scheduling what I’ll use my phone for and at what times by scheduling this into my calendar. I also spent countless hours judging myself and telling myself that I should be better, I should be able to solve for this, I’m a coach. I’ve told myself that I’m wasting time and that’s bad. Where I am now: Honestly, the breakthrough came last night and this morning. I had set yet another phone protocol, except this time it was with my coach. I’m a recovering people pleaser, so in the past, setting this up with my coach and having to be accountable to her would have been more than enough for me to muscle through and follow my protocol. I would have been afraid of disappointing her so I would have followed through only to avoid that conversation and the shame that I would cause for myself. Now, this is a breakthrough in and of itself. I realized this morning that holy cow, I didn’t follow my protocol and I’m not scared at all about telling my coach. That’s a huge win that I’m celebrating! So what was the breakthrough? Last night I put on my calendar social media time from 6:30am – 10:15pm. Straight. When I woke up this morning, instead of feeling resistance to my phone schedule and protocol and having my mind filled with, “I can’t check my phone. I shouldn’t check my phone. I want to check my phone. You can’t do it. Stop it. Ugh, why can’t you just not want this. You shouldn’t want to check it, it’s such a waste of time.” I told myself, go ahead! You can check it. It’s fine. No big […]Read More