As you know, I have been learning a lot lately, not the least of which is the following equation:
RESULTS are the effect of
ACTIONS motivated by
FEELINGS generated by
Circumstances are neutral.
Thoughts can be chosen.
Feelings can be changed.
Actions aren't isolated.
[To view previous notes in this series, scroll down.]
Do you ever wonder why you don't take action when you say you want to or know you "should"?
You may very well know what to do to lose the weight, get the job, make the change - you may know the actions you need to take to get started, but you just can't get yourself to DO IT. And for the sake of this message today, let's say you actually do WANT it and it's something you chose for yourself in advance in an unstressed state.
Your brain will play all kinds of tricks on you. As much as you may think you love novelty and variety, your brain likes the well-grooved paths it's been following for decades. It doesn't want you to change.
The human brain is brilliant at coming up with reasons for not doing the thing you decided you want to do. There's no shutting it up, so my recommendation is to let it freak out and whine and badger you with [very good] arguments against your plans...and just observe. Once you start observing your brain patterns, you'll be amazed at how much they're holding you back.
Thank you, brain, for that fascinating information. You sure do have a lot to say, and that sort of thing will be very helpful if I'm ever suddenly chased by a lion, but today all I want to do is go to the gym.
Actions are not isolated. They start in your mind. They start with a thought. And if you're not taking action, you're not thinking the right thoughts or getting the right feelings. Do your children (or your theoretical children - this won't take much imagination) - do your children respond to you telling them they should do things for their own good?
Trying to make yourself go to the gym by thinking that it's good for you or that it will help you look good or be healthy is like telling a toddler to eat his spinach so he can grow up big and strong - vague at best, and certainly not compelling.
And yes, I just compared your brain to a 3-year-old, because if you're not taking the action you say you want to take, your brain has some growing up to do. (AND BY THE WAY, I'm looking in the mirror and thinking of MY BRAIN as I write this to myself hoping that I'm not entirely alone.)
Anyway, it's time to get a new thought about the gym (or whatever). One of my favorite tricks is to break every action into super tiny actions:
Put on shoes.
Pick up keys.
Walk to door.
And the thoughts that trigger those actions come so easy that you don't even realize you're thinking:
Thought: Picking up my keys is easy.
Action: Pick up keys.
You might think you can accomplish your goals and create action by sheer grit, but if you could then why aren't you there yet? And if you've been-there-done-that, then I'm guessing you have more than a few stories about b-u-r-n-o-u-t.
So go try a new approach this week. Observe yourself. See how your brain feeds you thoughts that keep you from doing what you want to do. And instead of digging in and "trying" harder, decide what actions you want to take, consider the feelings that motivate those actions, and choose thoughts that generate those feelings.
I hope you do amazing things this week.
*This concept is not new, but I must credit Brooke Castillo at The Life Coach School for the CTFAR acronym which she refers to as the Self-Coaching Model (used with permission), and for introducing it in a way that finally made sense to me.