Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Archive for the tag “motivation”

Self Sabatoge… Alive & Well

What keeps us from doing the things that we know are good for us? What makes us stay up late before a big presentation? Wait until the very last-minute to write the important speech that will be delivered in front of our entire department. “Forget” about that very important meeting that your boss has asked you to attend.  Seriously… what gives?

I didn’t blog last week… and this week is pretty much over and I’m just now sitting down at the computer. Now… I know that blogging is not a make-it-or-break-it thing. I do not hold some delusional fantasy that my blog posts keep the world going! However, I have made a commitment to myself to blog every week, and I do enjoy the process of writing very much… so why do I do things that stand in the way of making that happen? What stands in the way of a perfectly good intention?

From everything I’ve read, it’s fear. That pesky feeling that gets in the way of greatness. There’s a reason why that question, “what would you do if you were not afraid of failing” often results in answers that are far different from our current state. We let fear keep us from our greatest selves. We allow the fear of failing to keep us from even starting.

It’s quite frightening the internal chatter that has gone on in my head over the last week and a half…mean things about not being good enough… not having anything worth sharing… not being smart enough, current enough or wise enough to have anything to bother writing about. I know… right??? Mean!! I would never say such things to friends, family, or colleagues. Heck, even a stranger! What gives?

I’m not sure why we do it… but I’m pretty sure most of us do. Self-Sabotage is a common occurrence. In fact, according to Carolyn Myss, author and medical intuitive, the saboteur is one of the 4 major archetypes that every person is born with and deals with during their lifetime. (If you don’t know about archetypes, I highly recommend Carolyn’s book, Sacred Contracts, to learn more).

I don’t know if this will work for everyone, but one thing that I am finding helpful is to just start. I told myself today that I was going to start my blog. Regardless of whether I finished or not, I would bring up the site and get started. If I wrote for 5 minutes and decided to stop, that would be fine. But I would not be allowed to not open the computer, bring up the site and just start.

And what do you know… once I started, it just kept flowing. I will probably always have that small voice in the back of my head the questions whether what I have to say is good enough, pertinent enough, etc., etc., etc. The bottom line is, I must decide to either let it stop me… or to do it anyway. I enjoy writing so much… I am hopeful that I will keep on writing despite the constant doubt and fear. In fact, I hope that all of you will keep on keeping on… despite the fear… despite the doubt… despite the saboteur that constantly rears its ugly head! I’m pretty sure that’s the only way anything creative ever gets done… ever… no really… ever!

Here’s hoping I keep the saboteur in check and “see” you next week!  Love and laughter!  ~Rashel

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Behavior Change 101

So… it’s been about 3 weeks since I started blogging again! I happen to be playing around with behavior change lately and one thing I’m realizing is that consistency is key! It’s a lot harder to stick to something that happens inconsistently than it is to stick to one small thing every day or every week around the same time. With the blogging, when I leave it up to chance… it doesn’t seem to happen. I’m realizing this is pretty true of most habits – they have to be consistent to stick.

I’m starting a week-long program with BJ Fogg, a behavior change researcher from Stanford University. I’ve gone through the week-long program once, so this will be my second go-round. There are a few important components to his method and they seem to work pretty well… Let me share the highlights.

First of all, you pick three things you want to add to your routine. (BJ’s model does not address habits you want to quit — stay tuned for more on that in a future blog). One of the most critical realizations of this model’s success is starting small. The idea is not to pick your ultimate end-state behavior, but rather to pick a very small starter step toward your desired state. An action that seems almost ridiculously easy and that you are really certain you can do! (This part of the process cannot be emphasized enough!) The difference between exercising for 30 minutes vs. putting on your sneakers. It’s that small!

The second step is to identify an anchor. Basically, you pick something that you already do consistently every day, and link your new action to that established behavior. Anything you do consistently every day can work, such as waking up, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, etc. One of my anchors is taking my morning medicine… something I do every day without fail.

The last piece of the model includes celebration. Now, I’m going to be honest here… I’ve always struggled with rewarding myself for good behavior. I’ll admit that there have been more than one occasion where I set up a reward for myself if I did xyz… and then rewarded myself anyway, even when I failed! Once I got it in my head that I wanted xyz… well… come on! This celebration thing is a little different though. Basically, after you do your very small starter step toward your ultimate goal, you do some kind of little celebration. Whether it’s a self-congratulatory, “woo hoo” or a pat on the back. It seems silly, but it makes so much sense when you think about it. This is my take on it… you’re picking an action step that is ridiculously easy. Putting on your shoes in the morning, or flossing one tooth (one of BJ Fogg’s favorite examples), does not lend itself to celebration. The reality is, It’s a very small step that in-and-of-itself does not necessarily lead you to feel triumphant. That’s where the celebratory trickery comes in (my term, not BJ’s!). When you give yourself an “atta girl” or “woo hoo” after completing that small step, your brain begins to associate success and accomplishment and generally good feelings with that action. That’s a plus!

Here’s an example from my first week… 1) check the to-do list on my phone immediately after taking my morning medicine, 2) send a text or email to a friend after I bring up my email in the morning, and 3) do one round of EFT (emotional freedom technique) after I journal at night. The first two habits stuck… and in fact, checking my to-do list in the morning has proven very effective in making me feel more organized and less stressed about what’s not getting done at home. The last one, the EFT after journaling, was not successful. I don’t always journal at the same time each night and often I’m exhausted by the time I’m jotting down my final thoughts. It just wasn’t a good anchor for this particular task. Good learning.

I’ve started another round this week and I’ve brought the EFT forward with some changes to my anchor. This time, I’m going to do a round of EFT after I turn on the shower in the morning. I’m not sure what I normally do as I wait for the water to get hot… but it’s probably not very productive! I’ve also decided that I’ll do 2 squats when I first sit down in the morning (I have a spot where I always sit down first thing in the morning (use your imagination)… so this seemed like an anchor that might work.  And finally, I’m going to take 3 deep breaths after I take my evening medicine. (Questioning that one, since my evening medicine time varies like my evening journaling, but we’ll see how it goes).

So… that’s basically the gist of it. Pick a ridiculously small first step toward an ultimate goal, have it follow an anchor that you’re already doing every day, and celebrate shamelessly upon completion of ridiculously small step!  Voila.  I’ll let you know how it goes for me. I encourage you to try it out for yourself!!  Learn more at BJ’s tiny habits site… http://www.tinyhabits.com/

Love and laughter to you!  ~Rashel

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