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25 minutes | 5 days ago
Why We Say Yes
When we are trying to change an unwanted behavior, we often get so focused on trying to find ways to say no to it that we miss the step of understanding why we say yes to it in the first place. While learning how to say no is a valuable skill (and one we’ll look at in a future episode), understanding why we say yes can ultimately be more important and more effective than just getting better at saying no ourselves. Takeaways: There are times when simply getting better at saying no to yourself (or your inner toddler) is the perfect thing to practice. But when saying no becomes unsustainable and you find yourself rebelling more often than you are succeeding, it is time to take a closer look. The reasons we give ourselves for choosing an undesired behavior are often rooted in some cognitive distortions or at least wishful thinking. By identifying why we say yes to something that we should say no to (or vice versa) we can start to dismantle our faulty thinking and develop the skills to stay on track with ease. Lab Experiment: Think about the reasons why you say yes to a certain behavior. Make a list of: What you think this behavior gives you or how it benefits you. The reasons others (friends, media, society) give for why people indulge in (or abstain from) this behavior. How you feel about others who exhibit this behavior. Reflect on how you feel about this behavior now that you understand it from more angles. And keep this list handy for the next time you feel like saying NO isn’t going to cut it.
28 minutes | 15 days ago
Midweek Resets and Evening Rituals
If you start your week or your day off full of focus, determination, and vigour but find it waning by the weekend or the evening, you are not alone. In this episode, we teach you a strategy to solve each of these issues by rethinking how you plan for and execute your time. Takeaways: Mentally breaking your day and week into smaller parts can make following through on your plans feel less overwhelming and exhausting. Setting aside time to review your goals as well as your objectives and compelling reasons can help refresh your intentions. Schedule a specific ritual (whether it’s a midweek goal-setting or after-work refresh) strategically for the time when you typically start to lose focus or resolve. Having a written record of your goals/objectives/whys can help provide a reminder when you need one. Lab Experiment: Option 1: On Wednesday night, set aside an hour to prepare yourself mentally and logistically for what you want to accomplish personally in the week to come. Write down your goals, intentions, and objectives. Think of your week as a 2-day sprint, 2 days of rest and recovery, followed by a final 3-day effort. Option 2: At the end of the day (or before you make dinner), set aside 5 minutes to do some yoga, go for a quick walk or just sit and do some breathing or journaling exercises. Review your goals, intentions and objectives. Think about why these are important to you and what it would feel like to stay in alignment with those goals.
23 minutes | 24 days ago
Are You Too Busy For Change?
Have you ever felt that you were simply too busy to make the changes you’d like to make in your life? In this episode, we challenge some of those stories we have about how busy we are and how much time change requires. We’ll also offer advice on how you can fit the work of change in around other obligations and priorities. Key Takeaways: Being too busy is often an excuse that we use when there’s some other reason we’re avoiding taking action, like doubt, avoiding the discomfort of the unfamiliar, or fear of failing or making a mistake. A lot of us aren’t nearly as busy as we think we are--and the other side of that optical illusion is thinking that something will take much longer than it actually will. Or, we are making ourselves busy with thing that we don’t really value. By being more intentional about how we use our time, we can make room for the things that are most meaningful, including making the changes that we want to make. Lab Experiment: In her book Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life, Ashley Whillans recommends cultivating time affluence by evaluating areas of improvement. Think about a typical day you had. What are moments that brought you joy and what were moments that brought you stress? Of all those activities that aren't bringing meaning or pleasure, and that are unproductive and stressful, choose one very specific activity to do less of going forward. Once you have identified a habit that doesn't serve you well, write down a strategy for avoiding the activity, and put the written reminder in a visible spot. This is where you can reclaim some time and use it for change.
3 minutes | a month ago
Eating Healthier (Extracurricular)
It's an Extracurricular episode! We'll be back to our regular episodes soon but for now... Join Monica Reinagel (and Brock Armstrong) for the 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade on Jan 3, 2021. More info at https://nutritionovereasy.com/30-day-nutrition-upgrade/ Spoiler: if you listen to this very short episode you will get a special discount code!
30 minutes | a month ago
Should You Focus on Strengths or Weaknesses?
When designing your life, you can choose to lean into your superpowers and do more of the things that you're really good at or you can choose to address your weak spots and focus on building up those things that you're not naturally good at. You'll hear people arguing both sides of this coin. Let's explore what makes the most sense and how this fits into our work in creating our ideal selves. Key Takeaways: Conquering the things we struggle with can be very rewarding but not everything is worth the time and effort. Sometimes it makes sense to outsource things that we don’t get value or fulfillment from doing ourselves. Give yourself permission to not excel at everything! There’s nothing wrong with you just because other people can do certain things better than you. Focusing on our strengths can allow us to achieve more (in a limited arena) than we can if we’re trying to be good at everything. Lab Experiment: Step 1: Identify an area of weakness...where you feel like you lack skill, talent, or affinity Step 2: Consider how/whether strengthening this weakness could move you closer to your goals or your ideal self. What’s the minimum level of competence/comfort/mastery you would need to achieve and what would it take to achieve that? Step 3: Consider the costs of addressing the weakness (opportunity costs of time not spent in strengths?) What (if anything) could you put into place to compensate for your lack of ability in this area. Step 4: Make a conscious decision whether to address this weakness or allow it.
21 minutes | 2 months ago
Being Good Enough
Sometimes, our desire to change is rooted in the belief that we are not good enough--and that we need to fix whatever’s wrong with us in order to be happy or fulfilled. But rather than being motivating, this can actually be a very limiting belief that makes it more difficult to create positive change. In this episode, we’re going to explore the idea that we are good enough… even if there are things that we want to change. Key Takeaways: When we are always striving to become good enough, we live our lives from a place or not being good enough - or being broken, needing to be fixed. When we make peace with the fact that we aren’t perfect, but we are good enough, it liberates us to devote our lives to simply getting better. Making peace with our imperfections does not mean that we stop trying to better ourselves, it just means that we don’t have to delay contentment for that elusive day when we finally reach our goal. Lab Experiment: Take some time to reflect and consider how the limiting belief ‘I’m not good enough’ affects your own life. To help guide your thinking, ask yourself these questions: In what ways and what areas do you recognize this belief in your own life? How does this belief manifest in different areas of your life? How has your life been affected by believing this? What results have you achieved or missed out on? Think about the past events where you learned to believe that you were ‘not good enough’ and consider how you could re-interpret these events now? If you make the decision to choose to accept the fact that who you are as an individual is fundamentally ‘good enough’ then how might you change or modify your expectations of the future? (do you think you might start that business, plan that investment, ask that person out for coffee?)
31 minutes | 2 months ago
Looking for Easy Wins w/ Mitch Harb
In this episode of the Change Academy podcast, Mitch Harb joins us to talk about his “easy wins” approach to creating sustainable behaviour change. Mitch is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and is the co-owner (with Zach Smith) of Hidef Seattle, a fitness studio and physical therapy practice that offers both in-person and virtual training and coaching. Take Aways: Small interventions can also be big wins. And those interventions don't all have to be "one hundreds" they just can't be "zeros." Often, process-oriented successes (like being consistent) can be more effective than goal-oriented successes. Figuring out how an individual goal supports or reflects your larger life priorities can be a powerful motivator. Keeping momentum is easier than starting up again and again. Lab Experiment: Choose one area of your life that you’d like to make a change in (eating habits, sleep, exercise, or any other area). Spend this week collecting some data on your current habits and patterns. For example, keep track of what time you’re going to bed, getting up, and how rested you feel each day. Notice what happens when you break from your normal patterns. Do you feel better or worse? For example, does running after work or on a trail feel easier or harder than running around the neighbourhood before breakfast? Use the information you’ve gathered in Step 1 and 2 to identify an easy win that you can incorporate into your daily routine. For example, adding one extra serving of vegetables into your meals every day.
24 minutes | 3 months ago
Breaking Highly Rewarding Habits
Some habits are just habits. We do them because they take us down the road of least resistance. But some habits give us pleasure, and we often think of those habits as being more like an addiction - something that is going to take willpower and determination to break. But what if we told you that you can break a highly rewarding habit without resorting to a monastic lifestyle? That is what we are going to cover in this episode. Key Takeaways: Breaking any habitual behaviour can be challenging but when that habitual behaviour is highly rewarding, it can be even more difficult. Sometimes things that were once rewarding become less rewarding (or more costly) over time--but they’ve become habitual. Replacing a rewarding (but costly) habit with a different rewarding activity can make it easier to break a habit We can create a more rewarding life by choosing our habits (and our rewards) more intentionally. Lab Experiment: Make a list of activities that you find rewarding or that give you pleasure. Make it as comprehensive as you can. Review your list and put an X next to anything where the cost (in time, money, energy, or health) is greater than the reward you get--or even just more than you want to pay. Review your list again and put a checkmark next to those things that would make your life better if you did them more often. How can you use this information to create positive change? NB: For more detailed instructions, listen to the audio.
26 minutes | 3 months ago
Use the Power of Distraction for Good
Being easily distracted can be a bad habit and also a barrier to change. But we can also use distraction as a way to break bad habits or ingrained behaviours. The trick is being more intentional about when, why, and how you choose to distract yourself. Takeaways: Distraction is when we allow an unplanned intrusion or diversion to pull us off focus or task. Redirection is when we consciously choose to redirect our attention. Distraction (unintentional) can cause harm in two ways 1) keep us from doing what we need to be doing and 2) may cause us to engage in behaviors or activities that aren’t serving us. Redirection (intentional) is 1) making a conscious decision that you would benefit from refocusing you attention on something else, and 2) choosing the alternative focus/activity thoughtfully Intentionality is the key. Lab Experiment: Next time you find yourself in the grips of an unhelpful thought or emotion (such as anxiety, worry, stage-fright) try the mental flashlight technique: Step 1 - use your other senses (not your monkey mind) to identify (or shine your mental flashlight) on something you see, hear, smell, or generally are “aware of.” Step 2 - Simply say the words (out loud or in your head) “I am aware of ____” without attachment or judgement. Just simply be aware. Step 3 - Repeat: Become aware of something else around you (not inside you). Use as many different senses as you can to list all the things you are aware of.
23 minutes | 3 months ago
How We Talk Ourselves Out of Change
In this episode, we explore how and why we often talk ourselves out of making the changes we want to make - and give you some tools that will allow you to push through that self-sabotage. There’s an odd but very common phenomenon where we identify a change we’d like to make in our lives, we get excited about it (we may even take a step or two toward making it) but then, we abandon the effort before we’ve really even tried long enough to succeed (or fail!). Resources mentioned: Workplace Hero podcast episode: Work Expands (or contracts) to the Time Allowed Key Takeaways: Your brain is wired to seek familiarity, comfort, and efficiency. Change is by definition unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and inefficient. Talking you out of change--by convincing you that change isn’t possible or that now is not a good time--is your lower brains’ attempt to keep you safe. Often these thoughts are operating below the surface or your conscious awareness. By tuning into these thoughts with your higher brain, you can decide whether or not they are actually serving you. Lab Experiment: How are you talking yourself out of making a change? Identify the reason or excuse your brain has come up with and write it down as an "Unhelpful Thought." Then use the following questions to assess the validity of this thought: Is there substantial evidence for or against my thought? Am I trying to interpret this situation without all the evidence? What would a friend think about this situation if I consulted them? If I talk myself out of change, how will I feel a year from now? How about five years from now? Now, see if you can rewrite your unhelpful thought in a more balanced, rational, and helpful way. With practice, this can become a very effective tool for thought management in all realms of life.
23 minutes | 3 months ago
Why Short-term Challenges Don’t Create Long-term Change
People seem to love these short-term challenges where you give up sugar for a week, do 25 push-ups every day for a month, or give up alcohol for SoberOctober. While these can be fun, and an interesting challenge, do they ever actually result in permanent change? In this episode, we will give you a recipe to make the most of them. Resources mentioned: The 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade Key Takeaways: Habits aren’t made or broken because we did something (or avoided doing something) through willpower alone, for a set amount of time. Doing short term challenges can actually delay the process of making more meaningful changes. If you want to use a short-term challenge as a springboard for longer-term change, make sure you’re not just counting down the days, but using that time to gain a better understanding of the role that a particular behaviour plays in your life. Be sure to think past the end of the challenge: what happens at the end? What do you want to carry forward into the future? Lab Experiment: When you find yourself considering joining in the latest 7 day, 21 day, or month-long fad, take some time to ask yourself some questions: Why is this attractive to me? What do I hope to learn from this temporary challenge? What plan can I put in place to ensure I don’t just return to my previous behaviour as soon as it is done? Am I using this as a delay or distraction from the deeper changes that I know I want to make? (see episode 6: the hidden cost of unmet goals) Thinking carefully about these questions before you embark on a short-term challenge can make it about more just a temporary exercise in willpower.
31 minutes | 4 months ago
You Reached Your Goal, Now What?
Sometimes we get excited about an idea, we follow through on a goal, and are very successful at it. But while everything should be peaches and cream, we realize that this isn't the happy reality we thought it would be. Or maybe our feelings and values have simply changed. That is when we are faced with the problem of "what do we do next?" In this episode, we ask our guest, Naomi Rotstein, why she decided to leave her successful career as a competitive body-builder and how she went about redefining her new objective and, ultimately, created a freer and more satisfying life. Key Takeaways: Keep an eye out for warning signs that what you have achieved isn’t healthy or sustainable. Using your willpower can be addictive… not in a good way. Even if you have a history of being a bit of a control freak, you can learn to relax and shake that all-or-nothing mentality. You can change the values of your goals to make them more sustainable, without abandoning them altogether. Sometimes we can’t see what’s next until we clear away what is here. Lab Experiment: Take a look at your current goals and consider whether they are truly allowing you to live your best life. If this goal is no longer what you want, stop pursuing it. Think about your perfect life or your ideal day, what would you want to be doing? What are three steps you could take that would bring you closer to your ideal life? Which one of those steps could you take this week?
26 minutes | 4 months ago
Why You Need to Focus
Most of us have a long list of things about our lives (or ourselves) that we would like to change. And while that is a great place to start, when you are working on creating a more fulfilling life, the problem is that when we try to make a bunch of changes at once, we end up changing nothing. That is why knowing what to focus on and when is essential. Key Takeaways: All goals feel and are important, and doing them in a particular order doesn’t mean you don’t value or will forget about the other goals. Focusing on one new behaviour at a time -- instead of trying to change everything at once -- can actually help you accomplish your goals more quickly. Cultivating the ability to prioritize and focus can help us with other aspects of our lives When choosing what to focus on, prioritize behaviours that you perceive to be impactful AND that you feel ready to tackle now. Lab Experiment: Make a list of all the changes that you’d like to make. Consider their potential impact and your readiness to do them. Choose no more than three to focus on and put all the others on hold - for now. Estimate how long you will need to focus on each one (in order to either accomplish it or create a solid habit.) Decide what the very first step for each one will be, including when/where/how you will take it--and then take that first step!
23 minutes | 4 months ago
Collecting the Evidence For Change
It's hard to keep believing that change is possible when all the evidence seems to point to the contrary. And that's why it's so important to collect some evidence that a different choice is possible. Takeaways: You can’t lie to yourself - you need evidence to convince your brain that this is true, possible and worth doing. Evidence can come internally or externally. It takes deliberate practice to collect enough evidence to make it stick. One success is unlikely to convince your inner skeptic. Habits that have good evidence behind them, gain momentum. Lab Experiment: Choose a behaviour or habit that you have struggled with but failed to change in the past. Those past failed attempts could be considered evidence that change is, in fact, not possible. Collect at least one piece of counter-evidence. This can be either an example of someone in a similar situation or (ideally) one time in which you actually succeeded in changing your long-standing behaviour. Think about how many pieces of counter-evidence you would need to collect in order to believe that you do, in fact, have the ability to change this pattern in a more lasting way. Then, start collecting (and counting!) that evidence. You may even find that it doesn’t take as many pieces of evidence as you thought to begin believing something new about yourself.
28 minutes | 4 months ago
Is Comfort Overrated?
We humans like comfort. We believe that making ourselves comfortable is a good way to take care of ourselves and make ourselves feel content. But is this desire truly helpful or is it simply a way to keep ourselves stuck exactly where we are? Most of us place a certain value on being comfortable. And sometimes, something that is comfortable is very pleasurable (like putting on a favourite comfy sweater or connecting with an old friend). But often, it’s simply familiar (like the way your family celebrates holidays). By the same token, something that is uncomfortable at first, because it’s unfamiliar, may end up being very rewarding. But if we are unwilling to be uncomfortable, we’ll never find out. FOLLOW the Change Academy: Subscribe to the podcast (and leave a review/rating) Sign up for our newsletter at changeacademypodcast.com (and you’ll get a downloadable copy of each episode’s lab experiment) Connect with us on social @changeacpod Drop us a note about what you’re working on and how we can help
26 minutes | 5 months ago
Getting Gritty with Rebecca Louise
You have probably heard the term 'grit' thrown around but what does it actually mean? Our guest on this episode boils it down to “getting back up, one more time.” In this episode, Monica interviews guest Rebecca Louise, of the It Takes Grit podcast about why we feel stuck what it takes to get unstuck. Rebecca has helped millions of people improve their mindset and achieve their goals. The secret behind Rebecca’s success isn’t just her (as she says) cheeky British humour; people come to Rebecca because she’s shared many of the same experiences as them – so she knows what’s it’s like to feel lost, unable to find the right career, be broke, divorced, and struggle with an unhelpful relationship with food. It wasn’t until Rebecca changed her mindset and started to become the master of her habits that she was able o truly find her way to a career that she loved and a lifestyle that matched. Key Takeaways: The only way you can fail at something is if you quit. Instead of saying that you are stuck, admit to yourself that you have stopped and then find a way to get going again. Action creates motivation, not the other way around. If we are so locked to our identities as someone who defined by their past or in need of fixing, we will find it hard to make change. Don’t take advice from someone you wouldn’t trade places with. And then make sure you actually follow their advice. Lab Experiment: Think about the last time you asked for help, heard some good advice on a podcast, or found some helpful knowledge in a book you read. Then think about whether or not you actually took action based on what you learned. If the answer is “no” or even “sort of,” see if you can identify why you didn’t take action. Was it because you are too tied to your identity as someone who is X, Y or Z? Is it because you were scared that it actually might work? Or did you think it was going to take too much effort? Learning how to do this type of introspection can help you avoid that stuck feeling and help you become the curious experimenter that we all want to be. Resources and Links: Resources and Links: It Takes Grit podcast episode: How to get unstuck Rebeccas's new book, It Takes Grit
31 minutes | 5 months ago
Rewards vs. Consequences
What are the pros and cons of using rewards vs. consequences as our compelling reason to change? Sometimes our compelling reason is a positive vision of a future we want to create. But other times it’s a negative vision of a future we want to avoid. Is one better at keeping us on the path toward our ideal self more than the other? Key Takeaways: There is no clear winner or wrong way to do this. Just knowing the difference and trying each on for size is important. No matter which version you feel works best for you, make sure you develop a clear and detailed picture of the Reward or the Consequence. Be aware of the language that you choose when you are working on developing or solidifying a behaviour. Performing an action is often more achievable than not performing one. Lab Experiment: State your compelling reason (or your Why) for making the change you want to make and pay attention to whether it is based around a reward or consequence. Before you lock it in, turn it around and see if you can restate it as the opposite. Give each version time to breathe and then consider which one feels more motivating, calming, satisfying or doable in the long run. Resources: The Savvy Psychologist: How to Overcome Feelings of Shame. Harvard Business Review: What Motivates Employees More: Rewards or Punishments?
29 minutes | 5 months ago
Make the Most of an Impulse
In this episode, we talk about impulse control and how giving in to unplanned urges can get in the way of achieving lasting change. Not only that, but it can rob us of the pleasure of anticipating and maximizing an indulgence. Main takeaways: It’s not about deprivation. We are not suggesting that we live without pleasure. In fact, we are suggesting the opposite! Impulse indulgences are usually much less pleasurable than the ones we would plan and choose. Remember the minimum effective dose. You don’t have to blow the entire afternoon off of work, eat the entire pie, drink the whole bottle, purchase everything in your Amazon shopping cart in order to not feel deprived.
32 minutes | 6 months ago
Your Past Does Not Predict Your Future
In this episode, we discuss why our past failures (or successes) don't predict our future successes (or failures). Then, more importantly, we get into how to dismantle that idea so you can clear a path for future change and growth. There is a tension between using our past to our advantage while also not getting stuck in it. And striking that balance is tricky. Cutting ourselves completely free from our past is not the goal - but learning to use our past thoughtfully, can be. Key Takeaways: Our past does not define who we are or predict our future results- unless we fail to learn from our missteps and continue taking the same actions. If we allow our past to stop us from taking action we will never make progress. Accept the idea that we can and do change, whether it is a purposeful change or just a side effect of time, we are not the same person we were in the past. Once we let go of the past, we no longer have to feel the need to fix ourselves - we can simply commit to a journey of self-improvement, where we work on being a better version of ourselves each day. Lab Experiment: An exercise to explore the ways in which your thoughts about your past may be informing or perhaps limiting your future Write a paragraph describing yourself and your life as it was five years ago. Jot down where you lived, what you were doing, your relationships. Try to remember what dreams you had or the goals you were working toward, any major successes or failures that preceded that period of your life. And finally, see if you can remember what you believed about yourself then. What did you think was possible or impossible for you? What did you see as your greatest strengths and weaknesses? Now write a paragraph describing yourself and your life as it is now. Your current circumstances, occupation, relationships, dreams, goals. What major successes and failures have you experienced this year. What do you believe about yourself now? What do you think is possible or impossible today? What do you see as your greatest strengths and weaknesses today? And now compare these two versions. How do you feel about what you see? Are you surprised to realize how much has or hasn’t changed? Did you fail or succeed in any new or interesting ways? Are you holding on to dreams, goals, beliefs that are no longer relevant or true? Finally, write a paragraph describing yourself and your life as you’d like it to be in 5 years. What goals would you like to have achieved? What failures might you need to experience in order to reach them? What would you like to believe about yourself five years from now? What would you like your greatest strengths to be?
36 minutes | 6 months ago
Make Not Quitting a Habit
The truth is that every time we give ourselves an excuse to quit, we get better at quitting. But every time we don’t quit, we get better at pushing through. So, both quitting and not quitting can become a habit. And an identity. Reasons we quit : Not seeing benefits. Fatigue and anticipation of future fatigue Perfectionism (all or nothing thinking) Success would move us out of our comfort zone. Lab Experiment: Let's do some reverse engineering. Think back to the last time you quit or gave up on a new hobby, task, job, goal, or whatever. Once you have it in mind take a deep look at two things: Was this a potentially beneficial activity? If you had continued to do this thing, how would your life look in 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years from now? — If the answer is “not that different” then choose a different activity. Why did you give up on it? Were you not seeing benefits, were you bored or tired of it, did you feel like you were running out of willpower, were you not able to execute it the way you had imagined, did your perfectionist side creep out, or were you frightened of what your life might look like if you succeeded? Now, once you have zeroed in on one (or maybe more) of the reasons for why you quit, can you figure out how you might be able to remove some of the roadblocks to make it easier and more likely that you will succeed next time? Resources: Make “no quit” Your New Habit (Brock's Weighless LIfe blog post) The central governor model of exercise regulation (National Library of Medicine paper) Which wolf with you Feed story
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