This is the fifth installment of Christine and my Peer-to-Peer Mentoring series. On her blog, I answered her question:
“Currently I keep an updated CV on file. While I’m proud of my profile and professional history, I’d like to put together a jazzed up version. I’m thinking of doing a website resume- what are your thoughts on the effectiveness of this plan and how would you proceed creatively?”
My Question to My Mentor:
“While I love how focused I am on my work, I often find that my focus is so focused that I forget to eat. I am healthy and well-nourished despite this tendency but I would like to change it. I think it’s important that even when I am “in the flow”, I am still mindful of my bodily needs. Do you have any thoughts on how I can improve this situation and become better at checking-in with my body?”
Let’s look at all of the key words you used to describe your goals-remembering to eat by becoming better at checking in with yourself. Remember, forget, important, “in the flow” mindful, healthy, well-nourished, checking in… all the ingredients of a belief system. How we believe we’re doing is a direct reflection of how we are doing and behaving.
Grab those key words and use them to ask yourself the question, “do I believe that remembering to eat is one of the most important, mindful activities I can do to become well-nourished?” If the answer looks something like, “I believe that eating is one of the most important activities to stay well-nourished and “in the flow”- I can make this happen by becoming more mindful of the healthy behaviors that help create my success everyday” then you’ve just set yourself up to make it happen.
Understanding how our beliefs are attached to the behaviors we perform and participate in everyday will help us learn a great depth about ourselves!
Behaving Is Believing
A handful of people died this summer from melon fruit contaminated with listeria bacteria and countless cases of people are treated everyday for illnesses from bacterias and “germs” that are food-borne. Despite this fact, many people still skip washing their produce before eating it or store it in containers or bags that may contain bacteria. You’d think because the research reveals facts citing deaths and serious illness from exposure that people might change their behaviors right? Wrong. Turns out after careful inspection, the ingredients that make up our beliefs are what really drive our everyday behaviors. You may be well-aware that by not calling a bill collector your interest rates are increasing or your credit rating is potentially being damaged, yet even still “knowing” these very likely unfavorable consequences that will result from you continuing to ignore the issue, you do so. Why do we do these things in life despite our knowledge of the facts or agreed upon socially-accepted norms? Fear, denial, behavior modeling a parent from childhood and ordering of survival priorities all affect how we perform everyday- because those things are what shape our beliefs.
Despite the commonly known facts, we believe that the bacteria won’t kill us because our mothers never washed our fruit and we didn’t die, we can continue to ignore the bill collector because our fear is allowing us to deny that the likely consequences aren’t that big of a deal or that if we only eat once and a while that we will still be nourished because other things are more important. See how much our beliefs influence our behaviors!
So how do we change our behaviors is they’re attached to our beliefs? Looking at how we behave by examining the key words we use to describe our everyday activities is a powerful way to create and enact the change we’re hoping to achieve. This is easier than you think, it just requires full honesty with ourselves. Depending on what the behavior is, perhaps we’ve been performing or operating under a belief about it since childhood. Since our beliefs are largely shaped by how we’re raised, sometimes we have to pluck the source from “way back then.” Remember though, this is a safe and empowering activity-you’re disclosing, exploring and revealing information about yourself, but to yourself- nobody else has to know!
Free Your Mind And The Rest Will Follow
Not only a catchy pop song of the 90’s, an invaluable truth about the human psyche. Sometimes we can make things so hard on ourselves. When one thing goes wrong, or a cycle has been circling over a long period of time, we blame ourselves for failure instead of looking at the progress we’ve actually achieved. By examining and re-configuring those key words we use to describe our selves, motivations and fears, we can begin enacting new behaviors that will allow us to reach our goals because we believe our goals are important and necessary for our self-satisfying survival. Most of us are already doing a great job reaching our goals, generally with only a little to tweak here and there.
Make It Happen
Write down the goal and examine the key words. Now re-configure the key words into a power phrase or two like the one above (related to why eating will become important). Those power words help you understand why your goals are important- so much so that you will begin to believe that by performing them and establishing regular behaviors you will be “better” for it.
Your brain is your most powerful asset when we’re talking beliefs. Get it to believe a behavior is important and you’ll be performing and operating in ways that shape your life in the fashion you’ve always wanted! Need an easy way to teach your brain? When working toward a goal and you feel yourself “slipping” away from a positive outlook, remind yourself of the 99 things you are already doing “right” instead of the one thing you may still be working through or learning about. Those 99 things you’re doing “right” will tell your brain to believe that your goal is important enough to keep striving toward.
I could have made you a list of suggestions that read something like:
- place fruit bowls on the counter
- put a protein bar next to your computer
- set an alarm that signals getting up from your table to eat
I do consider those all great suggestions to establish your goals, but until you/we understand how our goals and behaviors are related to our beliefs that list would have been just that, a static, one-dimensional list of “tasks” that you now “must” perform. Once you go back to explore what being “in the flow” really produces for you and your health, you’ll naturally find those new activities in the stream because you conscious mind believes the flow couldn’t exist without them.