You’re listening to The Work Of Becoming podcast! My name is Dr. Karin Nordin. I am your host as well as a behavior change expert and self-proclaimed tornado girl. I spent years of my life struggling to change before I finally got my PhD and learned the psychological tools that I needed to actually make those changes happen. Now, I’m bringing you five-minute sneak peeks of how I’m applying the real science of self-help to my life. Let’s get started!
Welcome to today’s episode of The Work Of Becoming podcast where we are going to talk about one pattern that I see all the time in people that is preventing them from becoming the person that they want to be, and that is this. You can tell me everything you don’t want in your life, but you cannot clearly articulate to me what you do want in your life, how you want to feel, and what habits you want to adopt.
So, I talk to people all the time about change, and I see comments of people who tell me what they want to change about themselves. In particular, I’ve been seeing a lot of these comments recently because we recently gained 130,000 followers on Facebook in the span of, like, four days. So, these people are messaging us. They are introducing themselves to me, and I’m hearing all the different ways that they talk about themselves.
What I’m hearing over and over is, “I don’t want to feel anxious.” “I don’t want to scroll on my phone anymore.” “I want to stop skipping my bedtime.” “I want to stop skipping the gym.” “I don’t want to feel overwhelmed.” “I don’t want to feel lazy.” All over the place is, “I don’t want to feel this; I want to get away from this behavior.” It’s all avoidance goals left, right, and sideways.
Here’s the problem. I want you to imagine that I’m going on a road trip, and I pull up Google Maps, and I look at Google Maps, and I say, “Google, I don’t want to go to Kansas.” Where is Google gonna take me? Google has no idea where the destination is and no idea how to get me there because there is no destination, there are just a bunch of places that I don’t want to go.
Now, if I pull up Google and I say, “Google, I want to go to Indianapolis, Indiana,” then Google’s gonna be able to give me exact directions there. It’s so much of a clear path because I know where I am now and I know where I want to be, okay? So, that’s component number one.
The second thing is people know what habits they want in their life, but they don’t know why they want those habits. They don’t know how they want to feel. And this is really, really important because a lot of people pursue happiness as a result of a bunch of boxes like, “Oh, if I check all these boxes, if I have this perfect habit stack, then happiness will magically appear,” but if those habits aren’t making you feel a certain way, if they’re making you feel obligated or exhausted or stressed rather than empowered and peaceful, those are not your correct habits. Those are not actually helping you achieve a better life because they’re not creating the feelings you want to feel.
So, in Alliance Coaching, we use this framework with all of our clients where they have to identify a core four set of values that they want to embody in their life. These are essentially feelings (things they want to feel on a regular basis). So, for example, one of my values is peace. I want to feel peaceful in my life. So, when I think about that, that gives me an excellent starting point of what habits, what actions, what behaviors I might do on a daily basis that are actually going to get me to that feeling of peace. If I’m saying the opposite, “I don’t want to feel stressed,” okay, what is it that makes you feel not stressed? “I don’t know.” That’s what you’re gonna say to me, and so, that’s why when you’re approaching change as a bunch of things that you’re avoiding and you’re not able to clearly identify the feeling you want to feel at the end of your journey, that is why you’re not making progress. That is why you’re not moving forward.
So, this was a really short episode, but I wanted to get that out there. If you don’t know how you want to feel, how your future self feels, what values your future self embodies, figure that out. And if you need help figuring that out, that’s when you’d enroll in Alliance Coaching.
PS: if you are on a journey to become a better you, and you want to learn the tools and techniques that will actually help change your life, make sure you check out my Change Academy Membership. Each month, we do a 1.5-hour workshop on a different psychological topic, but we also provide resources like journal prompts, worksheets, and trackers. We host community events and more. If you’re struggling to close the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it, this membership was built for you. Go to www.bodybrainalliance.com/change-academy to learn more!