Step 1 of "12 Steps to a Whole New Mind"
If you aren't familiar with brandedyyc.com, you now have a reason to check it out! I have been writing articles for them for the past three months, and starting in January, I launched a "12 step" program that will have a new article each month. This is the first article that lays the foundation and will get you pumped for the following 11 articles that build off each other.
Check it out xox
OUR RESIDENT GOAL COACH, MARIN MCCUE, GIVES US THE FOUNDATION TO HER PROGRAM, 12 STEPS TO A WHOLE NEW MINDSET.
I am a goal setter. I have felt and seen the value added to my life when I get clear on what I want to accomplish while staying true to my core values and big in my dreams. I set clear and tangible goals that excite and push me. I set goals based on emotions and mindset because these are muscles to flex just like any other habit.
What helps me to be truly successful and efficient with my time and energy is the practice of reminding myself that I cannot control the outcome, I can only control my effort. This reminder helps me to detach from the outcome of a goal-set, to ensure that I am guided by how I want to feel and how I want to grow. This stops me from attaching my “reward” solely to that one particular outcome. It seems counter-productive at first, i.e., to get clear and specific with what you want, but then to also detach from that particular outcome to avoid disappointment….but it is so much more than that.
This process is taking into account the fact that we humans are hugely influenced by the chemicals released in our body from moment to moment. When we seek or find something that promotes our survival, we are filled with “happy chemicals” to signal that we have done something good for our longevity; also known as a ‘positive feedback loop.’ We also evolved and survived by being on the constant lookout for danger, and the chemical ‘cortisol’ is our signal of stress or fear, communicating to ourselves that something potentially harmful for our survival is present.
The problem is, we are losing our ability to naturally create the happy chemicals. The result and symptoms of a life driven by cortisol, or the attempted avoidance of it, includes the following: Anti-depressants, quick fixes, fad diets, lack of balance, lack of purpose, loss of direction, loss of self-love, messy priorities, being stuck in comparisons, anger, regret, disillusion, trauma, and the inability to express from the heart.
If you want to see change in the world, change in your relationships, change in your habits, and ultimately, change in your perception of life and happiness, it starts with you.
Here are some facts to consider.
*40% of actions taken each day are habitual. (The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg)
*Up to 95% of what you thought yesterday, you also thought today. (Charles Duhigg)
*Up to 77% of what the average person thinks on a daily basis is negative or self-defeating. (What you Say When you Talk to Yourself – Shad Helmstetter)
When I think about these statistics and notice the common struggles we all share, I see an opportunity for a huge shift within our culture if we could support each other into a place of self-love, resilience, passion, and a deeper understanding of how and why we think what we think and act how we act.
It’s time to take some control back into our own lives by first acknowledging what we actually have control over. So that is what this project is about. For the next 11 articles over the next 11 months, I will take you through my 12 step process to a whole new mind; starting with the Foundation.
We don’t just learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on our experience. So get yourself a nice new notebook and commit to filling it with insights from this year-long monthly article. Take note of your inspiration from your reflections, quotes that resonate deeply, ‘aha’ moments in awareness, tools and ideas to practice, your favourite metaphors, intentions, mantras, questions that you are curious about, etc. Your notebook will become your work space, your inner-motivator, and your map and story of your own inner-evolution.
Let’s begin at the foundation. One of my favourite metaphors to use in yoga and coaching is to refer to our innermost beliefs, habits, and core values as the foundation for everything else to grow from. When there is a crack in the foundation, you will get yourself into a position and realize you don’t have the support or stability to handle anything other than calm and mild weather. More often than not, life is anything but calm and mild. It offers all kinds of crazy storms that can shake us to our core. Without a strong foundation, it is no wonder we shut down, avoid, run from fear, or react in harsh or hurtful ways.
Your foundation is your big why, your reason for being. A great place to start in understanding and building your foundation is with your core values. When you are clear and connected with your core values, your life aligns with a feeling of passion and purpose. So what are your core values? What brings you joy? How do you want to be remembered (at the end of life but also at the end of every interaction)? What do you stand for? What does a full, balanced, ideal day look and feel like to you?
Once you have a list of 3-6 words that represent how you want to show up in the world, you have found your core values.
Now where in life are you leading with these core values, and where in life are you sacrificing your values to fit the mold that someone else has created (often not knowingly)? Notice what comes up for you. Don’t judge yourself, don’t shame yourself, don’t make this mean more than simply acknowledging where you are at. It is only from this honest and real place that you can create steps to align your life with your values.
Where your mind goes, energy flows
Whatever you focus on, you feed. Whatever you think about, you send energy to. It is as simple as that. If you focus on your struggles, you will surround yourself with that negative energy. If you focus on that random intrusive thought and allow yourself to sit in shame, regret, unease, or guilt, guess what – it only feeds that intrusive thought. We can’t always control where our mind goes, but we can control our reactions.
“We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our Attitudes” – Charles R. Swindoll
You are the witness to your thoughts, to that inner chatter. The sooner you can grasp on to the idea that you don’t have to acknowledge every thought that pops into your head, the sooner you will tap into the reservoir of energy that once was wasted on the extreme pendulum swings in your mind. Find balance and calm in the middle. Let that pendulum rest without following every thought down the rabbit hole.
One of the key foundational pieces of deep inner change is to understand and perceive life with a growth mindset. This idea, articulated beautifully in the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, is like changing the lens in your glasses and realizing there is whole new world to perceive and experience. A growth mindset is one that views every experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. It puts emphasis on ‘you versus you-yesterday,’ and does not allow for comparisons to other people or to allow the desire to be seen or admired to be ahead of the desire to learn and grow.
When you set a goal with a growth mindset, there is no ‘failure.’ The goal is always to learn, grow, evolve, discover and put forth effort while knowing that your own effort is the only thing you can actually control. A growth mindset is focused on one day at a time, one moment at a time, patiently yet actively pursuing your best self and enjoying the process along the way.
To capture your commitment, curiosity, and area of opportunity in 2016, my final challenge for you is to choose one word. Rather than a New Year’s Resolution, think simpler and bigger. Write out your goals, get clear on how you want to feel, get excited about what you want to accomplish, and start digging in to figure out which habits need to be shifted, added, or cut out completely.
Reflect back on 2015. What are you proud of? Where did you show courage? What did growth look like? Now, what does growth look like for 2016? Knowing that whatever you focus on, you will create more of. What one word captures how you want to show up this year? What word will drive you to evolve, develop, and discover more about yourself?
The One Word modus operandi comes from the website www.oneword365.com, and has been my inspiration for the last three years. I have learned, practiced, and uncovered more in the past three years while focusing on one word at the foundation than I have in my entire life. My challenge for you is to choose your one word, and if you are a social media lover, post about it with the hashtag #myword2016 with a write-up about why. Encourage your circles of influence to do the same. Lead by example, pursue your best life with purpose and passion, and inspire those around you by simply becoming more of your true self.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen” – Brene Brown
Mindset by Carol Dweck
The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown