Most of us like to create action plans for one thing…to help us take action! However, there are a lot of things, little things, that can get in the way and one of them has to do with “the monitor.” That’s a term coined by these awesome twins, Emily and Amelia Nagoski, authors of Burnout who cite some super helpful research to suggest that when setting goals, we try to set a challenging goal and make sure the timeline is possible.
When your internal timeline and the external results don’t match up, then your “monitor” will send you signals of deflation and point to the path that leads to the slippery slope, I am referring to that slope that you and I slip into with a one way ticket to slide down the cliff into the land of nothing is possible. When you do planful problem solving and positive reappraisal you can course correct your timeline and reassess your strategy to move through the unexpected stall or uneven terrain, and onto a level playing field with forward movement.
As a routinized organ, your brain loves when you give it structure and a problem to solve. Let’s take a look at setting a health goal and focusing your drive to achieve it. This is one of the number one parts of our lives that every year we set out to improve.
This might seem like a drill but go with me here…
Identify one thing that you’d like to do/change: In this case it might be boosting your discipline to help you to stay on track to get into shape. Use the first parts of the equation to get clear on what you really want to change. Imagine the body or goal you’d like to achieve, then use your intuition to give you a sense about what part of how you have been taking care of your health is going to help you get the best results.
Ask yourself how much do you want this change?
What will it feel like when you have dropped those 10 pounds or added 10 pounds to the amount of weights you can lift in the gym or miles you can ride your bike?
Now comes the drive part…what do you need to do to actually achieve your goal?
Often when people start the action planning part, they start too aggressively, like “I’m going to go running 6 days a week!” If you are accustomed to that kind of discipline and you are currently running 4 days a week, this goal might be easy to accomplish. However, if you have been sitting on your couch throughout fall and winter, the first time you strap on those running shoes and go out there, your legs are going to be dying, and this often will send you right back to the couch, thinking, “Geez I think I better take a rest. Maybe I’ll start that running program next week.”
However, if you start with the idea that you’ll run two days a week and maybe stretch or do yoga two days a week, you’ll find that your plan is way more achievable. You need to set bold steps to get you off the couch, but then you have to boost and reinforce your actions by starting off with things that will give you immediate gratification so you can say, “Hey I did it!” That will hit that dopamine button in your internal chemistry and help keep you motivated to do it again when it’s raining outside.
The second piece that makes this equation work is to do something about it RIGHT NOW.
Do not wait! Pick up the phone, get off the couch, overcome your fear posing as inertia, make the call, write in the journal, open the savings account and make the first deposit.
Once you have even minor success towards achieving your goal, the brains’ natural chemistry will kick in and your monitor (with its ever present checklist) notes on that big spreadsheet that you have taken a step and demonstrated that you can do it and assumes you will take further action to do it.
Subsequently you add another rung to your ladder of belief that you will change your old patterns and establish new ones to a healthier life.
As you align your actions to more beliefs about what is possible, you gain clarity on what you need to do next and why it will be successful. Rung after rung, our beliefs build the essential ladder to successful goal achievement.
Beliefs to support my health:
1. Cut back to just 1 cup of coffee – belief: “Coffee is great in moderation for me.”
2. Setting up the trainer – belief: “As a cyclist, riding on the trainer indoors is a good thing when it’s too cold to go outside or my schedule is tight.”
3. Bring the smaller weights with you when you are taking your kids to the park, then using them – belief: “I can make the things I need accessible so I can follow through with my health goals.”
4. Take action towards your goals and then celebrate it – belief: “New things help create new neural pathways which adds to my flexibility. Celebration helps me want to do it again.”
Part of what makes it possible for you to be a creative genius is knowing that any ordinary person can make extraordinary things happen. The sequence of events that lead you to take your next action step simply requires you navigate the inevitable disruptions you will face like illness, a slow month in your business, or a feeling that there’s something in what you are currently doing that needs to change.
If you live a lifetime without doing that thing you’ve been fantasizing about doing, you will have shut the shade on your Creative Genius You window. Continuing to boost your drive and act on your intuitive nudges when they come to you will keep you moving forward, testing and trying, learning and growing until one day you wake up and you are the person you dreamed about, and you are doing the things you always wanted to do, in a life you created for yourself.
This week’s mission, should you choose to accept it, is to build a belief map to your success including all the little tiny micro adjustments you can (and will) make until you achieve your goal.
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I can’t wait to see what you learn and that ladder of success you create. You are amazing when you align all aspects to Creative Genius YOU.