Ep 191 Habit Thinking
Join me today as I discuss how your habit of thinking is creating your life. In order to make the changes you most desire whether it’s career advancement, less wine, weightloss, or time management – you must become aware of your current pattens and decide on purpose how you want to tell your story.
In This Episode:
- My recent high school reunion
- Choosing how you tell your story
- The importance of journaling
- The problem with judgement on thinking
- The most important question when making decisions
- DISC assessment – Tracy Bianco – https://tracybianco.com/meet-tracy/
- Quantum zero effect
- Self directed neuroplasticty
- Work with me: www.michellebourquecoaching.com/connect
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Michelle Bourque 0:00
You are listening to the richer time podcast and I’m your host certified life coach Michelle Arnold Bourque. And today’s episode, I’m discussing habit thinking. Welcome to the It’s Your Time Podcast, the podcast, were busy professionals, like you get the practical solutions and support you need to gain control of your schedule. So you can strive to be the best in your career, but without the stress and overwhelm. If you’re looking to increase your energy and decrease your stress, you are in the right place.
Michelle Bourque 0:35 Hello, hello, hello, welcome back to the podcast friends what is going on in your world today, I’ve had a bunch of fun things going on, actually. And what I want to start with today is a story about how no matter how long you’ve been doing this work, there is always still stuff that comes up. And that’s okay. The key is, as you start to see your patterns and habits of thinking, you have the chance to see that there is always a choice to decide on purpose, what you want your story to be. And I will start by telling you a story of something that recently happened to me. And it was such an interesting event to watch and see how time really is so made up because in an instant, I felt like I was back in high school. And when talking about the same exact event to a colleague, I was also reminded of a moment when I worked at NewsChannel 13, which is an NBC affiliate in Albany. Back when I was in my early 20s. I think it was so I can’t even believe I’m saying this out loud. But we recently had our 30 year high school reunion. And you know how conversations go at work, right? Like, how was your weekend? How was yours and always telling my colleagues that I had the reunion, but I didn’t go. And as he looked at me, I had to give him a little side eye and ask you haven’t even been alive for 30 years, have you? To which he replied, I was accurate in that assumption. And in that moment, I was immediately rocked back to I’m pretty sure it was 1999 when Saturday Night Live celebrated 25 years and I was working at the TV station that carried SNL. And it was a big deal for the advertising department and the salespeople were talking about where they were 25 years ago. And at that time, I was like, Well, I was in diapers. I thought I was such a smart aleck. But you know what that’s called right Karma comes back to bite you in the butt. But here is the interesting thing. You guys, when I saw the pictures posted from the reunion, my immediate thought that I could hear See, whatever in my brain was good thing you didn’t go you would not have fit in. I was brought right back to those high school days, when I didn’t think that I fit in. And the pictures on Facebook were of all the cool kids. I mean, I will tell you, when I hear people say they would love to go back to their high school days, I think hell no, thank you first, I was not in sports. I tried out for cheerleading, and I never made it. That could probably be an entirely different podcast. And I hate it, Jim. In fact, I think I can share a secret here. And I’m pretty sure 30 years post high school must mean I’m out of that timeframe of any repercussions, right. But I think and 10th grade for sure. Maybe most of my grades in high school, I did not participate in gym, I would wear the football jersey of the guy that I was dating over a normal shirt. And I would also wear I think they were called heirloom Pants Back then, you know, they kind of looked like workout pants on the bottom. But the waist was a little bit fancy. So I could just stand in the back, raise my hand for the attendance and I would be so close to the exit that after attendance, I could just slip out the back door, take off the jersey and be back to regular street clothes. I would have much rather spent my time let’s say, you know at the library. Hence, perhaps I wasn’t really one of the quote unquote popular kids. And I actually started college in 12th grade so that I could just get out at the half day mark. So that gives you a little bit of background on where it is that we’re coming from 30 years ago, and even though it was Michelle Bourque 4:57 30 years ago, it felt like it was just in the same time frame. And I wanted to share this with you today because I think there are a number of things that we can discuss around this when it comes to mindset work, and the work you do on yourself. So first, I want you to recognize when you feel like you have been, quote, unquote, triggered by something, take the time to journal on it, it’s almost like a mind sweep. Or I’ve also called it a thought download. And it just allows you the opportunity to see what your brain is telling you, it is very common for our reptile brain, the part that knows what it’s like to be eaten, to overreact. And when we allow that part of our brain to be in charge, it’s called bottom up processing, meaning you are responding to some external stimulus. When we’re thinking on purpose, our prefrontal cortex is in charge, any executive brain is then running the show, taking the time to journal allows you to see the story you are telling about the external stimulus. And remember, it is never the external stimulus that is causing you the emotion, it is always the thinking we have about the external stimulus, which is really good news, because we have the ability to change the way we are thinking about any situation, if we want to. And when you can journal on it, you have the ability to label it. So for my example, it may have been feeling an adequate, right, and I can label it and when you label it, you are usually able to explain it. And when you can explain it, you step outside of it, you identify it, and that allows you the control to decide if you want to remain in that state of mind. If you’re not able to do this step, you might end up sitting in this state for a while. So if you don’t take the time to journal, recognize it, label it, that might be what is causing you to feel stuck, in some instances in your life, just think back to a time that you were feeling negative. And even that labeling I caution us on because labeling feelings negative or positive, they just are we want to be willing to feel all the feelings, right. But for this example, I will go with you and say there are negative and positive feelings. And when that happens when you notice the negative emotion, usually we can go to the past, the present and the future. And when we’re looking at the past, the present and the future, from that negative emotion, it will be the filter that washes all of our memories at that time. So journaling and labeling allows you to take that step out of the situation and see what is going on. And then you can just remind yourself that our brain likes patterns.
Michelle Bourque 8:20
So I’m using the example of the reunion today. But maybe for you, it’s cutting back on wine or going for a promotion or losing weight. And you find yourself struggling, maybe because you’re saying something like you walk in the house and dinner needs to be made. And it’s been a long day. So I want my glass of wine or you hear a colleague is going for the same promotion and you think you don’t quite have all the boxes checked. So you’re going to hold off or someone stops in unexpectedly and says, Hey, let’s go out to dinner when you weren’t really planning on it. But now you feel like you’re obligated. These are great opportunities to stop. Take a breath and look at what your habit thinking is. Yes, we have a ton of habits around our thinking. Maybe it’s something like I need the wine to relax or I should wait a little longer for the promotion. Or I don’t want to disappoint that person for dinner. This is your reptile brain at work. This is the part of your brain that just wants to keep the status quo but let’s get activating the prefrontal cortex and notice what you are thinking and ask yourself how it feels. I need the wine to relax might actually feel urgent. The promotion might actually thinking someone else is more likely to get the promotion might leave you feeling inadequate. And joining your friend for food or saying no to joining your friend for food might have you feeling guilty. And I want you to take a moment to stop here, we are not going to go through the entire thought model, have talked about that and a number of podcast. But instead, what I want you to do at this point is just tell yourself that it is normal to think this, your brain has had a thought for a long time, something like I need wine to relax, maybe a thought that you’ve thought over and over and over. We do not need to add the judgment on top of it. Things like I shouldn’t think this or I can’t figure it out or I’m a loser, all of that crappy thinking. Just drop it. It’s normal for me to think this. Because I have been thinking it a long time can be the simple thought you think after you notice that initial sentence. Now, you get to decide what is next. And this is the beautiful position to be in. Make your decision. And be sure you like your decision. There are a lot of ways to look at each situation, right? Yes, the answer is yes. There are many, many ways to look at every situation. A lot of times our brain likes to tell us it’s either or. But there are a lot of ands, and and ands. So make your decision and ask yourself if you’d like it. So for my example, did I want to go to the reunion, not so much. I could see my initial response was solely my reptile brain taking me back to high school, thinking I wouldn’t have fit in. And those were the popular kids. So I don’t want to base my decisions on that. Now another option could be go back with an attitude of I turned out to be pretty successful, right. But that doesn’t seem like a good reason either. And, in fact, it seems to play into the reptile thinking of needing to try to prove myself. Now, I will tell you, I did not end up going. But the decision was based more on the fact that I have lots of meetings and I’ll be out of town for events this month. And I just quite frankly, wanted to be at home. You may not know this about me, but I am super introverted, which sounds so funny being in sales and doing this but you could totally give me a book, a coffee and the sunroom. Any day with the pop or depending on the time of day, I could also take a glass of wine with the pup and mark on the patio. But I really enjoy quiet time. I’ve told you before my human design is a generator. But there are a few components to the Human Design makeup under that umbrella. And I’m also have what they call the hermit line. And if you have ever done the DISC assessment, I think there was a question like would you prefer doing work alone Michelle Bourque 13:15 or in a Starbucks setting? I’m all about doing my work in my car and the Starbucks parking lot. Sidenote, if you are interested in learning more about the DISC assessment, check out Tracy bianco, I did an interview with her on her book The Checklist life weeks ago, months ago, actually. So just go back and search Tracy Bianco and she is the one that I worked with on the DISC assessment. You could totally check her out. Okay. Let’s get back to decision making. Just ask yourself Do I like my reason for this decision? Do I like the reason I am having this extra wine? Do I like my reason for not going for the promotion? Do I like my reason for eating this food I did not have on plan. If you do wonderful. And let it just be that. Don’t go back and beat yourself up for it after the fact. If you like your reason, own it. That’s where you hold your power. That’s where you own having your own back. And if you don’t just get curious and do a little digging, what might be some other options for you in this situation. This is the work of self directed neuroplasticity. That’s just a fancy way of saying by using your mind you can change the physical structures of your brain. The Quantum zero effect says what you continually focus on changes the brain. So when you’re doing the quantum zero effect, having the quantum zero effect and using self directed neuroplasticity, that’s where you make the changes you have to start disrupting the patterns of your thinking. And so when you go for the wine, take a moment, journal, a few notes, decide if you really want to have it. Do you like your reason? Same for the other examples. But you have to be intentional, because your primitive brain, also called the reptile brain will tell you yes, you have to find ways to poke holes in that story. So the story you’ve been telling, about, for example, needing the wine to relax, you have to start poking holes in that is wine, really, the only way to relax, is having food with your friend, the only way to show that you care for them, what are all of the ways that you are actually ready for that job Michelle Bourque 15:50 promotion? Will your friend really be disappointed if you can’t make it to dinner, if these are the changes you are most seeking, you have to be onto yourself, you must be for the benefit of your future self. Okay, so let’s do a quick recap, journal journal journal, you need to know what is going on in your brain. Remember, we have like 70,000 thoughts a day, we cannot possibly know all of them consciously. When we start writing them down, we are able to see them. And you can journal and like 10 minutes. So don’t let your brain tell you, you don’t have time you have the time. Next, after your journaling time, notice the thoughts and how you feel. Take the time to be the observer of the situation, so that you’re able to step out of it, and you have the chance to see different options. Next, make a decision. And then ask yourself if you like your reason why take action? If yes, and if not, do some more digging. Again, remain curious and then decide on purpose, what you want to start believing and practice, practice practice that we always get to tell the story the way we choose. So let me just bring it back to the beginning here to close the loop. And I’ll give you an example. So when I started telling you the story about high school, I went through how I didn’t really care for it right. But you know how I can also tell the story, which is equally true. It could sound more along the lines like folks often tell me how consistent I am. And I think that probably started back in high school. For the most part, I consistently had A’s. In fact, I was invited who multiple AP or advanced placement classes and I was also able to finish my senior year as a half day because I did take those AP classes over the years and I was able to start college ahead of schedule. I also consistently dated the same guy through high school and I started working as a freshman at 14 If I may say so myself, I advanced from packer and bathroom cleaner to cashier and a front end supervisor at the then called Miller’s market, which with great ease. In fact, I consistently got promoted as I think about it all. Overall, I would say I had tremendous work ethic and high school and likely all of it helped me to get where I am today. See the difference in my two stories. They are both equally true. You have the pen to the story in your hands. You get to choose how you speak about your life, your self, your past, your present your future. Be sure to tell the stories in a way that are useful for you. Be sure to tell the stories in a way that is propelling you to what you want to accomplish next. That’s how you start making the changes my friends. Okay. I would love to help you with this. If you haven’t quite figured out how to cut back on drinking or if you keep holding back on going for the next role or if you want help with the weight loss. Let’s do it. This work is truly life freakin changing. Just get on a strategy call with me. No cost, no obligation. I opened up more times in June recently, so I have some nighttime weeknights open. Just go to www dot Michellebourquecoaching.com/connect. And of course, if you’re not able to find a time just send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org – Super simple. We’ll be sure to get it set up. Okay friends, watch your patterns, decide on purpose. Go get what it is you’re looking for and And we will circle back next week but for now make it a great day take care Michelle Bourque
20:10 Did you know you can take this work to a deeper level with me one on one, go to www.Michellebourquecoaching.com and click on get started to begin