Why We Don’t Do What We Want To Do

What truly keeps us from doing the things we want to (or know we should) do? Is it resources? Money? Time? Other people? Or is it the influence of one singular thing that holds the “keys to the kingdom” to your results? And either holds you back from what you want OR encourages you forward. This will be a nice part II to the Why We Don’t Get Off The Couch (Even Though We Know We Should) post and I am excited to share these intriguing findings with you today!

Mindset Matters More Than You Think

Yes, this post is all about mindset. Before you shake your head and walk away, discouraged that I’m talking about thinking… again… consider this. What if you learned that your thoughts, more than any other influence in your life, determine the way you lead your life and whether you are achieving what you want and reaching your full potential? Would you want to know more?

I have always skipped over the parts in articles and books about influencing the way I think because I thought I could not change it. Other areas of my life I could physically work on, but working on thoughts mostly happened without words so I discounted their importance. But the truth is that your mindset is the single thing standing between you and the results you want. Period.

Two Mindsets

Do you believe that we are all born with a certain amount of intelligence and there is nothing we can do to change it? Do you believe that personality is set in stone?

If you answered yes to either of the above questions, then you (at least partially) possess what Carol Dweck in her book Mindset calls a fixed mindset. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that intelligence and ability are set in stone and there is nothing anyone can do to change it. Interestingly, people with this mindset are always out to prove others wrong. They take the slightest adversity as a personal attack against their intelligence and need to justify their self-worth repeatedly in life.

I resonated with this mindset for most of my life. In my mind I believed that I was worthless, incapable, and uncredible. My self-fulfilling prophecies were enhanced further by the way my “friends” treated me back in high school – BFF one minute, spreading hurtful rumors the next. I knew I was smart, though, and set out to prove everyone wrong who expected me to fail. I had to prove to them that I could do it, I did have what it takes, and I would succeed so I could feel haughty and tall.

Over the past year, I have learned that I do not really like the extrinsic motivation of proving others wrong to succeed in life because it only takes you so far. And the motivation only lasts as long as the feelings of power from getting fired up that “I can do that because they don’t think I can” dissipate and I leave another project unfinished. I realized my thinking wasn’t the healthiest, but I did not know how to change it. Those thoughts are just there, right? Guess I’ll have to make one of those positive affirmation tapes and listen to it while I sleep.

Alternatively, do you believe that our levels of intelligence may be influenced through effort? Do you believe that personality and ability can be changed?

Answering yes to these questions indicate a growth mindset in which one believes that intelligence, ability and even personality may be influenced through effort. This is HUGE because “The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.” (Dweck)

My beginnings of developing a growth mindset began in counseling four years ago. Before, I thought my struggles would stick with me for life because of poor choices I made. Struggling with the temptation to use drugs, have sex, overeat, and be lazy were consequences of the poor choices I made as a teenager and there was NOTHING I could do to change it.

Boy am I glad that I was very wrong!

Through counseling I learned that “truth will set you free.” Only by facing and and working through the truth of my past and its results on my life I was able to cope and deal with my problems. The relief, freedom, and peace of mind I felt as a result taught me that the way I experience life, indeed, may be altered through effort! I was instantly hooked on personal growth and development!

“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” (Dweck)

So I began finding things I could work on – relationships, eating, exercise, school work. But all of these things only took me so far because I still lacked the key to my kingdom. Some of my thoughts were positive, but many were self-deprecating.

I know I was highly intimidated when I began working at the school system because I grew up with most of these teachers and how would they want to listen to anything I had to say? I put myself out there anyway and forced myself to get uncomfortable, but it was a daily battle with my thoughts of I’m not good enough.

The Switch That Changed Everything

The truth is that the power of mindset did not sink in until three weeks ago when I went to Brendon Burchard’s Expert’s Academy in Southern California. Again, I showed up thinking that I was the most inexperienced person, that no one would want to listen to me, and that I should just shut up and listen. I didn’t think I belonged in a room full of experienced experts in their respective fields.

What I learned is that I’m further along than many people, that I possess all of the knowledge I need to move forward with my online business, and that I do, indeed, have what it takes and it’s obvious to other people! I was inspired to be myself, to embrace my story, and to let go of the harmful thoughts.

How My Mindset Shifted

On Sunday morning, September 11, still at Expert’s Academy, Brendon led two intense guided meditations. The first was in honor of September 11 and the second was for our vision. In both, we simply sat still, closed our eyes, and let our minds wander to his guided questions. Although all of it was extremely powerful, the questions that influenced my mindset most were: What feelings and thoughts are you holding on to that are holding you back? What would it feel like to wipe the slate clean and see a big white board? Wipe the slate clean now. And I let them go. Period. Then we visualized where we wanted to go, the people who would be there and how we will feel at the end of our lives when we can say that we truly gave every day our best.

This was so powerful. Because of this experience I am fully empowered to make my vision a reality. To actually take the steps to achieve the results and take my life where it should go.

How Mindset Applies to Health

I tell you all of this because your mindset affects your health, what you eat, and whether you exercise or not. I always wondered how some people who should have the easiest time with Paleo falter while others who have limited resources and time make it work beautifully. And I now know that it’s all about mindset.

What do you really believe about your health? Your diet? Do you believe it is a fixed thing that you cannot change but will have to deal with and manage (i.e., diabetes, Crohn’s, MS, autoimmune stuff)? Do you believe that you just cannot help it at social events and cannot stop yourself from eating everything that is the antithesis of quality food? Do you think your struggle is something you will have to deal with for the rest of your life?

If so, then there is a high probability that you possess a fixed mindset regarding your health and eating and the mindset is what is holding you back. We’ll delve more deeply into this in the future but what I want you to do right now is become aware of what is going on:

  • Take a mental note of what you are thinking and what messages you tell yourself throughout the day. Really notice what you tell yourself before, during, after, the activities you struggle with (i.e., in the break room at work when someone brought donuts… again).
  • Write them down if it is helpful, but do this exercise to increase your awareness of your mindset.

I’ll dig into mindset further in the coming posts because it is integral to your success!

Comment below and let me know what you think about mindset and the power of belief! Have you ever experienced similar challenges or success through mindset work? Let me know below!

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