QUIT TRYING!

“I’m trying to start exercising again,” said my new client. “It’s just not working and it’s making me crazy. Can you help?”

“Absolutely,” I replied. “But you have to quit trying. “What do you mean?” She looked confused.

“I’ll explain. But first, tell me if this is the crazy you’re feeling.

HeavyLoadEvery day you tell yourself that you are going to get started, and then you don’t. So you feel guilty and say you’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and you don’t do it again, so you tell yourself how awful you are. Then you get depressed, and feel like a total failure, and even worse, it’s all your fault. It feels like a ten ton bag of rooks that you carry around all the time and success just gets further and further away. You feel hopeless and give up, or keep trying and not succeeding. Either way you feel guilty or ashamed. It’s called procrastination paralysis, and it’s why TRYING never really works in the long term.”

“OMG that’s exactly what’s happening,” she exclaimed. “How can I make it stop?”

I smiled, “You  QUIT TRYING by deciding to DO IT or deciding to LET IT GO, even if it is just for now. Tell me why exercising more is important to you.”

“I really feel like I should; I’m getting older and I can feel it. I feel guilty that I’m not.”  I stopped her right there. “Should and guilt are rotten motivators, they are symptoms of procrastination paralysis. I feel your motivation draining as you talk. Let’s reframe. Tell me what you would gain by exercising more.”

“I’d feel better physically and mentally, and build up some strength.” And how would that make you feel? (I could feel her energy lighten). “Great!” Is that worth letting go of TRYING and moving into DOING? “Absolutely.”

Congratulations! You’ve just gone from TRYING to DOING! How’s the bag of rocks now? “Wow, they’re gone. This is amazing.”

My client QUIT TRYING and started DOING when she changed her motivation from “Because I Should” to “Because I’ll Feel Better.” That was her first step. She could also have QUIT TRYING by deciding, “I don’t really want to do this now.” (This is really common when your motivation is based on SHOULD.) Either choice shuts down the bag of rocks feeling of procrastination paralysis that comes from TRYING rather than DOING or LETTING GO. The important thing is that she consciously chooses to focus on motivation that feels good to her.

We all struggle with procrastination paralysis. TRYING is totally un-motivating; it sets the perfect stage for failure and self-criticism; and it can go on for a long, long time if you’re not aware of it.

You know you’re TRYING rather than DOING if it feels like you’re carrying around a bag of rocks, and/or are really down on yourself.

Is it time for you to quit TRYING and start DOING? Call me to talk about your motivation and first steps.

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I’m Done with Integrity

I’ve always considered myself to be a person of integrity; someone who keeps her word, honors her commitments, and does the right thing. All good things,Paula_FlaKeys right?

Here’s my secret – my version of integrity has been ruining my life. I’ve been operating on autopilot, never questioning or considering whether all that integrity was actually good for me.

With a little self-exploration, I’ve learned that I do integrity really well with other people, and like crap with myself.  And I have some pretty strange stories running around in my head. Can you relate?

Keeping My Word Should Be a Good Thing, Right? Not Always. 

  • Saying YES because I’m afraid to say NO – NOT GOOD.
  • Hating myself if I have to go back and say NO after I’ve already said YES. WORSE.

My Story: If I say no I am a bad person and if I don’t absolutely honor my YES no matter what I am unworthy.

My Truth:  I have the right to say NO. People say NO to me all the time. Plans and commitments change.  It’s part of life in today’s world. What matters is being realistic, upfront, and honest about what I can and can’t do.  

My Shifts: Practicing saying no, and giving myself a break, just like I would to anyone else.

Can Honoring My Commitments be Wrong? Yes.

  • Honoring my commitments to others at the expense of my own needs – NOT GOOD.
  • Expecting perfection in honoring of my commitments – WORSE.

My Story: I have to take care of other people first, and do it perfectly or I have failed and let everyone down. 

My Truth: If I don’t take care of myself first, and receive as well as give, at some point I won’t be able to take care of anyone. Expecting perfection from myself (or anyone else) totally blocks my ability to receive. It just doesn’t work.

My Shifts:  Giving myself permission to make my own needs a priority. Allowing ‘Doing My Best’ to be my success, whether it works the way I think it should or not.  

Should I Always Do the Right Thing, No Matter What? No.

  • Doing someone else’s version of the right thing instead of mine – NOT GOOD.
  • Doing the “right thing” over and over even when it feels awful or wrong. – WORSE.
  • Not knowing what your own “right things” are – DANGEROUS.

My Story:  If I keep doing what I’ve always done – doing what I think people want – they will like me. Plus, I am never allowed stop or question it even if it feels crappy. 

My Truth: Choosing to do my own right thing is the only way I can truly feel good about myself. It’s not selfish and wrong, it’s healthy boundary setting. Sometimes what I choose will be best for me, sometimes best for others.

My Shifts: I’ve learned to trust my body. It knows what the right thing is before I do, and if my choice doesn’t feel right in my body it’s time to get curious about the story vs. the truth.

Going forward I’m going to be curious around my stories. Give myself compassion instead of demanding perfection. And trust my integrity instead of trying so hard. It feels really good. 

Are you ready to change some stories? Find your own personal right things? Learn to listen to your body? Let’s talk about what feels right to you. Email paula@WhatsNextForMyLife.com. 

Why is Wellness So Hard? Simple Easy Ways to be Happier and Healthier

Why is wellness so hard? We want to be happier and healthier – to be well. Our intentions are good.  “I’m going to lose weight, eat better, reduce stress, work harder, spend more time with loved ones, be a better friend, write a book, and save the world. Starting today.”  A few weeks later the push to change everything NOW can become totally demoralizing, full of self-blame and guilt because of not doing what was intended, or not doing it well enough.

 Wellness is hard because we make it hard. WE THINK TO MUCH.Happy Healthy People Art

We expect wellness to be hard, so we get what we expect.  We’ve been culturally conditioned to believe that it will be, mostly from people who want to make money from our pain.  Then our human brains take over, telling us what we SHOULD do and then blocking us from doing it. We end up trapped in a cycle of good intentions, guilt, and giving up.  It’s no wonder it’s hard to be happier and healthier. If it’s feeling hard to you, it will be easier if you don’t think so much.

Signs of thinking too much?

  • You’re SHOULDING yourself to death. If your motivation is based on SHOULD, ask yourself, “Who says I should do this? What about it matters to me?” If you can’t find a way it matters, consider letting it go.
  • Your inner critic has taken over. “I don’t have the time, money, energy or whatever, and why bother because I’ll fail anyway, people will laugh, etc.” are all voices of your inner critic, who is trying to protect you by keeping you from doing something new, even if it’s good for you. If it’s dramatic an emotional, your critic may be running the show.  Ask yourself, “Is this really true?” If it’s not, what do you gain by believing it?
  • You believe it is selfish and wrong to make your own needs a priority. Would you deny the people you love permission to take care of themselves? You must have both giving and receiving to be well. If you feel depressed, tired and run down all the time, your body is telling you it needs some care.
  • You don’t celebrate your progress. Every single teeny tiny step you take is success because it is progress. I can’t say this enough. Going from 3 to 3.5 is a success. Trying and failing and trying again is a success.  Thinking about changing is a success. Starting and then changing direction is as success. Celebrating each small step will keep you motivated for the long term.

If you SHOULD but you aren’t; you started and then you stopped; you want to but believe you can’t; and you would if you could just find the time, money or energy; it’s time to leave the mind chatter behind.  Make your life happier and healthier by not thinking so much.  I promise it will be so much easier, and a lot more fun.  Need some help? Let’s talk about it. Email me at Paula@WhatsNextForMyLife.com.