KEW Episode 47: Changing Behavior Changes Beliefs

Beliefs are things we see as truisms in our lives and regulate the decisions we make. In Episode 9 I talked about Old Beliefs. These are beliefs we learned as kids that protected us in some way, but no longer serve their purpose in our adult lives. The problem is, the old beliefs have been habituated and we continue to implement them.

Many of us become aware of our old or limiting beliefs in adulthood. Things like anxiety, imposter syndrome, feeling not good enough, addictions, relationships – all these things are, at least in part, learned when we were kids.

But I’ve talked at length about beliefs and how they hold us back. This episode is about how we change those old beliefs.

Changing beliefs has been very difficult for me. But that makes sense if you think about it. Limiting beliefs are usually old (hence the terminology), which means they’ve been with us for awhile. And during that time, these beliefs have been reinforced any time a situation comes up requiring you to make a decision. We refer back to a similar situation, remember whatever belief worked then, and simply apply it again. And again. And again. Pretty soon this process is automatic and habituated (See Episode 26: Habits). So these beliefs were acquired over time with much repetition.

So, of course changing them is hard. It’s logical to think that whatever time and energy went into building the belief would be required to change it. And as frustrating as that is, it may be accurate.

I tried to change my old beliefs for a decade, but I didn’t get satisfactory results. I learned about beliefs. I learned what my limiting beliefs are. I even learned where some of them came from. But I thought that the awareness of the beliefs would somehow be enough to change them. But it’s not.

I understood beliefs INTELLECTUALLY, but I wasn’t DOING anything about them. I needed to ACT. And those actions are multifaceted.

My research, therapy, coaching, and learning has led me to a list of actions that anyone can implement to change their thinking. The list is going to look very familiar and maybe even make you roll your eyes. It turns out the changing beliefs is really simple – it just isn’t easy.

Behaviors that can help you change beliefs:

Meditation

Mindfulness

Journalling

Speaking daily affirmations

Exercise

Gratitude

You can even add sleeping and eating well to this list, but those aren’t habits or actions I personally struggle with.

The point is, I have finally starting to believe (haha) that the above list, frequently touted by self-help and personal growth folks from all schools of thought, might actually produce the results I am looking for. So I’m on a mission to add them to my life slowly but deliberately and see if it works.

I go in to more detail about how and why in this Episode.

Podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8460339-kew-episode-47-changing-behaviors-changes-beliefs.mp3?download=true

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Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/06sqJWeHtTc

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 29: Gratitude

After reading James Clears’ ‘Atomic Habits’, I wanted to try and add a new habit and get rid of an ‘bad’ one. Reading the book inspired me to apply Clears’ teachings and I knew I needed to choose some easy habits, or low hanging fruit, if you will.

I had been thinking about quitting drinking beer before reading the book, so that seemed like an obvious ‘bad’ habit to change. And although I consider my drinking habit ‘not unhealthy’, I just wanted to see if I could do it. I had been having 2-3 beers pretty much every day for years and decided to try not having any beer for at least two weeks – just to see if I could break the habit.

Similarly, I wanted to try adding a new habit and gratitude seemed like an easy one. Though I easily stopped drinking beer (for the record, I still have maybe one beer once or twice a week now), adding gratitude was harder, but I continue to try. And, really, the experience of struggling to be practice gratitude every day is teaching me more about myself and habits because it’s hard.

So building a gratitude habit is challenging – and why is that?

To me, it’s because 1) it’s hard to notice the immediate results, and 2) I have been trying to practice gratitude during moments of duress, as if to provide a solution to a bad mood.

To address (1), there are immediate results but they may not be what we expect. It is our error to assume what the benefits of gratitude will be. What I have observed is that gratitude is coupled with mindfulness, or ideally, meditation – even briefly. And one small benefit of meditation/mindfulness/gratitude is slowing your heart rate and becoming more calm. But if we are looking for some sort of epiphany, it is easy to miss the fact that practicing gratitude calmed us down!

As for (2), the problem with starting new habits is the belief that there will be some overwhelming immediate result – and this just isn’t true. Additionally, the building of the habit needs to happen from a place of calmness initially. We can’t build habits to solve a problem ‘in the moment’, or at least I can’t. So I realized I had to practice gratitude when I was in a decent mood, or at least not in a bad mood. Once the habit is built from that attitude, THEN it can be used to benefit us during duress or stress. Hopefully that makes sense. It would be like expecting to see weight loss results after running our first mile. The benefits come later.

You have to trust the process. And a process that works for me is to take 2-3 minutes at least once a day, at a time when you are not feeling particularly stressed or distracted, to breathe deeply, appreciate your breath, and pick one thing you are grateful for in that moment.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=855244945200844

Original full episode post: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N5AX61W/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

KEW Episode 29: Gratitude

Gratitude is touted as being able to improve an array of human problems. Anger, depression, anxiety, dieting, and other stressful issues have decreased in people who practice out being grateful with some regularity. Psychologists, neurologists, and therapists suggest being grateful as part of any self-improvement plan.

But what is it about ‘feeling thankful’ that produces calm, peace, and satisfaction where before there was anxiety, anger, and suffering?

I’m sure I don’t know, but this week I talk about gratitude and my experience with very brief gratitude practice.

In short, I think practicing gratitude, at the very least, shows us how we can manipulate our emotions ourselves. Asking yourself to be grateful is actually a practice in changing your perspective. Also, expressing gratitude feels good.

I’m no guru, and by no means have mastered this technique but I am starting to believe it’s more than snake oil.

Full podcast here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/6232942-kew-episode-29-gratitude.mp3?blob_id=25911079&download=true or at Stitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and more.

Youtube video here: https://youtu.be/arMZVIKmOaY