Week 8
Being courageous: Taking action despite thoughts or feelings


It is incredibly easy to talk ourselves out of things. 

Let’s say you go to the same coffee shop every day on your lunch break. It just so happens your crush has also made the daily habit of getting a caffeine kick. You would give anything to say anything comprising an actual sentence to the object of your affection. However, it has happened and it’s been MONTHS!

Why does this happen?

You talk yourself out of it each and every time. Your inner dialogue goes something like this, “I didn’t wear my nice shirt today” or “I didn’t get much sleep last night- I’ll probably come off tired and boring” or <insert your inner dialogue here>.

Sound familiar?

We’re all guilty of it. We let our thoughts, feelings, emotions, habits, and lifestyle get in the way of what we really want. The emotions that follow are guilt, shame, self-doubt, and fear that we will never achieve our life’s most important goals.

However, we can break this vicious cycle. We luckily live in the golden age of neurologic research into how the brain functions, what drives us as human beings, and the power of habit.

My goal is to steer you away from this habit of inaction due to your pervasive inner dialogue. 

The Power of Habit Author, Charles Duhigg claims that 40%-45% of our daily decisions are based on habits. Duhigg explains that a habit is made of a (1) cue, (2) routine, and (3) reward. Cues are triggers that cause us to perform a behavior. Routine is the actual behavior itself. Our brain contains neurotransmitters that reward us following this behavior. 

So, how do we change our habits?

While many people focus on changing the routine to change a habit, the cue and the reward are what should be the focus. Premeditating the cues and rewards will allow us to prepare for the desired outcome.

Take the following example:

By premeditating on a specific cue (you see your crush in the coffee shop), and a specific reward (you visualize getting the number of aforementioned crush), you are able to mentally prepare and successfully follow through on your goal.

By becoming aware of the cues and visualizing the desired outcome, this will change the routine. By putting this into practice with all areas of your life, you have the power to change your daily habits and your life. 

 

EXERCISE #8
ELIMINATE DIALOGUE AND VISUALIZE OUTCOMES

  • Put your new knowledge of cues, routine, and rewards into practice:
  • Choose a goal, as in the above example of asking someone out on a date.
  • Become aware of the cue (your crush walks into the coffee shop).
  • Visualize the reward (you getting his or her number).
  • Put routine in place (you walking to him or her, starting a conversation, which ultimately leads to asking for his or her number).

Remember from last week’s article that outcomes should not be categorized into “success” or “failure”. Rather, focus on pushing yourself to become the person you want to be- courageous. The act of successfully completing your goal is a success in itself, no matter what the outcome is.