#67 How to Change Your Actions by Understanding
Your Thoughts

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Ever caught yourself saying you can't shed those extra pounds, squeeze in a workout, switch jobs, or make pivotal life decisions, choosing inaction over action? Or perhaps, you've found yourself in the loop of excessive indulgences - be it eating, drinking, smoking, or even reacting impulsively.

The silver lining? You hold the power to alter these patterns, provided you commit to the transformation.

Delving deeper into our actions often reveals underlying emotions, which in turn are fueled by specific thoughts. By pinpointing these foundational thoughts, you initiate the journey of impactful change.

Join me in this episode as I share personal tales of challenging choices, the battle against paralyzing fears, and the road to overcoming them. To guide you further, I've crafted a worksheet designed to help you discern the thoughts steering your actions, empowering you to manifest the desired shifts in your life.

Grab your Thought Worksheet here



Read the transcript:


This is Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Ayurveda specialist, a personal trainer, and I'm also a breast cancer survivor. In this podcast, we talk about healthy thinking and mindfulness practices, eating well, moving your body for health and longevity. And we'll also hear from other breast cancer survivors who have reengaged with life, and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.

Well, hello, and welcome to another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach. I am your host, Laura Lummer. And thank you so much for joining me today during this really busy holiday time. When this recording comes out, it's going to be just a few days before Christmas, we've got Hanukkah, we've got celebrations, we've got work parties home party. So let's do a little exercise together to just bring ourselves present into this moment, chill out a little bit, let go of a little bit of stress, and be able to really pay attention to be present in the show for the next I don't even know 20 To 30 minutes. So wherever you're at, if you're driving, if you're walking, if you're baking, you don't have to close your eyes. But let's just take three breaths together. Breathing in through your nose, deep, deep breath, keep the belly soft, and draw that breath all the way down through your lungs. And then exhale with a heavy sigh.

Letting go of everything that's building up inside of you. One more time breathing in through the nose, soft, full belly, exhale through the mouth.

Who cares if anybody hears your Darth Vader breathing. And one more time breathing into the nose, really breathing, you're bringing yourself present, feeling that breath and what it brings to the body. And exhale, that final release of any tension that's built up and allowing you to just be here, be present, and enjoy the show.

Okay, so that feels nice, right? A couple of deep breaths will get you present, and release tension faster than just about anything. And they just feel really good. So let's jump right into this show. And let me set the stage by sharing a story with you a story about a really tough decision that I was faced with recently, I had to decide to stay in a place that I was comfortable with, in a group of people who I love and truly admire, and who'd been a tremendous support to me while starting my online business. Or I had to decide to take a leap of faith, invest in a different program with a new group of people that I believe will be a tremendous support in this next step and the vision that I have going forward. It was a tough decision because it's more than just a business decision. It's knowing that if I take this other path, I'm going to miss out on connections with some of the people that are in the group that I worked with. And the Sunday prior to that deadline, I was doing my morning journaling. And I sat there contemplating this decision I needed to make I thought I just I can't I'm not in a place where I can make it right now. It's, there's something more than I need before I can make this decision. And at that point, I decided I am just handing this over to the universe, I'm letting go of wrestling with this decision. And I'm going to trust that over the next few days, something is going to happen, something between now and then will be revealed to me in some way, shape, or form. And from whatever that will be I'm going to have the direction I need. So rather than make that decision right now, I just decided to keep my mind open to everything that was evolving. And to really understanding that message as it revealed itself to me. I know that sounds a little hokey pokey hippie stuff, but it's true. I mean, things work that way, when you put your intentions out there, doors open and things reveal themselves. I truly, truly believe that. Before I had to make my decision. That message was delivered to me loud and clear. I had an experience I had an exchange with somebody and I knew in my heart. I knew from that conversation in my heart and in my mind exactly what I needed to do.

But you know what I did instead, I questioned it. I still sat there knowing what I needed to do. And I thought hmm, I'm gonna run this by someone else. So

But I called a trusted friend and fellow entrepreneur. And she said to me, Laura, it sounds to me like you already know what you need to do. And of course, she was right. I did know. So I called my sister to run it by her. I mean, why is it so hard to make these tough decisions? Right? How many times have you been faced with something in your life, and you've known what you needed to do. You've seen, you've heard you felt the message, the direction the signs, whatever you want to call it, and either you didn't do it right away, or you fought it for a little while, or you never did it at all.

And it's tough to do sometimes, because moving on to something new means letting go of something else, oftentimes, most times, and that something we have to let go of, maybe familiar, or maybe something good, even something great, even though we know it's run its course, or we know that it's time to change to live a fulfilling life, something has to change. Now I bring this up, because I talk with women all the time, who as a result of having survived breast cancer, either feel like they need to make some kind of change in their life, or they feel resistant to the change that cancer treatment is forcing on them. And they feel stuck in their life, because they can't get back to and I'm using air quotes, quote unquote, normal. So these may sound like two very different scenarios to you. Either feeling stuck or wanting to move forward. But at the root of both, then is one thing. It's that willingness to let go. And we have to let go in order to move forward. That's why the first step in my or vivify program is release. It's so critical. Now release is scary. Because if you let go of what you know what you're familiar and comfortable with, then you find yourself facing the unknown.

I love this quote from the article let go in order to grow. It was published in Forbes in March of 2018. It's a quote from Einstein that says, The most basic question people must answer for themselves is, is the universe a friendly place? The author of this article, Lisa Garmin goes on to say that Einstein postulated, if people believe the universe is unfriendly, they isolate themselves and build walls and weapons for protection. If people believe the universe is indifferent, then luck is their only ally, they lose agency, and life loses meaning. If people believe that the universe is friendly, they use their natural resources, tools and discoveries for the common good. Unquote. Here's why I like that.

If you think the universe is a friendly place, then release is going to be a little easier for you, because you have a little more trust. If you think it's an unfriendly place, it's going to be more difficult. And if you're ambivalent, then the level of difficulty in releasing and in changing is going to depend on your risk tolerance. Either way, in order to let go to release to move forward in life, you have to deal with the fear that's holding you back. Notice here I did not say you have to overcome the fear. I said you have to deal with it, you have to face it.

And the example I gave of myself, I had to face the fear of losing the connections to a group of people that I care deeply about. I had to face the fear of being judged by them relieving or dealing with angry reactions. Not that any of these things happened, they did it. But fear doesn't have to be the result of something real or actual. Fear is an emotion and emotions are the results of thoughts. So my thoughts of what might happen if I made this decision, created the fear of not wanting to face the decision. But I still knew what was right for me. So I had to do it anyway, I had to face what might happen, except what would happen. And I had to do it scared.

Let me give you an example of how this applies to recovering from breast cancer treatment. So here's two scenarios that I often work with women on one as I mentioned a moment ago, the desire the need the real and true need to get back to normal. Now if you've listened to the show with any regularity, you know I struggled with this for a long time. I felt bad about myself about the way I looked about how I thought people perceive

To me, I thought no one would want to work with me because as a wellness professional, I thought I was supposed to look a certain way. And of course, I thought having cancer was a big chink in the armor of a healthy lifestyle coach. Even some of my family members who lead very unfit, unhealthy lives would say to me, well, at least I didn't get cancer.

Ouch. I mean, all of that just fed the fear that I had of embracing this new version of me, the changes that occurred in me through cancer treatment. And being the best version of myself, I had to do a lot of work to get past that. I didn't want it. So I fought it. And the more I fought it, the angrier I got. Because anger is a fear based emotion. It's a defensive reaction towards something that frightens or harms you. The fighting, it didn't work. It doesn't work for anyone. If you find yourself turning to Ben and Jerry for consolation at 9pm, at night, when you're frustrated as hell over working around your menopausal belly, and you keep telling yourself, you want to you need to lose weight, because you know, you know that being overweight is uncomfortable from a buckling your shoes standpoint, or a touching your toes perspective. But you also know that it increases your chance of recurrence. And it's indicative of poor outcomes from any ongoing treatments you may be having.

So you ask yourself, Why am I taking this action? Fill in the blank with any unhealthy action? Or any happiness sabotaging action that you take? What is the feeling behind the action you're taking? Is it boredom, sadness, ambivalence, try to identify what you're actually feeling. Because we both know that if it's Ben and Jerry's thing, it is hunger that's driving you. It's some other feeling. So let's be real with ourselves. And then when you identify that feeling, the emotion that's driving your action, ask yourself, What am I thinking that is causing me to feel this way. And let me give you an example from my own life.

I would work out to the point of exhaustion, and physical pain in an attempt to lose my post treatment post menopausal weight. I just would not stop. If I had a free hour in the day, my first thought was, what workout can I do? Can I get to another boxing class yoga strength training, something to keep me moving. And it was easy to do, because I love exercising, just like you might love ice cream or wine or whatever it is that you're doing that's keeping you from facing your fear.

At one point, I had to accept that my body was not responding as it again, quote unquote, should. I had to admit I was out of gas, I was doing more harm than good to my body. Sometimes I'd be so wiped out after a workout because it would be so intense. I literally would have to take a nap before I even had the energy to take a shower. Okay, that's not healthy. But the reason I was doing that is because I was afraid. And what drove that fear were the thoughts that if I didn't keep pushing my body, and following my very strict nutrition plan, I would gain even more weight, I would get diabetes like my dad did.

I'd get cancer again. And I wouldn't be able to work in the field that I love, health and wellness. But here's the thing. I was already working in that field. I already had people coming to Me for guidance and support and programs. I was working with other survivors. So the thoughts that I was allowing to make me feel fearful and inadequate. And the fear that I was allowing to drive my obsessive behavior. It wasn't even real, it wasn't true.

Now I talk with women all the time who are struggling with self image, because of weight gain, surgeries, radiation, and they withdraw from those they love. Because they think they're not good enough anymore. They feel scared that their loved ones see them differently. They think people see them as weak, or as victims. And yet when we drill down to what's really happening in their lives, their loved ones are desperately trying to love them. But they're putting up the wall because of their own fear, which is driven by the thoughts that they're inadequate, the thoughts that they are nurturing the thoughts that are not true. You feel in me.

So let's look at scenario two. Here's another common one. You survived breast cancer and something in that experience ignites a passion in you a passion to give back or to serve others or to start a business or to travel

The world or to change your job, fill in the blank, something got triggered, something changed, or you want to create change. But as of today, you haven't done anything. Or maybe you've checked out this path you want to take. And you realized that in order to follow this to, to make this change happen, you'll have to get a certification of some kind or Diploma of some kind, build a website, grow social media presence, invest some money, tell your kids or your significant other, that your time is going to be consumed by something new. And they're not going to like that. Or you just think they won't like that. So you haven't even told them.

And yet, you're using that as a reason why you can't do what you say you want to do. This inaction is based in fear, just like taking the unhealthy actions in the first example is based in fear. Starting something new is scary. It's the unknown. Again, it's the unknown peeking at you from down the hall. So you are not going to step foot in that hallway. Your thoughts are, it'll cause too much my family won't like it. I don't have the time. But they're all excuses that you make. Because these excuses, keep you feeling comfortable with the fact that you don't have to face that fear, or that unknown, lingering down at the end of the hall, what's going to happen? Now I made a decision for my business, that I was going to stop playing small. And I was going to put myself out there and keep taking bigger risks and getting more exposure because I want to reach more survivors. And playing small isn't going to help me work with others at the magnitude that I dream about. So I said yes. Recently, when I was asked to be on a popular YouTube show, which you guys i'll be posting about soon, and I'm super excited about. But I said yes. Even though I was scared to do it. I did it knowing that I'm risking exposing myself to internet trolls attacking my social media accounts, because they don't like my opinion. I did it scared that I wouldn't look good. Or that I might say something dumb, and millions of people follow this channel. But I know if I just stay in my safe little world with my lovely, wonderful supportive tribe of survivors who I adore. And we're so good to me. I'll never accomplish the work I want to do at the scale, I want to do it.

I also had the opportunity to interview a really prominent influencer in the field of cancer research and treatment. And when I was presented with this opportunity, I felt really fearful. I was scared. I actually considered not doing it. Because he's so smart, and so well known. And I thought, what if I sound stupid? What if I asked him something stupid? What if I make a fool of myself in front of this well respected physician. But I sucked it up. And I did it. Anyway, I did it scared. And you know what? It was awesome. It was awesome interview. And you're actually going to hear it on next week's show. But do you see how the action or the inaction is driven by the feeling. And the feeling is the result of the thought that most of the time isn't true.

Now, I did not pick this topic arbitrarily for today's show, I want to talk about this now. Because the New Year is a couple of weeks away. And I want you to think about what you want for your life in this new year. And I don't just mean set a goal, I'm gonna lose weight, whatever, whatever. That's, that's all news, right?

I want you to be very aware of what you're doing, or what you're not doing. And be able to drill down into the feelings and the thoughts that are behind keeping you stuck in patterns that are not serving you that are not allowing you to grow, that are not allowing you to live your version of your best life. They're not allowing you to heal and live each day with joy.

I want you to take on 2020 with clear intention. And to do that you have to have clarity. You have to be aware of what you're thinking, because that drives everything. And you can control what you're thinking. You can move out of the space of being a victim of cancer and into the space of being victorious in your life. In the interview that I mentioned just a minute ago, it was with an Oncologist Dr. Robert Nagorny. He is the founder of the Nagorny Cancer Institute. And while we were talking he made a statement that really resonated with me. He said people should not be broken after cancer. They should be

able to get back to living their life. And I could not agree more.

So if any of these scenarios resonate with you make a commitment to yourself to work through this process of examining the feelings that are behind the action or inaction that you would like to change. And then being really honest with yourself, about the thoughts that are fueling those feelings, actually take a piece of paper and write it down, and be honest with yourself. Now, I want to make this easy for you. So I have created a worksheet that you can use to identify the thoughts that drive your feelings. And that result in your action or inaction. You can find this at Laura lummer.com, forward slash thoughts, or in the show notes for this episode at Laura lummer.com, forward slash 67. Just print it out, or print out lots of copies, and keep copies with your cable wall around your house, in your notebook and your purse so that when you notice these behaviors coming up that you want to change, pull that paper out and start writing. When you identify the thoughts behind your behaviors, you become more aware of what drives you. And you can ask yourself whether or not those thoughts are actually true.

I worked with a woman the other day, who is struggling horribly in one of her close relationships. And she told me through her tears, that she was just giving up, because the other person that she wanted to work on a relationship with just wouldn't even talk about it. But when we really drill down to the actual words, the real and true exchanges that had taken place between her and this other person, she had never said, I want you to work on this with me. What can we do to make this better? Never all the emotional turmoil she was experiencing was a result of her thoughts. Her thoughts were of the way this person was reacting, but they weren't even true.

So clarity is essential when you're facing tough situations. That's why writing things out is so helpful. It makes things real, whereas our minds can come up with some crazy stuff. That's not always real.

So I would love to hear what you come up with. So do the exercise and send me a DM on Instagram at the breast cancer recovery coach on Facebook, Laura Lummer, you can join my free group, the breast cancer recovery group on Facebook. And I love to hear from you. I will personally respond to you if you have questions or ideas or I just love to hear your successes. Now before I go, I want to make sure remind you that if you haven't subscribed to the breast cancer recovery coach, I would really appreciate if you could take a minute to do that. That way you never miss an episode. And if you have the time that you could leave a review for me, I would greatly greatly appreciate that. So make sure and listen next week to this awesome interview with Dr. Nagorny. He's got some amazing insights. I know you will love the way he approaches and the work he's doing to bring more awareness to creating change in the field of oncology to make each of our lives and the treatment of cancer patients better and more effective. So make sure and tune into that subscribe so you don't miss that show. And until then, until next week, go download that worksheet. Laura lummer.com forward slash 67 and do your thought work. I'll talk to you then.

Use courage to the test laid all your doubts

your mind is clearer than before your heart is full and wanting more your futures

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