#92 Taking the Steps to Create and Accept Change in Your Life

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If you’ve ever thought you wanted to change and yet you couldn’t find the motivation to create that change or if you’ve had to change but you find yourself refusing to accept that change, you might be surprised to find that the main block is in your own mind.  

Your brain loves it when things stay the same and it can pitch quite a fit when you try to shake things up or when life shakes it up for you. 

In this episode we’ll talk about change and why it’s so tough to deal with. Then we’ll look at a couple of simple steps that you can easily implement in your life to either create or accept the changes that will keep you moving forward in your life. 

Don't miss out on the Sugar Challenge


Reinventing yourself 


Depression in Women with Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review of Cross-Sectional Studies in Iran 


Read Full Transcript Below:

Hello, welcome, thank you

Remind of sugar challenge beginning on Monday June 22.


Now I want to take just a minute to talk about this challenge because it leads right into today’s show.


When you hear the word challenge it sounds like you’re going to have to do something really hard and, in this case, you probably think you’re going to have to go for a week without sugar, but that’s not the case.


This challenge is designed for you to examine the way you think about eating sugary foods so that you can see how your brain and your impulses are directing you and make a conscious decision to create different behaviors that serve you better.


I have the unique background of being both a coach and a trainer so when I have my training hat on, I tell people what to do. If you go to a trainer that’s what you want right. You want someone to train you to do a specific thing effectively. 


But when I have my coach hat on, I get to guide you to know yourself better. I get to empower you to make choices that serve you in your life. To shine a light on the fact that you do have control over what really counts.... And that is how you choose to think and to interact with the world around you.


That’s what I love because it’s like giving a man or fish or teaching a man to fish a parable. Teaching someone to see how changing their thoughts will change their life is an honor. Telling someone not to eat sugar for five days...well that’s only going to end in a cheesecake binge let’s just own that right now ladies. Deprivation is NEVER the long-term solution.


So, if you want to check out 5 days of coaching to help you get a better understanding of what drives you to make the choices you make around sugar. Oh, and did I mention that it's a completely free challenge?? Yes, there is no cost and you’ll even get a chance to win prizes because what’s a challenge without prizes? 


Just go to TBCRC.com/sugar you’ll receive everything you need to get prepared on Friday June 20th by 5pm pst and we’ll dig into the challenge on Monday.


So, what does this have to do with today’s show? 


Well, It’s all about change and mindset, baby. 


Whether you’re resisting changing your diet, changing your career, addressing relationship issues, accepting the changes that breast cancer has forced on you, or just waking up an hour earlier to get some exercise...the resistance comes from your own brain.


So, let’s dig into the topic for today. Why is change so hard? And that’s not only why it’s difficult to create change, but also why it’s difficult to accept change. Because some change we instigate, and other changes are forced on us.


Let me start by saying that our brains have a mind of their own.


We as humans underestimate the power of our brains…. seriously underestimate it. Our brain is so amazing...it processes different things in different places, it takes in an incredible amount of information and thoughts on a daily basis and it loves to keep things status quo.


When I work with people on meditation, or if you’ve ever studied meditation, you may have heard your teacher say be the observer.


Allow your mind to see what your thoughts are, notice what’s happening in your brain and then make conscious choices not to get caught up in certain thought patterns.


That’s how we override the automatic processes that drive our brain and that’s why we refer to it as training your brain.


That’s also why you’ll hear me say...probably a lot. That’s just a story you’re telling yourself...our minds go off on these crazy tangents and they make up stories and dramas and worst-case scenarios and we have to choose to see that for what it is. 


We have to decide to tell ourselves a different story so we can get our brain on board to work with us rather than against us.


Let me give you an example. 


One of the first things that pops into my mind is all the work we have to do as survivors around the idea of going back to normal...or rather not going back to normal.


What is that really about? 


Our bodies are programmed to maintain a steady state of existence.


Our body temperature, our heart rate, our blood ph, so many things are regulated by our body to stay within a certain range.


 This is homeostasis...and it’s a great thing when it supports our wellbeing and sustains our life but it can also be a real fun sucker when we want to behave in a different way than we’re used to, or we don’t want to change but we’re being forced to.


It can cause us to feel like there’s a 6-year-old stomping her foot inside of us and resisting every little desired or forced change...that’s an awful feeling.


But that’s how strong our natural tendency toward inertia is. 


Why move if you don’t have to? Why cook if you don’t have to? Why change eating habits if you don’t have to? And what the heck is this cancer thing that’s making me change when I don’t want to!?


All of this resistance to change, this drive to remain the same and follow the automatic programming that you have conditioned yourself for is happening in what’s called the primitive part of your brain. 


This is the part of your brain that says don’t change things up on me, I like my habits and my automatic behaviors that don’t require a lot of energy or extra thinking and I do not want to throw a wrench in that.


We even do this when it comes to food. Think about it. When you grocery shop there are certain things that are always on your list...besides toilet paper and laundry soap.


My husband, every week gets heavy cream, a package of chicken thighs and a pound of ground beef. He makes them many different ways but those are his go to foods.


I always have, dunkin donuts whole bean coffee, tomatoes, english cucumbers, jasmine rice and some kind of dried beans on hand. 


Do you do the same thing? You have those go to foods that you like, that you're familiar with and that bring you comfort. 


You have relationships that you’re comfortable with, familiar with and maybe you like or don’t like but they’ve been around for a while, so you just keep them the way they are. Because too many other things would have to change if you changed up your relationships


You have all kinds of routines that you’re comfortable and familiar with and even if you think about wanting to change them...you convince yourself that they're better than what you don’t know.


The devil that you know is better than the devil that you don’t, right?


I’ve been there. I’ve lived in miserable situations dictated by social and religious values, burdened by judgements or I should say by the judgements I believed would be put on me if I moved forward with the change I wanted in life.


And then I've been through cancer, like you. Forced to deal with change that life was throwing at me when I didn't want it. 


And you know why getting past that is harder than going with the flow? 


Because taking conscious action takes focus and energy. And one of the last things we want to do after going through breast cancer is take on more things that require effort and conscious decision making. 


I mean come on. We’re tired. This shit was hard... when do you get a friggin break.... well when did you ever get a break? 


When did life ever just flow exactly as you wanted it to without any effort and everything was perfect?


I’m pretty sure that was never...like never ever.

And you know how I know that...I’m 56 years old...I’ve had four kids, three marriages, cancer, lost loved ones, been laid off, earned degrees, bought and sold homes, made and lost friends...it’s all work.


It all requires grit, resilience and the ability to consciously change. It requires letting go of the resistance to stay the same and allow the flow of transformation into your life even when it’s uncomfortable.


There’s a quote that I love from Steve Chandler, author of reinventing yourself, he says, the comfort zone is a place to rest, not to live.


And that’s so true. 


Pretty much as soon as I was done with breast cancer treatment, I was on fire to live again. I wanted to become a mentor at the hospital near me because a mentor had helped me so much, I wanted to run obstacle course races and go back to college, get a new degree and start a business that would change my life and the lives of other survivors. And 3 years later I was friggin tired. 


I mean really tired; I needed a break from effort and change and I gave myself permission to take 3 months off. 


I wanted to sleep in, see my granddaughter have weekends free to binge on movies, or do some day drinking. I just wanted, needed comfort. I needed it easy. And that’s ok but easy doesn’t change things. Comfort doesn’t spur growth. And it doesn’t pay student loans. 


So, after 3 months, I needed to get back on track because I was in the process of reinventing myself. I had been through cancer and it showed me that life is too short to sit on my but and accept automatic behaviors and comfort as a way of living. 


So, what are the steps to moving forward, to cheating and or accepting change and then to owning your decisions and creating the life, and the health that you actually want?


Step one is an honest assessment of where you’re at. 

As I’ve talked about before on this podcast, depression is a common experience after breast cancer treatment. 


A 2018 study in the journal of asian pacific cancer prevention reported that nearly 70% of the women studied suffered from some form of depression. 

So, if you have any reason to think you may be suffering from clinical depression please reach out to your physician for help.


It’s a real thing and you are not alone.


If you’re feeling stuck, unsure or lost, getting a coach or an emotional health professional to help you find your way and discover for yourself what’s holding you back can be a great step to moving forward not only for the clarity that it brings but for the accountability it provides.


I have both a business coach and a mindset coach and I think of them as investments in myself. 


There’s a saying in the coaching industry that a coach who isn't willing to be coached is like a doctor who isn’t willing to go to the doctor.


Seeking an outside source of input and accountability is an excellent way to deal with or create change. 


Another step is planning. You may think that sounds simplistic but trust me, when you take the time to plan the change you want to see...so much stuff comes up.


You get to see what you’re willing to do and what you’re fighting and then you get to examine why you’re doing that.


I don’t think I’ve talked about this on the podcast yet, but I have a membership program called empower that’s only open to women who have completed my Revivify program and want to keep moving forward with coaching and transformation. 


This past month in empower we focus on time blocking, planning out all of your time each week for a month and the revelations that come up when you go through that process are quite remarkable. 


In just taking the time to look at a calendar and write what is important to you, to block out time for doing nothing, or for self-reflection or to look at why you aren’t willing to create white space in your days or to set aside time to work on relationships brings a lot of awareness to the surface.


It helps you see the gap between the change you say you want and the effort you’re willing to put into creating it. 


Planning in and of itself throws a wrench into automatic behaviors by creating intentional behaviors. And I’m not saying that’s easy because it isn’t. 


Even as I’m creating this podcast it’s late at night, I’m tired, my husband is warm and cozy sleeping in bed which is where I want to be but it’s the only time I have in the day to do this and I’m not going to show up and tell my coach that I didn’t get my podcast out this week. 


I planned it, I wrote it down, I committed to this time and although it’s uncomfortable, it’s a part of the change I am creating in my life and in all honesty, it’s a labor of love but that doesn’t make it easy.


This conscious and deliberate type of action helps to override what you may be lacking in motivation and as you consistently make the conscious and often more difficult choice that move you toward the change you're seeking, these choices begin to become automatic and you find it difficult to understand how you  lived any other way.


 I want to share an excerpt from the book reinventing yourself that I referred to earlier. This is the story of a man who had a serious injury that resulted in partial paralysis. He worked tirelessly to overcome his injury and went on to achieve some pretty amazing physical accomplishments. 


In his interview he says:

“If you focus on the pain and think of nothing but the pain you will get nowhere. You have to accept the pain for what it is and then focus completely on what you want. The more you focus on what you want, the less the pain matters.”


I love that, because I learned first-hand that focusing on the pain, on what went wrong and why it's unfair or messed up gets you nowhere. It’s when you’re ready to accept that some things just suck but you can deal with them and create the life you want. That’s when everything starts to change.


If you’re ready for that and you want to be a part of a community of other like-minded survivors who are ready for it too… come and join us in the Breast Cancer Recovery Group on Facebook or go to the bcrc.com/sugar and join the free five day challenge that begins on June 22 2020. 


Start taking the steps to see what's happening in your brain and make the changes you need to create the life you want.




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