In this session, we talk about three modalities that you can use to start practicing this year, on your next trip around the sun!
Dr. A: All right. Well, welcome everybody. Happy New Year! We’re going to be talking a lot about the new year and what it means, and what it means for you, and what you’re going to be doing. We’ll give everybody a minute or so to dial in before we get started. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Thanks for bearing with me, doing this the second week, second Tuesday. I was traveling last week and there’s lots to think about and we’re going to be doing some of that. We’re going to start exploring this year in more detail, our minds, and you know, I’m convinced that as the world changes the most important thing for us to understand is how dynamically we can work inside. Relationally, and with the world around us in a different way. In a different perspective, because if we follow the guideline that’s out there right now, as we know, the world is kind of a scary place and for most of us there’s a lot of uncertainty, there’s this thing called VUCA, you know, the world is volatile, it’s uncertain, it’s amb — I always have trouble saying this — there’s a lot of ambiguity and chaos in the world right now, and I think our alert systems are up, our security systems, all these things inside of us are affecting us. It’s really important to start exploring your mind and how you’re supposed to be feeling in terms of the reality of that, but not allowing it to go into the crevices of your mind and your brain, and create stress and dysfunction because I can tell you as a physician that’s been studying relational health and communication, and transparency for so long now, bottom line is, we need to be the masters. You know, I’ve said something for over 20 years, to be the Dominant Force in our life.
So, we’re going to talk today about your mind and, you know, I was thinking back there, a lot of things I’m going to talk about are things we went over the last year and know that there is, on my website, for free, all this information has been given through an abundance mindset because I think it can help you. It has certainly helped me in my relationships with the people that are important in my life: my family, my friends, my colleagues, my professionals, and my mentors. It’s really important to study this. It’s more important, and I hate to say this, but than going to the gym because the gym is important and having exercise or at least moving more is really important, but exercising, and understanding how you think, and how you think in the world we live in now has never been more important if you want to be joyful, and be happy, and have a good rotation this year around the sun.
So, with that, how can I improve my life this new year? You know there’s a million New Year’s resolutions. There’s a million books on goal setting. There’s a million things you can do, to work on, and all of them can have some effect, but I can tell you that nothing has more effect than really starting to understand and become a student, and really, just like learning to play the piano, first you start with the scales, you don’t start with Mozart, and you literally work on it every day for it to be a habit, and the beauty is, it doesn’t cost anything. It doesn’t really take much time, and you can do it in those moments when you’re in your car. You can do it before you go to bed. You can do it if you happen to be alone. Whenever you have that time. Find some time for yourself and really explore this, and then we’re going to talk at the end of this a little bit more about modalities that you can use to start practicing this year, and I like to think about it as our next trip around the sun — it’s kind of tongue and cheek, but if you think about it, it takes 365 days, there’s obviously a leap year, but that’s how long it takes us to make one rotation, for the earth to go all the way around. Isn’t that cool? I get really excited about that.
It’s a nice perspective because you know, time is made up. I’m reading a book right now, I don’t — it’s really, pretty heavy, but it’s basically a book on psychological — Time and Psychological Explanation, and to realize that we have control over how we re-explore and reconstruct our past. We have, certainly the ability to create goals for our future to help guide us, so we say, “Yes” to more of the things that move us to where we want, and then the most important thing we have is the present moment. That awareness that we can have to really be together and so I’m going to do a little overview of this and then we’ll open it up for questions which is my favorite part, and that’s why this is called a forum. So, let’s get going.
How would you rate 2023? Take a moment. Take out your pen, or you can use your phone, and rate 2023 in terms of from a score of zero to 100. How would you rate the key areas in your life? And you don’t need to spend all the time, you could do this later, but I think when you really think about it basically, who was in charge? You know, the year— so many people said, “Wow. God, it’s already December!” Next thing you know, now it’s January. It’s 2024. 2023 is gone. It seemed like it went like that, but who was in charge of your year? Who was the one that really made the decisions in terms of your perceptions? And perceptions are, you know, these are the three things that we have control over in our life: perceptions. How you view the world. How you look at the world. How you look at yourself. How you look at the things around you. Your dogma. Your concepts. Who is in charge of those? Who is in charge of the choices you made? The choices you made in terms of your physical health, your mental health, your families, your vocation, the different key areas? And the third is, who was in charge of your behaviors? You think, “Well, I was,” but who is I? For most people, “I” was our ego. Our personal mind. Our psyche. The way we see the world. The way the ego tries to make the world work for you and as a result of that you really weren’t in charge.
These may not have been the things you really wanted to do, but you, your ego, wanted you to be right. So, in a situation with a relationship, rather than having a wonderful evening together you might have got caught on something and ended up having a fight. At work, someone might have ignored you and you turned it into a major thing and missed being able to present the way you wanted because you were frustrated. It could be driving your car, you almost got in a car accident because you weren’t paying attention. Our ego gets in the way and tries to make the world the way we want the world to be. If you think about it, you know, if our ego controls our thoughts and our emotions, you’ve assigned your psyche or your ego a responsibility that is impossible. You assigned last year — make everyone like me, and make my life just as I want. That’s impossible. It’s impossible. There’s no way. We have such little control over the outside world, but we have complete control over what’s in here.
So, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So there’s two distinct ways of living our life. First is from the outside. Making the outside, driven by our ego, and the other is from the inside basically, understanding how we work and being able to observe and not engage ourselves when things don’t occur as we want them to. So if we think about it, “I am not okay and I’m looking outside,” you know, “I’m not happy with my job” or “I’m not happy with my life so I’m going to buy a new car. I’m going to spend more money on dresses. I’m gonna go out and drink myself senseless.” All these things are when the world’s not right you try to make something outside of it make it right, versus, “I’m looking inside to become okay.” What are the things, what are those stored traumas that we talked about a lot last year? What are those things inside from 20 years ago, or five months ago, or from yesterday, that basically are inside of us, that when it gets touched it triggers us and we go crazy over it.
So the ego-driven world. “I am not okay” “You’re not okay” You’re taking from the outside. You’re closed. If the world is the way we want it to be, we’re great. So, we have the good days when we have a beautiful sunset and the weather’s perfect like you know, today the wind’s blowing like 15 knots here down on the water and it’s, you know, you go outside and you feel like you’re in a jet, behind a jet, and it’s cloudy, and it’s not pretty, and yet today, bottom line, I get to do this with you fine folks, and we get to communicate and build relational health with ourselves, with the people around us, and maybe learn some things that we can use this year to make this time, this rotation around the world better, and when things aren’t right, you feel terrible, and you created your psyche when you were young. You weren’t aware of it, but now you’re very aware of it and so you created the way the world needs to be. You created your philosophy, your concepts, and all those things. When the world doesn’t happen to coincide with that — it’s kind of like a clock, right? Or a broken clock. It’s right two times a day, but the other 23 hours and 58 minutes, it’s not.
So, an awakened world. “I’m okay. I’m giving to the world. I’m open. I’m filled with joy, love, creativity, and gratitude.” These are the areas of our prefrontal cortex that make it so great, and “I have the opportunity to serve.” It doesn’t matter what the world’s doing, I’m making a choice. You know, I talk a lot about the Austrian psychiatrist that was in the concentration camp, and basically, he was in the worst possible conditions around him, but he was okay because he had decided what his perceptions were, what his choices were, and what his behavior would be to take him through that Holocaust and come out the other end whole. So we have control. The world isn’t anything like a concentration. It’s not the best, but we have control over it and it’s that understanding that I’m hoping we can kind of start identifying this year as we work together and really focus on what you can do.
[00:10:28] So, I’m okay. That’s the goal. The goal this year is to be, I’m okay. I’m okay. I can watch the world go by not necessarily agreeing with what’s going on, but I’m okay. I’m able to— you know, I talk about internal stability and external equilibrium, having that balance between the two. So, how do I get there? Well, you know, you’ve seen this. This is in my Habits of Health, but basically, most of us respond without processing. Something happens and we react to it, and we react to it because [unintelligible 00:10:58], it isn’t what we want. We respond, and our ego gets involved in it, and we respond in a negative fashion, and basically, we hijack our relational brain. We call our prefrontal cortex, our rational area, this is the area that controls— this is the brilliance that put the men on the moon and allowed us to now go to Mars. The stuff that Elon Musk is doing. The stuff that all these incredible individuals, including ourselves! What you’re doing with your family, things you’ve created, a project you’ve done. This is using the smart, the abstract part of the brain that can create on its own, but when we’re stimulated and we’re triggered, our Labrador brain, our emotional brain takes over, and it hijacks, and we just respond without doing what’s best for us.
There’s a bunch of people on death row right now as a result of getting so upset about something in the moment that they actually created some atrocity. And you’ve all seen this. We’ve talked a lot about it, but the Drama Triangle is driven by our ego, right? As a victim, something’s being done to me. It’s not fair. The world’s not fair. All you have to do is watch any TV show, newscast, people are blaming the villain, blaming who’s at fault, “I blame you. Them or myself,” and then the hero is here to save the day, right? I’m enabling people to continue the same behavior. All these are driven by our ego. So, is it normal to go below the line? Yes! It allows your ego to be in charge, and your ego wants to stay in charge. So, if you’re wondering why you’re stuck, many times it’s simply because your ego has convinced you that it’s right, and that’s the most important, because you get jazzed up, and you get in these arguments, and you want to be right, and you get in discussion. You have an adrenaline rush, and the world’s so overwhelming, we like that, we crave that, and so we end up staying with those same behaviors. Although those behaviors are killing us. You know, I’ve said this for a long time now, emotional mismanagement is the leading cause of death in the world. So, your ego is a terrible master, but an awesome servant.
So, what we want to do is look at, how do we free you up? How does 2024, starting right now, today, what are the things we can do right now to start working on taking over, and kind of really, firing our ego? You know, putting it into being a servant where it belongs. So the first thing, the most important thing, more important than even these exercises we’re going to talk about is the decision that I’m ready to move. I’m ready for this to be a different year. I’m ready to now open up and basically become conscious. Become aware. Work on my vertical development. So I now can handle, starting with little things and then moving up to the big things, put myself in position so I’m no longer suffering. So, are you ready to move and become the Dominant Force in your life? So, I like to look at it this way, do I want to be right or do I want to be happy? Do I want to be joyful in a situation or do I need to be right? Does my ego need to be in charge? To make sure that my concept is now the concept that everybody understands and agrees within the room? Because if that is true, you’re going to have a miserable life. Right now, this 2024 is going to be the same as 2023, maybe even worse, because now there’s an alternative. You now know what you need to work on but you decided, your ego’s convinced you that it doesn’t work, it’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo, and I’m not going to work on it. So, this is about taming your ego in 2024. You know, I’ve said this for years, Stop. Challenge. Choose. This is how we then create.
If you look at the diagram on the right [referring to an image on the screen slide] there’s a stimulus. Rather than [unintelligible 00:14:27], stimulus is when you start feeling that icky sauce, something’s going on inside you. You feel it. You know, like you went out to dinner — and I use this example because we’ve all had memories from our childhood or adolescence, our early adulthood, but basically, let’s say you went out to dinner with your significant other and you had a great time. A couple glasses of wine, you walk outside, you’re feeling romantic you’re going to go home and kiss and all of a sudden a yellow Mustang goes by, and you see it, and all of a sudden you just feel inside of you something changing, pretty soon you now, you’re getting upset, and it just so happened that your boyfriend in high school had one and broke up with you, and it’s a bad memory for you or something, maybe you don’t even realize what it is, but you notice it happens, and then you start thinking more about it. Pretty soon your significant other, who’s wondering what’s going on, says, “Are you okay?” And you go, “I’m fine,” and then you drive home in silence, right? And that’s the end of that lovely, lovely evening together.
So, we’ve got to regain our thinking brain. We need to make sure that we stop when we feel that, and I’m going to show you some different things we can do, now. So, it’s really becoming conscious. So, these are three daily activities I’m going to focus on during this next trip around the sun. I do this every year. I do it— and each year I know as the world changes and things become more complex. I know that these things keep me sane. They keep me joyful, they keep me happy, and they can do the same for you. So, let’s talk about them. First, I’m going to learn and master these during this 2024 rotation, revolution, right? With a goal of leaving suffering behind, and if you want to help your health, your physical, your mental, your success in everything you do, your relational health, there’s nothing more important than starting to do these exercises and now become in command of yourself, and create increasing awareness and more consciousness.
So, the first one is switching thoughts. So we have automatic thoughts, we spent a lot of time last year talking about the voice in your head. The voice in your head is nothing more than your ego talking about things that it doesn’t agree with. You have stored trauma in there. Things happen, they remind you of that, and you never really, fully processed it, and now you get upset about it and you may not even know, but now you know, something your boss said, or some a relative said, and now you didn’t enjoy Christmas this year because you had to sit there and be in the same room with somebody that you’re pissed off with because eight years ago they didn’t agree with something you wore, or your football team, or politics, or religion, or whatever it was, and now you can’t even be with them, right? We want to replace those negative thoughts, which are happening all the time, with conscious thoughts.
So, there’s automatic thoughts, which are the voice of your head. That’s the one when you get in the shower in the morning you hear that’s the automatic, negative, mostly negative things going on and willfully create a positive thought to replace that. So, an example that works best, because it happened to me just just the other day. I live in an area where it goes down to 35 miles an hour and there was an older gentleman in front of me, and this area you can’t pass, double lines, and he basically, was driving like 20 and I was kind of, well had reservations at a place to eat dinner and I didn’t give myself enough time, which is bad me, I have to take full responsibility, but I was behind him and I thought to myself, I use this example all the time, I certainly need to do it right now, and I took some great centering breaths, talked about having a great evening. Thought more about, you know, what are some of the things that are going on in life this year that are going to help move forward to the things that are important to me. My daughter just left today to go to England to be with her new husband, so we had some thoughts about that and turned it into a positive, and so you’re willfully creating things to replace something that’s negative. This is a really easy one to do. You should start practicing. Do it with little things like that, don’t take on your huge stored trauma on your sister, or your father. That is the first place. Take something smaller like the weather, like the weather today, or the traffic.
Second is a mantra. Training your mind to repeat a single-word phrase over and over until it gets stuck. You know, we have multiple levels in our mind thinking, you’ll be with somebody and your ego’s talking about, “I don’t like the way their hair looks,” and they’re trying to tell you something important, and so all this stuff going on. The mantra simply takes it and focuses on whatever you want to use, like, I decide what happens to me. I am happy. I’m joyful. I’m safe. Doesn’t matter what you use as your mantra. It could be from your religion. It could be your faith. It can be anything you want, but it’s a short saying that becomes almost sing-songing in your mind and what it does is it kind of pushes all those other thoughts, the things that are bothering you when you’re getting stressed, and kind of takes it. It’s like a vacation from your mind, right? So, you kind of think of it. Doesn’t matter. Find something that works for you. You can do it when you’re eating, you know, just in your mind. Do it chewing. You can do it before you go to bed. You can do it when you get up in the morning. You can do it when you get in your car. Just a lovely way to kind of soften your mind.
[00:20:00] So, the first two basically, you’re intervening. You’re switching your thoughts. You’re going from some negative pattern, cognitive emotive loop, and adding something positive and over time, it settles your mind down and you become more joyful. Simply because you’re thinking of something positive. You’re focusing on something that feels right. The mantra is simply replacing and repeating a saying that then soothes all that chaotic energy that’s going on, that what many people have called the “monkey brain.” Then the third one is witness consciousness. This is the goal over time. It doesn’t require you to think. It doesn’t require you to process, to make up something. Doesn’t mean you have a willful thought. It simply means move yourself out of the way, and when you’re having something negative happen, you have this stored trauma that’s coming up, you simply witness it. You simply move yourself, realizing, which we’ve been saying for years now, your thoughts, your feelings, and even, obviously, the objects in the room, you understand that, and we’ll show you a slide on that to kind of refresh that, is not you. You are the awareness. You are the presence that senses these things, but these things are just like the plant is across from me. My thoughts, my feelings— you know, I felt a little bit, you know, as Savannah left and drove away in her car, I felt a kind of a ting of sadness. Which is okay! I embraced it, kind of cried a little bit, and then went on with my day, and I’m not sitting there dwelling on it, right? But it’s relaxing and releasing, and all that stuff inside of it, it’s going to have to come up. It will continue if you keep pushing it down, and every time you feel a little uncomfortable about something that’s going on, you basically repress it and tense yourself. It’s not going to go away. So, it’s important to relax and release.
So, here’s some examples. I showed this starting a couple years ago, but I think it’s really good. Your thoughts create eddies in your mind. It’s very much like above in that river [referring to an image on screen], it’s calm, and then those thoughts, those feelings, that stored trauma, basically agitates and creates eddies and those eddies start to irritate us and it can take that great dinner, as I talked about earlier, and turn into a miserable evening. It can take something you’re thinking about, about your job or your boss, or something that’s going on in the world and rather than identifying and seeing what happened, and then being sad for 90 seconds, and then processing, you basically continue to dwell on it. What if the nuclear weapons over in Ukraine are used? I mean these are things you have zero, zero control over. Zero. And yet we can totally encompass those and get into a cognitive emotive loop and ruin our day, our week, our life. We can stop sleeping, all these things you can take control over. So, if they get bigger and you start going down a rabbit hole, if you’re navigating these loops and they’re getting more and more, basically, you’re done. So, it’s really important that you stop when something happens and you start feeling that icky sauce. We talked about that. You stop right then and challenge why you’re feeling that way and process it, and let it totally go, and it’ll take about 90 seconds.
So, the question I like to use is, do you want to be happy or do you want to be right? Because really, that’s the main job of your ego. Your ego’s main job is to make you right. Make you right to the people around you. To make you right that you’re right inside, and make you right to the world. That the world should be the way you should have the world, and if you were in charge of the world, if you were the president, if you were the football coach, the world would be perfect, right? And if that’s your job, because we have very little control over the world, you’re not going to be happy most of the time. So, if you want to be happy, the bottom line is to understand— and I love this little guy [referring to a photo on screen] because it’s that childhood innocence where basically, you’re not thinking beyond, just observing what’s going on, and nature. So, get out of the rapids. When you’re in the rapids and you’re going down, you cannot connect, and you can’t be in witness consciousness because you can’t observe. You’re now part of the experience and once you’re in that experience and going down the rapids, that’s not a time to try to get out. The thing you have to do is get out. Calm down. That’s what Stop. Challenge. and Choose. is about. You’ve heard me talk about, if I’m in a meeting, and it’s a little contentious, bottom line is, rather than say something, I’ll open up my bottle of water, drink some, and even drink more before I even think about responding to give myself that challenge, that choose the outcome that I want. That’s better for my health, better for my relationships, better for my profession, better for everything that’s important to me in 2024.
So, you can reframe everything. You can look at everything— and one of the— my dear friend, Jim Dethmer, talks about what if the opposite was true? And I think that’s a great exercise. You know, I’m thinking one way, what if the exact opposite was true? That’s opening yourself up to the possibilities that you may not be right, and is it important? The only person that’s really important to be right is your ego, and if you’ve now put your ego on the sidelines, and they’re on the bench, then you can operate in a much more effective way. So, kind of in summary here, your journey in 2024. You are the observer. Basically, know that your thoughts, your emotions, and the form, the things around us, are not you, and you know the form, and you could, if you want, think about it— this glass of water right here is something outside of me, basically, the emotion I had with Savannah leaving was something outside. I felt it inside, but it’s not me. It’s simply my response to a situation, and I recognize a bit of sadness, and joy, and excitement for her to go over to England, and all parts of that are emotions, and they’re important that you sense and feel them. The most important part is not for them to become loops where now you’re dwelling on them. That’s what a neurosis is. When you’re dwelling on something that’s really not real, and your thoughts, which are closer to you.
So, this year, if you could sit back here and kind of see across the room with the forms, start to sense your emotions, which you’re here and basically, your thoughts, which you’re here. You think of your emotions in the heart area and your thoughts in your mind, but the reality is, none of these are actually you and once you understand that they’re just things that you’re responding to, right? They’re just— and once you can relax and release, because here’s the final thing, this I think really hits people. Pain is part of life. We have bad things happen. I lost my wife five years ago. I was burned up with my family in a boat fire a couple years ago. Those are painful. Those are painful things, but suffering, dwelling on them is optional. Fully optional, and that’s what I’m hoping, is we start to understand. We are so fortunate to be on this planet. We’re this little speck. We’ve now got the Hubble, and now the new James Webb Telescopes, that show out galaxies, like in one picture it shows a thousand galaxies. So, there’s trillions of stars, and we’re this little speck on this green-blue planet that’s rotating around, and we’re the only place we found life so far.
So, we should be so grateful every day we get up and be part of that. So, in that perspective basically, my goal for you in 2024, my goal for myself, for my family, for the people that are important in my life, is to build internal stability so that we can have external equilibrium. When we can function in relationship with everything because really, relational health is dynamic. It’s not static. It’s not like, “Oh, I have a good relationship.” No. Your relationship is depending on the next conversation you have with your sister, or your brother, or your mother, or your friend. Your relational health is dynamic and once we’re stable in here, then we can be stable and in partnership with others, and once we start working together we actually can change this world, and it starts with us individually learning how to do these things. So, with that, I know that went a little long but I thought it was important to start off the year right. So, let’s open this up for questions now, Rach.
Rachel: All right. First up we have Kathryn. Kathryn, can you come on camera? Unmute yourself?
Kathryn: Okay. Is that working okay?
Dr. A: Yeah!
Kathryn: Okay, good. Happy New Year, Dr. A! Thank you so much.
Dr. A: You’re so welcome.
Kathryn: This has been some great information, and I also lost a spouse a few years ago, and my parents around the same time, and I’ll have to say, what I’ve learned through the LifeBook, especially the Drama Triangle, has been instrumental in my healing, but there’s one area that I have yet to find success in and that is procrastination, and so my question for you is, is procrastination a learned behavior, or is it a character flaw, or is it a genetic defect?
Dr. A: Okay. Well, the first one we’ll talk about, the other two, you’re immediately putting yourself in the victim role, okay? We don’t do that, right? That’s the whole idea here, and this is important. This is really good. I’m really excited about talking about this, Kathryn, because, if [unintelligible 00:29:33]. Well, let me back up a minute, there’s you know, when I did the assessments in assessing your health, 30% is your genetics, and 70% are your choices, right? The things you do. So the 30%, your genetics, you can’t pick your parents, right? So, if your parents have poor genetics— but what we know now, we’re learning more every single day, is the operating genes and the genes and that turn on and switch off, genetic propensities, which are basically patterns and phenotypes that we have as a result of our parents, or our genetics, those can be changed. Those can be changed over generations. Those can be changed over individuals.
[00:30:10] Same thing with procrastination. Procrastination means that— basically, procrastination by definition is staying the same. Putting off something that you should be doing that could make change for the better. Almost all procrastination, if you think about it, is not doing something that could improve your life, right? It’s not like, “Oh, I’m putting off having a drink,” Right? Or, “I’m putting off buying a dress,” right? No. That’s not really procrastination. It is, but it doesn’t happen very much. What happens is the ability to overcome the fear. Resistance, our resistance to change is really about fear, and usually, it’s fear of security, approval, something’s going to change. You know, the people around me are going to see me do something different. It’s going to take me out of doing something that I’m comfortable doing, but it’s totally learned behavior, and you become good at it, the more you do it. Right? Because then you just say, “Oh, this is normal. This is my normal behavior.” So, as we talked about— and it’s driven by your ego. Your ego, your situation, your comfort with your environment, all those things are driven by familiarity. The brain does not like the change. It likes to stay the same because— that’s why we learn habits. The whole idea of habits and why we have bad habits is we do something which serves a purpose at the moment and then we continue to do it because it’s serving some purpose. If you have a bad habit it’s— there’s something— let’s just take something that we all know as bad for us, like cigarette smoking, right? There are reasons people smoke cigarettes that are beyond just the addiction of the nicotine. It’s the ability to socialize, get together with a small group outside and smoke, or it could be one many, many different things, but you’ve got to identify what’s more important.
So, what I like to use is I like to use our values because values are things that intrinsically we love. There are things within our life, whether it’s our physical health, our mental health, our occupation, it could be basically our family, it could be financial, there’s certain things that are really important to us. More than others. We don’t all have the same values, and I mean I’m talking about actually things that are important, very important to us in our life. I’m not talking about moral or ethical. I’m talking about actually things, and so if something’s really important to you, use that to stimulate you, because when we really value something— I love to use the example, I’ve said it a thousand times, but if your family is across the hall in a hotel, in a suite, and you can’t get to them in the inside because there’s a fire and there’s a little ledge outside, 50 stories up, are you going to think twice before? You’re just going to go do it? Right? That’s something you value. You value your family. You just like, you know, Savannah leaving, I value so much, and she was taking her cat, and she has to take it through pet customs and she was upset about it, and I value my relationship, so even though some of the things she’s doing are being a little nonsensical, they’re important to her, so I value that as a result.
So the way to start overcoming procrastination, the thing that I believe is most important, figure out— sit down, you’re starting the new rotation, right? Around this year? It’s January. Sit down and really, not what people, what what you see on TV, that world says you should value, but what are the most important things in your life? And then use those primarily to make change, because change only occurs when basically, your vision, and your dissatisfaction— your dissatisfaction is high enough, and your vision is high enough, that you’re willing to make changes, and then make small changes that you can get done. So, you want to build— there was a book a couple years ago The Gain in the Gap, and most of us, we have these huge visions of what we want, but they seem so far out from where we are now, so what I always like to do is break those down into small, meaningful wins we can have. Like, you know, three things a day that I can work on. So if you lead from your future, and really focus on what you would like to have happen— this is a great thing for everybody to do. The reason why people don’t do it is because it becomes insurmountable. The gap between where they are now and where they want to go is so large that they basically lose interest after a month or so, right? Because the daily work that’s necessary to do it, versus the things that are the reality of their life are basically getting away.
That’s why you go to a convention— even being on this call today, why I gave you three tangible modalities are they’re all small, little things. You can do today, when you get off this call basically, say, “You know what? I’m going to work on procrastination and I’m not going to define it in general. I’m going to think specifically, what is one—” So, here’s a really good one, what is one— so figure out where you want to go in 2024. What would you like to have happen by the end of the year? And then, what’s one thing you could stop doing and one thing you could start doing that are small, but meaningful that make all the difference? And just focus on those. Just focus on those, because it’s kind of like, you know, in a football game, if you’re on the five yard line and you throw an interception at the end zone, and the defense runs it back for a touchdown, that’s a 14-point swing, right? It’s not just the seven points. It’s a 14-point swing. You almost scored seven, instead they scored seven, you didn’t score any. So, that— take small things and start working on them, and then watch them. Weekly.
Make sure you’re journaling what you’re doing, and this is a great thing to do, figure out what you want and then basically, start journaling every day, and start with small things, you know, like three things you’re going to get done, and then did you get them done? One thing you’re grateful for. Just little, bitty things. You know, I’ve got a—here’s my journal right here, and basically, then what I do is I—this is just for me. It’s not for anybody else. I don’t show this to anybody, but then I look at it and I say— and then in three months I look back and say, “Wow. I’ve dramatically changed. I didn’t realize it, but I’ve dramatically changed in that area. I’m no longer doing this. I’m now doing this instead. This is making this much difference,” and that gain starts building self-efficacy to fuel you to continue to do more. Does that make sense?
Kathryn: Yeah, it does, and it’s great. Well, my daughter gave me a five minute journal for Christmas that I started doing. Journal five minutes in the morning, five minutes at night. So, I’m doing that, and what you’re saying is completely different from the technique that I’ve used in the past. I don’t like being a procrastinator, but I kind of accepted it. The joke has always been that I live on “KST,” Kathryn Standard Time, you know? And I’ve always tried to approach it from the outside, like time management strategies, and time blocking, and from the outside, but you’re saying, if I hear you right, is to start from the inside, and list my values, and make it more value-driven behavior change.
Dr. A: Absolutely. Yeah. You’re not going to do things in the— we look at the super models and say, “Oh, maybe if I buy that dress I’ll look like that.” It’s not reality. Reality is, what’s really important to you? See something— you know, like I said with the motivation, with the mom and 50 stories up, is if something matters to you, you work on it. If it really matters to you. And all you’re doing is convincing yourself to procrastinate is because it’s not that important to you. If it’s really that important to you, you’ll do it, and also make it— the other part is the halo effect. We have a set of behaviors that we run on, we have perceptions that we develop, we built our ego— by the way, no one’s responsible— I mean, yeah, other people like, stored trauma, from issues with parents, or spouses, but just like if you get divorced, I use divorce as a good one, if you get divorced and two years later you can’t go to a party with that person, you didn’t get divorced. You got divorced technically, but you still have it in here. Bottom line is, the decisions to make in life are what is the reality? And if we make those decisions then we realize that all those things that are happening are just things we can observe that are happening.
We’re not perfect. In fact, perfectionists make the worst procrastinators because they’re afraid to do anything because they don’t want to do anything that doesn’t get done perfectly. So, they’re terrible procrastinators, but yeah, when you’re dissatisfaction— so pick out, what is something that you are dissatisfied with at a level that you’re ready to get rid of it? And what’s the vision that can occur if you get rid of that and that? And that vision, plus that dissatisfaction make small steps right now that can move you forward, that overcome that resistance, or fear of change. That’s the change formula.
Kathryn: Awesome. Thank you.
Dr. A: You’re welcome. Have a great rotation!
Kathryn: Thank you. You too.
Dr. A: Yeah, thanks. Okay, Rachel, who else we got?
Rachel: All right. Next up we have Amber. Amber, can you come on camera? There you are.
Dr. A: Hey! There’s my girl! Happy New Year, Amber.
Amber: Thanks Dr. A. How are you?
Dr. A: I am fantastic.
Amber: Good. Okay. So you and I, we both know that helping people get healthy improves their life in general, right? I lost 35 pounds. I see it as a huge positive in my life. I love helping other people, but here’s the thing, recently on social media, probably the last year or so I’ve seen this trend where people are saying you’re healthy at any weight. Don’t lose weight, or they’re even seeing people promoting weight loss as a negative thing, or even sometimes as bullying. I had some people get flagged on Facebook for bullying, and so the science, like we know the science correlates healthy weight to overall health, but sometimes I find myself wanting to be right about it. You know? Like, look at the science.
Dr. A: Yeah.
Amber: But, I also want people to not define themselves by their weight. So I would love to hear thoughts about this trend because I’m a little bit crossed with it.
Dr. A: Yeah. No, I think it’s a great one and actually interesting, I just read in– I was on a plane and someone had left, what’s the name of that? ARA? The retirement magazine, [crosstalk 00:40:50], and there was a thing on weight loss, okay? And it’s interesting because it’s kind of one of the things we do, right? So I was curious about what this person was writing about and they were actually saying— they were talking about the new weight loss drugs, right? The injectables, and they basically were saying, because this is for people that are older, and they were saying people in their 60s and 70s, there’s some work saying that if you’re — to your point — that if you want to be a little overweight, right? You live longer if you’re a little overweight because you have more reserve. So, I read through that and I tried to look for the situations of it because— so, the initial thought on that came when you looked across all spectrum of BMI’s, and at lower BMI’s, if they looked at it demographically, they showed that there was more risk of disease. Well, that’s because a lot of people that are sick lose weight, right?
[00:41:45] So, that’s how it all got started. The first thing around it is when I ask myself, how do I create Optimal Health and Wellbeing? I looked at— and as you know, six MacroHabits. So, I would rather have— so if I looked at one weight management— that’s why even looking at these new injectables, right? Because people are now losing weight on these drugs, but they’re not doing the other five things, right? They’re not focusing on their healthy mind. They’re not focusing on their surroundings. They’re not focusing on their amount of movement. They’re not eating healthy. They’re not hydrating themselves, and so as a whole they’re doing better in one area because the risk of disease does go down, but they’re not doing the other one. So, I think in our profession, which is creating health and wellbeing, it’s never one thing, right?
In fact, when I very first started all this over 20 years ago, most people, either exercise enthusiasts or diet enthusiasts, right? And they try to use one modality to do everything, thinking that the endpoint is their way, and so I think the way to— I refresh that, is that, what you’re focusing on with every individual you take care of is better health and wellbeing, and that requires all six MacroHabits. That’s the first thing. The second thing is if you look strictly at BMI on healthy people your risk— and diabetes is a great one because diabetes is kind of a misstep in metabolic equilibrium where your insulin, which is your key modulator is off, and so as a result of that basically if they looked at as people lost weight their risk for diabetes went down to the point under 25, and actually taking down— the risk even went down when they went down to 20, and were healthy and went down, and I’ve not seen anything in the literature that actually shows differently.
I think what’s happening is people are saying, you know, people that lose weight, well most people that lose weight not intentionally, are losing it because metabolically something’s going on in their body. They either— you have some form of cancer, or thyroid disease, or just they’re eating wrong, or they’re starving themselves, and certainly with the new injectables, if you’re not conscious of learning the other habits and you’re not eating— because that’s what they do, they actually stop— there’s several incretins in our intestines that signal hunger for a reason, right? When we actually don’t have food, and when we mess that up— and that’s what happens in a fed state. In a fed state, basically, your body is using the energy that you put in it. Bottom line, in a fasting state it starts using, it starts catabolizing, and if you’re not eating because of the new drugs. So, the new drugs are great because they help with cravings and we’re fighting the food industry, which spends every day, probably every evening, figuring out how can we make these foods that are terrible for our health more insatiable? We don’t want people to be set. We want them to have a whole bag of Ruffles, you know, with ridges, right? We want them to feel that crunch until and then have a few beers with it too, and then they’ll want more. You know, whatever that situation is.
Bottom line is, we’re fighting that. So, you know your job, and what you do in the frustration, it’s really not even being right, it’s about helping those individuals start to realize that if I truly want to create health, which is what we want, we just don’t think we can do it. It’s more than just— and I’m talking about the injectables because the whole world, that was the whole article in the ARP is about that. So, I think they’re misunderstood and if someone’s rationalizing not losing weight, I think this is kind of the other area you’re going to, because basically, losing weight could be unhealthy for you health. I think there was a book called, Healthy at Any Weight, right? You can be healthier at any weight if you do all six MacroHabits, but the optimum is to get your body back to be a lean mean fighting machine, which is obviously what you’ve done with your own health and also all the work you’re doing is— you’re one of the, one of my most, if it comes to mind, the top five people that are working on their mind. You and your husband are among those. Think how much, through all the adversity. Remember when I said pain’s going to occur but suffering is optional? That’s what you’ve been able to do with the work you’ve done.
So, I think the frustration sometimes we have is because we want to help people, right? But as you know, until we get them in the empowerment triangle, where they’re working on helping themselves, and taking the path, and raising their hand to responsibility. The frustration, there’s a lot of dogma out there and you’re going to see more of it, and these people that are getting the [unintelligible 00:46:42] and stuff, they’re not healthy. They’ve lost weight and as a result of losing weight, but over time if you look at them, they’ll fall into the category of exactly what those people are saying. Those people will not be as healthy as they need to be because even though they’re losing weight, they’re still doing their same old habits and now they’re doing less, and what’s happening is their body no longer has its normal physiologic mechanisms that single hunger, and single satiety, and so instead they’re blocking those mechanisms, and so their metabolic body composition is going to change and become more fat because these drugs, even though they’re working on the formulations to make them better, there’s a significant amount of muscle loss and if you’re not taking protein, supplementing with protein and eating healthy meals— and as you know, my philosophy is multiple smaller meals throughout the day seem to work great, as long as they’re healthy meals, and then the second part is moving your body more, and the third part is what we’re working on today emotional management. I mean, those things are all critical to health, so when someone says, “I’m getting healthier by losing weight,” you might be. But you might not be.
Amber: Yeah. No, I totally agree, Dr. A, and in fact I’ve started telling people, you know, I help people to lower their body fat percentage, increase their muscle mass.
Dr. A: Yeah.
Amber: It’s like you have to be concentrating on that and all of the Habits of Health or it’s not [crosstalk 00:48:07].
Dr. A: Most important, you know, if you had to pick the one thing you can do to live longer in a healthier state it is move your body more, right? That makes your brain work better, but the other thing you can do, which is not any of those, is the stuff we just talked about. Start working on yourself. Work every day a little bit on yourself and start to stop and challenge how you’re feeling, because basically, you have full control— nobody, you know, go back to Victor Franco, I was talking about earlier, the concentration camp, the people that ran that, nobody has the control that you have individually and he proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. So, thanks, and it’s great seeing you, and hope I’ll see you soon.
Amber: Yeah, for sure. Thanks, Dr. A.
Dr. A: See you. Bye.
Rachel: All right, next up we have Nate. Oh, there you are!
Dr. A: Oh, hey, Nate!
Nate: Hey, Dr. A. How are you?
Dr. A: I am fantastic, buddy.
Nate: Happy 2024. I’m super excited that I finally was able to get on live. I’m a teacher and we have a snow day here in North Central Iowa.
Dr. A: Awesome!
Nate: It’s awesome to be able to be on. I’ve been working so much on myself the last five years. Well, I’m 38, but the last five years I’ve been on a health journey, but I’m a servant leader, and so everything that I kind of take in myself, I try to also figure out ways that I can help others with that as well, and students, students for sure at school. As you know, the social, emotional, wellbeing of students these days is not always high in emotional management, and so other than, if Dr. A would write a student workbook for the LifeBook, or the Habits of Health System, what would maybe be an entry point for us with, and then as a dad of three little girls, to you know, an entry point for our kids and those beautiful students at school to be able to help them.
Dr. A: Yeah, the one I’d start with, and it’s interesting because when I was writing the second edition of The Habits of Health Transformational System my illustrator, in England, was working on it at home and he was his, I’m not sure how old his son was at the time, he was like five or so, and saw some of the diagrams and they started working on it. He told me, and I didn’t know this, but just before he finished the book he said, you know, I personally just wanted to thank you because my relationship with my son has totally changed as a result of your work, and I thought that was cool. So, I think the one that I like the most, and I know that many teachers have called me and talked about Stop. Challenge. Choose., you know that these— especially because their prefrontal cortex isn’t, well it depends what age. What age do you?
Nate: I mean our school district is K through 12. PreK through 12. A lot of time working with middle school, high school students.
Dr. A: How about your kids?
Nate: 12, 9, and 5.
Dr. A: Yeah. So, they’re right in the sweet spot where I think it could be helpful. So I like that one. In fact, it’s funny because my girls grew up— you know, I created that when they were five and three when I started all this, and so they grew up with Stop. Challenge. Choose., and so you know, I could just kind of give them that— I used to be to give that look, and they would say, “Okay Dad. I get it,” and they would overcome it or they would not at the moment, but then they would come back and want to talk about it. I think it’s really powerful because it’s kind of like we teach— in fact the whole books are designed on green, orange, and red, right? And it’s like stop lights, and Stop. Challenge. Choose., is like the stop light. It’s just simply using a visual connection, what’s good, what’s okay, and what’s bad, right? In fact, on the lady that’s working on the journal, one thing I meant to say which I found really effective for people, is if you decide on what you want, like for your kids, and also find out what they want, I bet you not that many people say, okay— because time is so compressed and they’re always reactive to the day, but if you said, “Okay,” to your kids, or even to the kids at school, “let’s today, let’s figure out what would be important. What would you like to bring into your life.” Right? That gives them a sense of control, which is a really important thing for us, as humans. Control is one of the three— approval, control, and security are extremely, they’re innate. Very, very important to us as humans.
[00:52:23] So, having a little bit of that control and starting to work on it, it would be really good, because a lot of people don’t do it until all of a sudden they’re out of high school or college and someone says get a job, and all of a sudden they start working on it. So, working on it really early like that is great, and I think can become a very powerful tool for them, especially— and it changes over time, and in adolescence, dealing with belonging, right? And societal belonging to their group, being part of the pack, so to speak, is critical. When they’re five, belonging to the family unit is really important. So, but, I think all of them, they have a tendency— we release that through our emotions and if we can learn how to harness our emotions so they don’t sabotage, especially when they’re really young, this part, right? Because you’ve seen the person on a plane, when a little kid’s on a plane and he’s upset, there’s nothing you can do. The most frustrating thing as a parent, there’s nothing you can do. They’re just going to cry, and people around are going to ask to move seats. It’s embarrassing, and all that could be taken care of if they start to understand they have control, right? They have some control.
Nate: I’ve been really inspired. I mean, there are so many students who really grasp on this idea of above or below the line thinking, and growth mindset, and they love that. So, I really appreciate that. Thank you very much.
Dr. A: You’re welcome. It’s great talking to you. Have a nice day there, maybe go out for a, can you snowshoe out where you are?
Nate: I’m sure we can figure that out. Absolutely. Sledding is in my future today.
Dr. A: Yeah, and have some fun with that!
Nate: Yeah. Thanks.
Dr. A: Right. Thanks. All right, cool. Rachel, what else we got?
Rachel: All right. We have Stacy. Stacy, can you come on camera?
Stacy: Good morning.
Dr. A: Good morning, Stace. How are you?
Stacy: I’m good, Dr. A. How are you doing?
Dr. A: Fantastic.
Stacy: Good! Always a pleasure to chat with you. So I typed my question in there and it seems trivial, but it’s where I’m at today. How— I have done a lot of work here on my ego. I’ve been here for almost four years with you and I am a changed person from how I used to live my life. So, with all those changes you can see in the people that you love, how they are just lacking. So, I had my elderly aunt just ream me, hang up on me, and she just, she was angry because I didn’t answer the phone and she called me twice one day. I didn’t answer because I was doing my client calls and I called her back when I could, but she just wanted to be mad, and she just wanted to be angry at me. That hurts my heart and I can’t— my husband’s like, why do you let that bother you? And I’m like, because I love her. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I set my boundaries and I told her that that was not acceptable, and so she just called me back and said, fine, have a nice life. So, I don’t want to just sit here and cry over it, and I’m not going to sit here and cry over it, but how do I help my heart when someone does not have the same emotional intelligence that I’ve come to know?
Dr. A: Yeah. That’s a good question. You know, that’s the million dollar question, right? And so here’s an interesting thing, there’s a philosophy of transparent communication at all levels and in a book I read, they talk about the connection of this watermeal which is a bug the size of, smaller than the size of a piece of rice, and they go into a duck pond, and they procreate there and as a result they’re able to bring the nutrients and all the things that make the whole pond healthy, and they’re this little, bitty bug. This big. They also talk about mycelia, which are a fungus that in huge forests are connecting the forest and the trees, giving them nutrients, and calcium, and phosphorus, and working collectively together. Individually they’re these little bitty things, right? You wouldn’t imagine them to have that kind of intelligence. You now are building that type of intelligence, okay? But, the people around you aren’t at the same level you are. They basically haven’t made a decision— just like, if your muscles aren’t where they need to be and then you decide to get healthy and go to the gym, and now you get yourself really toned, then you look at someone next to you and you say, well why aren’t you doing the same thing? Right?
So, it’s a reflection from your orientation. Your perception. You are doing the work. They’re not doing the work. Their normal default for a human being is to be in that scarcity mentality. To be in the negative bias, because that’s the way the world was designed to protect us, right? That negative bias, and that’s why it’s perpetuated, become so horrific around the world. You individually working on yourself will have an effect on her over time. What she’s going through right now is denial. Seeing that you have changed and basically realizing that you can’t get her upset, I mean, she can’t upset you, but reality is, she still is upsetting you because you love her, and you’re frustrated for her. Does she have strong muscles? Is she at a healthy weight?
Stacy: [Stacy shakes her head, no].
Dr. A: Okay. So, how is this any different? It’s not, I give you the answer. It’s not— your job is to work on yourself and not to project your increase in awareness onto anybody else.
Dr. A: It’s that— that’s a frustration you have and you do care about her, and yes, if she got down to a healthy weight, if she started exercising, if she started working on her consciousness, and she started to use Stop. Challenge. and Choose., she would probably live longer, in a healthier state. Your job is by example. To make that something that she’s dissatisfied— where, just like I was talking earlier, she becomes dissatisfied where is, she now sees the vision of what’s happening to you, and she wants to join you. Period.
Stacy: [nodding her head in agreeance].
Dr. A: Listen, the horrific stuff happening over in the Middle East and in Ukraine right now, right? Those things. Those are things that can be very frustrating. They’re far enough away where you don’t see them every day and you don’t know them, but bottom line is, that’s not your role. Your role is to be the example and to basically meet her where she is, and perhaps have her see that she would like to spend more time with you because— so when she sees you get frustrated, she basically thinks, oh it’s just an act. Make sense?
Dr. A: Yeah. Don’t— your journey is a journey first of self-discovery and relational health with yourself, and then, by that— that’s why I talk about internal stability. Internal stability means just what your husband said, that she can no longer affect you that way. You can feel compassion for her, but not pity.
Stacy: And I think that’s what I had a hard time with, him saying that to me. I was like, well how could it not hurt me? But, I understand what you’re saying, and I have the power within me.
Dr. A: Yeah.
Stacy: Not to let that hurt me and I feel like, I guess I was feeling like it had to hurt me, because it was a hurt thing. You know what I mean? And so.
Dr. A: No. It’s a sad thing. It’s a thing, but basically, you can feel compassion for her. You know, earlier I was asked about procrastination, okay, she’s basic in the state— and here’s the thing, over time, by seeing what’s happening in your life, you said your life’s totally changed over the last four years, so that’s awesome. That’s your game, right? That’s your game, and she’s seeing that, and she’s frustrated. She’s frustrated. So, she’s saying those things, hurtful things, and getting upset because she’s frustrated. That means her dissatisfaction is going up. Now, if you can show her a vision that it’s possible for her too, which it is, right? Then she might come along.
Stacy: That would be awesome.
Dr. A: Awesome.
Stacy: Thanks, Doc. I appreciate you.
Dr. A: You’re welcome. Okay. I’ll do one more. We’re just— we’re really out of time, but I’ll do one more. Is someone ready to go, Rach?
Rachel: No, that was actually our last one.
Dr. A: Oh, good! Awesome!
Rachel: That worked out.
Dr. A: Okay. Well, listen everybody, again, get ready, let’s enjoy our next revolution. Work on those three modalities: switching your thoughts, the automated thought that’s going on up there as a result of something that’s happened to you. Switch that to something that you can use positively to help you right now, which will start changing the way you think. Second is, get a mantra you can use in those times to give you that vacation from that incessant talking going on, and third is start to learn to observe. Not react. Just observe your emotions. Observe your thoughts. Relax and release them, and each of those, spend a little bit each day, and the last thing I’ll leave you with is figure out what you want for 2024. Write down the things that you do. Journal every day. Take a magic marker or a colored pen, I don’t care how you do it, and basically underline in green those things that are moving you towards the things you want. Put in orange the things that are, you know, put a highlight on orange if they’re not having effect either way, and basically, if they’re in red, if they’re taking you farther away from where you want to go, put those in red, and lets, over the next three months, let’s watch every night that journal have less reds, less oranges, and more greens! God bless. See you guys.