You’ve Got to Get Out of the Habit of Being You– 097Mar 09, 2022
Did you get up this morning and have to stop and remember who you are? Like in the movie “50 First Dates” where Lucy had to watch a video of her life every morning because her memory was damaged from an accident? Most likely not how your mornings start.
Habits are great when they are shortcuts that save us time and benefit our lives. When they are destructive and remnants from the past, we need to get out of the habit of doing them.
It’s the same with who we are and how we are. We are in the habit of being us. And that means it saves us time and we don’t have to consciously think about who we are and what we will be doing or not doing. It just happens automatically courtesy of our subconscious mind and all the habits stored there.
In this episode Dr B talks about:
- Gaining awareness about yourself
- Human systems
- ICD-11 codes for impaired executive functioning
- Playful exercises
- Learn about 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back
- Find out what you can do about your weak executive function skills even without a diagnosis
Developing your Executive Function Skills and shifting your limiting beliefs is the fastest and most effective way to overcome ADHD limitations, find focus, gain confidence, and a newfound freedom in your life!
My mission is to put an end to the worldwide needless suffering of adults with ADHD and those with under-developed Executive Function Skills - whether from ADHD, chronic depression or anxiety, trauma, addictions, or chronic illnesses. And, you don't need a formal diagnosis to know you need help developing these executive function skills in order to greatly reduce your suffering.
Full Episode Transcript You've Got to Get Out of the Habit of Being You— 097
Did you get up this morning and have to stop and remember who you are? Like in the movie “50 First Dates" where Lucy had to watch a video of her life every morning because her memory was damaged from an accident? Most likely not how your mornings start.
Habits are great when they are shortcuts that save us time and benefit our lives. When they are destructive and remnants from the past, we need to get out of the habit of doing them.
It's the same with who we are and how we are. We are in the habit of being us. And that means it saves us time and we don't have to consciously think about who we are and what we will be doing or not doing. It just happens automatically courtesy of our subconscious mind and all the habits stored there.
In order to get out of the habit of being you, you need to become aware of who you are being. You have to bring this information to consciousness so you can change it. How do you walk? How do you talk? How do you think? What beliefs do you hold? What is your sense of yourself or your identity? Do you say “I am how I am and that's just how it is"? And, do you believe that change is possible for you, and that it doesn't have to be a struggle to make changes? I love systems theory because it is neutral, not personal. If the system is dysfunctional, then those in the system will be dysfunctional as well because they are impacted by the rules of the system. And, if you change the system, you change everything. Human beings are systems unto themselves. We have our rules for living, ways of doing things, ideas about who we are, how we are and what we are capable of.
And the truth is, we are capable of so much more than we think we are. There is perceived ability and actual ability. And if your perceived ability is limited, and your actual ability is present and available, you will not access your actual ability because your perceived ability runs your life and influences your choices and decisions.
How do you get to live from your actual abilities? By developing your EF skills. One of the many important EF skills to get you there is the development of your Metacognition, the way I have come to understand it and teach it. If you can't see the bigger picture of your life and see it clearly and accurately, then what you do see and use to live your life is incomplete or inaccurate.
There are many reasons that we stop ourselves from seeing it all clearly. One is that many believe that if they allow themselves to see the issues, then they have to act on that awareness, and that is not true. You can allow yourself the awareness, and then decide when the time is right for you to take action on what you learn, or even what you need to do to be able to be ready to take action, and do that first so you can take the next step.
If you listened to episode 096, you learned that the two codes for 'impaired executive functioning"
In the ICD-11 describe it as: 1. Impairment in higher-level cognitive abilities, such as planning, sequencing, concept formation, abstracting, and decision-making. And, 2. Involves cognition and is a disturbance in mental abilities and processes related to attention, memory, judgment, reasoning, problem solving, decision making or comprehension, or the integration of these functions.
This translates to life is harder than it needs to be.
You can learn more about the signs of under-developed EF skills by getting my free resource: 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back. The link is in the show notes. The impact of Executive Function Disorder can be overwhelming to you as an adult. No matter how hard you try to get your work done in the time allotted, you just can't. Your mind wanders in a million different directions, and won't focus when and where you need it to. And getting started with your work is a whole other challenge. It's not that your time estimates for the tasks are so far off; rather, it's that it takes you almost 2 hours to settle in for one task, and the actual task only takes you 30 minutes, and so instead of 30 minutes, you think the task takes you 2 1/2hours. It did, but not because the actual task did. If you had the EF skill of Task Monitoring, you would see the problem and be able to correct it long before you used up 2 hours settling in. Plus, your self-management, initiating and conscious focusing could use some help.
What are you losing professionally by not solving the problem of your under- developed EF skills? Promotions? Respect from colleagues? Better career opportunities elsewhere?
So, what's the answer? It's simple, from my perspective: develop your under- developed EF skills in such a way that they replace your current, poorly developed skills, and that they become internalized so they are as automatic as your current ineffective skills. Imagine every workday is a pleasure instead of a painful encounter to be avoided at all costs. We are wired to avoid pain and run toward pleasure, which is why we do the pleasurable things and avoid the painful ones. Imagine being able to turn everything into a pleasure experience instead of a painful one. How excited would you be to look forward to your workday then?
To me, trading in under-developed EF skills for well-developed skills is a journey worth taking. Otherwise, hiding or running away from what you aren't feeling confident to handle because you aren't competent in your EF skills, is how your life will play out. It doesn't have to be that way and, in a sense, you are creating your own suffering.
ADDventures In Achievement Foundational Skills program or AIA-FS for short, was developed to address and transform the under-developed EF skills that more and more adults are surfacing with. I work with many professionals who need these skills to advance in their careers, no matter what the root cause of their skill under-development. These are core capabilities such as working memory, initiating, inhibiting, conscious focusing, emotional control, task monitoring and more. Additionally, AIA-FS addresses the pre-skills needed to be more successful with the core skills, as well as your limiting beliefs and negative sense of self or identity. When all of these ingredients come together, as they do in AIA-FS, it is a recipe for success. The link is in the show notes for more information.
And let me be clear. This is not a class or a course. It is not superficial or a quick fix. It's a comprehensive 7-month transformational program that guides you to develop your EF skills and EF pre-skills as well as provides you with the scaffolding support and strategies you need to actually develop your EF skills and keep what you achieve. That's right — keep what you achieve. When I'm training, I offer the specifics of what to do and how to do it. When I'm coaching, I'm not telling you what to do. I'm asking you deeper questions and eliciting a level of awareness in you so that you can evolve past where you left off years ago. It's the opportunity of a lifetime for you professionally and personally, if now is your time.
Your self-confidence is directly related to your self-competence. And if you aren't competent, you can fake confidence but that's an exhausting way to live and not sustainable. Plus, the feelings of being an impostor and being found out are always with you.
How much time do we have? Not much. So, let's get to it.
After over 30 years of working with adults who come to me with various labels of ADHD, anxiety, depression, trauma and more, I know that it's the transformation that matters to you, and to me. And, without addressing what is needed for that transformation to happen, it just won't happen.
Let's get back to getting out of the habit of being yourself. In order to get out of the habit of being yourself, you first need to know what these habits consist of. I suggest that you take a gentle inventory of the habits of being you. Now, this might sound like an overwhelming undertaking, and it doesn't have to be. In fact, it can actually be a fun endeavor if you make a game out of it. I suggest you suspend your beliefs about this for now as to whether or not it can be fun, because if you believe it can or believe it can't — you're right.
For your playful inventory, take out a blank piece of paper or create a new word document on your computer. Make a list of as many of your self-defeating behaviors as you are aware of. No judging! Remember, these are behaviors, not who you actually are. Just a list of your behaviors as a neutral observer. Then, make a second list of the behaviors you imagine a person who has what you want in life possesses. Now, when you look at the two lists; you will probably see a gap. Stay positive. This is an illusion and can disappear pretty quickly.
The second phase of this playful exercise is to ask yourself who you would need to be and what you would need to believe to be and behave like your second list. You will easily see that the person you are being and what you are believing as the you that you are in the habit of being, won't get you to the outcome you want. The person you are being isn't permanent; and neither are your beliefs, so no worries. You weren't born as the person you are today. You have changed over time and will continue to change. Change is a given and a constant. We can either evolve and change as needs arise, or hold on to who we say we are and get left behind.
It's important to pick the right thing to change — look for what will give you the greatest leverage in your life to up your game. Working hard to change a behavior isn't the right thing. Pick something internal to you and work on changing that. Change a limiting belief. Change a limiting identity. Change your cognitive dissonance, which are your inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to your behavioral decisions and attitude change.
There is no quick fix. If you want the changes, you say you want, then you need to put in the time, effort, energy for that to happen. Life is a long-game, not a short-game. Invest your time, which is your most precious asset, on the long- game so that you don't need to continually re-boot and start over again and again. Don't jump from one solution to another solution without giving the solution the time that's needed to get the outcomes you want. And this means choose your solution wisely so you know that it can get you the outcome(s) you want for your life.
I know that the AIA-FS program is a solution for the long-game of life. The achievements gained during the 7-month transformational journey last a lifetime, if you allow them to. The program helps you release what isn't working, and add in what will work for you. This means your limiting beliefs, your limiting sense of self or identity, your under-developed EF skills and your lack of effective strategies to get you from where you are to where you want to be. And, it isn't just about getting you from here to there; it's about maintaining your successful achievements so you can build on them over your lifetime. The way you get positive changes is to engage with the content of whatever you are doing so it becomes your new automatic way of being.
Transformation doesn't need to be hard. It's only as hard to achieve as you make it.
Remember, what you resist persists. Instead, fly under the resistance radar by engaging 15-20 minutes/day, every day. Again, stay in the content. It's your new way of being, so be there. Instead of saying, “that's not who I am,” say, "this is how I live now" and live that way. Just because you haven't yet done things that way, doesn't mean you can't, and doesn't mean that it will be hard for you. Again, it will only be as hard as you make it. Life does have painful or tough moments; however, suffering is optional. You can choose to continue to suffer by dragging your past into your now, or you can choose to release yourself from suffering, and live today forward. The choice is yours.
Many of us have hidden from the truth we need to hear to heal. We don't ask because we don't want to hear or know the answers. And because of this behavior, we don't heal and move forward into the life we are destined for. Instead, we continue to suffer. There's a saying in 12-step recovery that “the truth will set you free” and I know from experience that it will and it does.
There is no ideal behavior. You can't fix everything and make yourself perfect. We are perfectly imperfect human beings. We are uniquely who we are and that is what is so wonderful. There are no two people who are the same in all ways, which means that there is potentially something to learn from everyone we engage with, if we are open to do so. Focus on what's most important to you.
If you can measure it, you can achieve it. Ask yourself “what can I do to be better for myself as well as for the people you want to be better for.” Track yourself like you are a task. The EF skill of task monitoring is wonderful for this exercise because everything matters, and you want to catch places you have derailed sooner than later and course correct your development.
The best time to change is now. There is no other time to make changes but now because now is all we have. And by now you know that you can't implement changes by just flipping a switch. To make changes, you have to get all parts of you onboard and you have to treat all parts of you with the respect they deserve.
Another playful exercise, if you're game, is to ask for advice from your 80-year- old self, who is talking to the you of today. What would they tell you about how your journey was made and what they would change if they were making it today?
1. Be happy now. You can choose to be happy today, regardless of the external circumstances of your life. Being happy can mean being willing to do something. We can all make that choice. And release the “I'll be happy when I get or I do...” Just that statement means that you won't be happy until you get or do whatever that is. Is that the only reason to be happy?
2. Help people. That includes yourself. Do whatever you can do to help yourself and others. Did your 80-year-old self say that they are most proud of the people they helped, including themselves? This could be to achieve something important, listen attentively, offer support or anything that is helpful.
3. Go for your dream. We all have a dream inside of us. For some it is locked up and never visited let alone pursued. Remember, we almost never regret the risks we take and fail to achieve the outcomes because we learn along the way; however, we regret the risks we fail to take for whatever reasons. Don't let yourself off the hook and go for your dream; it's yours to achieve.
So, this is a perfect transition to the celebration of your WINS. Please don't short- change yourself and check out here, or think that it's pointless or stupid to reward yourself for all the little things you're “supposed to do.” There are important reasons to celebrate often and intentionally. Are you really going to make yourself wait for something HUGE to happen to celebrate? Does something HUGE happen every day? Probably not! But the kind of WINS I'm talking about can and often do. That means that you can increase your dopamine levels and motivation every day by celebrating your WINS; big and small!!
So, what's it going to be for you today? What are you going to celebrate? Maybe you decided to pause for a few minutes and empty out a container in the garage that you've thought about doing for years now; that's a great win! Perhaps you re- committed to an earlier bedtime for yourself and have stayed with it for a full week now; that's a wonderful win! Maybe you paused this episode so you could sign up and receive your 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back¿that’s an awesome win! You get the point; celebrate all of them; big and small. And none of this “half-hearted celebrating', you've got to mean it. Exaggerate your emotions. YES!!!! WOW!! AWESOME!! You want your acknowledgement and celebration to register in your neurology with the power to move you and shift your state. Many of us need a higher level of stimulation or intensity for things to register. So, if that's you, give that to yourself and exaggerate your celebration so you can actually feel it and benefit.
A Favorite Quote: Marshall Goldsmith said, “What got you here, won't get you there.”
In other words, you're going to need to let go of being you and who you say you are. You weren't born as the you of today; you evolved into you. And so, everything that got you the life you have today is a result of who you've been up to now. If you don't have the life you want, then you understand that you need new skills, strategies, beliefs, identities and whatever it takes to get where you want to be.
We are all 100% responsible, 100% of the time for the outcomes in our respective lives. And, there is a price tag on everything we want to be or have; it's time, effort and energy, not just money. If you hear yourself saying that something is too expensive, you aren't just talking about money. You are talking about the time, effort and energy that something will cost you in exchange for the outcome. If you say it's too expensive, and won't pay the price, then you won't get that outcome. You can pick another outcome that is less expensive; however, you may not want that outcome. And so, you are left with the decision of investing in yourself for what something actually costs, so you can gain the value you are seeking for yourself, both personally and professionally.
Over the years, I've trained myself to I think about the return on an investment, not just the investment itself. In the case of the AIA-FS program, the price tag of time, effort and energy is as little as 15-20 minutes/day. Are you worth 15-20 minutes/day — every day until you've achieved your outcomes? Looking at this cost a different way, how many places in your life are you wasting that 15-20 minutes/day — every day — and not achieving your outcomes? I won't call out the list of ways because we all know it only too well.
Whether you're learning from my podcast episodes, free resources, or working with me directly, I want you to live your best life, if that's what you want for yourself. I can't get it for you or live it for you, however, I can guide you to it, if you'll allow me to do so. Jim Rohn said, “for things to change, you've got to change." He also said that he can't do our pushups for us; that we have to do them ourselves to benefit.
So, here's the path today. Make it a priority to get your copy of 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back. Next, get on the Waitlist for the AIA- FS program to learn how you can build your EF skills and strategies the Dr B way. Enrollment will be opening up sooner than you think, so get prepared now so you know if this is your time and your opportunity knocking. I hope it is and that we will be working together soon.
And, if you want a place to hang out with like-minded listeners to my show, you can ask to join the Living Beyond ADHD FB group. Be sure you are mindful when asking, meaning, you answer the few questions we ask, so you can be approved into the group. Otherwise, it won't happen. And, once you are a member of the group, be sure to visit often and engage with us. Joining and never visiting doesn't help you at all. This is about you following through. The FB group isn't a training group, although there are great posts to learn from and a supportive community to surround yourself with and that's worth a lot. As a member of the Living Beyond ADHD FB group, you will hear about training opportunities sooner, unless you are also on the AIA-FS Waitlist. However, you do have to open and read your emails in order to know about the new opportunities I'm offering you. We won't flood your inbox with tons of emails, however, when we do send them, they have important information in them for you, so be sure you read them if you're seeking transformation.
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Are you ready to stop your needless suffering? Have you had enough? Be sure to check out the show notes for the links and opportunities available to you. There are real solutions to the challenges you are experiencing. Time is our most precious asset, and none of us have time to waste on solutions that don't work. I would love to help you realize a new freedom, that is...if that's of interest to you. Thanks for listening... Until the next time... Bye for now…
Resources referred to in this episode:
• Free PDF - 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/Executive-Function
• AIA Executive Function Foundational Skills Program & Waitlist: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/AIA
• Living Beyond ADHD Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/livingbeyondadhd
- First, get your copy of 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning is Holding You Back:
Next, find out what you can do to change this for yourself & how AIA-FS can help:
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