Why Am I Doing What I’m Doing? – Ep#039 What You Need To Know To Break An Unwanted Habit

We know a heck of a lot about eating well, exercising etc…. So why is it so hard to let go of the habits that keep us stuck? Why do we say we want one thing and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen?
You might think it’s a lack of discipline, motivation or self control that causes you to self-sabotage your health goals.

But the truth is behind every problematic behavior there’s a personal payoff on a deeper level. There’s a hidden benefit, something outside of our conscious awareness, underlying the very situations that you say you want to change in your life.

What if there was a way to perceive our shortcomings and setbacks with greater understanding, more compassion and consequently find more creative and effective solutions to taking care of ourselves?

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Podcast Transcript

0 (1s):
Welcome to the Soul Science Nutrition Podcast, where you’ll discover that when it comes to your health, you are so much more powerful than you’ve been led to believe. And now your host, she’s a holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach, chef author, and Yogi, Christine Okezie. Hello.

1 (23s):
Oh, and welcome to the soul science nutrition podcast. I’m Christine Okezie. Thanks so much for listening. So here we are. We’re three weeks into the new year and right about now all those resolutions to eat better exercise and maybe drop some extra weight are feeling a little shaky. And maybe that inner critic of yours is screaming at you. Again, calling you a willpower weakling, but what’s the deal. I mean, we know a heck of a lot about eating well and exercising, et cetera. Why is it so hard to let go of the habits that keep us stuck? Why do we say we want one thing and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.

1 (1m 6s):
So conventional wisdom will tell you that it’s a lack of discipline, motivation, or self control that causes you to self-sabotage your health goals. But the truth is behind every problematic behavior. There’s a personal payoff on a deeper level. You see there’s a hidden benefit, something outside of our conscious awareness that underlies the very situations that you say you want to change in your life. Now coaches trained in neuro linguistic programming or NLP coaches such as myself, call this phenomena a positive intention. See a positive intention means that all behaviors at one point serve a positive purpose.

1 (1m 51s):
Another way to think about this is at a very basic human level. We are always trying to get our needs met at whatever level of awareness that we’re operating from. Think of it as a kind of form of self-preservation or even self protection. The intentions we have are good, but the behaviors we engage in to achieve those goals are sometimes not for instance, late night, snacking fulfills a need for feeling relaxation, overdoing it on sugary processed foods satisfies our need for fun. Overworking distracts us from other areas of our life that we may feel less competent.

1 (2m 35s):
Procrastination protects us from the fear of getting it wrong and maybe obsessive worrying becomes a way to feel more in control. Even physical symptoms can have a positive intention. For example, carrying extra weight can have some benefits that fly beneath our conscious radar as well. Extra weight on our body can be a good way to insulate ourselves against the world, protect us from trauma childhood wounding, or perhaps even a way to avoid the risk of trying new things. Even the habit of chronic dieting gives us a sense of control over our food or body, or maybe even our whole life, maybe trying yet another diet makes us feel good about ourselves because it shows we’re constantly striving to better ourselves or maybe obsessing about our weight serves as the socially acceptable way to distract ourselves from dealing with difficult emotions past hurts or unexpressed desires is he exploring our positive intentions that underlie our unwanted behaviors eliminates one of the greatest barriers to personal change.

1 (3m 53s):
And that is the fear of losing something valuable that this present issue or perceived limitation keeps in place. For instance, let’s say that you wish you could stop eating ice cream before bed or having wine with dinner. I might ask you, what might you lose that you value if you stopped eating ice cream before bed, the answer could be, I would lose a way to feel pleasure, or I might ask you, imagine yourself not having wine with dinner. Is there any part of you that objects to achieving this outcome? And the answer might be, yeah.

1 (4m 33s):
The part of me that needs a way to unplug from a stressful day now, positive intentions may not always be conscious or so obvious. In fact, in some cases, positive intentions that underlie our problematic behaviors can be seemingly paradoxical and working with them often requires diving deeper into our mental and emotional patterning. Nonetheless, I think looking for the positive intention is a valuable approach because of the dramatic impact it can have on the way we relate to ourselves, we can see our perceived shortcomings, our setbacks with greater understanding, more compassion, and consequently find more creative and effective solutions for taking care of ourselves.

1 (5m 21s):
So here are a few steps. Number one become aware of the unwanted or unhelpful habit or behavior. Number two, ask why. So start to journal out the story, just write all the thoughts that come up when you ask yourself, why am I doing what I’m doing? Why do I do what I do and ask yourself? What is something that I value something that’s really working for me that I would have to give up if this behavior didn’t exist and like all inquiry, I always invite you to please be honest, but be playful and bring a sense of curiosity to the inquiry and ask things like, well, you know, what is this behavior really get me, right?

1 (6m 10s):
How does it make me feel special in some way, maybe, you know, kind of reflect on if there’s an old pattern, you know, that’s kind of just been longstanding that you’ve gotten really used to, that feels really familiar and automatic. It, it might even be a way of being or something that you got used to as a child. And when you kind of see that in that context, maybe you can kind of see how it worked for me then. And maybe it doesn’t have to be that way now. Right? So take some time with this because once you figure out the positive intentions behind your behavior, it becomes easier to understand how you can go about supporting it.

1 (6m 53s):
So the next step would be to just brainstorm all the ways that you could achieve the positive intention without behavior X. And again, be curious, be kind, be playful. In fact, let’s get really creative here. Use your imagination this step of the exercise. There’s no need to be serious or practical. You can be zany and wild. The whole goal of the process here is just to let go of judgment. Let go of negativity, have fun with this. As you go through the process of looking for the positive intention, you’ll find that there’s a clear understanding and greater insight into what this unhelpful or unwanted behavior is all about.

1 (7m 39s):
And as you do this, you will notice, you know, that the scolding voice in your head as perhaps just, you know, quiet down a little bit and perhaps the feelings of frustration and stuckness have lightened up some right. Once again, we just want to notice how, when we shift into becoming a mindful or a curious observer of our own self, our own behavior, it allows us to shift our energy away from self blame, to something more healing, to something more constructive. In fact, you might even feel some relief, some comfort from this process of genuinely endeavoring to give yourself the deeper care, the deeper attention that you really need.

1 (8m 26s):
So once you go through the process, we can make a conscious commitment to modify behavior and then decide how you want to remind yourself. Let’s set, say to keep your on track the bottom line and is this root cause approach of understanding our underlying positive intentions acknowledges that we are beautifully complex beings. Our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, behaviors are all one interconnected energy system. And at the core, our bodies really pay the price when we come from should and have to living with self judgment and shame all of this, as we know, keeps us in a chronic state of stress, which we’re so aware is at the root of so many of our debilitating illnesses discovering the positive attention behind our maladaptive behaviors releases tremendous energy for real change and deep healing.

1 (9m 31s):
We offer ourselves other choices for meeting our needs that are less disruptive, more empowering, and can get us on track where we truly want to go now to be clear, the principle or the approach of positive intention must be coupled with powerful and effective creativity and problem solving skills, which is why working with a coach like myself, can significantly help you in this behavior change process. One of my favorite quotes that captures this is by Einstein. He says you can’t solve a problem from the same level of consciousness that created it.

1 (10m 14s):
Upleveling. Our consciousness requires us to work with our mind, body and emotions. So if you’re struggling with habits in your life that you know, aren’t serving you, seeing the positive intention can save you a whole lot of stress and frustration. It can hone in on what you’re really needing to heal. The bottom line is that shifting out of self-loathing and into self-awareness and compassionate inquiry are the keys for creating the wellbeing that we desire. So I hope that this show has just given you some tools and at least a gentle reminder that, you know, we can be super hard on ourselves and blame our lack of willpower for our negative behaviors.

1 (10m 60s):
And if you’re a woman you’re even more prone to just picking yourself apart, you know, for not being able to follow through on what you think you want to follow through on. But you know, this is the whole process. Really it’s about drilling down deep into the center of who we really are and seeing that we can be kinder to ourselves exploring the positive intention in our behaviors is a beautiful way to find ways of taking care of ourselves that promote a much more nourishing and healthy relationship with food, ourselves and life itself.

1 (11m 42s):
And if this has been helpful for you, I would love if you could leave me a rating or review, and if you haven’t already hit that subscribe button, please do so to help me keep my messages growing. So stay tuned for some exciting guests in the next few weeks. And in the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and bye for now.

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