A Wellness Context Shift
So, I spent all month mulling over what New Year inspirational Newsletter to write for you all and I found myself constantly going back to the “It’s a New Year – Let’s talk about wellness” same old song and dance. But if I’m being honest, I'm feeling a little burnt out on all the wellness posts in my feed and I can’t help but assume that you all may be on that same boat. People talk about wellness like we’ve never considered it for ourselves before, like it’s some brilliant new concept, that if I follow these hot tips or some new fancy routine that I will magically bring wellness into my life. Um, yeah, BULLSHIT!
Yes, I am calling bullshit. Listen, I’m not going to sit here and tell you not to try new stuff out or not to make lists or not to strive for a new routine. There is a tremendous amount of value in all these things, it’s why Wellness has become a multi-billion-dollar industry. What I am getting to is that following some steps, making lists, and/or action plans to get on track to a “new you” these things just aren’t sustainable on their own. You will do the work; get the quick fix and a month down the road you will fall back into your old routine. Hey, I may not be right about this, you may be one of the few people who can change your life overnight and implement a new way of being without a second thought. If that is you, then way to go, please write the book and give us your secret receipt for how you have hacked the matrix of being human!
For the rest of us human beings, what the actual fuck?! Why can’t you just follow some easy new routine and change your life in a once and for all sort of way? Well… I’m glad you asked, it’s because you are getting in your own way.
Bear with me here this isn’t going to be a motivational - get off the couch and get in the game -pep talk. No, what I want to talk to you about is what we in coaching call our automatic ways of being. These automatic ways of being are what actually get in your way of creating new habits and what hinders the big shifts you want to make but haven’t been able to yet.
So, what do I mean by automatic ways of being? Well, this falls into the realm of metaphysics and ontology which is the study of the nature of one’s being and is the foundation of what my coaching practice is based on. We all have automatic ways in which we may or may not show up for any given situation. I’m going to throw out a couple examples and I want you to think to yourself how you know you would be in each scenario.
You are on your way to the airport and the traffic is worse than expected.
You arrive at the airport and are told you need to check your carry on.
Your other bag is randomly selected to be searched by TSA while going through security.
You scramble to get to the gate and miss your flight by a nose hair.
As you are talking with the attendant you check your phone and notice an email sent 3 hours ago saying the flight was overbooked. In the email is an offer to buy your seat at 4x what you originally purchased it for and put you on the next flight out for free. But now the offer is null and void.
What can you predict about yourself in each given situation leading up to the next? I know for myself I might be spiraling into some strong emotions of frustration, anger, annoyance, shame, and blame. If I were to change the narrative to let’s say your wellness and implementing a new self-care routine, it might look like this:
You go to bed energized and ready to follow your new routine in the morning.
You don’t get the best night sleep but wake up one hour earlier than normal and follow the new routine and you're off to a great start.
By lunch you are a little tired but still motivated, you do your new midday meditation and get reenergized.
You follow your new evening/bedtime routine and feel accomplished to have completed the first day.
Over the next couple days, you miss a few steps here and there but suck it up and hold onto that new you motivation.
By the end of the week, you wake up one morning so tired that you hit the snooze button a couple times.
Once you finally get up, you don’t have as much time as you would like to do everything, but you attempt to, and you do enough.
Lunch comes and you skip your meditation to join a coworker and go out for lunch instead.
It's now the weekend and you give yourself a pass for the next couple days.
But, The following Monday isn’t much different.
Then you wake up a week later and you are back to your old habits and routine wondering what happened.
For me what might follow is all the same emotions from the airport example: frustration, anger, annoyance, shame, and blame. I can predict that unless something interrupts this cycle it will continue and it will show up in other areas of my life.
So, then what needs to be interrupted? It’s not the routine that’s the problem, it’s the context! I’m not talking about the general definition which is: the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed. That’s just one part of it. In coaching, the context is the underlying beliefs we have, these beliefs are so strong that they are actually what’s doing the driving.
I want to use an example of a context around self-care that comes up a lot in my work, this one comes from a right and wrong perspective. The context is: Self-care = Selfish. From this perspective if you choose to make time for yourself it is a selfish act and being selfish is wrong. You may or may not resonate with this but hear me out. If you make time in your day to take care of yourself what judgements show up? If you set boundaries around your self-care, what judgments show up? If you rest instead of managing your to-do list on your day off or just when you are tired, what judgments show up? I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
If you are an existing client of mine, you know that if you don’t shift the context (and this doesn’t happen overnight, it takes work) then you will continue repeating the same cycle repeatedly with no end in sight. So, let’s shift the context.
First, what is the context you are operating from? This may not be obvious, but most of the time we can’t see our own blind spots and it takes months of working with a coach to be attune to whatever context we may be operating from. But I can assert that it probably falls into one if not all these three categories.
Once you have identified where you are operating from it’s time to become more aware of it. Make a list of all the ways in which your context gets in the way of you implementing a new more powerful wellness routine. I want you to really dig here, how are you overcompensating and/or getting in your own way? This may be uncomfortable to look at but once you see it you can’t unsee it.
Now is where the ontological piece comes in, let’s try and shift the context. If you were separate from this belief, looking from the outside in, as an unattached observer what possibility can you see on the other side? Full disclosure, this step can take some coaching, often we try to fix and step right into the doing. I am asking you to look at who you are being and who you want to be if there were no limitation getting in the way?
If the context is self-care = selfish then I might operate from a place that is constantly sacrificing my wellbeing = making me more selfless – and this is how I overcompensate. But, if I take a step back, I know that the opposite happens, I will overextend myself until I’m burnt out at the cost of my own wellbeing. That is my viscous cycle. But if I were the possibility of something else, I could shift the context…
So then what do I get access to when I take care of myself? Well, I feel fulfilled, I feel sourced, and I can show up sourced for my family, friends and clients, my body feels stronger and my brain focused.
That is my new context: I am the possibility of Self-care = fulfilled, sourced, strength. Now I can operate from the belief that in being “selfish” in order to take care of my wellbeing I will feel fulfilled, sourced, and stronger. From here I might make different decisions at any given moment, I might also relate to what sources me differently. Like skipping my midday meditation to have lunch with a friend is now an act of wellness, I feel sourced after spending time with my friend. I I don't have to ruminate on how I “failed” to keep up with my new wellness routine.
Okay, I may have oversimplified this process just a little bit. But I hope you got the point, that those new year’s resolutions are going to die a miserable death just like last year’s and all the years before that unless you shift your context first. Are you ready to shift it and make this year the year?
If you are ready, I have some wonderful news. I'm adding two additional 1:1 coaching spots in the new year. I’m so excited to be growing my practice and would love to be there with you while you make the commitment to take your life to the next level. Coaching is not for everyone. If you are someone who sees possibility, who is committed to self-growth, and who is passionate about creating a life filled with love and abundance, then I would love to work with you. As someone already in my inner circle, I am announcing here first and all inquiries from this community will get a special promotional code giving you 10% off your first month of coaching when you commit to my 4-month program. Just use code NOW&NEXT when filling out the 1:1 Coaching Application here.
May 2022 be a year to remember and may you and your loved ones be blessed with love, good health, and joy in the coming year!