Episode 813: Don’t Let Fear & Doubt Keep You Struggling

Hi friends! No more standing behind fear and doubt, remaining squarely in your struggle. In today’s new podcast episode Chris and I are answering all your questions about the 12 Weeks to Transformation.

Most of us can relate to committing to a new plan, making progress, and then when things get chaotic or hard, falling off the imaginary “wagon,” drifting away, or simply forgetting what we had planned to do.

This has happened to me more times than I can count. When I weighed over 350 lbs, I tried plan after plan after plan, and inevitably I would find myself drifting and feeling like “I blew it again!’

What I finally figured out, and what I tell my clients, is that even when you think you messed-up and fell off your goals, you just have to get re-engaged. It doesn’t have to be dramatic! Instead of judging the past, ditch the drama and simply re-engage in the present moment. Drama free re-engagement is one massive key to success, and it’s something we practice and revisit every single day in the 12 Weeks to Transformation.

I want to help you move beyond your struggle! For more info on how we work through our fears and doubts in the 12 Weeks to Transformation, listen to today’s new episode of the Primal Potential podcast.

5:53 What is the 12 Weeks to Transformation?

8:59 Who is it the 12 Weeks to Transformation for?

14:09 What if I don’t have weight to lose?

14:50 How much time will I need to commit each week?

17:10 Why is the 12 Weeks to Transformation going away?

19:40 What kind of results do people get?

22:26 I’ve tried everything under the sun, how is the 12 Weeks to Transformation different?

25:20 One of your clients mentioned that her husband wasn’t on board with her doing ‘yet another thing’ and you gave her a template. Can you tell us what you shared with her?

31:50 Winner of the Saturday Giveaway

To win next Saturday’s giveaway, leave a review of the Primal Potential podcast on Apple Podcasts, review Chasing Cupcakes on Amazon, or share an episode or lesson that you’ve learned on Instagram or Facebook (be sure to tag me)!

Registration is now open for the fall 12 Weeks to Transformation. This will be the final 12 Weeks, ever, and spots are filling up fast so make sure you save your space today at primalpotential.com/register.


812: Epic Perspectives on Self-Doubt & Fear of Failure

Hi friends, thanks for joining me for another episode of the podcast and blog! In today’s episode, I am talking about how to handle feelings of doubt and fear of failure when you are pursuing your goals.

But first, I want you to know that I take your time seriously. Through the Primal Potential podcast, people bring me along for walks, they bring me into their living rooms while they’re cleaning the house. You have a million options for podcasts you can listen to and blogs you can read, so thank you for being here.

Today, I have been dying to share the ah-ha moment that I had a few weeks ago with you. Listen or read along with me below.

A friend of mine is a business owner and podcaster who also works with clients. She came to me for advice because she had 2 clients reach out to ask for refunds for the first time. Here’s what I told her.

It doesn’t happen often, but 100% of the time, when people come to me to ask about getting a refund, what they are really looking for is reassurance. This is fear and doubt in play, and it is a huge opportunity for that person! 

If we had full faith in ourselves or whatever we purchased to pursue our goals, we wouldn’t want our money back. If we knew we were going to do the work that comes along with investing in our program, we wouldn’t want a refund.

What people need is reassurance—sometimes it’s a lack of faith in themselves, sometimes in the program, sometimes it’s both, and all of them can be worked on.

I see this with clients but I also see this with myself. Literally every single time I have hired a coach, and when I decided to join a mastermind, there has been a moment of panic. Maybe I don’t verbalize it but I sink into thoughts of, “on second thought, maybe I shouldn’t have done this!”

I encourage my clients to not shy away from these tough moments. 

4:00 Giving Doubt a Voice

We all know that sick feeling of doubt. It’s super uncomfortable to think that maybe you made a mistake by investing in yourself. It’s uncomfortable to admit that you don’t trust yourself enough to take advantage of an opportunity. 

We don’t want to run from this feeling. Your doubt is telling you something. I don’t ever want to let a client run from this opportunity to face the fact that they need reassurance or to create more trust in themselves or whatever they are doing to pursue their goals.

“I don’t know if this is right for me.”

If you have ever had that thought, give your doubt a voice. Explore it. Sometimes you’re doing something that is not good for you.

Borrowing an example from my own life, let’s say you opt-in for some rigid, extreme diet and two weeks in you realize that you are miserable. 

In that situation, giving your doubt a voice allows you to see if that feeling is coming from a pattern that you need to change or, maybe, that feeling is an indication that your decision wasn’t healthy or sustainable, that it’s not something you want to stick with it for the rest of your life.

Most times we say yes to something that we consider to be a great tool for growth and then the buyer’s remorse creeps in, this comes from doubt. 

I don’t want to give the impression that we can’t ever course correct—we absolutely should—but I encourage you to lean in and explore what it is that you’re doubting.

Start with this quick exercise:

You might say, “I don’t trust that I’m going to do the work.” This is something we can work on

What do you trust? 

What exactly is the work that you are second-guessing? Come up with 5 things.

Can you do that just for today? 

6:32 Doubt Is a Powerful Compass

Sometimes we throw out entire opportunities that could transform every aspect of our lives because we don’t simplify or define what success looks like. We get overwhelmed and sidetracked by doubt and we can miss out on an opportunity. 

I’ve straight up done that before. I have let that initial feeling that I don’t trust myself turn into a closed-door, turn into a no, turn into giving up.

Doubt is a powerful compass that can point us at something that really matters.

When we have this doubt or fear of failure, that tells us how important our goals are to us. They are so important to us that we’re afraid we will fail, so important that we question whether we can do it or not.

So we need to take some time to build confidence and set up for success. When people are working with me, I want them to give voice to their doubts to me, with me. Verbalize them. Give your doubt a voice in the Primal Potential Facebook group if you need a place. Give it a voice.

Ask yourself what else is true. If you feel doubt around yourself, the program, or a tool, ask yourself what else is true,

Maybe it’s true that you weren’t consistent before but that doesn’t mean that you will be inconsistent now. This feeling might be part of your process for change. In the past you turned away, this time give it a voice by asking what else is true. Don’t run away from that.

I use this tool often in business. My team and I ask this question for Primal Potential, for example, what would it take for us to feel confident in a new product? 

Too many of us are stopping when it’s hard or scary. I want you to see doubt like we see talk about fear, as a doorway. When you recognize that you have doubt, like in your ability to do something, think of that doubt as being a doorway. 

9:13 Fear of Failure

You can stand in front of that door, doubting yourself, or you can see every doubt as a doorway you must walk through. Pass through the doorway to get to the other side and see what is there.

This was very true for me when I started thinking about Crossfit. It looked cool. I was interested in weight-lifting and—above all—I was super excited by the community aspect, but I had the biggest doubts before I tried it. I thought, “I’m not fit enough for Crossfit or strong enough; what if people judge me because I am the weakest or slowest, I won’t be able to keep up.” Those doubts could have kept me out of a community that I love!

I don’t want to see people standing on the side of doubt and fear. I want us to see doubt as a doorway, as something we can explore if we take a step forward and see what else is there.

A lot of times, what drives doubt is what-if thinking. Maybe people don’t experience this as doubt but as panic or the feeling of being behind. This comes from putting energy, faith, and fear behind the wrong what-if. “What if it doesn’t work” is as powerful a question as “What if it does?!”

11: 30 Don’t Kill Yourself with Questions

I had such a breakthrough when my friend came to me about a network marketing opportunity. At first, my strongest thoughts were only around doubt. I’m not that kind of person. I don’t want to do that. What if it’s a waste of time? These thoughts were only one half of the equation.

I realized that If I was going to entertain all the reasons why it wouldn’t work, then I owed it to myself, even if it didn’t change my decision, to consider all of the reasons that it would work. Let me tell you, I had some work to do. 

I thought, I know the 7-or-so reasons that I think it’s a bad idea, I owe it to myself to be a better thinker and explore the other side of those seven reasons. It turned out to be an incredible opportunity. As my husband Chris says, the first thing he learned in military basic training is don’t kill yourself with ‘what-ifs.’ 

Before my ah-ha moment, I had all of these different pieces in my head:

  1. When people experience doubt, they need to give it a voice, they need reassurance.
  2. Chris’s voice in my head saying, we don’t kill ourselves with questions.
  3. What-if statements work both ways.

Meanwhile, as all of these pieces revealing themselves to me, I am having a repeated conversation with my business team. Inevitably there are a million things going on in the business and when we set goals they can sometimes feel like a pipe dream. From our doubts and fear, we move to talking about what it is going to take for us to feel more confident in a decision.

We started using this tool with clients who are facing doubt. Clients ask me, what if I have been super inconsistent? I ask them, what if this is the time when everything changes? What if now is when everything cracks wide open for you?

What would it take for you to have more confidence in your ability to succeed? Answer that question. What would it take for you to have more confidence in your ability to change your behavior?

Don’t give a quick response and think that you’ve done the work–you haven’t. Give it a voice. Explore it.

Write this down and answer the questions:

If what-if works both ways, what are both sides (be specific)?

What would it take for me to have confidence in this outcome, in this process, in this change?

What would it look like if it was easy?

It would be easier if what?

18:30 What-if Goes Both Ways

As I was putting these ideas into a document, I was listening to an Elevation Church Sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick, who said, “Fear is faith in the wrong what-if.” We are putting faith in the wrong side of the equation. So what would it take for you to believe a little bit more in the other side of the equation?

This is a choice, so stop imagining scenarios that don’t favor you. 

Don’t put all of your resources in the what-if that doesn’t favor you. Don’t put your faith in the ‘what if it doesn’t work.’ Your life will change dramatically and your results will be different when you put your faith in the what-if that favors you. 20:14

This is going to hinge on your willingness to think differently and on the action of voicing your fears and doubts while also realizing that it goes both ways.

It’s not over. This year is not over. We have 15 weeks left in the year, more than 100 days left in the year. How much could you change your life in that time?

You get to decide which one version of the story you fuel with your attention, which you pour into, and which one you starve. Which what-if wins? Whichever one you feed.

We talk about this a lot in the 12 Weeks to Transformation. When you change the way you think you open doors to new opportunities, you also close the doors on your fears and past patterns, and it all hinges on the way you think.

What-if works both ways. Choose to tell the story that favors you and refuse to continue telling the story that doesn’t. Make today amazing.

To learn more about the 12 Weeks to Transformation visit primalpotential.com/transform.

811: 8 Questions to Get More Consistent

Hi friends! My husband Chris and I are back for another podcast episode where we answer your questions (and announce the winner of the Saturday Giveaway)! The topic of consistency has been coming up a lot in the Facebook group, and it is the theme for today’s episode. We got a lot of really great questions about everything from how to win the battle of choice, the biggest barriers to consistency, how to be consistent when you’re busy and every day looks different from the last, and more.

If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to make a plan and stay consistent with it, this episode will be super helpful for you. Listen to the end to find out who won this week’s Saturday Giveaway!

2:50: What do you do when you are not winning the battle of choice?

10:09 I’m so good with my habits all week, but all of my good habits go out the window during the weekend. What do I do?

18:28 How do you develop a routine and remain flexible for last-minute stuff?

23:30 How can I be consistent when every day is different?

25:50 How do you stay consistent when you have a hard time saying no to someone who is pulling you in the wrong direction?

33:24 What is the biggest barrier to consistency, planning, routine, direction?

35:55 What is the most popular day to start something new?

37:44 Winner of the giveaway

To win next Saturday’s giveaway, leave a review of the Primal Potential podcast on Apple Podcasts, review Chasing Cupcakes on Amazon, or share an episode or lesson that you’ve learned on Instagram or Facebook (be sure to tag me)!

Registration opens up next week for the fall 12 Weeks to Transformation. This will be the final 12 Weeks, ever, so make sure you join the waitlist to save your spot (space is limited), get first access, and an exclusive waitlist discount (the best savings we’ve ever offered)!

810: The #1 Strategy for Achieving Any Goal

Hi friends, it’s Elizabeth here, and I am so excited to share Episode 810 of Primal Potential with you! Today I am joined by the Chief Operating Officer for Primal Potential Suzie Barbour, and for the first time on the podcast, we are pulling back the curtain on why I have my coaching clients focus so much on mindset when many of them sign up for the 12 Weeks to Transformation with the goal of losing weight.

You’re not going to want to miss this conversation! Listen or read on as we do a deep-dive on my #1 coaching strategy for achieving any goal—transforming your mindset!

Why Not Weight Loss?

Several months back when Suzie started working for Primal Potential one of the first things she noticed was that everybody wants to hear strategies about fat loss.

From her perspective as the COO who is trying to grow the business, it would be a natural move for us to come up with a food plan or make content surrounding the typical themes that people associate with weight loss, like exercise and food, but I always say no. No to food plans and no to new products based specifically on the theme of ‘weight loss’.

Suzie says that people are inspired by my weight loss journey, having lost and successfully kept off well over 100 pounds, and this is what customers are saying they want. So she kept asking me, why not weight loss?

It’s not that I don’t want to help people with that goal, it’s that I want to help people with that goal in a different way that is going to be far more effective than a list of foods or a rule book.

A few years ago I did address weight loss directly. We had a program called the Fat Loss Fast Track that helped hundreds of clients lose weight. But we changed that program. We reshaped it into the 12 Weeks to Transformation and the reason I did this is because client after client was coming into the 12 weeks with the goal of losing weight, but they weren’t just doing that. They were transforming their finances, relationships, and fitness routines. They began taking better care of their homes, and becoming more organized.

We realized that it’s not about weight at all but what it really takes to create change.

(4:19) Why Not Create an Eating Plan?

In the Primal Potential Facebook group, someone wrote a post asking others to share what types of eating plans they are following. This person said they want to eat less, cut portions, but are feeling anxious and doubtful about the level of strictness to their diet, so they will probably revert back to a food plan they’ve tried before like Weight Watchers. 

I hear this from podcast listeners all of the time who have had some success with a previous food plan, but can’t stick with it now. And let me tell you, I tried this for decades.

Anyone can follow a plan for a little while, but then stress, vacation, or illness occurs and people get derailed and think to themselves “why can’t I make myself do it” or “why can’t I get back on the imaginary wagon?” 

All of this is a result of the way you think. 

The idea of being ‘on the wagon’ is a start-tomorrow mindset and it stems from the way that you think—the way that your mind generates excuses. At Primal Potential we want to help people become better thinkers and problem solvers so that our excuses won’t keep holding us back.

I very strongly believe that there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of ways to lose weight. There is no one food religion we need to subscribe to. Success in this area is not a matter of routine but a way of thinking.

Suzie and I both know we could make a ton of money with a 30-day plan for fat loss that tells people exactly what to eat but that’s not what we do. We create lasting results for our clients. The way we do that is through mindset.

People find our program because they are seeking weight loss solutions, often having spent money on other programs. A lot of those people feel a sense of shame because they have invested time and money in weight loss solutions that worked for them in the past but don’t work in every season of their lives. There is no reason to feel shame around that. Before I lost my weight, I didn’t have the tools I have now and you don’t know what you don’t know.

But as Suzie explains in this episode, we see this all of the time in the 12 Weeks to Transformation.  Once our clients have a grasp on this toolbox, they use their tools to create sustainable change in areas of their lives that they didn’t know they wanted to improve.

(10:34) If someone really wants to drop 20 lbs, should they focus on losing weight or only mindset?

I am not telling anyone not to focus on weight loss. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel great in your body and get rid of excess body fat–either for cosmetic or health-related reasons. I’m also not saying that instead of focusing on weight, people should focus on mindset. What I am saying is that when you upgrade the way you think, you come at our goals in a way that is much more sustainable.

When we focus on mindset, we slowly take power away from our doubts and bad habits. I eat better now because I am a more well-rounded thinker. My old pattern was that I would get super stressed or have a bad day and tell myself that I didn’t care, I was going to eat ice cream and—whatever—I’ll do better tomorrow. That pattern only changed because I became a better thinker. 

So if you say you want to lose weight, I want to help you help yourself, but in a way that addresses the real problem. The real problem isn’t that you don’t know what to eat—that doesn’t have anything to do with it! The real problem is that you aren’t following through on the things you already know will work. And that is happening because of the way you are thinking about it. 

Nobody will ever coach you like the voice in your own head. Your outcome hinges entirely on the quality of the voice in your head. When the alarm goes off, and you hit snooze, you are actively being coached by the voice in your head. Make that coaching better and you get better in every way. (Read that again or listen at 13:20).

This is not about ignoring the science of weight loss, but the science alone is not enough. You won’t get results without changing your mindset to address inconsistency, bad habits, or an excuse-generating inner dialogue.

This is especially true in a challenging year like 2020. Hard times are when we need mindset the most. When life is bonkers we are going to grow so much more. If we wait for a season of life that is settled, then we will have missed a huge opportunity to learn, to be in the trenches with the tools. 

(18:41) What about people who don’t believe that mindset is actually what they need?

I was that person for so long and I wish I could go back in time and talk some sense into myself. People told me for years that weight loss was all in my head. But I thought they were saying that it wasn’t a weight issue and I was sure that it was. I was defensive because I was scared that focusing on mindset meant not focusing on weight, and I wasn’t willing to not focus on weight. It was only when I took this other approach that I experienced lasting effects.

What I’m telling you is the way to get results with your physical body is by changing the very decision maker in your life. It’s not that we don’t know what to do, it’s that we don’t hold ourselves to the standard of doing it.

Plenty of people have the approach of body acceptance or health at any size and that is not my personal standpoint. If you want to reduce your body fat and feel better in your skin, then I want to do it alongside you. I am connected to that outcome and I recognize that the thing that keeps us from those results is the way we think, make decisions, and talk to ourselves.

When you start the day fired up to make healthier choices but, the next thing you know, you blow the first opportunity you get, that’s mindset. This is what we have to change.

(21:52) The Myth of “I Don’t Care” & Defining Mindset

People tell themselves that they don’t care but that’s not true. People with weight loss concerns care deeply. But when you try diets and programs that don’t work, no one is hearing you say “I don’t care” and challenging you on that idea. 

You get a craving for junk food and the coach in your head starts talking to you, saying it doesn’t matter, you’ve failed before, start tomorrow, this one thing won’t hurt. People say they aren’t consistent, but they are. They are consistent with skipping workouts, hitting snooze, or being disorganized. This kind of thinking is what we upgrade in the 12 Weeks to Transformation. We work on shifting the voice in our own heads because that’s where the magic is.

People tell me that they are apprehensive about signing for the 12 Weeks because of a fear that they will disengage. They say, “Elizabeth, I really want you to hold me accountable and prevent me from drifting.” And I say back, I want them to hold themselves accountable and that I will give them the tools to do it.

I’m not always going to be there but the coach in your head will be. And we have to make that a great coach. We are all capable of being great, passionate, purposeful coaches—that is the work we have to do!

I don’t want to create codependency with my clients. My goal is for you to not need me. I want to set all of us free. We have all that we need (and then some) to create change in our lives. 

Okay, maybe your mindset needs to change a bit, but I can give you the tools to trust yourself. This is totally possible, especially for those who think it isn’t.

(36:48) My Final Words on Mindset

There are only a few tools that we need. We don’t have to first master weight loss, then finances, then relationships. The reality is that as we use these tools on repeat, every aspect of our lives begins to shift. 

No matter who you listen to, gurus, influencers, or trainers, nobody will coach you more than the voice in your head. As you interact with your spouse, when your alarm goes off, when you stand in front of the fridge at 10pm, everything gets easier when you upgrade to the right tools and that’s what we focus on in the 12 Weeks to Transformation.

To learn more about the 12 Weeks to Transformation visit primalpotential.com/transform. For a limited time, anyone who joins the waitlist for the 12 Weeks to Transformation will receive totally FREE access to my new Client Preview Series with me where we tackle topics like consistency, resilience, goal achievement, fat loss, and more!

809: Fear, Anxiety, and Imposter Syndrome

Listener-favorite, my husband Chris, is back for another podcast episode where we answer your questions (and announce the winner of the Saturday Giveaway!).

(03:35) How do I work through my fears and do the thought work to get beyond them?

Your fear is faith in the wrong ‘what if’. This idea comes from a Steven Furtick sermon; he says that ‘what if’ works both ways. If you’re afraid of the dentist, for example, and what-ifs are circling your mind, asking what if it hurts, what if I have a cavity, what if my dental work costs a lot of money? 

That fear can be very real to us but what we have to remember is that those what-if questions work both ways! There is a whole other side to explore. 

What if it doesn’t hurt? What if during your visit you meet someone and a conversation turns into a new opportunity? What if you feel great after your visit? Don’t put your faith in the wrong what-if.

I have a long time fear of needles. I despise needles but I decided to see an acupuncturist. How do I handle those fears about everything that can go wrong, with detailed thoughts of how painful and terrible the experience will be? 

I see fear as a doorway. I can stand on one side of it, telling the worst version of the story, or I can decide to live on the other side. I can agonize about the experience of being stuck with needles or I can ask different questions. What if acupuncture accelerates my healing? What if the experience cures my fear or needles?

Experiencing fear is different than experiencing danger. One is an innate, healthy response that helps us avoid harm. The other is a result of what we tell ourselves in our minds. I like to think about these thoughts as music tracks and I am the DJ. I can play myself a better song, a more helpful song.

(9:00) How do you curb Covid anxiety?

I am not an expert on Covid or virology or anything like that. My approach to dealing with Covid anxiety has been to focus on doing what is within my realm of control. I choose to focus on the brilliant machine that is my body to protect me. I choose to focus on improving my immune system.

There is no doubt that individuals with more robust immune systems are more protected against threats of illness, against viruses, the flu, bacteria. 

There is so much we can do to improve our immunity and get healthier. Quell the anxiety over the things you can’t control, like the existence of a global pandemic, with the things you believe will help you and that you can control, like wearing a mask, washing your hands, and improving your health.

From the very moment I realized that Covid was a thing, my family pivoted to limiting exposure and focusing on health, including things like sleeping, eating well, and supplementation. Those things go a long way. We don’t have to perseverate about the worst version of the story. Use your energy for what you can control.

This is just one woman’s opinion, but I aim to live fully and take care of my health, the rest is out of my control.

(14:30) How does one stop imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome comes from the notion that you don’t know enough or that you’re not smart or experienced enough to do what you’re doing, and you feel like a fake or a phony. This fear of not being good enough is rooted in comparison, fear, and insecurity, but it’s also rooted in the belief that having room to improve is a bad thing. This kind of thinking puts you at a deficit.

I could write a mile-long list of my competitors who have more clients, podcast downloads, and revenue than me, but I don’t because this kind of thinking is pointless. These comparisons have nothing to do with what I uniquely can do today. This doesn’t mean that I try to hide or ignore my weaknesses. My weaknesses are either opportunities to improve or they are simply facts that are reflective of where I am. I own them; I talk about them.

You will suffer from imposter syndrome if you are ashamed of your vulnerabilities, if you think they are somehow a liability. I don’t see my vulnerabilities as a liability I just see them as facts.

It’s cliche but true, comparison is the thief of joy—and it’s optional. We all have weaknesses, I don’t think we should hide them. My peers are where they are and that has nothing to do with where I am.

It really comes down to where your focus is. So get over feeling like an imposter by getting out of the realm of comparison.

(20:32) Why Can’t I be consistent?

You’re asking the wrong question. 

When we ask ourselves a rhetorical question, our brains automatically attempt to answer it, to give evidence and proof. Your brain is always on and working. So if you ask yourself a question like this, why can’t I be consistent, then your brain is going to give you a list all of the reasons, because you make excuses all the time, because you can’t say not to sugar. 

The problem is that this process reinforces the very thing you are trying to overcome. You’re asking the wrong question, solving for the wrong thing.

A more powerful question would be, what does it look like today to be consistent?

People tell me they want to be more consistent but when I push them to break that idea down and define it, they can’t. They tell me “I want to eat better” and “I want to work out more” but that is not specific. That tells me nothing about what consistency looks like for them.

When you say that nothing works (“what’s wrong with me?!”) you are focused purely on the problem, not the solution. Ask a different question. What does consistency looks like specifically and what you can do today?

I recently did a free training workshop on this, the replay of which is available on www.primalpotential.com/transform, where I talked about how people get stuck thinking that consistency is an aspiration. It’s not. For more specific examples, I go into a ton of detail in this workshop on the specific process for becoming consistent.

(23:13) Do you do a famous diet plan like Weight Watchers?

Short answer: No. I don’t like the notion of following someone else’s rules when it comes to food. I don’t believe in one-size-fits-all eating plans. 

Because of shifts and fluctuations, our bodies require different amounts of calories, day to day. The diet that serves me on a day where I got a lot of sleep may not be as effective on a day where I didn’t sleep well. And that’s is just one of many factors that can affect what food choices I make.

Beyond that, my goal right now is not about fat loss, but feeling amazing. To feel amazing, lately my food choices have been largely centered around whole foods, minimizing sugar, processed foods and starch, and eating veggies, plant-based fats, and proteins.

(25:35) When is the best time to eat carbs? Do I have to go 100% Keto?

My only answer I can give to this question is I don’t know. I can’t answer that question without knowing what your goals are, what your habits are, or what your exercise regimen is. It’s not fair to compare different people with varying extremes of lifestyles.

The best time to eat carbs is personal, it depends on an individual’s goals, their metabolism and body composition. For example, If you’re training for a marathon in the morning, then, yes, replacing glycogen stores around that time makes sense.

To the second question, what exactly is 80% Keto? In this episode, Chris and I joke that if you are 80% vegan then you are in fact 0% vegan. But seriously, like Chris says, you don’t have to do anything.

You can lose weight on any diet. You can lose weight as a vegan, pescatarian, vegetarian, on a keto diet, using Weight Watchers or the golden rules of carbs and fat loss, so no, you don’t have to go 100% Keto.

30:33: Announcing the Saturday Giveaway Winner

To win next Saturday’s giveaway, leave a review of the Primal Potential podcast on Apple Podcasts, review Chasing Cupcakes on Amazon, or share an episode or lesson that you’ve learned on Instagram or Facebook (be sure to tag me)!

808: Overcome Binge Eating & Heal Your Relationship with Food

I get a lot of questions about what clients can expect from the 12 Weeks to Transformation. They want to know what those twelve weeks look like and—more importantly—they want to know what they walk away with at the conclusion of the program.

In this episode, hear directly from one of my current 12 Weeks to Transformation clients, Beth, who joined the summer session with the goal of losing a few pregnancy pounds and in the process saved $4,000, transformed her family life, and, yes, her weight is down as well. This is Beth’s experience.

04:35 Everything Was Going So Well

Beth’s hardships this year are painfully familiar. A stay-at-home mom of two small children, Beth was interviewing for her dream job. She was in the final stage of the interview process and she found the perfect daycare, everything was lining-up. Then Covid hit and everything fell apart.

Beth was in a bad place, binge-eating, spending too much money, just trying to cope with the stress. Having read my book Chasing Cupcakes, Beth was aware of me and The 12 Weeks to Transformation. She was hesitant about joining because she’d already spent money on other programs that didn’t give her the results she had hoped for. She sent me a message and we talked about her doubts and the embarrassment she felt about spending more money in the middle of a self-described “covid-spending binge”.

With the stated goal of losing her last baby pounds, Beth joined the 12 Weeks to Transformation. As of the time we recorded this podcast episode, the 8-week mark, it was becoming clear to Beth that the transformation was manifesting in other areas of her life. After eight weeks, Beth has saved $4,000.

9:30 Big Changes in 8 Weeks

What changed? Beth went from making covid-guilt-ridden purchases, buying stuff to comfort her son about not seeing his school friends, to saving $4,000 in less than 2 months.

In the 12 Weeks to Transformation Beth found tangible tools. She made a plan, started a budget, and took control. She learned to direct her focus to finances with a new journaling practice where she writes down her purchases and really thinks through the intentions behind her spending impulses. With her identity journal, Beth makes the time and space for those changes to resonate.

She also flipped her view of the situation. Working with her husband, Beth and her family figured out a way to make saving money fun for them. By tying the process to her husband’s vinyl record hobby and instituting a fun Friday ritual, the whole family is engaged and enjoying it. Beth says it’s a better way to live.

17:00 The Lingering Problem of Binge-Eating

During our conversation, Beth also describes the challenge she’s faced by being in a repetitive cycle of binge-eating, followed by restricting eating.

Most people don’t know how good it feels to feel good. For so many of us, normal is the binge-restrict cycle or it’s inconsistency. What’s working for Beth is a change in mindset. She’s not eating to lose weight, she’s eating to feel good and to be less moody.

She told me (20:25) I am so addicted to the peace that I feel around food if I don’t have sugar. I can’t imagine having carbs in the middle of the day, or sugar in the middle of the day, ever again.

For me too, my mood stability hinges on how I eat and drink. So I can expect the struggle to be worse if I consistently make food and alcohol choices that don’t serve me and that make me emotionally volatile.

Yet, most people don’t know how they would feel if they made different choices. This is something that I wrote a chapter about in Chasing Cupcakes. Give yourself the experience of giving maximum effort. You can always go back to the way things were before, but giving yourself the experience is powerful because you will actually know how it feels. 

26:20 The Most Helpful Tools

For Beth, the most helpful tools have been:

1. The Identity Journal

When Beth is thoughtful about her journaling, it helps her, not just track her spending choices, but figure out what went wrong the previous day. 

2. Affirmations

Beth shared her two favorites:

I am a creative and energetic parent. She says this affirmation empowers her as a parent by helping her to identify as that kind of care-giver.

I am willing to be uncomfortable to see what I am capable of. Beth uses this one when she’s stressed out, wants to eat something she shouldn’t and “numb-out”. She tells herself, we don’t do that anymore, it’s going to be uncomfortable, and then 15 minutes later she’s moved on. 

*This is how uncomfortable things become comfortable!*

3. Working Out

Beth says, “I eat and move through the world to feel amazing. It doesn’t feel amazing to snap at my husband, to yell at my kid.” Beth has realized that when she’s feeling low-energy and moody, there’s no better way to feel better than working out. She describes how taking care of her body helps her mood, in turn making everyone in her family happier.

4. Gratitude

Looking for gratitude is part of the 12 Weeks to Transformation process and it’s one of the first things that Beth noticed, one of the first of many shifts she felt.

33:30 Trusting Yourself to Make Change

I asked Beth what she would tell someone who doesn’t trust themselves to actually do the work if they invest in the 12 Weeks to Transformation. Here’s what she said:

The reason that you want to do it and that you feel like it’s something that can help is because it can and YOU can and you want to do it because you want to change.

The thing about this program is that it’s not for everyone because if you don’t want to do the work, don’t bother, it’s not easy.

You feel the pull because you know that you are capable of better than this, and you know you can feel better than this.You have to take that step to find out because it’s there and you have it in you, you just have to let yourself succeed.

To learn more about the 12 Weeks to Transformation—opening again in September—visit primalpotential.com/transform. For a limited time, anyone who joins the waitlist for the 12 Weeks to Transformation will receive totally FREE access to my new Client Preview Series where we are tackling topics like consistency, resilience, goal achievement, fat loss, and more!

781: 5 AM Miracle with Jeff Sanders

Hi, friends! It’s Elizabeth here, and I am so excited to share Episode 781 of Primal Potential with you today! Primal Potential is a podcast all about you — your ability to change is not defined by yesterday and doesn’t need to wait until tomorrow. Your transformation is now, no matter what stage you find yourself in life!

This episode is a powerful one. Today, I’m talking with Jeff Sanders, and he’s here to help you make small changes that add up to a much more fulfilling life.

Do you ever feel too busy? Do you find yourself saying, “There’s just not enough hours in the day!”? Do you wish you could be more productive?

I’m right there with you. Productivity has been a huge struggle for me in different parts of my life, so I get it! It’s a struggle! But it doesn’t have to be that way. I know for me, it comes down to mornings. When I started being a better steward of my time in the mornings, I not only became more productive, but I created a habitual pattern of productivity. And that has truly transformed the way I live my life and run my business.

But I know I still have room to grow! That’s why I couldn’t wait to talk to Jeff Sanders. He’s an expert on productivity, and his advice is life-changing. Today, he’s here to teach us how to get earlier and really own our time in the mornings. Additionally, Jeff has some incredible advice for anyone who wants to create a life that is manageable and enjoyable, and he talks us through some great ways to wisely leverage our energy and handle distractions.

Are you ready to stop letting your day run you over instead of taking charge of your time and living a life you enjoy? Then dive into my interview with Jeff Sanders to find out how to do just that!


Who Is Jeff Sanders?


Jeff Sanders is one of the very best productivity experts I know! He’s a highly sought after keynote speaker at universities and organizations around the country. He’s also a productivity coach and the host of The 5 AM Miracle, a podcast which boasts over 9 million downloads and six award nominations!

Jeff is also the author of a couple of incredible books on the topic of productivity, which you can check out here! His first book is called The Free-Time Formula, and in it, he offers his best strategies for decreasing busyness so you can focus on the things that matter and be the high achiever you want to be. His more recent book, The 5 AM Miracle, talks about his own journey to get up early, get going, and leverage his time wisely for maximum productivity and how you can do it too.

Jeff Sanders is a genuinely brilliant and talented person, and I am so glad to have him on the podcast today! He has a lot of wisdom and good advice to share, and we get into a lot of great stuff in our conversation! (In fact, you’ll probably want to have a pen and paper nearby — you’re going to want to take some notes!) So with that, let’s get into it:


It Feels Amazing to Feel Amazing


As you may have guessed, Jeff Sanders gets up at 5 AM. Ouch, right? That’s early! But here’s the thing: early mornings are an excellent opportunity for productivity, and you don’t have to be some kind of superhuman to create a routine of getting up early.

Jeff Sanders didn’t start out as a morning person — he was just a busy person who wanted to feel less stressed out. He decided to take charge of his day and start getting up earlier to make use of extra time first thing in the morning:

“… I knew that I was living day to day, stressed out and overworked, and I knew something had to shift. … And so what I tried was a set of experiments … and the goal of this certain experiment was to wake up early and see if a 5 AM wake-up call would allow me time to run before work. … And on day one, when I tried this, it felt miraculous to me … I felt phenomenal. Even though I had slept less that night, I still felt really good because I had done something for myself.” – Jeff Sanders

Getting up early in the morning is fantastic because it allows you to fit in things you want to get done before the day takes over and you run out of time. For so many of us — including Jeff — when we get busy with work and family and friends, exercise is the first thing to go. But if you can find a way to get up and have even just an hour or two before most of the world is awake, you’ll feel amazing. It feels amazing to feel amazing!

And it doesn’t have to be difficult. I know many of us — me included — are tempted to say, “I’d love to get up earlier, but then I’d have to go to bed earlier, and late at night is the only time I have to relax!” I get it! But consider this: what could you be doing with that extra time in the mornings?

“And so 5 AM for some people just sounds like torture, and they just refuse to even try. And I get it. Like, it’s not easy, but I tend to focus on, like, ‘What do I get from this?’ And I really try to ask myself, like, ‘What’s the benefit here? And how can I keep my mind focused on that?’” – Jeff Sanders

Find your motivation for getting up a little early to take advantage of the extra hours of motivation and productivity. For some people, it’s exercising, but it doesn’t have to be that for you. Maybe you want the extra time when you’re awake and fresh to do some meal prep for the day. Perhaps you want to do some laundry or clean your house. Ask yourself, “What could I get out of this? What would be the benefit of a few extra hours of productivity time?” My guess is that you’ll be able to come up with plenty of things that will motivate you to get up early in no time!


Separate What Is Necessary and What Is Fluffy


Even if you can think of plenty of ways to fill those extra morning hours, it may still be challenging to think about going to bed early! So what are some strategies you can use if you want to shift your sleep schedule in order to wake up earlier?

“You shouldn’t let yourself get into things when you know that that’s time to end the day. And so for me, the only thing that’s worked is a very strict evening boundary, and I have an alarm on my phone that goes off. It says, ‘This is it. You’re done for the day. Stop, put it away, and prepare for bed.” – Jeff Sanders

So set boundaries for yourself, and then choose to stick to them! If you want to utilize the early morning hours to maximize your productivity, decide to stop working earlier in the evening so you can get a full night’s sleep and be ready to go in the morning.

It’s all about being the best steward of your time you can be. If you can find a way to reprioritize your schedule, you can structure your day so that it’s easy to get up as early as 5 AM. And not only that, but you’ll find yourself being significantly more productive toward your goals!

“I think the biggest thing for me that has shifted in the last few years has come from being very diligent about what I’m saying yes to and then letting go of absolutely everything else. … So you have to be very specific about saying I’m going to address these few things, and that’s it and everything else that’s fluffy or unnecessary or is not going to make a significant difference in my goals, I’m just not going to do. And that takes a real, like, self-awareness around what you’re currently working on to know what is necessary and what is fluffy.” – Jeff Sanders

What are your priorities? (This is where it’s a good idea to pull out your journal and start writing!) Think about your daily routine from your job to cooking and cleaning to your side hustle — everything you do in a day — and ask yourself, “What is necessary and what is fluffy? What are the things that make a big difference each day?” Once you’ve identified tasks you do each day that just aren’t going to move the needle toward your goals, go ahead and cut them out of your schedule!

Here’s the thing: when you aren’t diligent about your priorities, you’re going to struggle to be a better steward of your time. But when you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish each day, you’re much more likely to design your day to be as productive as you can be.


Create the Life You Want to Live


Here’s the bottom line: maximum productivity and managing your sleep schedule and all the things we’ve been talking about today are about creating a life you enjoy living. It’s about designing your schedule around your top priorities and cutting out the things that don’t move you toward your goals or bring you joy and fulfillment.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure your priorities are in order. Besides helping you create a sleep schedule that allows you to wake up earlier, making sure you know what your priorities are and investing your time in those things will help you create the life you want to live. 

“… there are simple things you can do. Like one thing I do every single week is a review process. I take about an hour and a half on Sunday afternoon, and I will review the last week, ask myself, ‘What went well? And how can next week be better?’ And just taking an hour out of my week to ask those kinds of questions will then cause me to cut things that don’t matter and actually create an ideal schedule for the upcoming week to make sure it matches my priorities.” – Jeff Sanders

What parts of your daily routine just don’t match up with your priorities? Take a little time to go over your schedule for the day or the week and consider what tasks aren’t bringing you fulfillment. Jeff even suggests asking yourself, “What am I not looking forward to this week? What do I not want to do?” so that you can find a way to remove the things from your schedule that just don’t connect with who you are and who you want to be. The point is to make sure you’re using your time to advance toward your goals and create a life that is fulfilling and enjoyable for you. And if waking up early is part of that strategy, then find a way to get up early!

And if you’re still saying, “Nope, 5 AM just sounds absolutely terrible,” that’s okay! It’s really about leveraging your time and using your energy cycles wisely.

“I’m still kind of working on … really leveraging my energy cycles throughout the day. … 5 AM is not my typical wake-up time even today, but there’s a goal for me to really ask the question, like, ‘When do I feel my best?’ How can I leverage those kinds of energy times in the day to do my hardest work?’… I know a lot of people who are night owls will do their best work, you know, at 7 PM to midnight, and if that’s the case for you, then leverage that time and really make sure you’re focused and can really tackle those things that matter.” – Jeff Sanders

Use your time wisely. That’s all there is to it! Take some time today or this weekend to consider what parts of your schedule are vital and what parts can go. Then, consider what times of the day are most productive for you, and leverage that time wisely to get the maximum amount done when you’re at your highest energy level. When you design your day around your energy cycles, you can get the most out of each day and really create the life you want to live!


“It’s a Lifestyle of Thinking More Creatively …”


Are you ready to maximize your productivity? Do you want to leverage your time and use your energy wisely to make as much progress toward your goals as you can? You can do it, and you can start today! It’s just about learning to think creatively and design your day in the way that’s best for you.

“It’s a lifestyle of thinking more creatively, thinking with possibility, thinking with ‘what ifs’ and ‘how can I’s’. And it’s a language that you have to really learn how to speak.” – Jeff Sanders

So consider your daily routine with creativity! How can you use your time wisely? What would be possible if you found a way to get up early and use your mornings for maximum productivity?

Thank you so much for checking out this episode! Jeff Sanders is an incredible person, and I’m so grateful to him for the time he spent sharing his helpful advice today! If you enjoyed this interview and you’d like to connect more with Jeff and his content, remember to check out his podcast, The 5 AM Miracle, and his books, The Free-Time Formula and The 5 AM Miracle

And, if you’d like some extra support, a little more coaching, and accountability, I want you to get on the waitlist for our next 12 Weeks of Transformation! In this program, I work with people in a much more personal and structured way to create change. We tackle our excuses head-on and find the core values that will motivate you to take action. If you’re not sure what to do next, I encourage you to check out 12 Weeks to Transformation and get on that waitlist! 

Join Now

I’d also love to connect with you via text! I send out text messages with my daily mindset upgrades and daily encouragement. I know they will empower you as you take action and close the gap!

Thanks, everyone! I’m so glad you chose to join me today. Now get out there and use your time to create the life you want to live!


Elizabeth Benton

668: The 9 Hallmarks of The Hard Road (and how to take the easy one instead)

Hi friends! Today, I’m super pumped to bring you another episode of Primal Potential! Primal Potential is a podcast all about you — your ability to change is not defined by yesterday and doesn’t need to wait until tomorrow. Your transformation is now, no matter what stage you find yourself in life!

Today, I’m discussing a topic that we all struggle with when taking steps towards change: choosing the easy road rather than the hard road. Do you feel like making positive changes in your life is a daily struggle? It doesn’t have to be difficult, friends! I’m going to give you incredibly helpful strategies that I have learned over the years for making immediate, practical changes to your habits and mindset to take the difficulty out of growth. 

I expand on these strategies in my book Chasing Cupcakes: How One Broke, Fat Girl Transformed Her Life (and How You Can, Too), so if you all find this advice helpful, then I highly recommend checking it out!  

I will begin by breaking down the nine hallmarks of the hard road and then discuss how to develop the mindset of making positive changes!


The Hard Road to Change


The first hallmark of the hard road is valuing novelty and intensity over consistency. We can often begin a new pattern with intensity and originality but quickly get overwhelmed and drop the changes that we’re attempting to make. Consistency is one of the most critical components of making positive changes and moving forward with your goals.

Do you ever feel that you’re taking intense and original steps to develop a healthier diet or to grow your business? Quickly, we can get overwhelmed and burnt out on the changes we’re trying to implement because the intensity weighs heavy on us. It is better to start with smaller changes if it means that we develop consistency. 

The second hallmark is putting off what you don’t feel like prioritizing today. Delaying yourself from accomplishing a task or developing a healthy pattern will make changing your life difficult. Don’t put off developing better spending habits and sticking to a budget. Start doing it today. If you get in the habit of putting it off, then accomplishing your goals will become far more difficult. 

The third hallmark is valuing skill over mindset. Do not favor learning more about something over shifting your mindset into doing something. If you use all of your energy on learning how to grow your business, then you won’t have the energy to implement those changes. Get into the mindset of taking consistent action rather than just learning new things about the topic. 

The fourth hallmark is investing energy into the problem rather than acting on the solution. Don’t waste your energy focusing on the problem; get into the mindset of using your energy on fixing the problem. In my book Chasing Cupcakes, I used the example of someone focusing on their problem of over-snacking. Rather than fixing the problem by shifting their mindset and developing healthier habits, they focused their energy on why it was they had an issue. In reality, it wasn’t so much a problem as it was a snacking pattern that they needed to reform through consistent action and developing better habits. 

The fifth hallmark is claiming to be a victim of outside factors. Blaming outside factors for why you’re unable to change something will not fix the problem. Saying that others are enabling you to overeat will not help you improve your overeating habits. You need to take personal responsibility and decide for yourself that you’re going to engage in healthy patterns to implement change in your life.

The sixth hallmark is making decisions based on your emotions rather than principle. It is incredibly easy for us to take the easy way when we’re feeling sad, tired, or overwhelmed, but making decisions based on how you’re currently feeling will hinder you in the long run. If you decide that you want to run a small business, but you make decisions based on your daily emotions rather than your overarching aspirations and principles, then accomplishing your dreams will be incredibly difficult. 

The seventh hallmark is focusing on doing everything right rather than focusing on the right thing. If you become a perfectionist with unrealistically high expectations for yourself, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed with making changes. Focus on doing what’s right for your goals, but don’t obsess over doing everything perfectly in your journey. It’s all about shifting your mindset into action rather than wasting your energy worrying about the perfect way to act. Determine what step you need to take towards your goal and then take it. 

The eighth hallmark is making excuses. Friends, do not talk yourself out of making progress by telling yourself why you can’t do something right now. Don’t dwell on why you shouldn’t do something, but focus on what you should do and act on it. For example, don’t make the excuse that you’re too busy to improve your relationship with your spouse. Get into the mindset of facing your problems head-on — take a step towards change. 

The ninth hallmark is focusing on other peoples’ journeys rather than your own. We are all on our route, and obsessing over how someone else did something is not going to help you figure out your journey. Be true to your path and figure out what works for you. There’s no trick to being yourself — you can’t copy other people. Don’t obsess over how your friend grew her business and follow the same steps. You need to figure out for yourself what works in building your brand. Don’t waste your energy comparing yourself to others. 


Taking the Easy Road to Success


Now that we’ve fleshed out what you shouldn’t do in your journey towards change, let’s discuss how you can start easily and effectively changing your life! 

The first hallmark towards making positive changes in your life is consistency — consistency is incredibly essential, friends. You need to value being consistent with your changes over the intensity of the changes. Don’t think to yourself, “I want to get in better shape,” then spend an hour and a half a day at the gym daily. You will most likely not be able to maintain that long term. Take smaller, consistent steps so that you shift your mindset into sticking with the changes you make. Start with smaller habits that you know you’ll be able to do consistently — for example, start with just fifteen minutes of exercise a day. 

The second hallmark is leaving yesterday and tomorrow out of your journey towards change. Don’t waste your energy regretting yesterday or worrying about tomorrow when it comes to implementing changes. Get in the mindset of only focusing on accomplishing what you need to do today. Focus on the right now — make the daily decision to transform your life. Don’t worry about how you didn’t exercise yesterday, and don’t worry about doing it tomorrow — today you’re going to do it. Just focus on today. 

The third hallmark is committing to improving your mindset every day. Friends, your mindset is invaluable on your journey to change. Developing the mindset of action rather than overthinking or making excuses will lead you to accomplish what you want. 

The fourth hallmark is focusing your energy on the solution rather than the problem. Move as quickly as you can to the solution rather than dwelling on the problem itself. Don’t waste your energy stressing about the problem or gauging its severity or worrying about who’s to blame. If there’s an issue needing fixing, then you need to focus your energy on actually fixing it. 

The fifth hallmark is practicing principle-based responses rather than emotional reactions. Do not let your emotions distort your decision making. For example, if you’re talking to a loved one and feeling irritated or frustrated, don’t let that emotional response affect the way you respond to them. Respond based on your principles of love and understanding. 

The sixth hallmark is focusing on doing the right thing over doing everything right. You don’t need to perfect your actions in your journey to success. You need to decide to do the right thing for your goals. Rather than worrying about perfecting your budget and spending habits, focus on the right now, and decide in the moment whether making that expensive purchase is right for your financial goals. Get into the mindset of making the right decisions for your ambitions. 

The seventh hallmark is not wasting your time and energy comparing yourself to others. Focus on your own work. If you’re trying to get in better shape, don’t worry about how someone else is getting better results. We’re all on our path, and everyone needs to focus on their journey without comparison. Just worry about yourself and what actions you need to take. 

The eighth hallmark is seizing every opportunity to break old patterns. Friends, this is such an essential part of your journey to success. Do not fall back on blaming others or making excuses for why you can’t develop new patterns. If you know that you need to shake a habit, then do it right now. If you want to create healthier eating habits, don’t wait until tomorrow — seize the opportunity right now and eat healthier today. You are entirely in control of your actions, so now is the time to develop good patterns and improve your life. 

Friends, every choice we have is an opportunity to choose the easy road rather than the hard road. 

If you found this advice helpful, I very much encourage you to pick up my book Chasing Cupcakes: How One Broke, Fat Girl Transformed Her Life (and How You Can, Too). I expand on these hallmarks and give a ton of other helpful tips for implementing change in your life. It’s available in a variety of formats — including print, kindle, and audiobook via Audible. 

If you need additional assistance in taking action in your life, I encourage you to get on the waitlist for our next 12 Weeks of Transformation! This program is all about you and getting you to overcome what’s holding you back. The program consists of a more personal and structured approach to beat day-to-day obstacles and realize your full potential! If you think this may be right for you, don’t hesitate to check out the 12 Weeks of Transformation.

Join Now

During these trying times, I also recommend that you sign up for our daily mindset upgrades. I send out daily texts of encouragement to help you choose the easy road.

Friends, I hope this episode inspires you to seize the opportunity to make changes in your life. Now is your time to develop good habits and take active steps towards success!


Elizabeth Benton

775: Make Your Brain Work Better with John Assaraf

Hi friends, I’m excited to share with you all another helpful episode of Primal Potential! Primal Potential is a podcast all about you — your ability to change is not defined by yesterday and doesn’t need to wait until tomorrow. Your transformation is now, no matter what stage you find yourself in life! 

Have you ever wanted to access the full potential of your brain? Do you feel like your inner voice convinces you that you’re not good enough to achieve your goals? Negative thoughts and feelings can often overwhelm and hinder us from taking necessary action in our lives. 

Thankfully, there is a way for us to combat these debilitating negative feelings through the helpful advice of behavioral expert John Assaraf. John specializes in tackling the unhelpful neurological responses that keep us in a state of anxiety and inactivity.

Even though our brains’ neurological survival responses help us avoid harm, our automatic responses can often be detrimental to our emotional health and sense of well-being. These feelings of self-doubt and anxiety prevent us from moving forward towards what we want. John’s methods of overcoming our negative automatic responses will significantly increase your brain’s productivity and help you finally step out of your comfort zone. I am incredibly happy to share with you this useful and practical advice from John that will change your life! 


Who Is John Assaraf? 


John Assaraf is an acclaimed author with two books on the New York Times Bestseller list. Additionally, he built five multimillion-dollar companies, including NeuroGym, which helps individuals increase their mental and emotional strength through exercises geared toward shifting their habits and mindset. 

His background in mindset and behavioral research enables him to effectively help individuals retrain their brains and behaviors to become more successful in every area of their lives. His most recent book Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power masterfully informs readers on practical tips and exercises to help individuals tap into their brain’s full potential. 

I know you guys are going to love this episode. Get ready to learn some mind-blowing tips on how to make your brain work better!


Overcoming Your Brain’s Survival Instinct 


At the start of our conversation, we dove right into the main subject of his expertise — the different neurological functions and how they affect us. He explained how the survival instinct has two primary functions:

“… we’ve got this brain and nervous system that is functioning based on a hierarchy that goes like this: any incoming information or any information that’s swirling around in your own thought processes that involves survival is going to raise this high alert. Any threat real or imagined activates this nervous system like nothing else because we want to survive. Right below that, the second hierarchy of how our brains work is avoidance of pain or discomfort. And our brain doesn’t care whether it’s financial pain or discomfort, mental pain or discomfort, physical pain or discomfort, emotional pain or discomfort. Anything that potentially can cause this danger for our lives or discomfort … our brain releases cortisol and epinephrine, norepinephrine the stress hormones that cause us to feel anxiety and causes us to not feel great.” – John Assaraf

It’s painfully ironic that the functions of our nervous system designed for our survival can leave a negative impact on our lives. But thankfully, we are not stuck with these detrimental chemicals bogging us down. John developed a method of exercising your mental and emotional functions in order to control your automatic response better. He calls the technique “innercise.” 

“We think … [of] exercise to strengthen our bodies, muscles, and organs, tissues, ligaments, et cetera … With a little bit of practice, we strengthen the muscles. Well, why not consider that our brain has got neuro muscles? So what if, let’s say, self-confidence was a neuro muscle. What if focus was a neuro muscle? What if your beliefs were neuro muscles? What if your habits were neural muscles, and some were strong and some were weak and some were constructive and others were destructive. Some empowered you and some didn’t. That is the first framework that we need to understand.” – John Assaraf

If we train ourselves to exercise these “neuro muscles,” we can shift our mindset and habits to strengthen ourselves emotionally and mentally to develop a better sense of well-being and pursue the things in life we want. 


Calming Your Survival Instinct and Activating Your Thinking Brain


John went on to explain the function of the sympathetic nervous system — which he calls the “Frankenstein”:

“Frankenstein is searching your environment to see if there’s anything that could kill you or anything that could cause you real or imagined pain or discomfort … Frankenstein’s on high alert, 24/7 for your entire life. And if anything triggers Frankenstein, Frankenstein releases these neurochemicals … when the Frankenstein part of the brain is active, then we feel stress and anxiety, self-doubt … negative self-talk, disempowering thought patterns … Frankenstein just says … put on the brakes and don’t do it. Just stay in your comfort zone and forget about that goal. – John Assaraf 

That “Frankenstein” part of the nervous system keeps us from accomplishing what we want because of all the defeatism wrapped in our anxieties and negative self-talk. Thankfully, in addition to the “Frankenstein,” we also have the parasympathetic nervous system, which activates the “Einstein” part of the brain:

“So on the very other side of this is the parasympathetic — the calm and respond part of your system, which activates what I call is the Einstein brain. And when Einstein is active … [it] thinks about, ‘Well, what can I do about this? Is this a real threat? Or is it imagined, is there anybody that knows how to navigate through this?’ And [Einstein] uses his imagination to see his way to the result, to the goal, to the vision, to the health, to the finances, to the relationship that he wants to have. He’s always looking for possibilities of how he can while Frankenstein’s always coming up with reasons why it may not work.” – John Assaraf

John’s explanation of the different parts of the nervous system perfectly reflects the kind of mentality we need to adopt. We need to shift our mindset from “Frankenstein” and toward “Einstein” and not let our unconscious neurological response of internal negativity doom us to inaction. We have to push ourselves and train our mindset to get out of our fearful comfort zones. 

John perfectly described the negative loop that people find themselves in when the “Frankenstein” takes over: 

“The emotion of anxiety … is nothing more than a runaway train in our brain around negativity. What if … I hurt myself? What if I lose? What if I die? … That’s a self-fulfilling doom loop if we keep thinking about it and feeling it and not interrupting that pattern. So what most people do is they feel then they think … about what they feel … And they keep perpetuating the constant release of these neurochemicals that takes away blood flow from the genius part of the brain.” – John Assaraf

The cycle of negativity brought on by the “Frankenstein” empowers itself to persist. That vicious self-fulfilling prophecy keeps us in the emotional gutter, making it harder to pull ourselves out of the toxic loop. If you tell yourself that you’re incapable of growing your business this year, then inevitably you will never reach your yearly goals. You feel that self-doubt that haunts everyone, but rather than using your brain to figure out what you need to do,  you say to yourself, “I can’t do this.” 

You waste your brainpower thinking about your inability to accomplish what you want rather than face the problem head-on. Then you continue this loop by saying, “I wasn’t able to expand last year, so I won’t be able to this year.” The only thing stopping you from accomplishing your goals is telling yourself that you lack the ability to make positive changes. 

John’s signature Innercises help combat this vicious negative cycle. He explained an exceptional breathing exercise designed to retrain your brain so that the “Einstein” can come out:

“What if at any moment, whether when you’re stressed or because you just decided to do this every hour, which I recommend, and you … just stopped and you just took six breaths slowly … in through your nose. And as you exhale through your mouth, imagine that there’s a straw in your mouth, and you have to get all the air flow slowly and gently out through the straw, and you pay all of your attention on getting that air flow slowly out through the straw until there’s no more air in your lungs or your diaphragm. And then what if on the next inhale, you simply said this: ‘I breathe in calmness.’ I breathe out stress or worry or fear or uncertainty. You could breathe in courage and breathe out stress … Now, as simple as that sounds a calm brain does not release adrenaline, epinephrine or cortisol — the stress hormones. A calm brain deactivates Frankenstein because Frankenstein now feels safe because you have just overridden this automatic part of your brain called the amygdala … Now you override that system so you can get blood flow back to Einstein, the left prefrontal cortex.” – John Assaraf

John’s methods of overriding that “Frankenstein” part of our nervous system is incredibly essential because then we can train ourselves to focus on the things that we want to accomplish. It is all about shifting our unconscious behavior to overcome our negative thought patterns. 


Committing to Retraining Your Brain 


John stressed the importance of not limiting yourself. When we master our “Frankenstein” and “Einstein,” we can push ourselves to accomplish our dreams and rewire our brains. 

“… we’re not hard wired. We don’t have to keep living our lives with limiting beliefs like we’re not good enough and not smart enough and not worthy enough … We don’t have to live with … limiting beliefs … that cause us to stay in the state of scarcity or even just security when there’s success and significance available to us. And all it takes is a shift in our awareness of how to use our brain better … we already have all of the how to … for just about anything that anybody who is listening to this wants to achieve … all of the stuff you want to do all the how to already exists. But if you have fears in your way and you don’t know how to move them aside, you won’t take action. If you have limiting beliefs in your way, and you don’t know how to release limiting beliefs, which is nothing more than a neural pattern, your brain, you will be stuck.” – John Assaraf

John is right, friends — we can retrain our brains to its fullest capacity and accomplish whatever we want. We don’t need to limit our careers or our relationships or our fitness goals. We have what it takes to overcome habitual negative thinking and take control of our lives. 

But there is a catch — retraining our brains takes hard work, and like mastering anything, we need to work on it continuously. 

“We practiced walking, we practiced talking … We practiced everything consciously where it took effort. And then with enough repetition and immersion, it became an unconscious competence … Your beliefs formulate the lens by which you see the world and your brain deletes or distorts everything else that doesn’t line up with your current beliefs. Your habits are automatic. They’re part of your automatic self. Whether they serve you or don’t whether they’re empowering or not. So if you’re not achieving your goal or goals … it’s not because you can’t. It’s because your habits won’t allow you to … And so the key is … how do I interrupt my habitual thought and emotional and behavioral patterns?” – John Assaraf 

It takes a great deal of energy and persistence to rewire ourselves to fully overcome “Frankenstein.” It can seem like a daunting task, but you are more than capable of doing it. You can overcome that cycle and accomplish your goals and achieve what you want. 

One great tool to help you along the way is John Assaraf’s most recent book Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power. It’s full of helpful, applicable advice and calming innercises to shift your mindset into becoming proactive in your life rather than letting yourself succumb to unhelpful patterns of inaction and self-doubt. 

If you need additional assistance in taking action in your life, I encourage you to get on the waitlist for our next 12 Weeks of Transformation! This program is all about you and getting you to overcome what’s holding you back. The program consists of a more personal and structured approach to beat day-to-day obstacles and realize your full potential! If you think this may be right for you, don’t hesitate to check out the 12 Weeks of Transformation.

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During these trying times, I also recommend that you sign up for our daily mindset upgrades. I send out daily texts of encouragement to help calm your “Frankenstein” and motivate your “Einstein.” 

Friends, I hope this episode inspires you to get out of your way of success. Don’t let negative thinking stop you. You are enough, and you can achieve your dreams!


Elizabeth Benton