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.

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 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

778: It’s Not Your Circumstances, It’s Your Story

Hi, friends! It’s Elizabeth here, and I am so excited to share Episode 778 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!

Okay, guys, I am very excited about this episode. Today, I want to talk to you about an idea I’ve actually talked about on this podcast before because it’s one of my favorite things to talk about and I think it’s such a useful tool for those of us on a journey toward a goal (I think we can all raise our hands here!)

Those of you who have been listening to Primal Potential for a long time may remember that Episode 475 was called, “Mind the Truth That Moves You Forward.” That actually comes from an episode of Billions on Showtime where the character Wendy Rhoades says, “There will always be multiple versions of the truth, but when you’re here, mind the truth that makes you money.”

When I heard that quote, I started thinking about how relevant that is to so many of us on our individual journeys. Whenever you have a goal — and this has been so true in my own life — there are always multiple versions of the truth that we can tell ourselves. There will always be things about our circumstances that are true and that we can’t change.

But if we’re going to make progress, transform, and eventually arrive at the life we want to live, we need to mind the truth that moves us forward.

So today, I want to help you close the gap between focusing on your circumstances and focusing on your story so that you can mind the right truth and reach the transformation you want to see in your life. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

 

You’re Not Stuck In Your Reality, You’re Stuck In Your Story

 

I want to take a few minutes here to break down the difference between your reality and your story. I think there’s a critical distinction between them, and closing the gap between those two things is absolutely essential for you to understand to mind the truth that moves you forward.

Your reality is pretty self-explanatory: that’s your current set of circumstances. Your reality is where you are right now, and it’s true! Maybe you have a dream of launching your own podcast, but you’ve never recorded an episode. That’s okay! That’s your reality right now, and it’s a true fact.

Your reality is only the present moment and everything that has happened to bring you to it. That’s key here—your reality is defined by your past.

But your story is something different. Your story is bigger; it contains your past, your present, and your future. And it is every bit as true as your reality. Yes, the fact of your present reality is part of your story, but it’s not the whole story. And while your reality is true, your story is also true, and thinking of your journey as a story is the truth that will help you move forward.

This is one of the biggest problems I see in my clients. They explain that they’ll never land their dream job, or they’re not able to lose the weight, or they can’t launch their podcast because the reality is that they haven’t done those things yet. But they’re thinking of their reality as the only truth, but it’s not a helpful truth.

Your mindset dramatically changes when you begin to think of your past as a part of your story. When you think of your past as a story, you allow for the potential for growth; you are not defined only by what has happened, but also by your potential.

Here’s the thing: when we focus on the past, we tend to recreate it. When we focus only on the truth of our past and how it created our present reality, we tend to keep following in the same patterns. We’re not focusing on the truth that moves us forward, so we’re not empowered to change our reality.

You guys have heard this a thousand times, but to use myself as an example, I was so guilty of thinking of my reality as the only truth when it came to food for a long time. I was telling myself this story that if I was stressed or overwhelmed, all bets were off because I had always just turned to junk food to help me feel better. I was focusing on the truth of my reality — that eating poorly was just who I was because it always had been — and for a long time that kept me from making progress toward my weight loss goal.

But then I started to see myself as simply at one point in a greater story. My story wasn’t that I was a failure, or that I would always be unhealthy, even though that was true in the moment. Of course not! My story was that I still had the potential to change my habits and become the healthy person I wanted to be!

When I started to think in terms of a bigger story and began minding the truth that moved me forward, I made progress. I took control. I started eating healthy food and exercising. I lost the weight, and I became the healthy woman I had dreamed of being! 

 

Build Belief In Where You’re Going

 

Here’s another example I love to use when I talk about this topic: Think about the Wright brothers. Do you remember learning about them back in grade school? How they were the first people to build a plane and actually fly it? What a cool story! But the Wright brothers would never have taken off if they had been defined by their reality.

They could have said, “Well, we’ve never figured out how to fly before, and in fact nobody has! We definitely can’t do it now!” and that would have been partially true! The truth of their reality was that no one had ever learned to fly. No one had the knowledge or experience necessary to get a plane in the air—that was true. But the Wright brothers, instead, recognized that the truth of the past did not have to determine their future. They wanted to learn to fly, they chose to accept the truth of their potential, and they figured it out!

I really want you to get this idea into your head: Your ability to step into and permanently live in a new pattern of behavior depends on, hinges on, requires your willingness to believe that it is possible before you have evidence of it. The Wright brothers had no evidence that human flight was possible, but they believed in their potential to make it happen anyway. 

You can do that too.

Let me give you an example from my own life. For me, writing my first book was huge! So much so that I have made it a goal to write more books in the future.

But when I was writing that first book, I definitely had days when I wasn’t sure if I could do it! I mean, I’d never done it before, so I had no evidence I could do it now. The truth was that I had not written a book; that was the reality of my situation. And I could have chosen to stay stuck in that reality.

But I didn’t. Instead, I chose to believe in the truth of my story. I hadn’t written a book yet, but that didn’t mean I never would! I even had a significant advantage over the Wright brothers—when they learned to fly, literally no one had done that before. Plenty of people had written books before me! I had a wealth of resources I could use for writing advice and strategies and plenty of reason to believe I could do it! And I did. I wrote my book Chasing Cupcakes, and that was a big accomplishment!

Now, I am working toward writing more books in the future, and it’s great to have substantial evidence that I am capable of writing a book! But I didn’t need to have that evidence to write the first one. I just had to build belief in myself and my story.

You can do this too, guys! Build belief not in where you are, but in where you’re going. Tell yourself a helpful story. Say to yourself, “This is the truth of my reality right now, but the truth of my story is that I can do this!” If you can lean in and believe in that idea, you’ll be unstoppable! Positive change can and will happen in your life!

Here’s the good news: This advice works no matter what your goal is. I encourage you to dream big, of course! But you don’t need to win a Nobel prize or become a New York Times bestseller to make meaningful progress in your life. Nope, the truth of where you’re going can be specific to today. It doesn’t have to be reflective of where you want to end up in five years or ten years or even five months.

Remain mindful of the fact that the truth you’ve been telling yourself isn’t the only truth and that you are not stuck in your circumstances. Think of your life as a story, and build belief in where you’re going instead of where you’ve been. When you believe in the power of your potential and refuse to be defined solely by your past, you open up enormous opportunities for growth and transformation. 

Now, 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 that we could all use during these uncertain times of COVID-19. 

Thanks, everyone. I’ll talk to you next time!

 

Elizabeth Benton

774: Why Diets Don’t Work

Hi, friends! It’s Elizabeth here, and I am so excited to share Episode 774 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!

Today, I want to talk about diets. I know I haven’t talked about weight loss and healthy eating so specifically in a while (if you want to listen to some of the older episodes where I dig in on that stuff, you can find them here!), but on this episode, I’m taking a little bit of a different approach. I know that during the summer season especially a lot of people are thinking about losing weight. Some just want to lose five vanity pounds; others are undergoing major weight loss transformations as I did. Regardless, a lot of us are thinking about dieting.

But here’s the thing, guys: diets don’t work.

You heard me right; diets just don’t work. Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t be careful about what you eat and that eating healthy food isn’t necessary — that’s not true at all. I’m saying that strict diet plans are not going to give you the results you want.

I know, because I have tried. I’ve tried low-calorie stuff. I’ve tried low-fat stuff. I’ve tried vegan and keto diets, counting calories, counting macros, fasting, crash diets, more moderate plans, you name it, but none of it worked. For a long time, I was stuck, but then I figured out the secret: diets don’t work because they don’t take you into account. Diets don’t work because they don’t give you the tools you need to stick to your healthy plans on the days when you’re stressed, tempted to indulge, or just plain bored and ready to eat. That’s why you get stuck and fall off the wagon — to borrow a phrase I hear a lot from my clients — and you don’t see the results you desire.

But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to stay stuck. Elizabeth is here to help! So let’s jump in, unpack exactly why diets don’t work, and talk about some strategies that will actually help you achieve your health and weight loss goals!

 

Diets Tell You What To Do, But They Don’t Give You The Right Tools

 

Here’s the thing: most of us are not in need of a meal plan. We’re in need of the tools for those moments when we want to let ourselves off the hook.

And that’s why diets don’t work. Diets are quick to tell you what to do, but they don’t give you the tools for what’s in the way, right? Diets can tell you what to eat and when to eat it, and they’re easy to find! I mean, you can do a quick Google search and find a million diet plans in about a second. But none of those plans will help you respond the next time you find yourself dialing the number for your favorite pizza place.

So how do you find a plan for healthy eating that will work and get results? Get to know yourself.

Someone recently DM-ed me on Instagram (which I love, and you should absolutely do if you have questions, by the way —  you can find me here!) and asked, “How many carbs is too many carbs in the morning?” But here’s the thing, and here’s what I told her: it really comes down to whatever’s an improvement for you.

If you’re accustomed to having a stack of pancakes for breakfast, and you decide to start having a couple of servings of fruit instead, that would be an improvement! And improvement is all it takes to start seeing results.

And remember: your improvement doesn’t have to be drastic. If you’re used to having Taco Bell every night for dinner, don’t try to switch to having salmon and broccoli every day. That’s a perfect example of trying to follow a diet that will make you feel deprived and unhappy. Too many people try to make dramatic changes like that all at once, and they end up falling off the wagon. Instead, focus on small, incremental changes you can make, and then continue to make them.

Get to know yourself. Evaluate your habits and find small ways to improve. Any improvement is excellent; you just want to make progress toward your goals in a sustainable way. That’s how you get results!

 

Diets Treat Every Day The Same

 

Here’s another problem with diets: they pretty much treat every day the same.

Now for men, this can be okay. Men are on a 24-hour cycle. Testosterone and cortisol are highest in the morning, so it’s often good for men to get up early, work out, and hit the ground running at the beginning of the workday. Then in the evening, testosterone and cortisol are lower, and men are in more of a cocktail and relaxation mode. So for most men, treating every day pretty much the same can be sustainable.

But for women, it’s completely different. Women are not on a 24-hour cycle; we’re on a 28 to 32-day cycle, right? Our hormonal cycles take place over a month, not over a day! Our bodies produce more or less estrogen and progesterone at different times throughout the month; that’s why our appetites and cravings change from week to week and from day to day.

And hormones aren’t the only thing that can affect our appetites and cravings. Stress is a huge factor in our eating patterns, and that’s true for both men and women! It’s true for me, for sure. I know that I tend to eat a higher volume of food on higher stress days. That’s just a fact for me. But no diet can account for those higher stress days. 

Diets just don’t take our natural fluctuations into account, but you can do that for yourself. It goes back to getting to know yourself and creating an eating plan that is an improvement for you, and that works for your body. Maybe you learn that your stress level is higher during the week, so you need to eat a higher volume of food on weekdays and less on the weekends. That’s what I do! And that’s fine! But you have to figure that out for yourself by getting to know yourself and discovering what works for your body.

 

Diets Don’t Take Into Account the Relationship You Want To Have With Food

 

Here’s the final reason diets don’t work that I want to talk to you about today: diets don’t take into account the way you want to live and the relationship you want to have with food for the rest of your life.

Have you ever looked at a diet and asked, “Is this really the way I want to eat for the rest of my life? Will I enjoy eating this way in the long run?” If not, you should! But spoiler: no generic diet plan is going to reflect you and what’s best for your body perfectly.

The critical thing here is consistency; it is so important to find a way to eat that is sustainable and still helps you make progress toward your goals. It is possible, guys, I promise!

“How is it possible?” you may be asking. You have to build the skill of moderation. It’s not about trying to force yourself to follow a plan and act like you never have cravings and you’re never going to indulge again—that’s not realistic, and it’s not sustainable. It’s about having that yummy slice of pizza and then resisting the temptation to eat a pizza and a box of crackers and down a large soda right after.

Instead of choosing a diet plan and trying to force yourself to stick to it only to fall off the wagon on the days when you’re stressed or just tempted to eat more, find ways to indulge with moderation. And remember, even small improvements are significant and will help you reach your goals. I like to plan on having an indulgent treat like a slice of pizza or an ice cream cone two or three times a month. You might want to plan to indulge two or three times a week. That’s perfectly fine! Eating Taco Bell two or three times a week is better than eating it every night, and having an ice cream cone every once in a while is better than having one every day.

 

You Are Not Defeated, You Are Distracted

 

To all of you who — like me — have tried a million diets and found the all unhelpful, I want to tell you that you’re not defeated, you’re distracted. I know it’s so easy to get discouraged on a weight loss journey. But if you remember that no diet plan is going to perfectly account for your body or give you the tools you need to stick to your health goals when it gets hard, you really can start to see results.

So spend some time getting to know yourself. What works for you? What doesn’t? What hormonal or other physiological cycles might be influencing your appetite or cravings? How do you want to eat for the rest of your life? What relationship do you want to have with food? Ask yourself these questions, and craft your healthy eating strategy from your answers.

Go ahead and ask me these questions, too! Please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram, @elizabethbenton. I’ll always do my best to answer your questions!

And if you’re interested in some longer-term 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 that we could all use during these uncertain times of COVID-19. 

Thanks, everyone. See you next time!

 

Elizabeth Benton

772: Does Your Goal Have Your Yes

Hi, friends! It’s Elizabeth here, and I am so excited to share Episode 772 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!

I’ve got a powerful tool to share with you in today’s episode. I’m really excited about this one because I’ve used this tool in my own life, and it can be amazingly helpful as you’re setting your priorities and working toward your goals.

That’s why I really want you to sit down with a pen and paper and get ready to workshop through this one. And have a specific goal in mind. Think through all the goals you have in your life—and this could be anything! It could be a weight loss goal. Maybe you want to be kinder to your partner or start a business or run a marathon or stop snapping at your children. Just pick one goal to focus on right now and stick with it for the next few minutes while you read this post!

And don’t be afraid to stop, think, write, and reflect for yourself while you go through today’s episode! Use that pause button while you listen to the podcast and lean into this process of writing down your thoughts and feelings as we talk through this incredibly useful tool together.

I’m so glad you’ve chosen to tune in today! This is a powerful episode, and I genuinely believe it will help you reframe your thinking around your goals and help you achieve genuine transformation! So with that, let’s dive in!

 

It’s the Second “Yes” That Matters

 

Think about your goal. Are you thinking about it? Okay, good! Now here’s the first question I want to invite you to consider: Does your goal have your yes? Or does your goal have your “if I feel like it”? 

Let me explain a little. Sometimes — and I’m talking to myself here too! — we can establish goals with the absolute best of intentions. But when obstacles pop up and make it hard to continue maintaining our healthy habits and challenges disrupt us in the pursuit of our goals, often, all our good intentions fly right out the window! So ask yourself: Does my goal have my full commitment? Or is this particular goal the first thing I throw aside when I’m not feeling motivated?

I was listening to a sermon a couple of weeks ago that explained it in terms of a marriage. Whether you’re married or not, think about this in terms of standing at the altar. What’s the classic line? “I do.” And that’s great! You’ve just committed to another person, and that’s important.

But it’s not the most critical time you’ll say yes to that person. Let me say that again: That first yes is not what matters. It’s the second yes that really matters. It’s the 22nd yes, and the 222nd yes and so on that define your commitment to this person and your marriage. What matters is that you continue to say yes to this person day after day, year after year, in the moments when you’re tired and unmotivated, when life hasn’t turned out the way you thought it would, and when you’re going through a rough patch in the relationship.

Think back to your goal. Does it have your yes? Well, you’ve said yes to it the first time; otherwise, it wouldn’t be a goal! But what about on the days when you feel discouraged? Maybe you have a weight loss goal. Does that goal have your yes when you’re up and awake and energized and ready to work out? Probably! Does that goal still have your yes when you’re tired and tempted to pick up a pint of ice cream on your way home from work? Maybe not. That second yes is the one that counts.

That’s why it’s crucial to be mindful of your emotional state when you say yes to your goals. Let me just give you an example from my own life. I’ll just tell you, I never say yes to the goal of speaking more kindly to my husband, Chris, when I’m feeling angry or frustrated or annoyed! No, I say yes to that goal when I’m out for a walk, enjoying the fresh air, listening to a podcast, and feeling encouraged and happy!

It’s easy to say yes to speaking kindly to my husband in those moments when I’m feeling happy and content. But what about when I get home from my walk? What about when I walk back in even though we said he was going to take the trash out, do the dishes, and start dinner, he’s sitting on the couch watching a movie? In moments of frustration like that, it is so much harder to say yes to my goal of speaking more kindly to him, right?

 

The Conditional Yes vs. The Unconditional Yes

 

That’s why it’s so critical to reckon with the fact that we’re all going to have times when we just don’t feel positive and fired up, and we don’t want to give our goals an unconditional yes. I’m not trying to tell you it’s easy! Commitment to your goals, even on the days when it’s difficult, is not an easy thing at all!

But there’s good news: You already have plenty of experience with the unconditional yes.

Think about your job. When you say yes to your employer about your job, that yes is not conditional, right? You’re not going to tell your supervisor, “I mean, I know I said yes, but I wasn’t really feeling it, so I decided not to come in today,” right? Of course not! If the yes you gave to your job and your career was conditional, you would not have a job! You would not have a paycheck, and when money is on the line, it’s much easier to see the problem the conditional yes.

Here’s another example: think about feeding your kids. Would you give a conditional yes to feeding your kids? Of course not! You’re going to feed your kids every day, no matter what. You feed your kids on the days when everybody is getting along and having fun, and you feed your kids on the days when they’re frustrating, and everybody’s complaining, and family meal-time is no fun at all, right? That’s because feeding your kids gets an unconditional yes, automatically, no questions asked.

You have plenty of experience with saying yes to things unconditionally every day! So think back to the goal you’ve been writing about. Does it have your unconditional yes? You don’t want to tell yourself that you can’t or that it’s too hard to give this goal an unconditional yes because there is a precedent for giving an unconditional yes in other areas of your life. Can you commit to this goal even in the moments when it’s challenging?

 

Building Awareness

 

Okay, here’s what I want you to do now. Now that you’ve got a specific goal in mind, and you’re considering whether that goal has your yes, ask yourself, “What does it mean for this particular goal to have my yes? What does that look like? What are the second and the third and the fourth waves where my yes matters more than the first?”

For me, my primary goal right now is to take impeccable care of my body. This season of life since the loss of my daughter has been painful beyond anything I could have predicted. I’ve had many days where survival was my primary goal. But I know that Chris and I want to bring more children into the world, and so right now, my goal needs to be to take care of my body. 

That call has my yes. So I ask myself, “What does it need to look like for this goal to have my yes?” I know that when I get tired at the end of the day, I am tempted to give myself a sweet junk food treat and start another episode of a tv show when I really should be going to bed. So giving the goal of taking care of my body my unconditional yes looks like fueling my body only with healthy food and getting plenty of sleep. It looks like choosing not to give in to those temptations and to fuel my body brilliantly.

So ask yourself these questions for your specific goal. And when you’re done, go through them again for the next goal and for every goal you have. There’s no need for perfection here; the important thing is that you’re building awareness of your goals and whether you truly want to prioritize them and give them unconditional yes.

And here’s the thing: when you go through this process, you may discover that, no, you don’t want to give a particular goal your yes. That’s okay! You can still make tremendous progress even when you’re not ready to commit to a goal fully, and saying no to certain things can help you learn what’s most important to you. Remember, this process is about building awareness, because when you have proper awareness, you can choose your goals with wise intention and pursue them with energy and purpose!

 

How Can You Say Yes Today?

 

Okay, guys, I have one more question for you to ask yourselves:

How can I say yes to my goal today? 

Don’t think too far ahead, just ask yourself what you can do today, in the next hour, in the next fifteen minutes to say yes to your goal. Remember, if nothing changes, nothing changes. But even small changes can make a big difference!

You really do have the power to change your life, and you really can do it right now. It just takes considering your goals with intention, re-prioritizing them, and giving an unconditional yes to those that matter most to you!

Now, 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 that we could all use during these uncertain times of COVID-19. 

Thanks, everyone. I’ll talk to you next time!

 

Elizabeth Benton

769: Are You Doing What It Takes?

Hi, friends! It’s Elizabeth here, and I am so excited to share Episode 769 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!

Today, I want to start by asking you a question, and I bet you can guess what it is: Are you doing what it takes?

Let me expand on that a little further: Are you really doing what it takes to reach your goals, or do you just look like it? Because let me tell you guys, there’s a big difference.

Sometimes, when we have big goals and aspirations for ourselves, we think about the goal, we plan to achieve it, we may even become financially invested, but we never take the necessary steps to get there. We make ourselves look like we’re working super hard to achieve something, but we’re not genuinely putting in the effort required to get the job done. 

Let’s take weight loss as an example. Those of you on a weight loss journey right now, ask yourselves, “Am I really doing what it takes to lose weight and get healthy, or does it just look like I am?” Are you spending money every month on a gym membership to look like you’re getting fit, but not putting in any hours actually working out? Are you doing all your grocery shopping at Whole Foods and buying lots of fresh fruits and veggies only to let them spoil in your fridge the next time you’d rather run through a drive-through for dinner?

“Yup. That’s me. Thanks, Elizabeth, I feel like crap now,” you may be thinking. But here’s the thing: so many of us relate to this problem! I have experienced this over and over in various areas of my life, including my own weight loss journey as well as my relationships. That’s why I wanted to discuss this with you today. I truly believe that if we’re honest about whether we’re really doing what takes, we can start taking action to achieve our goals and get real results!

 

“Prepared” Doesn’t Catch Fish

 

Let me give you guys another illustration to explain my point. I live on Cape Cod, right near a canal. Every morning I like to go for a walk, and one morning when I was out particularly early, maybe 6 AM, I watched as a couple of fishermen walked down to the canal. And these guys had all the gear. They were out there that early in the morning wearing their waders and carrying buckets of bait and poles. They were even tricked out with these little holders for their bait; they were all ready to go!

But here’s the essential thing: None of that stuff guaranteed those fishermen were going to catch anything. They definitely looked like the ideal fishermen, all geared up and ready to go! But even though they got up early and hauled all that stuff (which honestly was probably pretty expensive) down to the water, none of it was enough to ensure they were going to catch lots of fish that day.

They were going to catch fish by getting in the water, casting the line, and reeling it in when they got a bite.

If you’re going to go fishing, having a fishing pole — even a nice one — isn’t enough to catch fish. Having tons of gear isn’t enough. Getting up early isn’t enough. Reading all the fishing magazines and buying a million kinds of bait and researching where the fish are going to be and planning the fishing trip aren’t enough.

Now, those things are all great, and they can make you feel prepared! But being prepared doesn’t catch fish. Only actually getting in the water and casting the line and doing the actual work of fishing catches fish. After all, anybody who stumbles down to a pond with a little net without doing any preparation at all can catch a fish! The only thing that ensures results is doing the work.

This idea applies to you too! Let’s go back to the weight loss example since that’s a little more relatable to most of us! You can buy a fourth pair of running shoes even though you have three perfectly good pairs. You can go to your favorite store and buy a new sports bra and new leggings and tell yourself those things will make you feel more like working out. You can listen to fitness podcasts and talk to a nutritionist and even buy healthy food, but none of it will help you lose weight if you don’t start exercising and eating healthy.

That fourth pair of running shoes isn’t going to help you lose weight, but running will. That new sports bra and leggings won’t help you lose weight, but working out will. Fitness podcasts and nutritionists are great for helping you learn ways to exercise and eat healthy food, but they won’t help you lose weight unless you take their advice and start eating healthy foods.

But how can you know if you’re truly doing what it takes or if you just look like it? The answer is simple: Ask yourself, “Am I getting results?” If you are, great! Keep doing what you’re doing, clearly it’s working!

But if not, it’s time to take action. It’s time to wade out into the water, cast the line, and reel in a fish. It’s time to put on the running shoes, go for a run, and finally start losing weight.

And guys, don’t be discouraged! Just by asking yourself these questions, you’re developing new self-awareness, and that is so important. When you’re honest with yourself about whether you’re really doing what it takes or whether you just look like it, you’re in a great position to reevaluate the steps you’re taking to achieve your goals, start taking action, and get results!

 

Be Specific With Your Goals!

 

So how do you take that first step? How do you bridge the gap between looking like you’re working toward your goal and actually doing the work?

This is where you take out the paper and pen, friends. It’s time to get writing!

First, figure out your goal — and be very specific! I tell my 12 Weeks to Transformation all the time that specificity is a superpower. Let’s stick with our weight loss example here. “I want to be healthier” is not specific enough. “I want to lose 25 pounds before labor day;” now we’re talking! “I want to learn to do push-ups” isn’t quite specific enough. “I want to be able to do 50 push-ups unbroken on my toes” is a specific goal! By identifying your goal with that much specificity, you start to unlock your massive potential and gain confidence that will help you take action. 

Once you’ve identified your goal, think about what “just looking like it” actually looks like. And don’t stop writing — make another list, and make it as long as you can! This goes back to what I talked about earlier — do you have several pairs of running shoes and lots of cute workout clothes that you never wear? Do you have long receipts from Whole Foods that are mostly full of cookie dough and sugar?

I know this stuff isn’t fun to think about, but keep going. Keep digging and being honest with yourself. When you’ve thought of one or two things, force yourself to think of five more. Because here’s the thing: By forcing yourself to expand the boundaries of your mental capacity, you become a better thinker, and that will have a huge impact on every area of your life! You become more self-aware, and you’re better able to identify your particular strengths and weaknesses, and that makes it so much easier to feel clear and confident as you pursue any goal!

Finally, when you’ve got a specific goal and made a list of things that just make it look like you’re pursuing that goal, ask yourself what it’s going to take to reach that goal. And again, be very specific! Make a list, and keep in mind that you don’t have to do everything on your list right now.

So what will it take to accomplish your goal? How are you going to lose those 25 pounds by labor day? Maybe you decide to follow the Golden Rules of Carbs and Fat Loss consistently (which I explain in detail on Episode 195!). Great! How consistently? Five or six days a week? 27 days out of 30 each month? You decide! But if you lay down those specific ground rules for yourself, you set yourself up for success and real results!

 

“I Don’t Know” Is The Beginning of Your Work, Not the End of It

 

So as you’re working through these questions and trying to write down your responses with as much specificity as possible, I want you to know that you are eventually going to a point where you just have to say, “I don’t know.” 

And you know what? That’s okay!

Seriously you guys, it is okay not to have all the answers immediately. When you realize that you simply do not have the answer to something, you have a place to start. Now you can take action with a direction and seek the answers to your questions.

Let’s return to this hypothetical weight loss journey one more time! Maybe you take a hard look at yourself and realize that you’ve just been looking like you’re trying to lose weight without actually doing what it takes. So you set your specific goals, start using those running shoes, and take steps toward losing weight. And that’s great! But maybe when you ask yourself, “How can I eat healthier foods? How do I know what kind of nutrition plan is best for me?” you have to admit you just don’t know.

That’s also great! Now you get to start actively seeking answers. Seek out a nutritionist, doctor, or fitness advisor who can help you create plans and strategies for your diet to support you in your weight loss goal. Just remember, when you seek answers and find them, continue to take action! Take the advice you get from trusted sources, and celebrate as you finally start seeing results!

Here’s the thing, guys, if I could just encourage you for a minute: oftentimes we go a mile deep on the problem and only an inch deep on the solution. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You truly can see results if you choose to go as deep with the solution as you go with the problem!

That’s what all this specificity and self-reflection is all about. If you take the time to be honest with yourself, admit it when you don’t have the answer to a question, seek out the answers you need, and implement them in your strategy, watch out! Nothing can stop you!

And as difficult and frustrating as it can be not to have all the answers, remember: This is the beginning of your work, not the end of it. Finding out where you don’t know how to move forward is the perfect opportunity to seek help and start making real progress! It takes honesty and effort, but it’s so worth it when you begin to see those awesome results!

 

We Have To Be Creative, Energetic Problem Solvers

 

We’ve talked a lot today about one of the biggest problems we face as we strive toward our goals. It can be challenging to be honest with yourself and to realize that you just look like you’re doing what it takes instead of doing it for real.

But we are problem solvers, guys. When we arrive at a place of self-awareness and specificity, we can be creative and attack our goals with so much energy! We can wade right into the canal (with as much gear as we want!), cast our lines, and start reeling in the fish!

Would you like some extra support, a little more coaching, and accountability? Maybe you want someone to come alongside you and help you set some goals with as much specificity as possible? 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 in their lives. 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 that we could all use during these uncertain times of COVID-19. 

You can reach your goals, friends! And I’m happy to help you get there!

 

Elizabeth Benton