In this Thursday Therapy episode, Glenn helps you follow through with making the habits you already know you want to make. He gives you 3 ways to turn good intentions into healthy habits. Glenn discusses how to transform the rational AND emotional parts of your brain so it’s easier to make healthy choices.
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- Viewer question on not being able to follow through with good intentions. [3:11]
- Being in two minds: the Reflective and Impulsive systems. [4:54]
- The reflective system. [5:02]
- The impulsive system is. [5:24]
- Being in “one mind”: Reshaping the two systems. [6:16]
- The “alternative” psychological therapies. [6:30]
- Looking at the things that decrease the reflective system. [7:39]
- Making the decisions behind the decision. [9:32]
- Creating an environment for success. [9:46]
- Imagine if you did everything you said you would… [10:58]
Hi everyone, Glenn Mackintosh, the weight Psych, and today we’re talking about actually doing those things that you say you want to do. Hey guys, welcome to Thursday Therapy and before we start, I’ve got some really cool news for you. You guys have been asking for this for a while and we’re finally going to do it. I’m going to do Facebook live videos, so in those videos I’m going to share some insights that I have in my client’s sessions with people, some of my personal, you know have those kind of, like moments of clarity, I’m going to share some of my personal experiences with you guys and just some ideas that you might not ask on Thursday Therapy but I really know are good ideas for you to hear. They’re going to be short little videos maybe like 2 to 5 minutes and I’ll be doing and probably once or twice a week. So, we have a big following on our newsletter but we’re not actually going to publish them to our newsletter because we don’t want to bug you guys because there’s going to be so many of them, so how you get hooked up is you join our Facebook page the Glenn Mackintosh Facebook page and we’ll give you a link to that and Em, you will show everyone how they can turn on the notification, so you get notifications for every Facebook live that I’m doing and that way you can ask me questions and you can interact with me in real time which is really, really cool but of course not everyone has the time to you know duck off to every Facebook live, that if you want to access them at any time we’re also going to publish that same stuff here on the YouTube channel, so if you’re on the mailing this but you’re not on YouTube, subscribe via the YouTube channel and if you subscribe make sure you press that little bell so you get all the notifications and if you’re really into them, I think they’re going to be really good, it might even be worthwhile setting yourself up with a YouTube account, it’s actually pretty easy. So, anyway that’s the great news. I’m actually really excited to do these. I don’t know what took us so long. Probably like what happens in some of my therapy sessions we talked about an idea over and over again it just kind of sinks in your subconscious and I’m like alright I’m ready to go but anyway let’s get on to answering Barb’s question. Barb asks, “Glenn my words are not congruent with my actions. For instance, I will say today I won’t have any diet soda or I won’t over indulge in sugar and then I do the very things that I said I wasn’t going to do. This has always been a huge source of frustration for me. Any ideas on how to change this?” Barb, this is an awesome question. This question applies to pretty much everyone. I get this question all of the time. The first thing that I want to say is I often get this question and then it’s followed by a statement like, I’m stupid or I must be crazy, it’s like Glenn, I want to do all of these things or I want to stop doing these things and I tell myself that but then I go and do the exact opposite, what is wrong with me? So, the first thing I want to say to you Barb and everybody else is that this is super normal, you’re not crazy. I get the frustration it is frustrating because Barb for you obviously you know drinking well and eating well of values of yours, so if you’re not in line with those values you’re going to be a bit frustrated. But I want you to try and have a bit of self-compassion because this is a very, very normal thing and it’s very normal because we actually have two parts of our brain that are making the decisions around what we want to do and what we don’t want to do simultaneously. So, often you will feel like you’re in two minds about making decisions, whether it’s around your eating, your physical activity or your drinking and that’s because we actually have two systems that are working in your brain at the same time, so the first we call the reflective system and now, the reflective system is quite logical, it’s a very slow thinking system and it’s kind of related to willpower; it takes a lot of effort. So, I think of this like a Spock type thinking and this is the part that makes all of the plans, then we have this other system that we call the impulsive system. Now, this is a like a fast and intuitive kind of a system, it happens without a lot of conscious thought at all, it’s impulsive and it’s related to our emotions. I think of this system as being like the Homer system, so if you feel like you’ve got this sort of logical, rational, conscious, sensible part of you that wants to get to a certain goal and this unconscious, childlike emotional part of you that’s getting in the way, that’s because you probably do. So, that’s completely normal so what we’re going to do now is we’re going to talk around how you can transform the relationship between those two systems, so you can actually do more of those things that you say you want to do. So, guys how are we going to deal with this? Well I want to give you a few good answers and then I want you to have a play around with it yourself. The first thing that I want you to do is if you haven’t already had a look into the alternative psychological therapies and when I talk about that I’m talking about tapping and hypnosis because these therapies, although they use very different mechanisms, actually work on transforming the impulsive system remember that impulsive system, it’s not the logical, rational, conscious part but it is the one that’s making the decisions a lot of the time. So, imagine if you can actually transform that system, imagine if Homer didn’t want the donut, imagine if Homer wanted to go outside for a walk and that’s, I suppose, the reason why those therapies can be so powerful and why the initial research shows us the effects of them actually increases over time versus most of everything else where the effects kind of revert back over time because they’re working on that impulsive system and changing the impulsive system so you don’t need as much willpower to fight with yourself to make those decisions that you want to do. So, the second thing that I want you to do is I want you to look to take care of things that might be weakening your use of the reflective system. Remember that reflective system is the slow, logical, effortful thinking, it’s kind of related to your willpower, so I want you to look at things that decrease your ability to use your willpower. You can think of your willpower is like a muscle and there are things that strengthen it and there are also things that weaken it. Not to be negative but I often find with a lot of my clients, it’s better to look at those things that are weakening willpower and stop doing them and that way the willpower just automatically grows. So, some of the key things that you might want to focus on here are; your sleep obviously when you don’t get enough sleep or it’s not good quality sleep or you’re sleeping too much that will decrease your use of the roughly good system. Alcohol is another big one, you know a lot of people will say to me you know after a couple of drinks I kind of lose my willpower and that happens for a lot of people and that also follows on for the next day or two, so you might look at your alcohol or any other substances that are affecting your ability to use your reflective system. Another big one that that can sometimes really hide from us is if you’re not drinking enough or if you’re not eating enough. So, if you go on a kind of a quite a restrictive type of a diet, you’re under nourishing yourself, that reduces your reflective system, your ability to use your willpower and think yourself through choices and that kind of undermines your whole progress, so make sure you’re not you’re not under eating or you’re not dehydrated and the other thing that’s really important too is your emotional state. Obviously if you’re feeling lots of powerful unpleasant emotions it makes it really hard to use your willpower. So, I like to think of not just trying to take responsibility for that choice at the point of time but trying to take responsibility for as many of those factors that give you the willpower to make that choice to. The third thing that I want you to do and you’ve probably heard this before but this is so important is to set up your environment for success, so that impulsively you’re making the right choices for you and it doesn’t take as much willpower. So, really simple things you can do is you know set yourself up for success with shopping for nutritious foods, so they’re in the house. So, that way say if you want to cook some food, it’s not as hard, still requires a bit of willpower maybe but not as much. Another thing you can do is set yourself up for success with your exercise for example I just got a gym membership that I think it’s about seven minutes’ walk down the road and it’s I’m going to the gym a lot more, why, just because it’s heaps closer. I also have heaps of people who struggle with drinking water that say just having the water bottle there with them all time really help, so it’s almost like a little cheat or a little hack, so you don’t have to worry about using the reflective or the impulsive system, you just set yourself up to success and it becomes quite natural to make those choices that you want to make. So, guys thanks for being with me for another Thursday Therapy and I really want you to give these ideas a try. I just wanted to think of something for a second, imagine if everything you said you were going to do, you did and everything you said you weren’t going to do, you didn’t do. Imagine the power that you would have in your life. It’s almost to me seems like you would be able to do anything that you want, so I don’t want you to get perfectionistic about that and try and have to be perfect with doing everything you say going to do and not doing anything that you say you’re not going to do, that’s not that the point but I want you to think if you can build these skills even 10, 20, 30 % imagine what effect that will have for your health and well-being but just your whole life in general because you can apply this to absolutely anything. So, have a think about that, have a play, work with the strategies and I’ll see you at next Thursday Therapy.