So as we wrap up the January Resolution Support Group and Giveaway, you may be wondering:
Believe what? Believe in the invincibility of San Francisco Bay Area sports teams?
Nah, the photo above was just a handy image to use--although as a Bay Area native, I've gotta say: Go 'Niners!
What I actually mean by "it" is:
Believe in Your Own Incredible Ability to Change Your Life for the Better.
And yeah, so why is a self-confessed cranky foul-mouthed skeptic getting all trite and sappy and urging you to believe in yourself?
I know, it's kinda creepy. And possibly annoying. (On the other hand, readers of Cranky Fitness are renowned for their patience and ability to withstand even the most annoying of blog posts.)
But as I am slowly but surely rewiring my ornery pessimistic brain circuits, I'm discovering that perky hopeful neural connections seem to work a hell of a lot better than grumpy ones when it comes to getting shit done. And I'm really appreciating the amazing impact that positive expectations can have. Or, if not always positive, at least open-minded and curious. (Despite much progress, I still have a crapload of work yet to do myself).
One thing I have no doubt about? The whole "things will suck and there's nothing I can do about it" mindset is Not Helpful At All.
Do you sometimes have trouble really believing deep down that things will go well for you? How do you rewire a skeptical brain to be more positive and hopeful?
(Smarty pants readers may recognize Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.
And btw, I am totally smitten with my new love, Better Book Titles.)
As it happens, one of many hopeful projects I'm working on right now is an ebook on just that subject. There are tons of brain hacks that even the most skeptical and pessimistic of self-help washouts can use to train their clever minds to achieve a lot more happiness. And you don't even have to abandon that cherished gift of skeptics and grumps everywhere: sarcasm!
But as the ebook may take awhile, let me at least share one idea that helped my own skeptical brain embrace the notion it could change itself and accomplish (relatively) ambitious goals:
Science Is On Your Side!
And I don't just mean a random recent study that says New Year's Resolutions are not nearly as doomed as we've all come to believe.
As modern research technologies have gotten more sophisticated about seeing how the brain works, the whole study of neuroplasticity has given us skeptics some reassurance that WE CAN CHANGE. Personally, I love the notion that clever scientists can actually peer into our brains and observe the creation of new connections and structures as we beef up areas that need help (hello, ability to say no to 3rd helpings!) and shut down old dysfunctional cranky panicky defeatist wiring. A rewired brain actually looks and behaves differently! To have scientific corroboration of earnest truisms about "habits" and "willpower" and "mindfulness" and "positive thinking" is profoundly motivating, at least for me.
Bottom line: Practice thinking and behaving differently and eventually everything gets much easier because you are creating a New and Better Brain!
Now of course whenever I mention neuroplasticity and personal growth, I gotta thank Rick Hanson, the guy who got me started with all this rewiring stuff with his excellent book Buddha's Brain. (And who let me take his nifty online course The Enlightened Brain). Is it a coincidence that I'm mentioning his name the same day he's kindly mentioned my silly exercise ebook in his newsletter? Actually, yes, as I was already planning on it! But it does make for nice symmetry.
Oh, and if you'd like some Free Rick Hanson, check out his Compassionate Brain series of interviews with all kinds of great experts. You can even cheat and watch his excellent wrap-up first to figure out who you're most interested in hearing first. Guests include: Richie Davidson, Dan Siegel, Tara Brach, Dacher Keltner, Kelly McGonigal, Kristin Neff, and Jean Houston. (My faves were Kelly McGonigal and Kristin Neff). The series will be available for 6 months in the archives. "So far over 33,000 people have seen these free videos, which explore how to use the power of neuroplasticity—the mind changing the brain to transform the mind—to open the heart, build courage, find compassion, forgive oneself and others, and heal the world."
Curious? Check out the Compassionate Brain Preview Clips on Youtube.
Another, Better Post About Being More Positive:
I just discovered Charlotte wrote a great post yesterday about choosing happiness with a whole list of great tips; if you haven't seen it yet, check it out!
And Many Thanks to My "Support Group!"
This experiment in Virtual Support has been incredibly fun for me! So many great goals, honest check-ins, funny stories, great advice, and commiseration. The best thing? It totally helped me Rock My Goal so far. I am certain that on my own I would not have been nearly as diligent. My non-support group goals have have had WAY more ups and downs. More prattling on about that, as usual, in the comments.
Because I had so much fun, I'm hoping some of you will stick around and hang out in the comment section even after the giveaway part is over. I'm thinking perhaps a monthly goal check in if anyone is up for it? And note: if the Google Gods know who you are through a blog id or by being logged in with a gmail account or however they do it, I believe you can subscribe to an individual post's comment thread to see follow up comments by using the "subscribe by email" thing at the bottom. Often I reply to your comments (though not always on giveaways or older posts) and others may reply to you as well. Wish it worked for everyone, dang it!
And What About the Damn Giveaway?
For anyone new, this is a giveaway for a package of 4 sessions of Life and/or Wellness Coaching. If you've just joined us you can still play; start with the resolution support post and then go to the next find the joy in your resolution post and then the resolution FAIL post and finally the Do Less post. (And yes, actually, I can hear you saying "seriously, are you f--king nuts?") But it's only fair to at least offer the opportunity.
Because in addition to the winner's free package, everyone else who has participated all along or made a sincere effort to "catch up" with additional observations and comments is eligible for a 50% discount off regular life coaching rates, rather than the usual 25% Cranky Fitness special.
As anyone who has read these comments is probably aware, picking a winner is gonna be hard. You are all awesome and I want to coach you all for free! Yet, I'd also like to pay my exorbitant grocery bills. I plan on letting a few days go by for this post's comments to trickle in, and then choose a small select subgroup of 3 or 4 extra special favorites... and then do a random draw from there. Winner announced Monday Feb 4th.
Whew, what a long post full of random logistical stuff! I bet right now you're feeling... sheesh what's the word I'm looking for...
Impatient! That's it! You're probably impatient to get down to the comments and let us know how you're doing on your goals, and to give some support to someone else!
How'd it go this week? And do you ever have trouble believing you can actually change?
Frankl: better book titles
Bored: Luke Montague