This time of year you can count on tons (pardon the pun) of ways to diet. Eat more of this, less of that. You can just do protein and veggies, or maybe the newest, most amazing carb to hit the town from the African bush.
Well, I have another idea. How about changing your verbal diet? Think about it, would you only eat hamburgers for a month without anything else? “Of course not”, you sigh.
Yet look at your verbal diet. Most of us say the same things over and over and over without giving it much thought. Example: frustrated at work and you hear yourself say “that will never change”. We all do it and yet, if we can think in terms of the food we put in our mouths we can make changes faster and deeper.
It’s like those endearing chocolate chip cookies, you know, the ones that were there for you as a kid when someone said something mean or you got a poor grade on a test. We reach for what is comforting.
So, here is an exercise that will not cause you to sweat, well maybe not. For two days write down every time you find yourself repeating a phrase over and over; doesn’t matter if you say it out loud or just in the quiet of your mind.
If it reaches the number 10 Houston, you know you have a problem. Then find the healthy opposite of the thought and write it wherever you can; on your mirror in the bathroom, keep it on your computer, put it on your blackberry, somewhere in the car.
Every time the “Not” thought comes to you take a deep breath, a swig of coffee or tea or water and reboot. That’s it.
If you give this about six weeks, the real time it takes to reframe a thought and change a pattern you will be surprised how just something so simple can change so many aspects of your day. And by the way, to give yourself a reward, have a couple of those great chocolate chip cookies, you deserve them.
This is a simple aspect of what we do in the WELL program (Women Executive Leadership Learning) that will take place for two days March 2 and 3 at our retreat center in Pennsylvania.
In essence, we will look at both the individual and societal patterns that get in the way of higher functioning both at work and at home as we continue to reinvent ourselves.