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Courtney Townley 0:00
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them. Not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.
Courtney Townley 0:28
Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. As always I am deeply grateful that you’re here. And today, I want to talk about making commitments that actually support your commitments. What the heck does that even mean? Well, if you’ve been around the Grace & Grit block for a while, you have probably heard me say that making a commitment to show up for yourself in a new way, is really kind of the easy work. It’s the recommitting day after day over the long haul, where we really start to rumble. And think about this, when you initially make a commitment to uplevel your life. Often that feels very exciting, we feel very motivated, it is very new. But as the weeks and the months go by, we are left with this reality of the work that needs to be done for a much longer period of time, in order to create the type of change we’re truly seeking.
Courtney Townley 1:42
As novelty starts to fade, often what happens is our commitment level also starts to fade. Because the commitment starts to feel hard. And a really big reason why commitment starts to feel hard, is because we are self inducing a lot of unnecessary struggle, which is really great news, it’s really great to recognize that we are the thing that is creating the hardness in the commitment. Because it means that you have an awful lot of control over the amount of difficulty that you face with any commitment that you make. If so you will have control if you are willing to make commitments to how you show up for your commitments.
Courtney Townley 2:50
Think of it as like a code of conduct or a pledge. I often think of going to like a public pool or going to the gym. And we inevitably always see those signs hanging about that tell us what the code of conduct is to keep that space safe for everybody there and respectful for everybody there. And I think that we need to be making those kinds of pledges and commitments to ourselves when we’re embarking on behavior change. And this is actually a practice that I have long taught my students to ensure that they stay the course to wherever they’re heading, whatever they aspire to create in their life, with more ease, and of course, more consistency.
Courtney Townley 3:46
So in this episode today, I want to break down for you this concept of making commitments that support your commitment and share some of the commitments that I’ve actually encouraged my own community members to make in dedication to their own process. So like I said earlier, saying that you will do something is easy. It’s just words. But actually doing what you said you would do on a regular basis is something else entirely. And the truth of the matter is, it isn’t just what you do. It’s how you show up to do it. So you can show up to eat healthier meals. But you can do it begrudgingly and sort of angrily and not enjoying it at all. And the thing to remember about that is that the energy that you use to achieve any goal or to create any kind of behavior change is the same energy that you are going to use Who’s to sustain that? Let that sink in, I’m going to repeat it again, because it’s really important for all of us to wrap our head around the energy that we use to reach a goal, or to create any kind of behavior change is the same energy that we will use to sustain those things.
Courtney Townley 5:28
So if you try to hate your way into behavior change, if you are miserable along the path to behavior change, you will be miserable in the sustaining of that. And that gets real old, that gets very tiresome, that sucks. You’re not going to keep doing that. So it makes a lot of sense to consider how you want to show up for the commitments that you’re making? What will you tolerate from yourself, in terms of the way that you’re showing up? And what will you not tolerate? Now, in my Rumble, & Rise community, every new member is invited to sign a pledge that I’ve written to help them make the most of their experience in the space. But I also encourage them that to write their own commitments. So I give them some ideas on maybe where to start and what to consider. But then I encourage them to elaborate on that. And today, I’m going to share with you some of those pledges that I invite them to consider, because I don’t think they’re just great things to remember, on the way to improving health, but they’re really amazing at improving any area of life.
Courtney Townley 7:06
This is a really strong foundation of commitments that will help support any commitment. And of course, my objective here is to help you better understand the value of making commitments to support your commitments, but also to inspire you to do your own work around this. So one of the things that I encourage my students to consider is the pledge that I commit to taking action. I will not simply consume information, I will create time and space to experiment and apply the things I learned. Why is this so important? Because often we make a commitment, it might be to start a business, it might be to save money, it might be to retire early, I don’t know what your commitment is. But we make a commitment. And then we hide behind information consumption. We start researching and reading and listening and absorbing and collecting information to the point that we aren’t actually taking action. And all the information in the world is meaningless if you aren’t applying what you’re learning. And look, I built an entire business on the premise that people don’t have a not knowing problem. Most people have a not doing problem.
Courtney Townley 8:58
Most women that I work with, in fact, every woman I have ever worked with, I know that’s a bold claim, but truly they all know what they need to do to move their life to higher ground then may not know all the things but they know an awful lot of things. And yet they convinced themselves for months, years, sometimes decades, that they need to know more before they take action. And ultimately what this does is we we basically become information hoarders. So we all know that you know, there are people who have definitely mental health challenges who hoard stuff, right? They collect clutter to the point of it actually really wreaking havoc on their health. And we do the same thing with information. The funny thing is here you can’t see it. So I can see the clutter in someone’s home, I cannot see the clutter in someone’s brain. But you know, it’s there, you will you live inside your brain, you know, the amount of clutter that is consuming your brain.
Courtney Townley 10:19
All this to say that consuming information doesn’t change your life action does, you can go get a new gym membership and never go, it will be useless to you to even get the membership. You can read all the latest and greatest books about health and wellness or about living your best life. But if you apply nothing, nothing changes. So the invitation here is to commit to taking action. It doesn’t have to be huge action. But we do have to be willing to get in the arena with action.
Courtney Townley 11:02
On the note of the size of action we commit to another commitment I encourage my students to make is I commit to staying in my state of well. Now state of well, is a phrase that was coined by Susan David. I’ve mentioned Susan David many, many times on this show. She wrote the book Emotional agility, which I highly recommend everybody read. But the concept of your state of well, is basically this it’s very simple. When you are underwhelmed when you are not challenging your life in any way, you stagnate, you plateau. It doesn’t it doesn’t feel good. It is not a nutrient for our human spirit or human body or human health. To underwhelm ourselves to live life so small that we never feel challenged. That’s not a healthy place to be. It’s also not a healthy place to be to overcommit.
Courtney Townley 12:10
And this is where I see a lot of the women I work with headed. They are trying to take action that is so big, and they’re trying to apply all the things they know at once that they literally freak out their brain. And a freaked out brain will always say this is a no go zone. This is dangerous. My life is at threat. We’re not doing this. So what do you hear in that I hope you hear it is absolutely all or nothing thinking, right? And all or nothing thinking is always going to get you nothing. Because again, it freaks your brain out. So we don’t want to be overwhelmed. We don’t want to be underwhelmed. We want to find that happy middle ground, which is really again, what Susan David calls your state of well. It is saying that I will take small action, rather than no action. It is the understanding that success is built on the back of compounding. It’s not about doing everything today. It’s about doing just a little bit better today. And a little bit better than next day, just slowly and methodically dialing up the level of discipline, not cranking the dial all the way up from the outset. But slowly turning it up as you create progress for yourself.
Courtney Townley 13:45
I will tell you that a large majority of my coaching with my clients is around this concept of helping them to stay in a state of overwhelm, so they can stay true and faithful to their commitments. Another commitment I encourage students to make in dedication to their larger commitments, is I commit to staying solution oriented rather than problem focused. An awful lot of us are in the habit of looking for evidence for why we can’t do something rather than why we can. And whatever evidence you’re looking for, of course you’re going to find so I commit to staying solution oriented rather than problem focused, is really saying to yourself that I will cultivate I am committing to cultivating a mindset that is useful to producing the results that I want to create that And when you look for evidence for why you can’t do something, you are not creating a mindset that is useful to the outcomes you want to create.
Courtney Townley 15:10
So I’ll give you some examples here. problem oriented. Sounds an awful lot like, I can’t work out today because I have to take my dog to the vet. And you may not have said that exact sentence, but I’m sure you have said something similar. I can’t work out today, I can’t eat the healthy meal today. I can’t whatever the promise or commitment was that you made to yourself, I can’t do that thing today. Because fill in the blank. That is problem focused, there is a problem, therefore, I can’t do anything versus solution oriented sounds like, I wonder how I might be able to take my dog to the vet today and still make time to get a workout in? Now might that workout need to look different? Might you need to apply some structured flexibility to your normal workout. And remember, structured flexibility is just that, again, you’re not in the all or nothing thinking, I may not be able to do the hour long workout today. But I can I can get 20 minutes in. And it may not even be at the gym that I normally go to it might just be in my backyard. So, how can you make this happen? Versus I can’t make this happen?
Courtney Townley 16:31
Another example is, this is too hard. Right? We’re just saying it like it’s a fact, this is just too hard. It can’t be done. And if you look in that direction, you look for that evidence, you will find lots of reasons that can validate why this is too hard for you to do. Whereas being solution oriented. Sounds like, you know, it might be possible that I can make this less hard. How might I make this easier? What might I be willing to experiment with? So really, this is a commitment to staying curious rather than judgmental of the challenges that you will face with your bigger commitments. Right? It’s saying that I will figure it out. I will learn along the path to change, I will not take the challenges as reasons to quit, or beat myself up or rationalize all the ways in which this just can’t happen for me. Another commitment I encourage my students to make to their bigger commitments, is that they can commit to allowing themselves to feel all the emotions that are going to show up along the path to change and take responsibility for the ways in which they are contributing to unnecessary suffering.
Courtney Townley 18:15
Look, I’m not telling you anything you don’t no change on any level is going to present you with a ton of opportunity to feel frustrated and disappointed and riddled at times with self doubt, just to name a few difficult emotions that you will likely face. And when those emotions show up, you can feel them. Or you can feel them. Again, you can feel them. And feeling is a way of processing by the way. It’s how emotion travels through our body. So we can feel emotion, or we can feel it. And fueling emotion is where we create a lot of suffering for ourselves. So I learned learning a new skill. And I’m getting a little frustrated. Let’s say that skill is that I’m learning a new exercise. And so we’re kind of on this theme of I’ve used working out earlier. I’m learning a new exercise. I’m not feeling very strong. I’m feeling super uncoordinated. I can’t lift very much weight. I’m getting frustrated because my capability is not where I think it should be. Right?
Courtney Townley 19:40
And I want you to think right now about anything in your life that you’ve had to learn as a beginner. There’s always frustration because we want so desperately to be good at it. And because it’s new, we’re just not. And so we get a little frustrated. And in that moment. We can often make frustration mean, I’m such a loser, or something’s wrong here, I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m no good at this. And that line of thinking, of course, is not going to have you stay consistent with showing up to practice that new exercise.
Courtney Townley 20:23
So, again, we have the option, what am I going to make my frustration mean? Now, this has been a huge practice for me, because I have a huge expectation of myself with a lot of things. And I rumble, especially in my movement practice, because I challenged myself to take on movement that I’m really not good at. And so when I get frustrated, which is often I will remind myself that you know, Courtney, you are learning something new here, good for you. Good for you for being a 45 year old woman who is still willing to be a beginner. How awesome is that? Sure, you’re a little frustrated. And that is perfectly okay. Nothing has gone wrong here.
Courtney Townley 21:14
You get to decide what you make your emotions mean when they show up. So when I get frustrated, I give myself a few minutes to just let myself feel frustrated. But what I don’t do is feed the frustration. So the story that I weave about the emotion I’m feeling can actually make the emotion so much more intense. So I have to take responsibility for that. Am I feeling it? Or am I feeling it? Another commitment to support your commitments, is I commit to not using statements like I don’t know, I’m confused. I’m overwhelmed. I’m too busy. I don’t have time. Now, I know sometimes those things feel very true. But also saying these things like their facts, is not useful to you. Because again, it encourages you to stay problem focused rather than solution oriented.
Courtney Townley 22:28
Rather than using these kinds of statements, and I literally have this in my pledge inside of Rumble & Rise these exact statements. Instead of using these statements, I encouraged them to ask themselves really good questions. Questions like, rather than I don’t know. Ask yourself a good question. Like, what would I tell someone who had the same problem? I think it’s even more useful if you use someone who’s really close to you, who you really care about? A good friend, a treasured colleague, your kid, your partner? What would you tell them if they came to you with the same problem?
Courtney Townley 23:20
And what’s fascinating about this is all of a sudden, we seem to have so many answers. When it’s not us. We have all the answers for other people. But when it comes to us, it’s just a heck of a lot easier to hide behind. I don’t know, because then I don’t have to take action. It’s an avoidance tactic to say I don’t know what if you had to know, what might that look like? Rather than I am confused, which again, we’re stating, almost like it’s factual. I’m just confused. So again, I’m hiding because I can’t take action if I’m confused. So ask a good question. What exactly am I not understanding here? What support might I need to reach out for in order to feel less confused? Another one, of course, I’m overwhelmed. There’s just too much on my plate. The good question here would be where might I need to scale back? Where do I need to trim the fat in my life? In order to feel less overwhelmed? Where might I need to delegate? Where might I need to remove some things? Where might I need to stop wasting some time? That solution oriented I’m too busy. This is a really common one. And I know it feels so real. I’m too busy. Again, great question to ask. What am I currently doing? that is taking up precious time. That is not in line with my current priorities. Now, am I saying that the answers to that question will be easy to implement? Probably not.
Courtney Townley 25:13
Because we don’t like saying no to ourselves about anything, I want to say yes to everything. And I am so guilty of this, I always say I’m like a raccoon with around shiny objects, I want to be a part of everything all the time, to the point that it’s really easy to burn myself out and exhausted myself. So I have learned to lean in to the very difficult art of learning how to say no to things that I really want to say yes to. Those are the hardest kind of knows. But saying no to things that aren’t that important to me, allows me to say yes to the things that are truly important to me.
Courtney Townley 25:58
All right, I want to give you one more sort of pre commitment to consider here, commitments that will support your commitments. I commit to asking for help when I need it, and support others along a similar journey when I can. So asking for help, is really a sign that you are serious about succeeding. It is very rare, if ever, that we create success in our lives entirely alone. There’s usually a friend, or a mentor, or a teacher that has helped to support us along the way. And if the teacher has not appeared, and sometimes they do, right, I have definitely had a lot of that happen in my life where I’m really rumbling with something in my life, and all of a sudden the teacher does appear. But sometimes the teacher doesn’t appear. And I have to be willing to step into that role of self-leadership to find someone who can help me. And if I really committed to something. And I think specifically of some of the big commitments I’ve made in my life, to my movement practice to improving my finances to building a business. I have sought out teachers and mentors and coaches for all of those realms of my life. Because I know that that level of help, is going to help me follow through and achieve that commitment that I originally had.
Courtney Townley 27:47
I also think that helping others who are kind of on a similar path as you when you can, is a great way to reinforce the things you’re learning on your own journey. So you don’t have to be a teacher or a coach, or a master of anything to help people. You simply need to know a little bit, and you just need to be maybe a couple steps ahead of where they are. And I have found, of course, like a big part of the work that I do in helping women to show up for themselves in a powerful way in their life. That comes from well, I should say that reinforces the work that I’m doing in my own life. So one of the greatest ways to really enforce the things we’re committed to is to teach them to help others. So again, I’ve only offered you a few of the commitments that I share with my community here today. But again, the hope is that it inspires you to consider what commitments do I need to make in terms of how I am showing up in order to keep the commitments that I have made to myself? What am I willing to tolerate from myself and what am I willing not to tolerate?
Courtney Townley 29:23
So it’s your turn. I hope you will take this seriously and just spend maybe 10-20 minutes considering what you need to start doing in order to bring a different energy to your commitments in order to bring a sustainable energy to your commitments. And what do you need to stop doing?
Courtney Townley 29:44
And of course, if you need help with this, this is what Rumble & Rise is all about. Right Rumble & Rise is my private community where I encouraged women to make a commitment to up leveling their life in some way every 30 days. And then we get to the real work of managing ourselves, managing our mindset, managing our emotions, managing our strategies to be able to follow through with those commitments. So if that sounds like something that would be appealing to you that would be helpful to you. The doors are always open. And I would love to see you in there you can check out all the details at graceandgrit.com/readytorumble. Once again, thank you so much for being here today. I hope you have a fantastic week and I’ll see you again very soon take care
Courtney Townley 30:43
Thank you for listening to the Grace and Grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self-care You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit anything is possible.