Transcript: 5 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Momentum Daily
Every day, we have a choice. We have a choice to follow through on our plan or not. We have the choice of honoring our word to ourselves or not. This is not a podcast about beating ourselves up when we don't do what we say we're going to do. We will always face times when we are pulled to scroll social media and indulge in the news.
This is a podcast about creating more awareness about how we sabotage our momentum in ways you may not recognize. And some of these activities we can see happening and we recognize them right away, but we do them anyway. And some of the topics we're going to talk about today are things that we do without realizing it. I'm going to walk you through five ways. I've seen myselves, myselves, myself and clients sabotage momentum in our own practices. And number five is really the most important practice that you must do. So please listen to this to the end, because number five is the one that will make all of this easier for you. I'm also going to explain why our brain does this and how we can use our brain to take back control of our intentions. So the big problem here is that our brain undercuts our momentum and we don't even see it.
That's really what I want you to see here. We keep working, working, working through our day and we assume we're using all of the time that we have the best that we can. And then at the end of the day, we're still overwhelmed with the amount of work that we did not do. And we spend either more time beating ourselves up, or then we pushed down the disappointment we have with ourselves with a glass of wine or food to numb out or doing some other behavior that's not helpful. And maybe we'll even add in a few hours of Netflix for good measure. Right? The problem that we don't see is that our brain undercuts our momentum throughout the day, causing us to start and stop projects and sucking our productivity away. Why does our brain undercut our momentum? Because it seems like it would just naturally want to do everything that we put on our calendar, right?
Like, shouldn't it just want to do it? Shouldn't it be easy? Unfortunately, we have a primitive brain that is now operating in very modern world. So it's not as simple as that. In fact, I want you to count on anytime you put anything on your calendar, that you are not going to want to do it. Our primal brain was designed for survival, but now with all these modern day pleasures and distractions in the world, it is confused. It wants to prevent pain. It wants to create pleasure, and it wants to make things easy for us. So if a bear is chasing us, it makes the snap decision to fight, flee or freeze. It helps us procreate because we're drawn to sex and taking care of ourselves with food to nourish us. And it wants to make things easy for us. So it relegates activities that we do over and over again to our primal brain.
So it reduces the amount of energy that it takes to do those activities. So we don't have to think about them consciously, which takes a little more energy. So here's where the confusion comes in. Instead of being hyper aware of true potential physical harm, like a bear chasing us, that could cause pain. It's now hyper aware of any danger that presents itself on the news. And that's why the news headlines are so dramatic to attract our attention. It's automatic because our brain is designed that way. And they know that instead of seeking normal pleasures like sex and food, that nourishes us, our brain now believes that it needs concentrated doses of sugar that we find in breads and alcohol. And most of the snacks were drawn through throughout, uh, drawn to throughout the day. It draws us to social media with the pleasurable clicks buzzes, and you know, those red notifications that draw our attention.
I mean, everything around us now is designed to attract the attention of our primal brain because the draw is so strong. I mean, think about those pharmaceutical commercials that we see all the time and notice all of the story that's going on visually with everything like, you know, you see mothers and daughters having a trip to the park and they're on the swings. And you see 'em, you know, fathers and daughters and you see wives and husbands and there's this whole story that's happening without words on the screen. And then in the background where we're not really paying attention because we're so visually focused on the story that's happening and it's very pleasurable and our brains. So used to thinking in stories that it's completely ignoring in the background, all of the negative side effects of the pharmaceuticals that they're promoting. So I want you to know that advertisers know about this news programmers know about how our primal brain works and it's, they are intentionally using the draw to draw your attention away.
So when your attention is being pulled in a million different directions, know that it's not your fault, that the social media apps that are on your phone, all of the apps that are on your phone have a way of drawing your attention. That is very intentional to draw the attention of your primal brain. So I want you to know that it is not your fault, that all of this is going on, that you're being pulled in a million directions, but I want you to know you have power over this. And so that's why I'm bringing it to your attention. So we continually act on these new fears in pleasures, right? And then our brain wants to make it easy for us to follow through on our actions. So if we continue to bring our attention to the social media apps, the news, all of that, our habits for reaching for our phones, snacking, all of that, it becomes second nature.
So to overcome our primal wiring, we have to use more energy. And that's why it feels so hard at the end of the day to make decisions because we've made so many decisions during the day that we've zapped our brains energy to function, but we must do this hard work that I'm going to tell you about to rewire our brain, to do what we want it to do. That takes time and effort. And if you're willing to do the work, you can make this happen for you. I want you to know I've gone through this. In fact, I still see my attention being drawn to different things, and I have to consciously redirect my attention, but it becomes easier and easier when you've been doing this for a while. At first, it might feel really, really hard. I know that my coaching clients, they, they say it's so hard.
Like, you know, is this ever going to get easier? And then it becomes easier for them. And they don't even really notice like that shift that starts when they put this into practice. And then when they do, they're like, wow, I remember when I couldn't focus. And now I have some of my focus back. So I want you to recognize that this is doable. So the first thing I want to talk to you about the first way that we're sabotaging our momentum daily is just not planning better. Right? And I talk about this a lot on the podcast. So I'm not going to go into too much detail on it. I will link to some of those podcasts and Dina cataldo.com forward slash one Oh eight with all the show notes. But I do want to talk to you about this because we're sabotaging our momentum on our plans by not calendaring our, to do list, right?
Having all these little PostIt notes around us, floating around having a calendar, but maybe only using it for some things that we do, we're creating a calendar fully intending on using it, and then ditching it at the first sign that you can't do. What's on your calendar. If any of these sound like you, then I suggest that you pick up my free guide. Okay? If you haven't done so already, it's called the busy lawyers. Quick start guide on getting back five hours a week. I updated it just a few weeks ago. So if you picked it up longer than that, I want you to pick it up again because it has more in it. It has not just more in it. I think it's more well developed to talk to you more about the brain psychology that goes into creating a calendar and following through more than getting your time back.
It really helps you learn to structure your time and how to think about time differently. So you can get [email protected] forward slash one Oh eight. I'll link to it there. Now I really think the whole legal profession poorly manages their time. We have court calendars that last all day, rather than having hours designated for certain activities. We have judges that are deep in conversation with other judges when a trial or a hearing is assigned to them, or maybe they just come in late and they don't even know when a hearing's going to be assigned to them in most places until it's already in their courtroom. So there's nothing to really prepare, prepare for. Um, in my County trials are assigned to the morning of in courtroom. So there's no real preparation happening by the judge until the court file is brought to a courtroom where the judge is hearing about the case for the very first time and makes a decision at that point, whether or not they're going to put off picking a jury.
So then law firms all operate their time differently to some fritter away, their time on briefs that could be, you know, researched and briefed more efficiently, but associates don't always know how to manage their time. Right? I mean, I didn't get anything about managing my time effectively when I became a lawyer. I didn't learn anything about that. I'm guessing you probably didn't too. Um, and associates, especially new ones are getting pulled in different directions by demanding bosses who don't respect their time because of course their time was never respected. They never had the experience of properly managing their time. And a big problem is there are associates who don't want to get passed up for opportunities or seem like they're unwilling to do the work. So they keep taking more and more on until they can't function properly in their position. So it's really up to everyone in the legal profession to begin bringing this to lawyer's attention and start redesigning how they build their practices and how they teach about how to use time efficiently and effectively.
I'm sure there are plenty of examples you see of how lawyers are just sloppy with their time. And while we cannot control how other people behave, we can create a game plan to do the best that we can and stick to it. And I understand, I understand there are last minute projects that sometimes come up or judges suddenly want additional research on topics. I get it. But if we do not create a game plan and also create space in between what we have planned for the day, then we will never get momentum on creating the life that we want. That means not scheduling ourselves like all day long. All right. And I talked more about this in other podcasts. I'll just link to those. Um, but basically what it comes down to have self compassion for yourself, because you will get way more done. And the very first steps are creating space in your day.
And don't beat yourself up when you don't get something done and grab the busy lawyers quick start guide. Okay. Because I could go on about this all day long. Anyway, let's move on to number two. What is the second way that you are sabotaging your momentum every single day? This is pretty obvious, right? Indulging in the news, instead of using it to spark your action, you just kind of watch it, right? And you, you indulge in all of these emotions that don't usually feel good. Right? Um, same thing with social media, we indulgent social media and all of this information, um, instead of just kind of indulging in this infotainment, as my yoga teacher likes to call it, um, do something about it, right? And you can plan it. You can actually go to your calendar and say, okay, look, I'm going to spend an hour researching this topic.
I'm going to go and I'm going to donate tomorrow or today, but I got to schedule it because right now I don't want to forget about it, but I have something else I have planned right now. So put it in your calendar. That's why having a calendar so amazing. You can always just click on it, add in something, and you're done to help you with this. I have linked to some places you can donate some places you can educate yourself about racism and our country, um, and kind of like find things to learn about that are really, really impactful. So I've linked to a couple of resources for you. So you don't have to do that research. And then you don't have the excuse of having to go online and try to educate yourself. Cause you have a couple of resources right now that you can go to and schedule time for this, right?
Put an hour on your day so that you can just spend time doing what you need to be doing to educate yourself. And we're going to talk about this more in future podcasts. I talk about it at the very end of this podcast. Um, so I don't want you to think this is the last word on it. Um, our brain really wants to distract us from doing the hard thing that we had planned on the calendar and not do the easy thing, which is to go down the rabbit hole of social media and the news. And the night before, what you have to do is just allocate some time for it. Just say, okay, look tomorrow, I'm going to spend an hour on the news. I'm gonna spend an hour on social media. That's my decision. That's it. You schedule it. And then whenever you see your brain wanting to pull away and go down the rabbit hole during the times, when you did not plan it, then you constantly consciously say, Hey, I have time planned later.
This is not the time for it. Let me redirect your brain and do the thing that I said I was going to do. It's hard, but you can do it more easily with enough practice. And you are also building that self integrity with yourself, which is really powerful at third way that we sabotage our momentum throughout the day is engaging in business drama and it centers around indecision. I call it business drama because I know a lot of the people who listening are lawyers with their own practice, but we do this with indecision all the time. Right? I do this sometimes and I see all of my clients doing it. The difference for me now is that I get out of my drama a lot faster now because I see it. I see how unproductive it is. And I know that it's just my brain's way of keeping me comfortable on making things easy for me, because that's the habit my brain is used to.
So I have to recognize, Nope, that's not the direction I want. And it becomes easier and easier to start shifting my attention. Most of my clients who have their own practices, tell me if this impacts them daily and they ask themselves questions, right? That that caused confusion. They're questions like, should I do Facebook ads? Should I cater to a different client? I like to call this niche drama. Um, should I start a podcast or a blog? You know, I know I have this brief to write, but I'm gonna, you know, go work on my website for a few minutes. You know, like they're causing this confusion in their brain where they say they want to do one thing, but they think, well, maybe I should be doing something else or I should be doing this. I should be doing that. But you'll know it's drama when you stay stuck in it rather than actually take productive action.
You're just spinning. You're also likely to feel confused or you'll feel like an extra stress surrounding this decision. I like to describe the way it shows up for me as a buzzing in my head that prevents me from taking action. It's almost like my brain is telling me that it cannot compute the input, you know? Um, which is accurate. It can't do anything while it's spinning in indecision, we start and stop. And we second guess ourselves and our decisions. And we think maybe more research will help us choose the right answer for us. Like somebody else outside of us has the right answer for us. And it's not already inside. So how do you begin rewiring your brain here? Well, the first thing to do is just recognize that you're doing it and then remind yourself that this is just drama. Business is math, right?
Making decisions is math. If you treated it like math, like it was very objective. Then what decision would you make? Take action and see whether or not you like it. Then now, if you are really out of touch with how you feel about your options or you are incredibly indecisive, I have a little trick I like to use, and I'm going to give it to you, give yourself two choices, just pick two, write them down, then get out a quarter, assign one option heads and the other option tales. Write those down. Flip the coin. The point of this exercise is not to let a quarter make the decision. The point is to see the visceral reaction your brain has to one option or the other. You may feel disappointed that the coin hit heads up because that means you'd have to do the option that was assigned to heads.
Or you may be incredibly excited. Then you'll know what the right decision for you is. Then go and take some action on it right away and get the ball rolling. Okay. The fourth way that we can sabotage our momentum every day is worrying. It's kind of like number three. The difference is we're fretting over something that we can't do anything about. We ask ourselves what if questions? What if questions that have no bearing on what we need to do at hand? Now I've been using this. Um, I've been seeing this show up with my clients pretty often, right now they're watching the news, their brains telling them that they should be thinking about, you know, what could happen, the worst case scenarios. And they've been asking their, their brain's been asking them questions like this. What if the world is ending? What if everything falls into chaos?
What if my kid's future is ruined? Because everything is so wonky right now. Like they're really thinking about these questions and it's taking up energy from what they would be doing. It's super easy for our brain to go there right now. But I want you to keep this thing in mind. Our brains are hyper aware of what's happening on the news with the protests and people coming to realize realizations about racism in our country that they may not have had before and with COVID-19 and the impact it's had on our day to day lives. The last couple of months, our brain has been buzzing with all of these like really bright situations, right? Like our brain just wants to explode. There's just so much going on, but our brains are really just bringing to light the habitual kinds of thoughts that we have always had.
They're just taking different forms based on the circumstances surrounding us. So if you're going to the worst case scenario and staying there all day worrying, that's not something that's new for you. You've done that before. It just took on different forms. Maybe it took on forms like, well, what if I get a judge who doesn't understand the case law? What if my kids don't get into the college that they want? I mean the same thing with, if you're second guessing your decisions, that's not something that's new that showed up in your life somewhere before everything going on in the world right now. So if you're also, if you're scared of offering your services right now, that's not new. You've had that fear before. And if you're scared to have difficult conversations right now, that's not new. You've had that fear before current events are just making our thoughts bigger and brighter so that we can see them more clearly.
So this is a really good opportunity for you to see these self-sabotaging habits pop up in your life because they're a little bit brighter. They're a little bit louder than they have in the past. So you can do something about them. Now this was number five. Number five. I want to talk to you about is the most important one, because it lays the foundation for everything that we've talked about. The fifth example of self sabotaging, our momentum every single day is by not creating space to think and unwind. We usually pack our day. We feel guilty if we're not constantly doing something. And sometimes we spend the time. We're not doing something we've planned. Just beating ourselves up, not doing it right. That's super helpful. Our brains need time to think. They need time to decompress. They need time to dream. They need space to open up to new possibilities.
They need an opportunity to integrate all the input. We give them all day long without a computer in front of us without a phone nearby and without a, to do list tugging at us until I made time to think I couldn't do anything on this list. I did it by creating more space in my mornings, because that was the time that my brain was the least hired, right? Like I could wake up and I could just figure things out. Then I realized that mornings are also my most creative time. It's the time I feel most relaxed to my brain is at a different vibration. Like you can actually feel it. You can feel it's quieter. It's not buzzing as much. I mean, unless you wake up with anxiety, which I know a lot of people do. And if you notice that it's okay, just feel and relax into the anxiety.
I want you to know that, you know, most of us build up that anxiety throughout the day. Sometimes we'll wake up really easy, but other times we'll wake up and we'll start just spinning through our, to do list. The best thing to do, if that is the situation for you is have a seat. Very first thing in the morning, write down everything that's on your brain. Okay. Then you've put it on a piece of paper. Your brain can kind of relax. It can kind of back up a little bit. So I personally have cultivated my mornings. So I'm much more relaxed. Like I, I used to wake up and dreaded my mornings and now I can actually relax. It feels indulgent. At first, it feels indulgent to be creating this time for myself, creating this time for yourself. But once you do it, you're never going to want to go back.
I'm telling you, so use this time, use this time to journal. Think about your future or do nothing at all. Whatever you do just don't scroll your phone. Okay? That totally defeats the purpose. Your brain needs a break and sleep alone is not enough to do that. I encourage you to go to the show notes and get some resources to help you release some of these sabotaging habits and get more awareness around how you're moving through your day. I'm going to have the busy lawyers quick start guide, go to Dina, cataldo.com forward slash one Oh eight. I'm going to link to some other podcasts I've done on using your calendar more effectively. And like you can, you can learn how to begin managing your brain so that you're not sabotaging your momentum, the start and stop. It is not moving you further along when you start and stop, you are not getting closer to your goals.
It's like, it's, it's really frustrating for me. When I, when I would see this, like with myself and I, and you know, I still do this kind of stuff. I just have to redirect more quickly. Um, and I heard this great phrase, so I'm going to share it with you. So the game is not staying on the horse. It's not being perfect on the horse all the time and getting to your destination. The game is jumping back onto that horse as quickly as possible. So you don't have to do your calendar perfectly. You don't have to be perfect at managing your attention. You just have to refocus your attention as quickly as possible. Um, and I'm gonna, I'm going to link to the podcast that I, um, heard that on. It was Jim Fortin and James Wedmore talking about that. I loved that conversation. Okay.
And so along with those resources, I am, I'm also linking to resources where you can donate to black causes and educate yourself on systemic, systemic racism in our country. I want to do a podcast soon about addressing more tough conversations surrounding this topic, but I want to be in a space where I can, you know, really come to you more mentally clean on the topic. I'm in the process of educating myself. And I want to bring that to you. And this podcast is about learning a different perspective than what we've been taught in school. And I want to be able to do that in the context of our thoughts about race as well. And I'm hoping that that's something that you enjoy and that you, you know, you take to heart. Anyway. I want to thank you for listening and I want to send you so much love today and everyday take care of yourself and don't beat yourself up. Don't be too hard on yourself. This is a practice we're never going to be perfect at it. If we were perfect at it, then we wouldn't be human. And while we're here for the full human experience, right? Okay, well, I will talk to you soon. Bye. Hey, if you enjoy this podcast, I offer one on one coaching using my, be a better lawyer framework. That's where we rewire your brain to help you create the life and the practice that you want. Go to Dinacataldo.com to schedule a strategy session.