Transcript: New Mindset, New Habits with Dina Cataldo
Hello, my friend.
If you've been with me for some time, thank you.
If whether you've been with me since the beginning or you've just started listening, I'm just getting started.
Today you're going to learn the mindset you need to cement any habit.
Our mindset going into creating any habit is essential because our thoughts are catalysts to the actions we take.
Our habits are our default programming.
Whatever happens in our life — emergencies, the unexpected — we will fall back to what our habits are.
I could have an off day and not sleep well for a night or two, but my habit is to go to bed early and wake up early, so my body automatically gets back into that rhythm quickly.
It wasn't always that way. I had to turn myself into a morning person first. And that required changing my mindset.
Maybe you notice that your habit is to wait until the last minute to get projects done. That may come from the mindset that adrenaline is the best way to get things done or the belief that you don't have time or that planning doesn't work for you. If you retrain your mindset, you'll be able to create the habit of planning out projects earlier and placing them on your calendar.
If you occasionally don't, it's not the end of the world because your habit will be to revert to planning.
I'm going to walk you through the 5 elements you need to shift your mindset to create the new habit you want to create in your life.
Before we jump in, I want to ask you for a favor.
Would you leave a review for Be a Better Lawyer Podcast?
Reviews are one of the best ways to introduce lawyers to this podcast and to mindset work.
When lawyers learn what I teach in the podcast, I know it changes lives.
I get DMs and emails telling me so, and I want to expose as many lawyers as possible to this work.
I wish I had coaching tools like these available to me even sooner, and I imagine since you're listening you do too.
You can go to https://dinacataldo.com/200 – and as you scroll down you'll see a link to leave a reaview.
I'd very much appreciate it.
And it would be a lovely gift as we celebrate episode #200.
Alright, my friend, let's get into the 5 mindset…
1. Believe it's possible/you can learn how
This is where most people give up. Step one. That's why it feels so hard to start anything new.
We give up enough on step one, and we begin to believe that we just can't start new habits and that it's hopeless.
We build a case against ourselves, and any time we start something new, we look at all the times when we didn't start new habits.
Then we tell ourselves, “See, I knew it.”
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You tell yourself you can't do it or you've never done it before.
Then you don't do it.
Because the thoughts we think generate feelings that in turn generate actions.
If you think you can't do it, how do you feel? Disappointment? Doubt? Resignation?
Those feelings fuel the actions you take next whether it's deciding to watch TV instead of work out or jump into your workday instead of strategizing it ahead of time.
Of course the result is going to be that you don't create a new habit.
Then next problem I see here is the thought, “I hope I can do it this time.” Or even, “I think I can do it this time.”
They sound really great, right?
We're told that hope is a good thing.
“Hope springs eternal” is a phrase I hear a lot.
Let's be honest here. If we hope it'll happen, we don't believe it'll happen.
Those thoughts aren't any better if they're generating feelings like doubt or disappointment.
Our feelings are driving our actions.
We must decide that it will get done.
We must decide that we're making calendaring a habit.
That decision will be backed up by the other 4 mindset tips I'm giving you.
But step one isn't hoping or doubting. It's deciding.
Here's what you can do to find out what's inside your head when it comes to starting a new habit.
– What are the stories you tell about yourself and what's possible?
– What are the stories you want to tell and start looking for evidence that you're already that way?
I'm the kind of person who's organized because…
I'm the kind of person who's on time because…
I'm the kind of person who can follow a calendar because…
I'm the kind of person who's good at planning because…
If you tell yourself you have zero evidence, that's not true.
You've planned dinner parties, and nothing exploded.
You've planned your week in law school, and you managed to graduate.
You've planned how to study for the Bar and manage your calendar, and you figured that out.
Gather the evidence just like you would building a case.
2. Make it as easy as possible to follow through
When we're implementing a new habit, we don't always ask ourselves what might make it easier to start a new habit.
We think of our brains as robots, and that it should just happen b/c we want it to happen.
The truth is that we need to look at our life.
If you don't have that habit implemented yet, it just means you haven't become the person — you don't have the identity — of the person who has that habit.
This isn't a problem.
Now you look at your life, and you ask yourself, how can I make this habit easier for me to implement?
When I was turning myself into a morning person, so I could work on my business before I went to the office, I looked at a few things.
– I wanted to go to sleep earlier, so I could get 8 hours of sleep
– I wanted to stop drinking with my girlfriends, so I could sleep better and because I didn't want to feel lousy the next morning
– I wanted to place my phone in another room, so I wouldn't be tempted to scroll it in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning
Maybe you want to implement a calendar system as a habit.
What might make that easier for you?
– having a set quiet time for planning
– having your desk clean the night before so you could sit in the morning and focus on the calendar
– sticking to one calendar instead of having 4
Whatever habit you want to create, ask yourself what would make it easier for you to implement?
Those are new habits, yes, but if you've decided on one, you'll start making shifts more easily to make that decision happen. Just let it unfold. And that leads us to #3:
3. Be kind to yourself while you create a new habit
That means that instead of judging yourself, you look at what's working.
Maybe having a set quiet time worked to implement your planning time, but you still have a lot of sticky notes on your desk even after doing the calendar.
It doesn't mean anything has gone wrong.
All it means is that you have some tweaking to do. I'll get to that in the 4th mindset piece.
Maybe you want to wake up earlier in the morning, but you stay up later than you told yourself you would, so you didn't wake up as early as you like.
I'm going to share something with you: I do that too!
Sometimes I stay up later watching a movie or reading, and I wake up groggy. I still get up. But instead of beating myself up for staying up late, I ask myself what I want. Usually it's to sit quietly with my coffee. Sometimes it's to take a shower to clear my head. Other times it's to go back to bed.
Because I'm not mean to myself, and I ask myself what my body needs, and I respect it, I don't get into a story that I'm not a morning person or I can't do it.
I just ask myself what I need.
This leads me to the 4th mindset piece.
4. Be a scientist
Treat any habit more like a scientist than a lawyer.
Lawyers pick a side and build evidence to support it. Our brains naturally want to do this because we've practiced it so much.
A scientist has a hypothesis, but they don't pick sides.
This mindset helps us with #3 because we're less likely to judge ourselves when things don't go the way we want them to go.
Let me share how this worked for one of my clients.
He was managing a team of lawyers to create webinars to promote his firm.
He had done so in the past, but he wasn't seeing the results he wanted.
As the scientist, he got coaching to see his brain more neutrally.
He could see where his brain wanted to be the lawyer building the case against the webinars. He had thoughts that the webinars weren't working, that his partner didn't like them, that they were a lot of work.
When he got his brain into scientist mode, he could see the facts more clearly.
They were working. He was getting clients, and he was getting high quality clients.
His partner didn't not like the webinars. His partner was on the same side as he was — he wanted to build the firm.
The webinars were getting easier the more he did them because he was releasing the reins to other attorneys, and he was just doing a supervisory role.
If he let his brain stay in lawyer mode, then he'd let his brain build a case against the webinars without evaluating the facts.
When we got his brain into scientist mode, he could evaluate the facts and make better decisions about how to tweak them and what would get even better results like with follow up emails or having associates do follow up calls with potential clients.
If you're starting a new habit, it's the same thing.
Your brain will default to building a case against why you can't start this new habit or it's too hard.
Our brains are built to conserve energy, and building a new habit takes energy because it takes building new neuropathways in your brain and paying attention.
Of course it wants to build a case against you.
It's your job to see what it's doing, then ask yourself, “What if I was the scientist here? What might I be looking at?”
For instance, if you're creating a habit for working out, and you notice yourself not doing it, you can ask yourself:
– why do I think I'm not doing it? That's your hypothesis.
You may come up with hypothesis like:
– I don't like working out in the morning
– I don't enjoy running
– I don't have time
You go through each hypothesis, and you ask yourself if they're true, then you come up with another hypothesis to work with. Because scientists don't give up. They keep forming hypotheses until they get a solution. They're problem-solvers.
Is it true I don't like working out in the morning? Maybe. But I used to work out in the morning all the time. Has something changed in my schedule? Oh yeah, I've been staying up late to take care of my child. Is there a workaround to this? Yes, I can go for a run in the afternoon. What would make that easier for me? Having my clothes in my bag the night before, telling my partner ahead of time, telling my assistant so I don't have any calls at that time.
See what I mean? You just go back and look at the other mindset pieces and go from there.
Is it true I don't enjoy running? No. Then it's not a problem. Yes, it's true I don't like running. OK, what do I think I'd like.
Is it true I don't have time? Maybe. Could it be true that I'm not managing my time well? Maybe. What might I do differently to make more time? Could I delegate something? Ask for help? Plan my week in advance, etc.
Then implement and keep going until you've built your habit.
The final mindset piece here is to
5. Celebrate your wins
This goes hand-in-hand with mindset pieces 3 and 4.
We tend to ignore our wins and keep moving.
When we acknowledge ourselves for doing something we said we'd do, we build evidence that we can do things, that we can trust ourselves.
A lot of the lawyers I work with don't trust themselves when we first stat working together.
They learn to trust themselves because of the mindset work we do together.
One of the things I like to do to celebrate is dance.
Dancing is actually a way to get habits into our body.
It feels good, and of course if something feels good, our brain wants more of it.
You can also promise yourself to treat yourself to a bubble bath or whatever you like to do.
Acknowledge yourself for doing something you said you'd do, and building habits becomes easier and easier because you know you can do it.
Something to watch out for is judging yourself at any point in this process of building a habit.
It's super common, and our brains are very sneaky sometimes.
Judgment can look like telling ourselves we can't do it, but it can also look like telling ourselves that we've failed. Then we feel exasperated and like we're starting all over again.
Each time we work on these mindset pieces, we build our capabilities.
Each time we look at our thoughts, we become more familiar with the tricks our brain plays, and we can have a conversation with it.
We catch it and can playfully say, “I see what you're doing there, brain. That's okay. I see what you're doing and I'm not falling for it.”
This is the work I do with my clients.
We build their capabilities, so they can see the tricks their brain plays on them.
Then they have the skills they need to overcome any obstacle between them and what they want.
Book a call with me if you know this is what you need.
You can book a call with me at https://dinacataldo.com
I love doing this work with clients because our brains are fascinating.
Our brains are amazing on autopilot. Imagine what amazing things they're capable of when we know how they work and direct them where we want them to go.
I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week, and I'll talk to you soon.