Transcript: Taking Action on Your Goals with Dina Cataldo
You're listening to be a better lawyer podcast with Dina Cataldo episode 84. So how do high achieving lawyers break through generations of being taught that we have to grind ourselves into the ground to get results for clients, build a successful business and create a life we love? While law schools are busy teaching the rule of law, they're slacking on teaching us how to be a better human to create for ourselves the success we thought we'd achieve after law school. This podcast bridges the gap between law school and life.
Welcome to a brand new year and a brand new podcast name. The intro basically sums up the direction I'm taking this podcast, but it's really what I've been doing in the podcast for the past 83 episodes only. Now I'm more specifically saying, yes, I'm talking to you lawyer. Now, if you're not a lawyer, I'm not disinvited you from the party.
I still love talking to you every week. Just know that I'm talking more specifically to lawyers and if you're someone who waits to take action until everything is just right there, let me tell you, that is exactly the opposite of how I started this podcast. We don't evolve by sitting still. We have to get in motion and I find this true over and over again. I could have pressed pause on the podcast until I figured out exactly the direction I needed to go or got the podcast art just right, but then I wouldn't be creating something that someone out there needs to hear. And I've gained so much inspiration from people who didn't wait to put their work out into the world and did the best they could with what they knew at the time. So my hope is that this podcast might be that for you at some point and there's no amount of quote unquote thinking about getting started or quote waiting until you're ready.
You have to get started and see where life takes you. We often confuse not being perfect with failure, but the only real failure is not deciding to take action. It's waiting until we think the time is right. And of course it never is. No regret, no regrets people. Okay. All right, so how many people are you helping when you wait to put your work out into the world? Zero. None. Absolutely zero. And we're going to talk more about how to work through these habits that we have that don't serve us, that are keeping us from showing up the way we want to show up in the world. But before we do, if you're brand new to this podcast, and I see that there are a lot of new listeners recently based on my podcast stats, thank you for joining me. I'm Dina Cataldo. I'm a criminal prosecutor and a life coach for lawyers who want to be more successful in their personal and professional lives.
And one of the things I hear a lot, and this used to be something I struggled with, was finding the time to make progress towards a goal. And if this sounds like you at all, I invite you to download my free busy lawyers quick start guide to get five hours back each week. It is going to help you get on track to creating more time in your life. So you can do the mental work you need to do to make your goals a reality. Because goal setting and creating is all mindset work. But we can't do it until we make the time for it. You can get [email protected] forward slash busy lawyer and I give you several strategies to implement. But if you choose just one of them, you're gonna see an impact in your life. Go ahead and download it [email protected] forward slash busy lawyer.
And if you're on social media, I like to spend time on Instagram. I'm at Dina dot Cataldo and you can DM me, let me know what you'd like to hear more of on the show. I would love to hear from you. All right, so if you are listening to this episode when it comes out, it is a brand new year and there's all kinds of things going on right now. There's diet plan commercials and new year new you social media posts and the gyms are packed with well-intentioned people who want to start off the year, right? Then about 20 days into the resolution, they skip a day and they decide that maybe they're not the kind of person who likes to eat vegetables or go to the gym after all and they say something like, Oh, well I tried, I did the best I could, and then they just stopped taking action and that's totally normal.
I want you to know that it is totally normal to decide or it's not even deciding. It's allowing your autopilot to take over. It is our reptilian brain, the brain that helps us drive our commute on autopilot without thinking the brain that is in charge of the fight, flight or freeze reactions. It has basically two goals. One is to keep us alive and the other is to conserve energy and we create habits to conserve energy. For example, it wasn't always easy for us to drive, right? I was taught how to drive on a stick shift and for weeks I would stall or grind the gears. Then one day after hours of practice, I didn't even notice when I was shifting gears or using the clutch. I lived in LA for years and it wasn't a problem. Why? Because I practiced doing something that was hard.
I knew that it'd be hard and maybe even embarrassing at times, but I kept practicing because I had faith that I would learn to drive and when I did, I would have what I wanted, which at that time was freedom. So I want you to understand this. We are the sum of our habits. Everything we have in our life, every goal that we create or do not create stems from our habits. When the worst is happening in our life, we will default to our habits. We will default to that reptilian brain autopilot. When we're not thinking about what we're doing, we default to our habits. That's just what our brain does. It's conserving energy. It's taking the path of least resistance. If we don't take the time to examine our habits and what does and doesn't feel good in our life or what is sabotaging the results we want to see in our life, then we won't make change.
We'll stay stuck. We'll keep settling and if you know there's something in your life not serving you or you want to begin incorporating something that serves you well, then you're already one step ahead of most people because most people aren't taking a look at their lives and seeing what is and is not working. What feels good? Like does it feel good waking up late or scrolling through Instagram while you're in bed trying to get up for the office? Does it feel good to eat what you're eating or not go to the gym? Most people aren't even taking a moment to think about it because they are on autopilot. Over the years, I've changed so many habits in my life that I feel like my superpower now is setting goals and making them happen and I'm working to do it and every area of my life. But here's a few where I have totally rocked them.
And when I say rocked them, that doesn't mean that I woke up one day and I never fell back into an old habit. I mean, I knew when my brain was going back to an old habit and I made a choice. I had to make a decision to override that habit consciously because I had faith that the end result would give me what I wanted most. And that is something that we need to really do. When we decide we want to create a habit, we have to really decide, Hey, this is what I want and we have to decide that we're going to get that result no matter what. Now, just because we begin a new habit doesn't mean that the neuropathway that established that old habit and is getting us, that old result is suddenly gone. So neuropathways are just like roads on the street.
So we might decide to take another route to work one day. We take one route all the time. We know exactly how to get to work that way and we don't even have to think about it. But let's say we want to take a new one. When we have to consciously think to go down that new path, the old road that we took doesn't just go away. We actually have to consciously tell ourselves that we want to go down the new road. I'm sharing this because I want you to know that making change in your life is possible and that feeling is part of the process. Now, what we're taught in law school is is that you've got to get a good grade and that's how you do it. If you don't get a good grade, you totally failed, but what we're not taught is that feeling is the process to getting what we want.
We're taught that we need to be perfect when we're in school and that's not part of creating the life that we want. We've got to fail. We can't just give up and like I said earlier, the only failure is giving up completely. A few things that I've changed over the years. Just to give you some examples of what I have consciously decided to do is I went from doing things like skipping my yoga practice to work later so I could get some things done because quote unquote, I want, I thought I would feel better. I would have thought I would feel better if I just stayed at the office and got some more work done because it would help me catch up. Well, let me tell you, you will always have work. You have to prioritize yourself. So I went from that to promising myself that I would go to yoga three times a week and I have been committed to that and I have been doing that and it feels so good when you build that trust with yourself that you do what you say you're going to do and it makes things easier over time, you will actually be able to create, I think habits more easily, the ones that you want because you trust yourself.
Once you start going down this path of being integral with your word, it's like you get this momentum in your life to begin changing more and more things. And if you've ever created a new habit in your life, you probably felt that power, that energized feeling from saying I frickin did this. And so that's what will happen when you start staying integral with your word and doing that in everything that you do. I totally stopped drinking alcohol. That was something that was a big deal for me. It's been, I want to say it's been about eight months now. That was a big deal for me cause I've been drinking since I was 21 I mean, and in law school that's like all we did. And every time you know, you go to a networking event, that's all they do. So I totally stopped drinking and that for me felt amazing.
I did a whole podcast on this. I'll, I'll link to that in the profile. You can get [email protected] forward slash 84 but I did a full episode on that because it was something that was really, it felt really good. Now I went from waking up to my alarm, hitting snooze a dozen times and scrolling my phone until I finally pushed myself out of bed just in time to get to the office, to making a decision that I was going to wake up at four 30 in the morning to have a lemon water, sit for a while, journal work on my business. And that was all before I went to the office. So these are things that you can do. These are changes you can make. Cause I knew I didn't feel good waking up late. I knew that I wasn't getting things done that were on my bucket list when I was sleeping in or playing on the phone and not getting out of bed.
So that is how I created time for myself where I was most energized because I really took a look at my habits. I examined, okay, when am I doing my best work, my best work is done in the morning and I am totally wasting that first few hours of my day in getting myself started. I created a habit where I meditate daily and that feels amazing. When I do that, it is like, yes, even if it's just for a few minutes, like it doesn't have to be a marathon session for me. I make the decision on what constitutes meeting my goal. I've gone from snapping at um, you know, doing my road rage thing at people. I interpreted it as cutting me off. I've talked about this on the podcast before and I went from that to actually just be in totally calm and I never thought that that would be the case.
It's just, it's, it was one of those things where I had to make a conscious effort at what I was thinking when I felt that anger rising up and say, Whoa, wait a minute. I don't, that doesn't feel good to me. And then I had to make a decision on how I wanted to respond from there on out and it made a total difference when I got to work. I wasn't spinning out thinking about some person who hasn't even thought about the incident. Like I was the only one who was spinning in my brain. And then years ago I also had this tendency to watch Netflix on the couch and eat rather than move forward on my business that I was starting at the time because I was totally paralyzed by fear. I ditched that for scheduling my time consciously to create the business I want. And as a lawyer, like that's more than a full time job, right?
Like that is more than full time. And if you want to do anything on top of that, you've got to be really committed. And if you have your own practice, you own your own practice, you know this, that this is like you've got so many hats on, you've got to schedule time in order to do the things you have to do to run your business, but then also be the lawyer in the business. And I am still uncovering habits that don't serve me and I am still creating new habits one by one. I am knocking them down. And it wasn't always this way though. This took conscious effort for me to seek out those habits that I didn't like and pick one at a time to change. And maybe you're doing some of the same things I was doing. I guarantee you that if you examine your life, you will find areas that are hindering your progress, and that's why when I coach people in addition to their practice, I talked to them about everyday things and they think they have to come to the call with some epiphany or a problem, quote unquote, when really, boy, I'm doing a lot of air quotes in my podcast lately.
I'm going to have to work on that anyway. They come with what they think is a problem when really so much can be uncovered with something that they don't think is a problem, something that's just happening in their everyday life, and in fact, I think that's where the most awareness is created because you actually begin to see links in your behaviors because how you do one thing is how you do everything in your life. That is the beauty of our brain. It is predictable. The process I'm going to share with you right now is really simple. Okay? This is the process for creating a goal, right? And then actually making it happen. All right, super simple steps. Simple, but not always easy. All right, I'm going to tell you about that in a second. What to do when it doesn't feel easy? So the simple processes, this one, you make a specific goal.
It's gotta be specific. It can't be wishy washy. It can't be like, I want to work out more or I want to eat better. It's gotta be I want to work out at the gym three times a week. I want to cut out all sugar and flour from my diet. And then you've got to make a specific plan for that. Okay? That's the next step, which is schedule it. So if it's food, that's a totally different thing. You've got to like plan it out. You're planning out exactly what you're eating, you're going to the grocery store, you're making up a schedule to go to the grocery store and buy those specific things. You're creating time in your calendar to actually cook those things, to prepare those things. Maybe do meal prep on one day. That is scheduling it. You've got to get really specific about scheduling it.
If it's the gym, like for me it's yoga, right? I scheduled three times per week and it took me a while to figure out which days were going to be the best for me, so you gotta play with it. You don't just give up because it just doesn't work out one time. You got to keep playing with it. You schedule things to make it easy on yourself. Okay. Don't try to kill yourself going all out on it. Make it as easy as possible and then you got to plan to fail. No, you're not going to feel like it. You got to know that when the time comes you are not going to want to eat that salad. You are not going to want to go to the gym and then you have to tell yourself, but I'm going to do it anyway and the way you do it is this, and this is, this has worked really well on those days when I was like, I do not want to go to yoga.
I don't want to go. I would rather stay at the office and work. I would rather go home and play with my dog. So what I do is baby step my way there. Okay. I've already got my bag. I've made it as easy as possible for me to go to yoga. I've got my bag with my clothes and my mat already in my car. Right. But I'm at the office and I'm thinking to myself, ah, I'm going to yoga. All right, go on to yoga. I don't want to go to yoga. I got so much, so many other things to do. I've got so many things I would like to do besides go to yoga. And that's when I say, okay, just leave the office. Just get up and leave the office. And then once you get to your car you say, I still don't want to go.
And then I get in the car and I say, I don't want to go to yoga. I said, just just drive to the yoga studio. Just drive there. Just go. And then sometimes you'll get to the yoga studio. At least this has happened to me a couple times. I'll get there and I'll be like, I could still leave. I could still go home. But instead I tell myself, just get out of the car and walk to the studio. And by the time you've gotten that far, you're gonna go to the gym. You're going to go to your yoga, your yoga that day. So just know that that is how it's done. You have to make a specific goal. Schedule it planned to fail. No, you're not going to feel like it. And then when the time comes, when you don't feel like it, you got a baby.
Step your way there. All right? Just take a little baby steps there to trick your brain into doing the easiest thing possible. Remember, our brain wants to conserve energy. This is how we do it. We just say it. Nope, we're just going to do this one little step. Now, here's what happens when you don't do it, because there is going to come a time when you listen to that, that little voice in your head that says, I don't feel like it. I don't want to, and you're gonna just not do it. Here's the key. Don't beat yourself up. Know that it's just your brain and it's totally normal. Okay? Have some compassion towards yourself. Know that it's OK, that you missed the gym. It's okay that you had that pizza. That's okay. It's okay if you had that glass of wine, it's okay. Whatever it is that you did, it's fine.
It doesn't mean anything about who you are. It doesn't mean anything about whether or not you're going to achieve your goal or not. It doesn't say anything about that. All it is is that you had a glass of wine. Don't worry about it, and then you just start over the next day. Remember, the only time you're really feeling is when you totally give up. That is it separate yourself from all the others who do give up. No. That any resistance that you're feeling is normal. Okay? I hope this gets you in the right frame of mind to get moving on. Whatever goal it is that you have, and whether you're listening to this in the new year or whether or not you're listening to this in June, I want you to know that you can start any time. You don't need a new year to get you moving. All that resolution talk is great for people who need a little kick in the pants, but you're a high achiever who knows how to get things done.
You don't need to wait to get started. You don't need anyone's permission. You've got this, okay? Remember, you can create awareness around some of your habits and learn how you can make more time in your week by going to Dina cataldo.com forward slash busy lawyer, and you can download the free busy lawyers quick start guide to getting five hours back each week. Just imagine what you would do with five extra hours. Oh my gosh, you could sleep more. If anything, you could just sleep more. All right. I will talk to you soon. I hope you have a fabulous week. Bye.