[00:00:00] Amanda Dinsmore: Hey guys, welcome back to the podcast. I am Amanda.
[00:00:03] Laura Cazier: I'm Laura.
[00:00:04] Kendra Morrison: I'm Kendra.
[00:00:05] Amanda Dinsmore: before we get started, I had a couple of housekeeping things. The first one is, please, please, please review the podcast, rate it, and review it. are so many doctors out there that are hurting that could really benefit from this podcast. However, they have to be able to find it so those ratings and reviews are one of the things for the algorithms that will help. two, we have back by popular demand, our webinar called what's the I C D 10 code for injury sustained in a dumpster fire that is going to be September 27th at noon central time, and it's basically a primer in anti burnout. Not technology, but anti burnout mindset techniques that we would love to pass on and just raise awareness that we don't have to be suffering like many of the people that we know are. So moving on. This episode, I'm excited is about Atomic Habits. Atomic Habits is a book written by James Clear, and it is a guide for how to change your habits intentionally. It uses the framework of the four laws of behavior change that we will get into later, but it is written to help us simplify, creating good habits and shedding a light on how to break bad ones. Some of the key principles though we'll talk about before we get into the four laws of behavior change. There's three key lessons. Number one is that small habits make a huge difference. A lot of us physicians are all or nothing kind of people. We're gonna go guns blazing or we're not gonna do it at all. But small habits can make unbelievable changes in your life. So don't underestimate that. Tiny improvements, like the goal of improving 1% each day can be almost unnoticeable, but over time, can have astonishing results. It's the same metaphor as like the rudder on the ship. The tiniest change over time will result in a completely different location on the globe, but just as it works for the good, it also works for the bad. So 1% worsening each day over time will get you to where you barely recognize your life anymore. So just be aware of this. And so in this moment, it doesn't matter how successful or unsuccessful you are, it just matters what trajectory you have set yourself on. So the smallest course correction is perfect. The smallest course deviation also does matter. So that's key lesson number one. Small habits make a huge difference. Number two, forget about setting goals and focus on your system instead. Goals are the results, but the systems are the actions that lead to those results. So if you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. It's that you're focusing on the goal and you haven't paid attention to your system. So if you've had the same goal, you've had the same New Year's resolution every year for the past 10 years, you're losing sight of, it's the actions that you need to take.
[00:03:25] Amanda Dinsmore: It's the systems that you need to set up in your life that will get you to that goal. Stop paying so much attention to the goal and worry more about your actions, the systems that you have set up in your life. That's lesson number two. Lesson number three is learn identity based habits. So your current actions are a reflection of who you believe that you are. It's the labels that you've accepted for yourself. So when you are talking to yourself like, I am just so lazy. Or I am, I just have no self-control. I'm disorganized. Even. I'm introverted or extroverted. These are labels that may or may not be true. Just look at the result that it's getting you, and also be able to challenge that.
[00:04:12] Amanda Dinsmore: It's just words. But if you believe it, then you will act in that way. So therefore, to change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself. And it's relatively easy actually. There's two steps. Number one, decide the type of person that you want to be. Like as an example, I want to be an exerciser. Okay? Then you start proving it to yourself with small wins. This is where I would go off track, over and over and over is I thought I needed to go to hour long workouts and sweat my brains out and, and just make it miserable for myself. However, to be an exerciser, it can be as easy as I danced to a single song daily for the past week. Small things matter, but starting to have an identity of an exerciser lets you improve upon that, and he goes big into, you actually have to have a habit before you can improve a habit. So starting small is the easiest way to get those wins and build evidence for yourself that I am, for example, an exerciser. Every action that you do is a vote for the person that you want to be. And so this is also a thing where, in my past, if I went quote off the rails, just again, there are no rails, right? But that's just a mind construct that I went off the rails. I would go completely off the rails. It's much healthier to think of it this way.
[00:05:45] Amanda Dinsmore: Every action that you do is a vote for the person that you want to be. As long as the majority of the votes are in the right direction, you're going to get there. So if you quote, fall off the rails. Just make the next vote. Be a vote in the right direction. This isn't a big deal. You just need the majority of the votes to add up in the way that you want it to.
[00:06:06] Laura Cazier: Can I share an example from some of my own coaching?
[00:06:11] Amanda Dinsmore: Yes.
[00:06:12] Laura Cazier: So, one of the goals that I have is to get up at 5:00 AM on, you know, not, not after I worked a night shift, but as much as possible get up at 5:00 AM just because I love the clarity that I feel when I'm up that early I feel like my brain is working better than normal.
[00:06:38] Laura Cazier: Like I, I just, I love being up that early and, but it is, I have found it, you know, a challenge because I feel tired in the morning. I want to stay in the bed, but my, the woman who was coaching me gave me this. Basically exactly what you just talked about. You know, how, what is it in your identity that is gonna make it possible for you to be able to do this?
[00:07:06] Laura Cazier: And I identify as an overcomer, so I overcome difficult challenges and I can overcome this. What is it about your system that is going to make it possible for you to get up that early? Well, I'm going to, I set a time that I'm going to have everything ready for, for myself and the kids, and then, you know, make sure that I'm in bed by a certain amount of time, by a certain time, and that they're in bed.
[00:07:37] Laura Cazier: And on nights that I'm unable to do that, I'm, I'm going to, you know, just get up anyway. So I, it really does work when you change your identity and pay attention to your systems and set yourself up for success in that way.
[00:07:58] Amanda Dinsmore: Awesome.
[00:07:59] Kendra Morrison: Yeah. I love that there a that you said there's no rails, there's no wagon. I think that I was always identifying as the falling off the wagon, and so just taking the idea of even that the wagon goes away because even like you said, the small wins could even mean that, you know, keep, you know, wearing the watch that tells you how many steps and I got at least 5,000 steps today or something like that.
[00:08:27] Kendra Morrison: And like, never even being aware that I could give myself credit even for the small things like I, you know, took the stairs today and then take the elevator or, you know, instead of just sending a message to the nurse that's on the other side of the er, like, I got up and like went over there and told her, you know, and just saying like, oh, I'm getting all these steps in.
[00:08:50] Kendra Morrison: And of course knowing that, you know, yes, my identity is to be an exerciser, but not just to exercise, but just seeing, you know, the way that I want to prolong longevity. Like do things today, just like Amanda said, for the person I want to be. And that person that I want to be in the future is not walking with a cane, not a cardiac cripple, you know, not anything.
[00:09:14] Kendra Morrison: So just making those small wins today, working towards that person. So, there's four components of the habit loop. So when we talk about, you know, atomic habits and we make these tiny changes, there's a habit loop. There's a cue, and the cue triggers a craving. That craving motivates a response and that response results in the reward. So then the reward then gets associated with the cue, and this is where the message can, has a potential to get kind of messed up because over time, if you can see that there's a cue, like food or comfort food or whatever we can reach for in the pantry, when we get home from that long shift we associate that with maybe self-love.
[00:09:59] Kendra Morrison: Like I'm giving myself this, I deserve this. I deserve to go into the pantry or stop by Taco Bell on the way home. as is my self-love to myself, like as a reward for enduring the awfulness of that, you know, eight or nine hour shift. Because now we have that queue after a shift equals whatever I can get, whatever food choices I want, and that's my reward and I deserve that. You can kind of see where it could take a little bit of a negative pathway. However, if we use this same feedback loop for creating a good habit or a habit that produces a result we desire, then we can start using that towards that and diminish the habit loop that may have created the results we don't desire. So the four laws of behavior change is step one. We make it obvious. So that cue we need to make it very obvious, very simple, very plain, take up, very little brainpower to think of. That's your cue. We make it attractive. And so that's the part where there's that craving. Third, you make it easy, and this is key, like just like Amanda said. You don't want to just sign up for the hour long hit super cardio, fast thing that you're gonna do one time and then feel like you need to call the ambulance and be transported. So you wanna make it easy even as one, I'm gonna dance to one song a day. I'm gonna go up the stairs, down the stairs four times today, whatever, if you have steps in your house.
[00:11:29] Kendra Morrison: So make it easy and then make it satisfying. Say that was me being that exerciser. This is me preparing for longevity in my life. This is me, you know, make it that satisfying. Remind yourself of what you're working to, and that I remind yourself of what you're working towards and that identity that you're trying to create or the results that you wanna try to create.
[00:11:53] Amanda Dinsmore: Love it.
[00:11:54] Laura Cazier: I love that and that make it satisfying, that reward can look like a, I mean, I sometimes will like, like have little pom-poms in my head. Good job. You know, like really cheer myself on or give myself a virtual high five just to give my brain that little dopamine hit so it remembers that that's important, what I just did.
[00:12:18] Amanda Dinsmore: Can you give us examples, Laura, of like how we would use these four laws to create good habits, but also how to break bad habits?
[00:12:27] Track 1: Absolutely. Okay, so to make it obvious might be something like, if you want to eat more fruit, you're gonna have fruit in your house and have it out where you can see it. And when that's the cue, you're gonna see the fruit and you're gonna be reminded, oh, okay, I, I need to eat that fruit. You're gonna make it attractive.
[00:12:54] Laura: So this is the craving aspect of this habit loop. You're gonna pair the action you want to do with an action that you need to do. For instance, if you are watching tv, you might say, I'm gonna walk on the treadmill while I watch tv. And it especially like if you're wanting to watch a show that you, you know, if Amanda's wanting to watch Real Housewives, this would be , like something particularly that feels particularly delicious and naughty to you, then you, I'm gonna only watch it when I'm walking on the treadmill. Or you'll join a culture where the behavior is the norm. You know, for some people that will be joining a gym, some people it might be joining a running group, or if, you know, if we're over drinkers, maybe we're joining AA where we're not, you know, it's not the norm that we're gonna continue to participate in the behavior that we didn't want. We're gonna make it easy. So this is the response part. We're gonna start small and automate it as much as possible. So an example when, for instance, when you're getting back into exercise and you haven't exercised before.
[00:14:23] Laura: Or it's been years since you've exercised. Maybe when you're in the shower, you're gonna say, okay, my minimum I'm gonna do every day. I'm gonna do two squats, two calf phrases, and two wall pushups. I'm gonna do that in my shower every day. And that way it's linked with something you're already gonna do.
[00:14:43] Laura: You you want to take a shower. Most of us are at this age where we like being clean, so you are gonna take a shower. So you have this cue that when you get in the shower, you're gonna do this minimum workout and since you've got it a small thing, there's really no reason why you can't do that. You can always do more, but you're always gonna at least do that small workout that you set out for yourself.
[00:15:13] Amanda Dinsmore: So he goes into like, especially even just one time things that will make things easier for you. If your goal is sleep, get a good mattress. It's a one-time purchase and makes a huge difference every single time. Number two, you could always park farther away from the entrance to wherever you're going anyway, that's super easy. Number three, if your goal is finances, like that's been a huge advantage was somebody told me early on was just automatically. Have, you know, whatever percent it is, go straight to retirement. Like then I didn't have to go back in later. Like these sorts of automations. The reason why you do a lot of the bad habits you do is 'cause they're easy. So just make the good habit even easier.
[00:15:58] Laura Cazier: Make it satisfying. So that reward, give yourself some little reward. It can be a little party in your mind, or it can be a habit tracker is awesome. If you're not familiar with habit trackers, we'll link one in the show notes so you can see what that looks like. But you can color in every day that you do something or give yourself a sticker if you do something. I know Amanda uses gold stars on her planner sometimes when she meets her goals. So whatever you can do to generate that little bump of dopamine.,
[00:16:31] Amanda Dinsmore: I think for me too, that's where I would go off track so often was I just made any sort of habit change, miserable. And what I wasn't realizing is realizing was I'm getting huge dopamine hits from the bad habit, and so
[00:16:44] Amanda Dinsmore: then I just cut myself off cold Turkey. You know what I mean? It made it. It's a much better transition if even if I give myself an attagirl, like at least it's something as opposed to just making it the most brutal habit change ever.
[00:17:00] Laura Cazier: Right. And the reality is any kind of change is going to work so much better if it's done in a loving way. If we're doing it in a place of love for our current, our present self and our future self, rather than hating on ourselves and like flogging ourselves. Like that just doesn't ever work.
[00:17:21] Laura Cazier: So loving ourselves if we're like, if we're trying to get our kids to do something different, we're gonna be gradual. We're gonna be gentle, we're gonna try to make it fun. We're not gonna be like, Whipping 'em and telling 'em how horrible they're, if they don't get it right the first time, that doesn't, that's, that's abuse.
[00:17:42] Laura Cazier: And we should not abuse our children and we should not abuse ourselves.
[00:17:45] Amanda Dinsmore: We do not promote abuse.
[00:17:47] Laura Cazier: No, we do not. So, to break a bad habit, we're gonna do the opposite of the above. So say we're obsessed with cookies, we're not gonna bake cookies every day. I actually had, this was me cookies. If I bake cookies, I'll eat 20 of 'em. I think I just, so I don't like, I maybe bake 'em once a year for my kids.
[00:18:13] Laura Cazier: So if cookies are your problem, don't buy them. Or if they're in the house for somebody else, put them away so you can't see them. They're not just calling to you. Make it unattractive. So this is the craving part you're going to think about. What would you look like if all you ate was cookies?
[00:18:41] Laura Cazier: Cookies all day, every day. Imagine how you're gonna feel and what you would look like. So highlight the benefits of avoiding those bad habits and think about what the bad habit. Ultimately it's gonna lead you to, so you definitely wanna make sure that that bad habit is unattractive to you. Make it difficult.
[00:19:07] Laura Cazier: This is the response. So if you're addicted to streaming, you know the latest Netflix series, you're gonna turn off Autoplay. You're going to change your social media passwords or you're gonna take the app off your phone. You're making it difficult so that you have to do extra steps to indulge in that behavior.
[00:19:34] Laura Cazier: And lastly, you're going to make it unsatisfying. So when you have a bad habit or a habit that you're trying to change, Make a consequence for yourself if you go off your plan. So for instance, if you are trying to quit smoking, some people do still smoke and you mess up and smoke. Have someone that you are gonna give a hundred dollars to every time that happens or every time you waste five hours binging on Netflix shows you are gonna pay someone a hundred dollars or do something, or you're gonna cancel your Netflix subscription something. There's a consequence to it to make it unsatisfying. Make it the opposite of a reward, like a a little punishment. Not a mean punishment to yourself, but just one that helps keep you on track and make sure that it is not rewarding to you.
[00:20:39] Laura Cazier: I'll say this too, is that our brains are, are plastic in that they can change constantly and they really are changing moment by moment throughout our lives. So if you, no matter how long we have had a habit, it can be changed. It starts with believing that you can change it and making small incremental change.
[00:21:07] Laura Cazier: This has been shown over and over again by behavioral specialists that the small changes that feel good, that we celebrate with wins that create long-term lasting change. So it, and it does help to have someone be an accountability partner for you. So that could be a friend, partner. A coach. We do this a lot with our clients.
[00:21:31] Laura Cazier: It is, it's absolutely possible. So just believe that you can change if you have something you wanna change.
[00:21:38] Amanda Dinsmore: Right, and one of the biggest eye openers for me was how I really did tell myself that my identity was, you know, lack of self-control around cookies or whatever it was. And just, obviously I have self-control. I don't steal well, so then I have self-control. It's just, but not even being aware of these messages that I've labeled myself with that is huge to become aware of the story that you're telling yourself about your past and about your present.
[00:22:10] Amanda Dinsmore: Because once you have awareness and you change that, That story doesn't apply to anything in your future. There's no reason why it has to.
[00:22:20] Laura Cazier: Mm-hmm. , right? So now I could bake every day for my kids.
[00:22:25] Amanda Dinsmore: Right.
[00:22:26] Laura Cazier: And I wouldn't eat 20 of 'em.
[00:22:28] Amanda Dinsmore: But when you're trying to change your identity, it probably is helpful to maybe put those away. And then when your identity is somebody who has self-control around cookies, then great.
[00:22:40] Laura Cazier: Right. Although they don't need them either, so it's ..it's fine.
[00:22:44] Kendra Morrison: And I think too, just the awareness of like, there's no wagon, there's no rails. Like that was a big game changer for me, was just telling that, telling myself that, oh, I fell off the wagon, or I've gone off the rails. Like that was so defeating to me that it was like that perfectionism all or nothing. So it was either I was all in or if I fell off the wagon, whatever the wagon was that that was just, A failure. And so just not even receiving that and changing that. And I will say too, Dr. Caroline Leaf does a a lot about this too. And she has actually a neuro cycle app that will actually help you to create a better habit. So if you are trying to not only reframe or reshift and, and decide not to do a bad habit, but also to build a new habit in, she takes you through this Neuro cycle app.
[00:23:33] Kendra Morrison: And it's 21 days is the first 21. Framing and, and building those neural pathways in your brain. And then at 42 days it becomes where it's actually has real estate. And then by 63 days it's a. All new, well ingrained five lane highway, brand new habit. So if you're ever thinking like, how long will this take? I have to do this forever. All of her research in the studies that she has done and this app that she puts up called the Neuro Cycle app will help you if you need something to guide you daily to make this transformation. Ladies, what a great way to start off even the new school year. We can just start by like small habits with ourselves as our kids go back to school and also help to guide our kids along making maybe some new habits around their academic success. So we are excited to announce that back by Popular Demand. Our free webinar, what's the I C D 10 code for Injuries Sustained in a Dumpster Fire will be live coming to you on Wednesday, September 27th at 12:00 PM central. Click the link in the show notes to get signed up to join us then, or go to our website, www.thewholephysician.com to find out more information.
[00:24:44] Kendra: So until next time, you are whole, you are a gift to medicine, and the work you do matters.