15: The Intersection of Mindset and Somatic Work with Rachel Hart

If you’re anything like me or my guest on the show this week, you’re very cerebral, analytic, and probably came to thought work excited to investigate your brain. However, if you want to change a habit at the deepest level, it requires you to look at the entirety of your life, including your emotions and your body, something many of us are resistant to digging into.

This week, I have Master Certified Life Coach Rachel Hart on the show. Rachel is the host of the Take A Break podcast and The Alcohol Reset podcast, and she runs a membership program that focuses on helping people change their relationship with alcohol. She spent years chasing gold stars, trying to be a rule follower, and making intricate plans for changing her habits until she realized there’s more to this work than just discipline or intellectual awareness.

Join us this week as Rachel sheds light on the intersection of mindset and somatic work in habit change. She’s walking us through how we’ve grown accustomed to ignoring our connection to our bodies, why this is limiting you in more ways than you realize, and how to integrate the missing piece of somatic work as you transform your habits.

Habits on Purpose | The Intersection of Mindset and Somatic Work with Rachel Hart

If you’re anything like me or my guest on the show this week, you’re very cerebral, analytic, and probably came to thought work excited to investigate your brain. However, if you want to change a habit at the deepest level, it requires you to look at the entirety of your life, including your emotions and your body, something many of us are resistant to digging into.

Habits on Purpose | The Intersection of Mindset and Somatic Work with Rachel Hart

This week, I have Master Certified Life Coach Rachel Hart on the show. Rachel is the host of the Take A Break podcast and The Alcohol Reset podcast, and she runs a membership program that focuses on helping people change their relationship with alcohol. She spent years chasing gold stars, trying to be a rule follower, and making intricate plans for changing her habits until she realized there’s more to this work than just discipline or intellectual awareness.

Join us this week as Rachel sheds light on the intersection of mindset and somatic work in habit change. She’s walking us through how we’ve grown accustomed to ignoring our connection to our bodies, why this is limiting you in more ways than you realize, and how to integrate the missing piece of somatic work as you transform your habits.

If you’re serious about taking this work deeper and are ready to take this intellectual understanding to off-the-page implementation, check out my coaching offers. Join my email list to find out more about my individual deep dive coaching with a somatic and cognitive approach, as well as my small group coaching program for women physicians. 

What you'll learn from this episode:

  • How we don’t realize we are our own best authority. 
  • The insidious nature of how we approach habit change. 
  • Why true habit change isn’t about being disciplined, and what it’s really about.
  • What it means to develop emotional fluency. 
  • Why you cannot change any habit only from a place of intellect. 
  • Some of the most obvious ways we chronically ignore our bodies.
  • How Rachel came to realize somatic work was the missing piece in habit change.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

Hi there. This is Kristi Angevine. Welcome to Episode 15. This episode is a special one because it's an interview episode. And, my guest is Master Certified Life Coach, Rachel Hart. Rachel is the host of the Take a Break podcast, and she also runs a membership program that focuses on helping people change their relationship with alcohol. In addition, she has an advanced certification in Numbing and Buffering. Listen in, as Rachel and I discuss the intersection of mindset and somatic work with emotions, habits, and your relationship with yourself.

Welcome to Habits On Purpose, a podcast for high-achieving women who want to create lifelong habits and feel as good on the inside as they look on paper. You'll get practical strategies for mindset shifts that will help you finally understand the root causes of why you think, feel, and act as you do so you can learn to create habits that give more than they take. And now, here's your host physician and Master Certified Life Coach Kristi Angevine.

Kristi Angevine: Hello, everybody. We have a very special episode today. Rachel, so nice to have you here.

Rachel Hart: Thanks for having me.

KA: Yeah, of course. So many of the listeners actually already know you quite well, from listening to your podcast, or just from your work at the Life Coach School. But for those who don't know you, can you just share a little bit about yourself?

RH: Well, I am a life coach. And, my focus really is on helping people who want to change the habit of drinking and change their relationship with alcohol. That can mean a lot of different things, for a lot of people. Some of the people that I work with, they just want to drink less. They want to drink less in a sitting or less during the week. Other people really want to reserve alcohol for special occasions, and just have it be like, you know, an occasional thing in their lives.

And, there are other people that I work with that are like, “I think I'm kind of over it. I just see the weight, the impact that it has on my body. And you know, the kind of consequences that I get from drinking just don't… they don't feel good anymore. It was fun. It was fun in my 20s. And now, here I am, in my 40s or 50s, and I don't know, maybe not my jam.”

The whole idea is really not just helping people learn how to change their relationship and change the habit, but also empower them to figure out like what feels good and right for you. And, knowing that people really can be their own best authority, rather than, “I'm going tell you this is the perfect guideline, or this is the exact amount, or you shouldn't drink at all.” I think a lot of people don't feel empowered in that way to make those kinds of decisions. So, yeah, that's my work.

KA: I love how you phrase that; people finding their own authority within themselves, because they also many of the listeners to this podcast, are used to striving towards external metrics, just in their careers, or just in life in general. And, sometimes I don't think we're necessarily given the skill set or taught how to look within and actually trust that we can make our own decisions. We don't have to look to somebody else to tell us, “This is the right amount to drink,” or, “This is the right way to do life.”

RH: But I think that it’s with everything. I mean, I think about, in my own life from a very young age, I was very committed to, “I want to do things, right. I want to get the gold star. I want to be at the top of the class. I don't want to do things wrong. I don't want to get in trouble.” So, I was always looking to an external authority to tell me, “Okay, Rachel, you're doing it right,” or “You're doing it wrong,” or “This is good,” or “This is bad.” I didn't have the practice of being able to even know.

I didn't even know I could be my own authority. Number one. And then number two, I didn't have the practice of, “Okay, but how do I… What does that look like? How do I do that?” Especially because from a pretty young age, with food, I had a real relationship of not trusting myself.

I had a real relationship of… Food was something that I went to for comfort and for relief. Because of that, I ate really quickly ate a lot, and felt often out of control when I was eating. So, I was like, “Well, how could I possibly…” It didn't even occur to me; I could be my own authority. But, if someone had told me that, I would’ve been like, “Yeah, okay, but you don't know me. We don't want to give me the car keys, people.”

KA: Absolutely. I think you just described, so perfectly, my experience. I mean, not just as a young kid, but through my 20s and 30s. Just like if you had found me in residency or my first job and said, “Oh, you know, you could just be your own authority.” I really would have thought that you probably come from some other planet, or in some cult. I would’ve been like, “Well, that's really cute.” That’s a nice concept.

RH: Or, like, “You don’t know me at all.” Right? Like, “If only you knew.” I have this very strong story about myself, “Yes, it all looked good and right on the outside. I was very good at getting good grades, and doing well at work, and being promoted, and turning in my taxes on time, and paying all my bills.” It all had this shiny veneer. But if you were to look underneath the hood, you would see, “Oh, no. This woman does not have it together.”

It's so fascinating. But that was the story that I so believed. Whenever people would come to me with any kind of praise, I could never even take it in because deeper story was like, “No, I'm just obviously… I'm just barely holding it together. And, if you really could see what was going on, behind the scenes, you would see a woman that was totally messed up, and eating too much, drinking too much, smoking too much, and doing all the things too much.” Yeah, I wouldn't have been able to take that in either.

KA: I'm just imagining right now, when this podcast comes out, the people who are listening to this, just stopping what they're doing and nodding, “That describes me to a tee.” I just think that, no matter your field of work, no matter what you're working on in your life, whether it is; food, or alcohol, or hustling, or just always overextending, or always working to fix yourself, almost all of those things you can describe so nicely, we just don't know, necessarily, that we could do it a different way.

RH: Or, that we don't need fixing. I was saying this to someone recently, who is actually going through this advanced certification that I have on Numbing and Buffering. She was saying, “I'm just changing my relationship to how I heal myself.” She said something along those lines. And, I was like, “I just want you to hear this for a second. Because when we say heal, it sounds so virtuous. And it sounds so good; ‘I'm just healing myself.’ But if you believe that you need to be healed, then there is also a part of you that believes that you're broken, and that something is wrong.”

That was, for me… For the longest time, I was like, “Yeah, obviously, something's broken inside. Something's broken in my brain.” I would tell myself I didn't have an off-switch in my brain. That was my explanation for why I always overdid it. Why it was very hard to rein myself in. I was like, “I don't know, I just lost the brain lottery.” And, “My brain’s missing an off-switch.” As crazy as that sounds, I deeply, deeply believed that.

Then, when I started doing the work of self-development, and learning about what I teach, the think-feel-act cycle, it morphed into, “Oh, I'm just healing myself” Which sounds a lot nicer, but it still comes with the baggage of, “Because I'm broken. Because there's something wrong with me.” Seeing this work is… It's not about healing you; it's not about fixing you. It's about understanding you. Understanding yourself from the deepest level, and why you do the things you do, that can often feel totally inexplicable, and learning how not to have judgment about that.

Learning how not to make that mean, “I'm a bad person. Something's wrong with me. I'm never going to figure this out.” That, to me, when you start seeing this work, is about growing, and evolving, and also learning how not to judge yourself. So, if you can let go of this paradigm of, “Well, you know, we're all kind of broken on the inside and need to be fixed.

KA: What you're saying reminds me of something that was… A long time ago we had… We were talking about something... For those who don't know totally, you have a program, it's called Take a Break, as well as this new podcast, The Alcohol Reset. They're very much focused on helping people change their relationship with alcohol.

I remember you… I don't even know what we were talking about... You said something like, you were like, “Once people actually start doing this inner work, it's actually never about just the alcohol, or just the drinking.” Can you talk a little bit more about that?

RH: Yeah. I mean, it's so funny, because I actually just recorded an episode about this for my own podcast, because I think that society has really failed us on this front. That we have been taught if you find yourself drinking more than you want, or if you don't like your relationship with alcohol, because… Here's the thing, this is kind of wild. I think a lot of people are surprised by this.

I often work with people who have “normal” relationships with alcohol. People would look at how much they consume, and they'd be like, “Oh, that's not too much.” And, they themselves, would be like, “You know, I don't usually get hung over. And, I rarely overdo it.” But they really don't like their relationship, right?

They feel they have this kind of internal knowing of, “I just feel like I have too much desire, and I look forward to it too much. And I don't like that I feel more comfortable with a glass of wine in my hand than a glass of water.” So, I think as a society, we've really done this disservice that we've made people think it's all like a numbers game and it's all about quantity, and we just need to focus on the substance, right?

So much of what I'm trying to show people is, if you want to change a habit from the deepest level, if you want to change your relationship with something from the deepest level, that has to look at the entirety of your life. It has to look at what's the relationship that you have with yourself and with other people? And, how do you want alcohol to fit in? And, what's the relationship that you have with your body? And, how do you treat yourself when you make a mistake, or have a misstep, or you fail, or you break your commitment? Not just around alcohol, but everything.

And that, to me, that's what on my own journey, because this was something that I really struggled with... That's what really like… I remember just feeling actually very lit up. When I was like, “Oh, I think that what I'm working on, actually has very little to do with alcohol.”

I had spent so much time in my life creating all these rules and trying to be a good rule follower, and making all these, you know, conditions and plans for myself about how much I was allowed to drink, and when I could drink, and I had to have like a full stomach, or how long the glass had to last, or who I could be… Like I had all these crazy rules, right?

Also, all these crazy rules for eating, right? It wasn't just limited to my drinking. But when I started to see that it has nothing to do with being disciplined, it really is about the entirety of, how do I show up in my life? And, how do I show up with my body and my emotions? It felt so powerful for me, because I realized alcohol is just how I came into the journey. It was the thing that opened the door for me.

But that journey has very little to do with alcohol because it really was about evolving to have a totally different relationship with myself. And, a relationship that wasn't antagonistic, and I wasn't trying to fix myself, and I wasn't constantly seeing myself as like, “You know, you really can't be trusted.” And, a different relation with my emotions, and my body, and all of it.

I mean, as you can tell, I get very, very excited about it. Because I think we just talk about it in this very, very limiting way, as a society. If you can see it as your consumption of whatever that you feel like you're consuming too much, is really not about the substance. It's about what's happening underneath, it's about the thoughts and the feelings that lead to the decision. And that, to me, is just so much more interesting to think about and to work on.

KA: Yeah, and I think too, sort of embedded in just that idea, is that it's more than just about the substance. It's more than just about whatever brings somebody to thought-work, whether it's their burnout, whether it's their weight, whether it's a body image, or they feel like an imposter in the operating room. Whatever it is that brings them there, it's ultimately not just about that thing, or that substance, or that habit.

Then, really, there's no point in judging it. Then the judgment model gets to fall all away, right? And then, you get to just be like, “It's so much easier to be so curious about… Oh, Why am I having this relationship with myself? And very much fixating on this one aspect as a way in?”

RH: Yeah. I mean, I think so often what they see is their relationship with alcohol is completely reflected in their relationship with their emotions. It's funny, because, you know, I will talk about… I talk about emotions a lot on the podcast, I talk about it a lot in the membership that I do.

And, a lot of times people will be like, “It's just a habit. I just like the taste.” I think we also, culturally, so want to denigrate emotions as like, “Oh, no, it has nothing to do with emotions.

Listen, understand why you're taking an action; that doesn't just happen out of the clear blue, right? Your body doesn't make a move… Your body doesn't make a move to the glass of wine, or towards your phone, or towards the chocolate, or towards the cigarette. That doesn't happen until there's a thought that creates a feeling.

But I think so often, people are like, “Oh, I don't even want to… We're gonna talk about emotions now?” And P.S., me too, just to be very clear. I was like, “Eww, I don't… Let's skip over the emotion part. I don't like emotions. I don't really want to do any of this touchy-feely stuff,” especially when I first was introduced to thought-work. I liked it because it was called thought-work, it wasn't called emotion work. Right?

KA: Everybody out there who likes thought-work for the analytical thought line? You are not alone. Okay?

RH: You're not alone. That was a huge thing for me. But I had to start really understanding that I had all this resistance, and I have all this story about… I had too much emotion. If I would open the door to some of my emotions, I felt like I was going to be overwhelmed or consumed by it.

And so, yeah, it was a real journey in my own work. And now, what I teach is to be in this place where it's like, “Let's never talk about an emotion, and only do the logical and analytical… Look at the sentences in our mind,” to like, “Oh, right. Thoughts create our feelings. We can't skip over this part and only talk about the thoughts and the actions.”

We also have to do… I talk about developing emotional fluency; that ability to not just be able to name and notice your emotions, but also be able to not judge them, and not see them as a sign that you've done something wrong, or that something is wrong. Or that… I definitely was like, “I'm just someone that has too much anxiety.” Along with my whole, “I don't have an off switch in my brain.” I was like, I'm just a super anxious person.

KA: Yeah. And sometimes, you know, the connotations of labeling something as anxiety, especially when we've got this culture that denigrates this sort of soft skill of feeling feelings. So, the connotations there make it so easy to want to push it aside and be like, “No, no, no. Let's just focus on my mindset. From the neck up, we're gonna do this work.”

RH: That is so true. That is a big piece of what I teach. We cannot change the habit only from the neck up, like, you are full bodied, right? And, if we're only trying to change from the place of our intellect, and from a mindset focused place, yeah, you can make a lot of progress. But at the end of the day, you're still human. We don't get to delete emotions from our lives. You're still going to have emotional experiences, even if you do all the thought-work right. You cannot avoid having the human experience.

And guess what? We have that human experience in our body. That's where we feel it. That's where we feel our emotion. So, you know, we’ve got to start really bringing the work to see it as like, it's not just about doing the work from the head up, but like, how can I actually be at peace with my whole body?

And that, to me, that's given me the most tremendous freedom to be like, “Yeah. I can be in my body, and my body is not a scary thing, and these emotions aren't a scary thing.” I couldn't do that just from the place of mindset.

KA: Oh, totally not. And, once you see those physical sensations, and you see those emotions as curious entities; possibly things to teach you things like, the door in or the window, as opposed to like the, “Oh shit. Now I've got a bad feeling and I better fix it by changing my thoughts, because this means I’m not doing it right.” As soon as you can do that, that's when it's like you peel back a veil. And, there's a whole new level of discovery.

This reminds me of… It was pre-pandemic... For the coaches listening now, they are familiar with The Life Coach School puts on the mastermind event... Most years, except when there's a pandemic. And so, pre-pandemic, I remember the coaches who were listening and some of the physicians who’ve heard you… You gave a presentation, talking about, basically just this thing. Via the fact that many of us have a tendency to gravitate towards that work because it really is super-cerebral.

It involves language and words. And those of us who, you know, are little bibliophiles and really love to read, and think and analyze… We love that. But you talked about how important it was to have an awareness of your bodily experience. And basically, you talked about the whole field of embodiment and somatic work.

I'm curious, how did you realize that that was a missing piece that was really essential for you?

RH: I really went into it kicking and screaming, I'm not gonna lie.

KA: So, for everybody listening, who really roll their eyes and bristle when we talk about emotions, please, again, know, let me emphasize, you're completely not alone.

RH: Yes, you're not alone, at all. I really did go into it kicking and screaming. But I think, again, you know, in many ways my journey with alcohol… I wasn't, from the get-go, like, “Oh, this is a problem.” Or, “Something doesn't feel so off here.” From the get-go, I … When I started, I was like, “This is amazing! This is how you access fun Rachel. I love her. Great, let's look at more of that.”

But I think the reason why I was so persistent, and P.S. I worked on this for many, many years, over a decade, really trying to figure it out. But it was because I have this kind of niggling, this knowing inside of me, this intuition that was just like, “Something's not right here. Something like… You’ve got to figure this out.”

I think that the same thing happened with, honestly, the somatic work and the work of connecting to my body, and starting to change my relationship with emotions. I was like, “No, I like talking about thoughts. Let's just think about new thoughts, and talk about our thoughts, and how can we change our thoughts.” I was very, very comfortable there.

I had this part of me that just knew, and was kind of pushing me towards this idea, “I think you can't ignore this.” The fact of the matter was, that even when I had really changed my relationship with alcohol, and changed my relationship with food, and I wasn't smoking anymore, I could see that I still had a very fearful relationship with some of my emotions.

My solution was just to work really hard, and to just keep myself very busy. The problem is that that's so glorified in our culture, right? It's like, “Look how long I worked, and how many hours I put in.” And, I often would give myself a lot of positive self-talk for that.

But I realized that busyness had become the new way for me to avoid how I was feeling. I don't know how to… I don't know… It was such a journey of many twists and turns how exactly I landed up there. But I do think it was one of those things that I just had this knowing, that avoiding my body was never going to work in the long run.

And, that's what I was doing all the time. I mean, avoiding my body to the extent… I remember when I first started doing some somatic work, and the woman who I was working with was like, “Do you need to pee? Do you need to go to the bathroom before we get started?” And I was like, “I'm fine. I'm fine.” I was so, you know, I was so annoyed. And then I realized how much I would go through the day and just not listen to my body being like, “I'm thirsty,” or “I need to go to the bathroom,” or, I was just like, “We'll deal with that later.”

It was like, all these little ways that I was telling my body to be quiet. And, all these little ways that I was just like, “Nope. Not interested.” So yeah, that's kind of how I ended up there.

KA: So, I love how you describe that last little bit, [inaudible] “I just had sort of grown accustomed to just not even checking in.” I think for training… For the physicians who are listening, and not just physicians… Anybody who goes through any sort of intensive, rigorous program, where they are basically told, implicitly, “Put your head down. Work really hard.”

And then, prior to when we started recording, we were talking about how sometimes there's virtue infused into some of the societal messaging. For physicians, there's definitely that altruistic virtue of, “If you care about your patients as much as you should, you are going to ignore your body.” You should do that, because stopping to pee in the middle of an emergency, well, that doesn't make sense. You just hold it and wait.

Some of the very obvious ways that comes out... A lot of us can say, “Well, yeah, sure. If there's a major emergency, I'm not going to go to get a cup of coffee just because I want to. It's time to...” But when it comes out chronically, we're like, “Yes.” You don't even know what your body feels. I mean, that for me… For sure, I remember doing some of the somatic work and thinking, “Hmmm. I know what intuition is, from the dictionary definition, but I'm not sure how to access that on demand. Do you mean you feel-in for the words that have no words? You know… The feelings?” I remember thinking that.

I love you [inaudible] if you're listening to this. I remember thinking, Bev was crazy, when she thought she was going to be able to get me, and some of the other physicians, to feel our bodies. “I don't know if you know what we have gotten accustomed to. We don't have them. They’re actually not… They look like they're there, but they're not really there.”

RH: They're not really there. And, P.S. it's kind of an inconvenience. It's inconvenient that my body is telling me it needs to go to the bathroom. It’s inconvenient that is telling me I need to get up from my chair and stop working, and actually stretch my legs. This is all very inconvenient. I think there was also, that it's giving me a lot of inconvenient information.

It’s so wild, to think about now. I will tell you, I didn't even like getting massages, I didn't like getting pedicures. I was like, “Don't touch my body.” I really had a very… I just didn't like a lot of sensation. It was not comfortable for me.

And now, to be in this place of… I think that our mind has like the most amazing intelligence, right? I can't even tell you what it's like to go from the place of really believing that your brain is missing something, that your brain is missing an off switch, or it's broken, to now being like, “I have the most incredible tool in between my ears.” Did you not…And you do too, and we all do. We're like barely scratching the surface with it.

To go there and believe, “Yes, I have this incredible intelligence in my mind. And, I have this incredible intelligence in my body.” Like my body... I was listening to my friend, Corinne Crabtree, who I know you have a lot of coaches; they know who she is. And, she was saying, “Listen, your stomach and your brain were designed to talk to each other. They were designed that way.” And, I was like, “Oh, right.” I have this incredible intelligence in my body that is giving me information all the time.

And, if I cannot be in a place of judging it, if I can just be curious about it, both of those intelligences are available to me. What happens if I'm not just relying on the intelligence of my mind, but believing I also have this other un-accessed intelligence in my body? That's trying, also, to give me information and help me be, “Have you had enough? Do you need to move? Should we pay attention to this pain?” That, to me, feels like, “Oh, if you can access both of those,” then, you're really on a plane of, “Yeah, I've got unlimited intelligence available to me.”

KA: Oh, my gosh, I couldn't have said it better. I still feel like, sometimes, I'm just in mostly a state of wordless awe, of the combination of those two things. I feel like it’s… I mean, it's literally difficult to wrap your mind around, especially if you're trying to use words to describe it. It's just amazing. And, you are just in a totally different place when you're able to, basically, be open to messages, like all the messages, right? You know?

RH: I ask my body a lot. That’s a big thing in... One of the things that I teach inside my membership. I do teach a body-based practice. A lot of it is just asking your body, “How would you like to move?”

It's so funny. This happened to me, too, that my brain was so broken by that question, at first. I was like, “What? I'm asking my body how it wants to move? No, I tell my body how to move, right?” Or, “These are the prescribed set of stretches that I'm supposed to do, and I need to follow.”

It really is just like, “Yeah, I know. My body knows exactly what it needs.” It knows exactly how much to eat, and exactly how much to drink, and exactly how much rest it needs, and exactly how much movement it needs. It's just that I, for a long time, was like, “No, thank you. I don't, I'm not interested in your input. Thanks. But, no thanks.”

KA: That's so funny. I think… I love hearing that, “Thanks. But, no thanks. I'm just not interested.” I remember I had that level of awareness, but I also had, almost like, a black box. Like, “There's not actually messages coming through.” Almost like, I deleted them so often, that they're not really… To think that they're there, it's just kind of like magical thinking. “There's nothing.”

RH: We have such... Especially in the self-development world, I think too… I was talking about this recently. We have this idea that, well obviously, the mind is more important than the body. I was talking with someone, and she was talking about her challenge with being still, in stillness and meditating.

I was like, “Well, why is stillness, such a virtue?” But, I again… It really is; it’s the mind, and stillness, and being able to quiet everything. Or, we're just humans. We're supposed to be in this place all the time of, “We're still, and then we're not still.” We can like be in places of silence, and we can be in places of chaos. It's just supposed to be this kind of fluctuation.

I think that's what we often really fight against. We're like, “No, this is how my body is supposed to behave. And this is how many times it's supposed to need to eat and drink, and pee and move. And, if it doesn't follow that, it's going to get in the way of all of these things that I need to get done today.”

KA: Honestly, you bring up such a great point; that there are some things that, especially collectively, either in our fields, or collectively, as those of us who are in personal development, that are these unquestioned tenants. We just don’t... We just don't even think, “Why would I question stillness?” Because aren't there great things that happen when you…

RH: Stillness is amazing! Obviously, my goal… Listen. Stillness is amazing. And also, it can be amazing not to be still, right? But we so often, have created this kind of hierarchy of quiet and stillness, and meditation, and the mind, and focusing there is the most important thing to do. And, the body, I feel like, is seen as this very secondary and. almost like, irrational and the more savage part of… Base and…. And, it's just like, “Or, maybe not. Maybe we just question that?” Just saying…

KA: Right. I think that's the fun part of some of this work, too, is just being able to have some levity with our questioning, of all the things that we hold sacred. Yeah, all of the things, right? And, just to be like, “Oh, but who says?” And, “What if I could just question this thing? It seems so great on paper, and it worked for me in my 20s, or whatever, and it works for all my friends.” But then, it just doesn't sit right or doesn't feel right.

Like that little niggling you mentioned, where you’re just like, “Something is off,” but I, maybe, don't have the words for it. But what if it's okay? And, what if you could still also question it?

So, one of the things, as we're talking about this, when I think about… When we are doing this work of looking at… Really carefully evaluating what we're letting guide our decisions; what habits we want to have on purpose; what habits that we just kind of have fallen into. Obviously, it's very, it's complex and multifaceted. There are all these different layers, right?

And so, it'd be this oversimplification to say that there's this, “Just go do this one thing. If you guys just… Everybody listening, just go do these top three things, and then you'll be good.” Obviously, we can't say that with any good faith and go to sleep at night.

So, this is silly to even ask this, but when you think about your journey with coming from a totally… I know you didn't exactly come from the self-development field out of the womb, and then found your way to coaching, which I'm sure that's like another episode of interesting stories like how you found life coaching… But, when you look at that, and you think like, “Okay, if there's one thing that's just really essential to all of this work,” what might that be?

RH: Well, I really do think it’s just awareness. That is really the place that, I think, when people start, they want to skip over. They’re like, “Okay. Okay. I see the thought. We’re changing it, yeah?” You just really have to… You can’t change anything before you understand how it works. So often, that’s how people approach change. They’re like, “Okay. I have this thing in my life and it’s not working. So, let’s just change it.” But they don’t understand how it actually works.

They don’t actually understand why they’re having the second glass of wine; or, why they’re having another slice of pizza; or, why they set alarm in the morning with every intention to go to the gym, and then hit snooze. It’s just like, “Okay, I just need to change it.”

So often, what we’re trying to do, is change from the place of our narrative about ourselves. It’s like, “I don’t know. I’m just someone who overdoes it.” Or, “I don’t know. I’ve just always been kind of compulsive.” Or, “I’ve always had a hard time saying, no.” Or, “I’ve never been someone that’s good at following my commitments.”

We’re trying to… We have this story of why it’s happening, and then we’re trying to slap change on top of it, instead of… No, no. You’ve got to actually back up and understand what is the thought, and the feeling, and the action that is creating this result for you.

KA: I think people who are super productive, and really efficient, and fast thinkers, and all of us just want to fix it today. The changes thing; I see it, I recognize it. I’m just like, “Fix it. Can I just go buy a tool for that?” It’s actually that the faster way is not just ignoring the narrative and signing up for the 30-day or the 90-day, I don’t know what, the challenge, or whatever you do where you’re just like, “I’m going to use my willpower and I’m going to work on all my actions, muscle my way through.”

That’s actually the slower way, right? That’s why you see ten years of yo-yo dieting.

RH: It’s the slower way, because, yes, it might give you some short-term change, but then what happens is, as soon as you are either exhausted by the willpower or you get to the end of the prescribed amount of time, you just slide right back into the habit. You haven’t actually changed the underlying foundation that the habit was built upon.

I remember thinking this a lot… I think this does for a lot of people who are very cerebral and like-thinking, and enjoy that… I was also very resistant to getting things out on paper. I was like, “Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh. I get it.” I totally thought I could just build awareness from in my mind.

What you really have to do is take it out and put your thoughts on paper, and write out those models, and create some distance from it. I had a lot of resistance to doing that. In part also because I had a lot of, “You know, this makes so much sense. Therefore, I should just be able to implement it.”

That was the other thing that I would run up against a lot. “Yeah, yeah. I get it. I get it.” So, why can’t I do it? Because you’re not doing it? You’re just thinking you should be able to, right?

KA: That then, makes it so easy to mentally go through the motions and then stay totally on the surface, never actually getting to the heart of the issue. Then, you find out, like me, you actually do what might seem super silly like, getting your thoughts down on paper, or actually narrate something in a way where you can actually get that perspective, and you find that it’s actually not that hard. And, it can be so powerful.

RH: Yeah. I was coaching someone yesterday. They’re like, “Okay. But, why am I even writing out the unintentional model? Shouldn’t I just be working on the intentional model and changing my thoughts?” “No! Also, the fact that you think that, is part of the problem. Because you’re thinking that change comes from the place of ‘I have to be thinking differently,’ rather than, ‘I have so much awareness about my thoughts that I can start to see that it’s not the truth. It’s just a thought.” That’s the skill that you’re building.

We talk about this a lot, but to really have a sentence cross your mind, and to be able to recognize that it’s just a sentence and it’s not the truth, that doesn’t happen because you were changing sentences. That happens because you were doing that kind of rote practice of looking at it and looking at it, and building awareness around it, and reminding yourself, “Oh, this thought creates this feeling which leads to this action.”

In many ways, I’m often like, “When you really understand that something is totally just a sentence, you don’t even need to change it.” You’re like, “Oh.” So, you’re not even practicing a new thought. I think that is a little bit more advanced, but I really do think that when you truly get that something is just a thought, you don’t need to change it because you see that it’s not the truth.

KA: Oh my gosh. For everybody listening, I think you should probably rewind this 3-minutes back and relisten to that about five times over. If we can really internalize that piece of this work, the impact could be hugely profound. Because then, all of the sudden, you’re in the audience, you’re watching the play… you’re watching the sentences roll through, and you’re like, “Oh, look at that one. Oh my gosh, that’s a familiar one. Oh, I see that.” They’re repeated, whether it’s from repetition or they just popped in your brain. But they don’t need to be tied to so much weight and be the truth.

RH: I say this all the time with urges, because that’s a big thing that I work on specifically. When you really understand that the urge has no power, when it appears and you’re not like, “Oh God! Here you are again.” I often talk about my own response being like, “Oh hi! You’re here. Oh, hello.”

KA: It’s the familiar neighbor who brings you freshly baked things and you’re like “I’m actually… I’ve told you that I’m allergic to licorice. But you bring it over all the time. Okay. Here you are. It’s no problem.”

RH: There’s no kind of rush for me to get rid of it, or to make it go away, or to change the thought. I’m just like, “Oh, hey. You’re here.” Then it’s gone. I know that for everyone listening that can seem like, “What are they talking about?”

KA: It seems a little bit abstract and out-there, until you’ve practiced it just a tiny bit. RH: Until you practice it, and then you’re like, “Oh, my urges don’t over me. They only have power when I believe that they’re powerful. They only have power because I’ve been so used to obeying them that I didn’t realize there was another option. Then, what the world told me the other option was, ‘Grit your teeth or distract yourself or isolate.’”

On all of those things, it’s fascinating, when you’re gritting your teeth, or you need to distract yourself, or your isolating, you’re reinforcing that it has power. You’re reinforcing that it’s something that you need to push against or hide from.

The place where you actually want to get to is, “Oh, the urge has no power. If it has no power, I don’t need to grit my teeth. I also don’t need to distract. I can just be like, ‘Oh, hey. You’re here. Okay, cool.’” Either, “I was expecting you,” or “I didn’t know you were going to show up, but okay.”

KA: Also, that urge just popping up, happening whenever, is not an indictment on you, as a person. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you that you continue to have these urges.

RH: No, it’s just how your brain works. That’s the same thing… I think it ties really nicely with the emotion piece. If you think the solution to stopping overdoing, whatever you’re overdoing in your life, is getting rid of your urges, that is just as problematic as thinking the solution to dealing with anxiety is to never feel anxiety.

Urges are normal. Anxiety is normal. They were built-in to the brain’s design, when the body was designed. Nothing has gone wrong here. It’s the belief that we need to delete them, that we need to get rid of them, that is actually the problem.

When you’re like, “Oh yeah. Hi, I’m feeling anxious right now.” I can’t even tell you how powerful that is because for so long, I was, “Ugh, I’m always anxious. I’m feeling anxious again. Now, I’m doing my thought-work wrong because I have all this anxiety.” But, it’s just like, “Oh. No. I’m just feeling anxious. That’s human. Moving on.”

KA: It takes any urgency away from this desire to eradicate, to fix, and to clean up what we’re feeling, because it’s not so charged anymore.

RH: Yeah, because we don’t need to eradicate things that aren’t powerful.

KA: Exactly. Yeah. We could probably talk for like five hours and continue, and then visit the next day and continue. And, people would be relistening and taking notes because you really sprinkled throughout here… Dropped some really beautiful points that, I think, people are going to carry with them through all of this work. As we’re wrapping up, can you talk a little bit about this new podcast that you’ve got coming out? And, if there’s anything else that you would like to share about what you’re working on.

RH: It’s called The Alcohol Reset. The reason why I put it together is… Actually, it’s just ten episodes. That’s it. Because, so many people… I’ve been doing Take a Break, that podcast, since 2017. I’m almost at 300 episodes and people are often like, “Oh my God. Where do I even begin?”

So, I created The Alcohol Reset as like the CliffsNotes version. If you want to know the most important concepts, and the most important steps that you can take to change your relationship with alcohol, this is what you need to do; you just need to listen to these ten episodes.

I love it, too, because it really does introduce people to… I believe that I’m… I have a whole different way of thinking about habits, and alcohol, and the ways in which we attach morality, and right-and-wrong to all of it.

No. You can just be your own authority. We don’t have to label it as good or bad, or make it like poison, “You shouldn’t be putting a poison in your body.” Let’s just take all that out of it. If people want to check out The Alcohol Reset, they can go to www.RachelHart.com/reset and they will get the podcast feed there, so they can get that… It’s a private podcast feed.

I think it’s kind of fun just having, “Here’s the CliffsNotes version.” I love that I have this huge library, but I know that people get intimidated by it sometimes. They’re all very short episodes, they’re all very actionable. That, in and of itself, will just create dramatic change for people.

KA: I completely agree. As soon as you get done listening to this episode, everybody go to where she said and opt-in to get The Alcohol Reset, then listen to all of those. That will be so, so useful. Is there anywhere else they should find you?

RH: If you go to www.RachelHart.com, you can learn about me. If you’re interested in the Take a Break Membership, which is my monthly membership where we’re doing all of the work that I talked about here, you can find out more at my website.

KA: Okay. That’s beautiful. So, I will just say, as a last little comment here, anybody who’s listening who alcohol is just not in your life, maybe you’ve never had it in your life, you don’t drink and you think, “Okay, so maybe The Alcohol Reset… How would that be relevant to me?”

Remember how we talked about, at the beginning, it’s never just about the alcohol. The alcohol is just one aspect of all the deeper work that has to do with your relationship with yourself. With your relationship to your habits, with your habits. You can listen and get things out of The Alcohol Reset and the Take a Break podcast, even if alcohol isn’t the specific thing that’s on your radar.

RH: I have so many people that say, “I listen to your podcast, and I just substitute in food,” or whatever it is. That to me, is what’s so fun and beautiful about it. “Yeah, we don’t have to treat it like this issue, onto itself, that has to be siloed.” Oh no. We’re just learning the skills that apply to everything.

That is very exciting because then, it’s like, “Oh. Now I’ve got the foundation down. Now I know how to change anything in my life.” We don’t have to be like, “Okay, I did the alcohol, now I’m moving on to the food. Now I’m moving on to the over-work. Now I’m moving to the social media procrastination.” No. You just need these couple of skills and you’ve got everything nailed.

KA: It’s completely transferrable to anything. You don’t have to learn, to work on them separately. They’re all ‘integratable,’ if that’s a word, ‘integratable.’ Thank you for chatting. This was amazing. I loved having you on here.

RH: It was so much fun. Thank you for having me.

KA: Of course.

If you want to learn more about how to better understand your patterns, stop feeling reactionary, and get back into the proverbial driver’s seat with your habits, you’ll want to join my email list, which you can find linked in the show notes, or if you go to habitsonpurpose.com, you’ll find it right there.

And if you’re serious about taking this work deeper and going from an intellectual understanding to off-the-page implementation, I offer coaching two flavors. Individual deep dive coaching with a somatic and cognitive approach, and a small group coaching program.

The small group is currently for women physicians only and comes with CME credits. You can be the first to learn more about both the individual or group coaching options by getting on the email list.

Thanks for listening to Habits On Purpose. If you want more information on Kristi Angevine or the resources from the podcast, visit www.habitsonpurpose.com. Tune in next week for another episode.

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