Doing vs. Not Doing

Doing VS. Not Doing.

Not doing something requires constant self-control.

When you want to change a behavior or habit, set and focus on a positively framed intention, NOT a negatively framed intention.

Often, when we’re working on changing behavior we want to stop, our attention is focused on what we don’t want – “I need to stop procrastinating” or “I have got to stop overeating.” This requires a significant amount of willpower and self-control.

When I’m working with clients, they can often rattle off a dozen things they don’t want yet struggle with naming precisely what they do want.

Has that ever happened to you? Here’s what I suggest:

Write your list of what you don’t want, and for each one, flip it.

Framing it positively draws you forward towards the change you want.

Framing it negatively, and there’s a resistance.

It all starts with clarity.

The Invisible Line That Shapes Your Life

Your life is being shaped by what you’re saying “YES” to and what you are saying “NO” to.

With each “YES” and “NO,” you are ‘setting in’ the invisible line of boundaries that shape your choices, opportunities, relationships, and, especially, your life.

When you are saying “YES” to one thing, you’re saying “NO” to something else (and vice versa).

There are always tradeoffs when you choose to invest your time and energy in something or someone.

Tradeoffs are an inherent part of life and can be considered positive or negative, depending on your view.

If you choose to get up early in the morning to go for a walk before work, the tradeoff is getting out of your comfy bed before you’re ready so that you can have a healthy body and improved energy.

When you decide to no longer tolerate a lack of respect or attention in your relationship, the tradeoff is having the uncomfortable conversation about where your boundaries lie and what your expectations are so that you can let go of resentment.

If you decide to no longer answer every text or email the moment your phone dings, beeps, or buzzes, you may ruffle a few feathers, but you will be mastering your time and achieving your goals like never before…through establishing your boundaries. And your self-confidence will improve too.

So often, we want to say “YES” to more in our lives without making room for it by saying “NO” to something else. Unfortunately, this leaves us feeling overwhelmed, distracted, and living a life that is out of alignment.

Without boundaries, how do you set in that invisible line that clarifies your expectations, establishes what you will agree to and won’t agree to, and contributes to living a life that YOU want, not what someone else wants, needs, or demands?

Your boundaries will help you shut down your over commitments so you can open up some breathing room.

Sounds good, right?

Here are five tips for establishing Boundaries so that you can lean into the gifts that come from sharing your Invisible Line:

1. Boundaries are About YOU, Not Other People

Boundaries are about what you will do and what you will not do. They are not about telling other people what to do or not do. Boundaries help create the space in your day for the renewal time you need to stay healthy, energetic, and positive (something we ALL need right now). They provide you with time to think, add structure to your day, and the ability to pause and focus on what’s important now.

  • Boundary Exercise: Identify one limit or boundary you’ve been reluctant to set. Get clear on what you are willing to do and not willing to do in this situation, then schedule a time to share this with the other person.
2. Boundaries are Essential For…

Healthy relationships AND our mental health.
Having boundaries and sticking to them prevents resentment, frustration, and anger. Without boundaries, it’s easy to feel scattered, and it can eat away at healthy relationships with family, friends, co-workers, employees, or even (perhaps especially) with ourselves and our business.

  • Boundary Insight: Researcher Brene Brown discovered through years of interviews that “the most compassionate people were also the absolutely the most boundaried.”

Think about that the next time you struggle with setting a boundary and feel too harsh.

**Brene’s definition of boundaries is simply, “what’s ok and what’s not ok.”

3. Boundaries Provide

The space to pause and prioritize what YOU want so you can live in your purpose and start saying “NO” without apology.

  • Boundary Tip: If you’re someone who has difficulty saying “NO,” try saying, “Will you check back with me in a week so I can make sure I have the time on my calendar to do this?” This will give you the space to take a meta-view and see if it’s adding to your life or draining your energy, focus, and joy. If they push you for an answer at that moment, say, “If you need an answer right now, it will have to be no.” That way they are choosing the no and it can feel easier on you.
4. Boundaries and Time & Priority Management

When you’re always accessible to others, you lose valuable time and the ability to live the life YOU want. Again, there’s a tradeoff when making a choice. If you are always giving your time to others, there’s less of your one non-renewable resource, time, for you to focus on the life YOU want.

  • Boundary Motivation: According to researchers at the University of California, Irvine, “workers are interrupted every 11 minutes–and only resume their interrupted tasks after 25 minutes. By this math, even our interruptions are interrupted, amounting to more than 2.5 hours per day lost to interruptions.”

Improved boundaries will increase productivity and provide more time for what you want in this one big beautiful life. Like weekends off and more time with family…or time for yourself!

5. Knowing Your Boundaries Give You Flexibility

When in a situation where flexibility works best for you, your boundaries can be less defined and more fluid. Yet in circumstances where more discipline and structure are necessary, you might choose to firm up those boundaries.

  • Boundary Tip: There is no right or wrong way; notice what works for you as well as what doesn’t. If you’ve been easy going and find someone is taking advantage of your flexibility, step back, and ask yourself where you need to step it up on your boundary.
Increasing your boundaries will decrease your stress.

The thing about boundaries, though, is it can be quite stressful to set them. But it’s short-term stress that provides long-term benefits.

While your boundaries are not visible, it is your responsibility to vocalize them. They are what determine your opportunities and trajectory of your life, your relationships, and your success (whatever success is to YOU).

What will you say yes to, and what will you say no to so that you can achieve your goals, dreams, and desires… whatever they may be?

You have the ability so choose. You have the ability to shape your life.

What one boundary, if you implemented it today, would make the most significant impact in your life, love, and legacy?

One Small Habit That Will Improve Your Communication

Today we’re continuing on the conversation of habits. The habit I’m highlighting today is the habit of communication, the way we listen.

How we participate and listen in a conversation impacts how the other person shows up, the information they share with us, as well as the information that we take in.

So often we listen with the intent to be understood rather than listening with
the intent to understand. When we do this, it negatively impacts the conversation as well as our relationships.

The next time you’re in a conversation with someone, perhaps they’re sharing a struggle they’re having, or it could be a celebration, start with the habit of listening to understand what the other person is sharing and why they’re sharing it.

Be intentional about how you want the other person to feel, what you want the outcome of the conversation to be, as well as how you want to feel.

This goes for high-stakes business conversations, communicating with your kids, or participating in a conversation online.

If you find your mind wandering during your next conversation, pause, pivot, and intentionally pull your attention back to the conversation you’re participating in. No need to judge yourself, that just keeps you distracted.

When you listen with the intent to understand, the level of trust and collaboration will naturally increase in your relationships (personal and professional), a win-win for sure.

We’ve all been guilty of listening with the intent to be understood at times. It’s far too easy to hear a comment then let your mind run down a trail of thought, developing the “perfect” rebuttal you’re going to give. From that point on, you miss everything the person is saying.

Hard to build trust and connection, requirements for any healthy relationship, when you don’t hear fully what is being said.

Listening to be understood is a communication habit that’s easy to start, but not always so easy to stop. Being more intentional when connecting with others will help you catch when your mind wanders. The more aware and intentional, the faster the habit change, the better the conversation, the deeper the relationship.

As you lean into this new habit of listening, have some compassionate curiosity for yourself. Let go of judgment so you can approach your new habit with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

Was this helpful for you? I’d love to hear:

  • What did you try?
  • What worked for you?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What is your biggest takeaway?

Please share in a comment below so everyone can learn from it as well.

How to Minimize Distractions

I’m continuing my conversation of habits because they’re what help us create the success that we want in life, personal as well as professional.

One of the things I find that gets in the way of the success we’re working so hard towards is distractions.

Distractions are such a big part of our day, minimizing our efficiency and productivity.

One quick tip to help you minimize your daily distractions is to create a habit of moving any of the apps on your phone that constantly ding with notification to the second page of your phone (and turn your phone to silent).

When you can’t see the ‘you have 457 new messages” or hear the ‘ding’ from a notification you’re less likely to stop whatever you’re doing and check your phone without thinking about it.

How much time do you think you waste each day with distractions? Here’s a quick (and slightly frightening) insight for you about distractions and time wasted:

If you waste an average of 30-minutes per day with mindless distractions, that’s 2.5 hours per week, which equates to 10 hours per month, which turns into 122.5 hours per year (that’s with 3-weeks of vacation off your work calendar).

SO, just a quick and simple distraction, like checking your Instagram each time it dings, could quite easily be costing you over 3-weeks of work.

Let me break this down again:

30-minutes per day of distractions
5 days per week = 2.5 hours
2.5 hours per week for 49 weeks (accommodating for 3-weeks of vacation) = 122.5 hours
122.5 hours divided by 40-hours per week= 3.06 week.


What would the impact be in your business if you had an additional 122.5 hours per year to be productive?

How would it affect your focus, creativity, and productivity if you were to, let’s throw caution to the wind and say, use that 122.5 hours for self-care, so you had more energy for the other 46 weeks of the year?

Or spend time with your family? Contribute your time to a worthy cause?

Something to think about for sure.

So, to circle back to the habit…

Moving the little red dot that says you have 457 messages or hearing the Pavlov’s bell of your IG notification, and you won’t mindlessly pick up your phone and check them. Wasting 3-weeks of the year.

This one habit will help you be more efficient with your time so you can leave your office at a reasonable hour and improve your work-life balance (or as I prefer to say work-life alignment).

I did this for myself a few months ago, and it has been an absolute game-changer for me. I’m no longer checking my phone without thinking about it and I’m far more productive.

This one small habit of adding one extra step to access the notifications on your phone will help you minimize distractions and master your time management.

If this has helpful for you, please share this video with your team, community, or friend (who could use the extra time).

Pause for a moment and think about what you would do with that extra time. Then post a comment in the section below to let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.

How To Be More Consistent With Your Habits

Many people value the present more than they value the future; an instant reward often gets in the way. That reward is only a possibility in the future; it’s a sure thing at the moment.

Let’s use, for example, having a glass of wine at the end of your day- the enjoyment is in the moment, the cost is in the future. On the flip side, take exercise- the ‘cost’ of working out is in the moment (exercise instead of sipping a lovely glass of chilled rose), and the benefit is in the future (healthy body and improved energy).

Behavioral economists call this Time Inconsistency.

Do you have a habit that you’re trying to shift or change, and you’re struggling to be consistent? Pause and have a look if Time Inconsistency may be what’s happening for you.

When you’re working on implementing a new habit, the cost is in the moment.

Perhaps it’s struggling with healthy eating habits or picking up the phone to make the sales calls you know you need to.

Or maybe it’s establishing boundaries so that you can create the time structures required to help you say no to requests and distractions and yes to increased productivity.

Again, the cost of implementing the habit (boundaries) is in the moment (discomfort of saying no). In contrast, the benefit of it is in the future (better boundaries, less overwhelm, and improved relationships).

There was a time when I was struggling with implementing a new habit of minimizing distractions during my day so I could increase productivity (and decrease overwhelm). I was super busy all day yet made little traction on the goals that matter in my business.

I was stuck in the habit of checking off the quick and easy things on my to-do list (urgent items) before focusing on the activities that move the dial in my business (important items) because it felt good and was easy–and felt productive.

Saying what I needed to do to break the habit was easy, but hard to implement consistently. Time Inconsistency had me in its grip. I was connected to the endorphin rush of watching my to-do list decrease in the moment and disconnected from the long-term impact of saying NO to the distractions and yes to revenue-generating activities.

Once I noticed what I was doing, with compassionate curiosity and no judgment, I was able to shift my habits to ones that support my success instead of consuming my day with busyness.

My new habits that support my productivity?

  • Not checking email before 10 am so my day doesn’t get hijacked
  • Moving all the apps with notifications on my phone to the second page, so I don’t see them and react like Pavlov’s dog (and it’s an extra step to get to them)
  • Starting each day with intention by looking at my big goals before anything else

So, if you’re having a difficult time implementing a new habit, check to see if
Time Inconsistency is tripping you up along the way. Then take a moment to connect to the benefit, the WHY, of shifting that behavior and implementing a new healthier habit.

Let’s use one more example a friend just asked me about and break it down:

Eating ice cream every day when you know it’s impacting your long-term health.

• Is it a particular time of day?
• After an especially hard day?
• Does a specific memory trigger you to reach for the pint of ice cream?

Knowing when or what the trigger is will allow you to set up a new habit and be more intentional rather than reactive.

For example, if it’s always at 7 pm, maybe schedule a call with a friend, or go out for a walk, or put on your favorite music for 20 minutes and dance.

Often the pause is enough for you to think about whether you’re reaching for it out of habit or because you just plain and simple, want a scoop.

Connect to the long-term outcome you’d prefer to have that’s different from what the ice cream gives you in the moment.

For example:

• A healthier body
• Decreased brain fog from the sugar
• More money to put towards a new pair of pants.

Here’s a quick 3-part structure to help you unhook from Time Inconsistency that’s getting in the way of your success :

1) Be curious about what your triggers are (without judging yourself),
2) Get clear on and connect to the outcome you want– to the person you want to be–and,
3) Gift yourself some compassionate curiosity as you shift not only your habits but also your image of the person whom you believe yourself to be.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends and community.