Hello, my beautiful Killer Bs!
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt incredibly overwhelmed😭, frustrated😠, or anxiety-filled😟? Absolutely paralyzed in your mind🧠 and not sure how to move forward? Yep. I’ve been there too, and THIS is what we can do about it!
Today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast is one of the most practical I’ve ever done! We’re chatting about having some tricks up your sleeve👚 so that you can handle your next “hot mess🔥” moment in a more productive way.
I’m sharing how to:
👀 Look at the BIG PICTURE
🔮 Get CLARITY on who you’d like to be, and
🤔 Ask yourself the RIGHT QUESTION to lighten your emotional load
You don’t want to miss this one! Hit the play button▶️ and let’s GO!
(Don’t wanna listen? Download the transcript here)
Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xj5pXTCr_m4
Ep. 012: The 3 BEST QUESTIONS to Ask Yourself When You’re Struggling
Krista St-Germain podcasts
Ep. 003: Grief
Ep. 073: The BEST FEELING
Join the Get Your GOAL Coaching + Accountability Facebook group:
Mindset TRICKS (Full Transcript)
You’re listening to the fitness matters podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode 82, “Mindset Tricks.”
Hello, hello and yes, I am cracking myself up, you guys. I just spent an inordinate amount of time trying to come up with a good title for this episode. I was actually literally just going to call it “Untitled” because I couldn’t come up with anything that sort of encompassed what I wanted to say in a way that I wanted to say it. So I came up with Mindset Tricks, which I don’t love, except for the fact that every time I think about it, I just think about Jedi Mind Tricks, which is not related at all except for the fact that it might feel kind of like Jedi magic by the time we get done with this episode. Or it might just feel untitled. I don’t know. Hi, you guys.
I’m Pahla B, your best middle-aged fitness friend and every single week we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. And this one you don’t know yet, you don’t even know how much this one matters to you because these are tricks that you don’t know. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I manage myself, how I handle things and I will tell you, it’s not always great. In fact, I just had an incident yesterday where I really had to in the moment calm myself down and say, “Pahla, what are you thinking right now? What is going on in your mind that you are just having so much trouble turning this situation around?” And actually that was one of the other alternate titles that I came up with, Turning Your mind Around or something along those lines. None of them came out good. Hence the untitled/mindset tricks title. If I come up with something better before publication, this might not be what this episode is titled. We’ll just see. Won’t we? We’ll just see.
Hey, thank you to those of you who have been leaving ratings and reviews. I wanted to start off by mentioning that I appreciate it so much. I get the notifications that somebody has left ratings and reviews, and I go read them and I love them. And you guys make me so happy, and thank you for saying such incredibly nice things. It helps me find a new audience. Maybe more importantly, it helps people find me, and I happen to know that these things that we talk about here on the Fitness Matters podcast, first of all, they matter of course, but also I know how much mindset work has truly fundamentally changed my life, my mental health, my mental fitness, my ability to get my goal, all kinds of things. And I know that this work is good for you too and for people who don’t even know that it’s going to be good for them yet.
So anyways, we’re talking about mindset tricks today, and this is one of those weird little listicle episodes, which I don’t ever do, which is kind of funny. But I had these three little tidbits that I’ve been wanting to share with you and none of them seem like they were going to be their own podcast.
They probably could be – maybe they all will be at some point – but I wanted to share them with you in a way that was really easily digestible. This episode is actually one of the most practical I think I’ve ever recorded because these little tricks are things that you can do instantly in a moment where you feel like you have lost control of what you’re thinking, or are struggling with something, or just don’t know where to turn or what to do next, or feel like paralyzed with anxiety or worry about what’s coming up or how to make a decision. These little tips and tricks can help you in all kinds of situations. And I want to just offer them to you because I think it’s really important to have a bag of tricks. Truly, I think it’s really important when you do this mindset work to have a variety of different questions you can ask yourself or ways of looking at things that can help you, again, coming back to the alternate title of this episode, turn your mind around when you are having difficulty.
You know what? I do have one other tips and tricks episode. It’s called The 3 Best Questions (Ep. 012 The 3 Best Questions https://pahlabfitness.com/?s=three+best+questions). That was the clunkiest title of all time, and it’s very similar to this episode. So I’ll have you go listen to that one too because there is just a little bit of overlap, but it’s some other tool to have in your toolkit to help you when you’re struggling.
So you guys, trick number one, when you find yourself in the middle of something that feels really uncomfortable or difficult or hard in some way . . . Actually let me start off by giving you this glowing recommendation of a podcast that I listened to, and it’s not 100% applicable to me, but it is one of the best podcasts I’ve ever listened to. It’s a woman whose name is Krista St-Germain, and it’s called the Widowed Mom Podcast. And as you can imagine, she talks about grief a lot because she talks about what it’s like to lose your husband. The thing that I love about her podcast, first of all, is that she’s just so sweet and calm. With the energy about her, she was destined to be in the grief space. That might be a terrible thing to say because she, of course, is in the grief space because she lost her husband.
But the thing that I love about her podcast, even though it does not apply to me directly, is that she has completely and utterly normalized the way that I think about grief. She talks about it so much. She has so many insights into how we all think about grief and what we all do with our grief and it’s literally the only topic that she really talks about. And it’s so helpful to listen to somebody talk about grief when you are grieving and you don’t really know what to do with your grief. I started listening to her podcast, well, sometime within the last three and a half years since my sister died.
And it’s funny because I actually referenced her obliquely, I did not say her name, but in the “Grief” episode of this podcast, which if you are not grieving, it’s not necessarily a great one to listen to. It’s helpful for lots of different reasons, but it’s a really sad one (Ep. 003 Grief https://pahlabfitness.com/grief/). I was talking about how I had listened to this one podcast episode on The Life Coach School podcast. That’s Brooke Castillo’s podcast, where she was talking about grief, and she and her interviewee were a little bit too jovial and I just couldn’t listen to it.
And I mentioned that because it was sort of my warning that during the episode of my podcast about grief, that I was, A) going to cry and, B) going to laugh and that if it wasn’t where you were on your grief journey, that it was totally okay. Well, Krista St-Germain was who Brooke Castillo was interviewing on this podcast and they started off kind of joking around and it took me a good six months or a year before I was able to actually listen to that whole episode. And the whole episode is really, really good.
It’s just in that first minute or two, the tone was just wrong for where I was when I first started listening to it that first day. But anyway, it’s a really good podcast. Really, really, really good life coach, Krista St-Germain, total recommendation there. But why I’m mentioning all of this is because there is this thing that she says that has almost completely changed the way I think about things when I’m struggling. And it’s such a good trick for you.
When you find yourself in the middle of some kind of struggle, tell yourself that this is the part where you can look at the big picture of your life as like a movie and somebody has already seen this movie and they know it has a happy ending, aka, they know you’re going to get your goal. For example, they know that you’re going to lose the weight. They know that you’re going to be able to run the 5k. They know that you’re going to be able to climb the mountain. They know that you’re able to do whatever it is that you are struggling to do, and they come and tell you about, “Oh yeah, this is a great movie, and this is the part where the hero is totally struggling and self-doubting and feeling like a miserable failure.”
It is such a helpful trick to get yourself out of the middle of the struggle. When you are in the struggling and you’re thinking the struggling thoughts and feeling the struggling feelings and doing the struggling actions and then creating the struggling results for yourself, it’s a really nice reminder that this is just part of your journey. One tiny part that at some point in time – later in your life – you’re going to look back at and be like, “Oh yeah, that was that part where I felt miserable. And then I got through it and everything was fine.”
“This is the part where” is a really simple phrase that can pull you up out of the struggle, out of the minutia, out of the trees and help you see the forest. Help you see the big picture, help you remember that along your way to whatever it is that you are definitely 100% going to achieve, that this is the part where something feels like it’s going wrong.
This is the part where I’m struggling with self doubts. This is the part where I’m totally procrastinating instead of doing my work, which of course I’m going to get to. This is the part where things seem bleak right before it gets better. This is the part where . . . It’s such a beautiful, easy phrase. And I find it particularly easy to grab in the middle of a struggle. And I haven’t tried to analyze why. I think for me personally, it could be because of the source. I heard it from Krista St-Germain, and she literally has an entire podcast episode about this. It’s called, This is the Part Where. This is something that I would say she is famous for saying. I’ve been on her email list for quite some time now.
And I’ve had access to watching her coach different people for different reasons. She sends up things on her own email, and she does some coaching for Brooke Castillo in The Life Coach School. So I’ve seen her coach and I’ve seen her use this phrase on other people and I happen to have so much respect and admiration for her personally. I think that’s part of why it seems so easy to me because I picture her saying it. And I know that sometimes you guys tell me all the time when you leave me comments and send me emails and tell me things that you hear me in your head. So if I can be that person for you, who, when you’re in the middle of a struggle, I can say, “Hey, I’ve seen this movie. I know you’re going to get where you want to go. And this is the part where . . . ” This is the part where you’re struggling. This is the part where it seems bleak. This is the part where you’re struggling with self doubt. This is the part where it feels hard. This is the part where . . . Such a good tool.
Number two is my favorite, my absolute favorite. And this one I know for a fact that I did talk about on the other episode with the three questions to ask yourself. I mentioned it again because I don’t think you guys ask yourself this often enough. I think it is the best and most powerful question, or maybe not the most powerful, but it’s in my top three clearly since it’s shown up now on two podcast episodes where there are three tricks for you. Here it is. “So what?” So what? When you find yourself freaking out about something, worrying about something that’s to come, anxious about something that’s to come, sad about something that already happened, angry about something that just occurred to you, whatever it is, so what?
In fact, just so you know, all of these tricks are tools to help pull you away from the immediacy of your situation. When you are thinking the thoughts that are creating feelings of struggle or anger or frustration or jealousy or sadness or anything that doesn’t feel good, getting yourself up and out of that to, I call it a higher level (that sounds like a funny thing to say), but getting yourself out of the middle of the scrum and having an overview look at what’s going on is the thing that can help you adjust your mindset. It can help you turn your mindset around. It can help you stop struggling. When you are in the middle of a situation that feels dire or feels frustrating or feels stressful, ask yourself, “So what?”
It will remind you that most of what we struggle with in our lives is actually kind of small. And I think that that really bears knowing because so, so often when we are in the middle of a struggle, it feels so big. And we give it that power of bigness, that power of “This could go on for the rest of my life; this has been going on for months.” When you describe to me, “I have been struggling for years,” we give our struggles more strength and power by thinking of them as being bigger than they are. When we put our struggles in their place by asking, “So what?” it can help you hopefully in a kind and loving way, remind yourself that this is not the entirety of your life. It is a piece of your life and it is, in fact, a small part of the bigger picture.
When you ask yourself, “So what,” you can say it in a really kind, gentle and loving way. Or you can say it in a very, “So what?” kind of a way. It all depends on your inflection. I find personally, this is one of those tools that I like to use on myself in a tough love way. To me, this is a tough love kind of question. And I offer that to you lovingly and kindly and gently to use on yourself, maybe in a tough love way, and maybe in a kind way.
You know yourself best. If you can’t do the tough love thing because it feels like more pressure, more negative self-talk, more difficulty, don’t ask yourself that particular question. As mentioned, this is one tool in your toolbox. It is not right for every situation. When I ask myself “So what?” when talking about my sister’s death, that doesn’t feel very kind. It doesn’t feel very loving. I asked myself earlier today “So what?” about a small mistake I made that felt like a big mistake.
The mistake I made was a typo. It was literally a typo. It was not a big deal at all and yet my brain really wanted to tell me that it was a much bigger deal, that it made me look unprofessional, that it was a problem in many ways. You can see where this is going. If you’ve listened to the podcast for a while, you know that if I had a typo, of course it meant that I was stupid. All kinds of thoughts came up over a small matter, but it didn’t feel small because I was giving my thoughts and my feelings lots of bigness to them. I was giving them a free reign to run amok. And then I asked myself, “You know what, Pahla? So what? So what?”
And in coming up with an answer, I kind of went through the thing. It helped me actually sort everything out. “So what? Then people will think I’m unprofessional. Well, so what about that? Well, I don’t want people to think I’m unprofessional. So what? Well, if I think that people think that I’m unprofessional, then I will have to feel bad. Well, so what? But if I feel bad, then I have a hard time carrying on with my job. I have a hard time being creative. I have a hard time living a happy life. Well, so what? Well, you’re right. So what?”
None of those things actually have to happen because I’m in charge of how I talk to myself. I’m in charge of whether or not I’m creative. I’m in charge of how I treat myself after I make a small mistake. I’m in charge of my own thoughts and feelings and not other people’s thoughts and feelings about me. So what would I like to do about it? I would like to treat myself with love and kindness and compassion and recognize that mistakes get made and recognize that when mistakes get made that I don’t have to berate myself for them. I don’t have to walk down the negative self-talk road.
I can let it go. I can learn from the situation. I can maybe ask myself to be more careful in the future, but understand that I probably won’t be because, so what? Because truly, so what? When you can ask yourself that question, and really specifically, you saw how I asked it over and over, I was trying to get to what I call the end of the road. When I talk about carrying it all of the way through, the worst case scenario, the thing that is waiting for you at the end of any road is a bad feeling, and bad feelings don’t have to be there. They don’t have to be part of your experience if you don’t allow them to be specifically about small matters, specifically about something like a typo.
I don’t have to talk bad to myself. But here’s the thing. If you ask yourself “So what?” let’s bring this back around. If you ask yourself “So what?” about being sad that somebody you love has died for example, the answer might be that you want to be sad, that you want to have this “bad feeling,” because it is part of your human existence, because it is part of the richness of being alive, having both good feelings and bad feelings. Knowing that you are in control of them – that you manage them by managing your thoughts – doesn’t mean that you don’t want to ever feel bad things, that you can’t feel bad things. It means that you have options. “So what?” is particularly useful when you find yourself making something small feel big. Because of your thoughts, it can help you look at the even bigger picture and see that it’s not that big.
Trick number three. I love this one and I will tell you that I just used this one yesterday. This is why these things are on my mind. Truly. I’ve been using all three of these tricks. That’s why I wanted to share them with you. I used this one yesterday, and I found it to be an incredibly uncomfortable tool. That’s why I like it so much. It’s another question. Because as you know from my previous episode, The Best Feeling (Ep. 073 The Best Feeling https://pahlabfitness.com/ep-073-the-best-feeling/) – spoiler alert! The best feeling is curiosity – when you ask your brain a question, it cannot help but answer it. And this is a particularly powerful question along the lines of “So what?” It’s “What am I making this mean about me?”
When I did my life coach certification through The Life Coach School, one of the first things that they taught us was this question to ask of a client, “What are you making that mean?” And the trick behind it, the reason behind it is to kind of get the person to offer you their thoughts because it’s kind of a thought finder question. When I use it on clients, I do tend to still say, “What are you making that mean?” because it leaves it a little bit more open and they can kind of find their thoughts. So it’s a little bit more of verbal journaling where they can tell me, “Well, it means this and it means that, and here’s what I think about this. And here’s how I feel.”
It lets them talk about the situation that is. It’s a conversation opener when they’re not sure what to do about something. It opens the flow of their thoughts and feelings. But for me, I use this in my own self-coaching practice when I find myself in the middle of feeling upset about something, which I did just yesterday. I was very frustrated with a person that I love who will remain nameless because I don’t know if they listen to the podcast or not. And I found myself just being really kind of short and uncommunicative. And I had to ask myself this question because I was frustrated with a particular situation. I really do apologize because I like to give you more specific examples, but again, not knowing exactly who my audience is, I don’t want to give such a specific example that this person might know that I’m talking about them on the podcast.
So I found myself thinking unkind thoughts and feeling very, I guess, defensive and behaving in a way that I knew I wasn’t being my best self. So I had a quick quiet moment. And I was like, “What am I making this mean about me?” Because when I asked myself that question, I found that I was making it mean lots of things about the other person, that the other person should know better, should do better, should be better, should behave differently. And it was all about my thoughts about them, lots of judgmental thoughts. Let me be really clear here.
Lots of judging going on. And when I turned that around, what am I making this mean about me? It got a little uncomfortable because I was making it mean that I was superior, that I was somehow a better person, and that I knew what this person should and shouldn’t do, how they should and shouldn’t behave, what they should and shouldn’t say, and that was a very uncomfortable realization for me. And I will tell you that, generally speaking, when we are judging somebody else, it is frequently about us. Either there’s a judgment that we have about ourselves, or it’s a way of making ourselves feel superior about who we are as people and how good we are at living our lives, which frankly none of us are.
And I mean that kindly. I think you’re fabulous. I think I’m fabulous. I think we are all worthy and deserving of all the love in the world, but also we’re all kind of a hot mess concurrently. You are an amazing specimen of humanness and also you’re a wreck sometimes. Totally okay. Being a wreck is part of being human, it’s part of your awesomeness and it’s part of being a wreck. So when you can ask yourself, “What am I making this mean about me?” you might find some kind of uncomfortable truths. Now, again, because of the specific example that I’m giving about, like judging other people, it was uncomfortable. But you might also find it in other situations that you’re not judging. But let’s say that you’re feeling stressed out about work, that you’ve got too much going on and you can’t possibly get it done. Ask yourself, “What am I making this mean about me?” Because that really is the heart of all of our feelings.
We all fear that we are unworthy, that we are not good enough, that we aren’t doing our best. We all have this nagging suspicion that we should be smarter or better or faster or more, and when we put ourselves in situations in which we feel like we are struggling or stressed or frustrated or judgy, what we’re making it mean about ourselves is something that we very likely fear or fear that we are better, in the case of wanting to be superior.
When you can ask yourself what it means about you, you can hone in very clearly on your thoughts and your feelings that will help you, again, get a bigger picture view. When you are in the middle of thinking that everything is somebody else’s fault and somebody else should be doing something different or better or more and you realize that it’s all your own thinking about yourself, it will give you some clarity on who you would like to be in the situation. When I realized that I was being judgy because I thought I was superior, it was very clear very quickly that that is not who I want to be. That’s not how I want to think or feel or behave. That ideally my best self is a person with compassion and is a person with some understanding and a lot of love for other people and the way they do things. Because as I just said, we are all amazing and worthy and deserving of love, and we are all complete basket cases at the exact same time.
It’s hard to say that without laughing because it’s so true. And we might as well laugh because truly if we don’t laugh, we could cry. And I definitely prefer to think that this is funny and fun and just the part where we’re all human and messy and alive and lovable. You guys, I hope that these practical tips and tricks can help get you out of a sticky situation. I hope that the more you have in your bag of tricks, the more questions you know how to ask yourself, the more different ways to move things around in your mind, the more tools you have to help you see what you’re in the middle of in a different way, the more you’ll be able to choose your happiness and choose the range of emotions that you want to feel and that you will feel, and that you are willing to feel as part of your humanness.
And of course, I hope that it’s helpful for you. And if you’d like to, you can tell me all about that. And you can come find me on social. You can leave a rating or review. Maybe this particular episode was just a one-star for you and you didn’t find it helpful at all. That’s totally okay because you know what I’m going to make that mean about me? Absolutely nothing. You guys, I love you so much. Thank you so much for listening. I will talk to you again soon.
So are you totally loving this mindset work and you really want to do it every day in order to get your goal? Then, my friend, you need to join the Get Your Goal group. It is my personal and private, very interactive coaching and accountability group where every day we talk about your mindset and we get your goal. You can learn all about it at pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal. I’ll see you in the Goal group.