Ep #20: What Creates Your Life

When you look at the results that you currently have (or don’t have), how do you feel? Are you satisfied with where you are at this point in your life – physically, emotionally, financially, relationship-wise, and career-wise?

For the longest time, I’ve doubted and second-guessed myself in many areas of my life, not able to get what I wanted out of life. Often, that led to pouring myself a drink in order to escape what I thought was happening to me. That, of course, only made things worse by creating a vicious cycle of not getting the results I wanted in my life.

On this week’s episode of Take a Break, we delve into what exactly creates everything you currently have and experience in your life. We cover how easy it can be to get into a pattern of turning to alcohol (or other distractions) to feel better when you look at your life and you don’t like what you see.

Listen in to discover why you don’t have to control everything in your external life – your partner, boss, family members, and circumstances – to control the results that you have or don’t have in your life.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • What determines the things we currently have in our lives.
  • Why everything that you do and how you act is not affected by things that are happening in your life.
  • Why we often try to control everything and everyone around us.
  • One of the most important questions you can ask yourself about having a drink to feel better.
  • A specific self-reflection that can help you achieve the results that you want in your life.

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Click here to read the full transcript

You are listening to the Take a Break podcast with Rachel Hart, episode 20.

Welcome to the Take a Break podcast with Rachel Hart. If you're an alcoholic or an addict, this is not the show for you, but if you are someone who has a highly functioning life, doing very well but just drinking a bit too much and wants to take a break, then welcome to the show. Let’s get started.

Hey everybody, how are you? This is episode number 20. I can't believe it, really I'm kind of surprised. I've surprised even myself. I started the podcast earlier this year, I actually made the decision when I was working with my coach on January 21st, and I will tell you that the moment I decided I was going to do this, the moment that I made the decision to commit, my brain went into overwhelm. I had all these thoughts about whether or not I could figure out the technology, if I would have enough to say each week, how I was going to promote the show, how I was even going to find listeners, but needless to say, three weeks later I launched and here I am, 20 episodes in.

So I'll tell you this really got me thinking about the results I have in my life and the results that everyone has in their own lives. In the past, I would not have been this productive, really. I would have umm-ed and ah-ed and worried and second guessed myself, I would have just doubted and doubted and doubted on repeat, and I bet that a lot of you out there can relate to that feeling, that sense of what you are creating or not creating in your life is not what you want.

I'll tell you that everyone at some point will take a look at their life and assess what they've done and what they haven't done, and not only that but when we make that assessment, start to try to explain why we have the results we have in our life, or why we don't have the results that we want. So that's what I'm going to be talking about today. I'm going to break this down and really talk about the results you have in your life, but before I go any further, I want to be really clear on what I mean when I say the results you have in your life.

So I want you to think about things like your physical health and wellbeing, your career, your relationships and anything in this world that you create or want to create. So in other words, your results are any outcomes that you have in your life that were influenced by the decisions you do or don't make. Okay, you got that? The decisions you do or don't make, this is what contributes to your results. Okay, so the weather is not a result, the political climate is not a result, the passage of time is not a result; these are not results in your life. That's not what we're talking about today. We're talking about things like your physical heath, your wellbeing, your career, your relationships and anything that you create with the decisions that you do or don't make. Those are your results in life.

Now, we've talked a lot about your thoughts and your feelings and your actions and how to identify each of those, but we haven't talked a lot about how all three of these things, what you think, what you feel and how you act work together to give you the results that you have in your life. So think about it this way: whether or not you exercise and eat right and set aside time to try to de-stress, that has to do with what you're thinking, how you're feeling and how you're acting toward yourself. Whatever you've done in your career, whether you've applied for jobs, asked for a raise, started a business, whatever you've done, all of that in your career has to do once again, with what you're thinking, how you're feeling and how you're acting. And whether or not you have the relationships you want with your partner and your family, I know this one is really going to surprise people, but whether or not you have the relationship you want has to do with what you're thinking, how you're feeling and how you're acting toward the other person.

Now, I want you to pause and really let this sink in because this is the exact opposite of what all of us have been conditioned to believe. We have been conditioned to believe that everything we have in our lives are results in other words, are the product of what's happening to us. We've been taught to believe that the world around us is the explanation for what we have and what we don't have. And because we've been conditioned to believe this, when you think about why you have the things you do in your life, why you have your particular health, your particular wellbeing, your particular career, your particular relationships, you probably attribute all of these results to external factors.

So you may give explanations like this: well, I'm out of shape but it's because I don't have the time to eat right or to exercise, or I'm unhappy in my career because I'm stuck in this job with this terrible boss, or I want to have better relationships but my family and my partner keep pushing my buttons so it's impossible. So this is totally normal. We all do this. We don't attribute how we feel or how we act to what we're thinking, right? Instead, we attribute it to everything that we see in our external world, everything that we experience in our external world. So we'll tell ourselves, I act this way and I feel this way because of everything that is happening in my life. But it's never how it is, and thank god, right? I've said this before but it's so important that it's not this way because imagine how powerless that leaves us. Imagine how powerless we end up being when we tell ourselves all of our results and how we feel and how we act is up to what is happening in the world around us.

So once you start to break it down, once you start to really pay attention, you will see that your actions are always driven by how you feel, and your feelings are in turn always created by your thoughts, and these are the things that give you your results in life. Your actions are what determine the decisions that you make, what you decide to do or don't do. It's what determines whether or not you go to the gym, whether or not you apply for that job, whether or not you act lovingly towards your family, towards your partner.

But what happens is that we don't understand that this is what is happening. We don't understand the role of our thoughts creating our feelings and our feelings driving our actions, so we don't understand that we are the ones creating our own results, and instead at some point we stop and we look around at our life and we think about what we have and we think this isn't what I want. These are not the results that I was expecting or that I had hoped for or that I dreamed for, it's not the results that I want. And then we start to look for the reason why. We start to look for an answer and most of us will blame our results, we'll blame how we feel, we'll blame our actions at being at the mercy of everything around us.

I want to have a better relationship with my spouse but he keeps pushing my buttons. I want to have a job I love but I hate my boss. I want to get in shape but I just don't have any time. So we're stuck in this place where we're blaming everything around us for the results that we have, and then we're looking around and we still don't like what we see, and we want to feel better, so what do we do?

First, what almost everyone does is we try to control everyone and everything in our life so that we can feel better. So we'll put all our attention focused on getting our family members, our boss, our partners, our kids, our body, everything to behave differently. But guess what? You don't have a lot of control over that. Even if you're really, really good at getting people to do what you want them to do, you still don't have a lot of control over it. So when this doesn't work, when we try to control everything in our external environment and we're still not feeling good, we're still not liking what we see, we're still not getting the results that we want, then we really feel stuck.

Now we don't know what to do. Now we really feel at the mercy of life. So guess what? We still what a solution to feel better, and I've said this time and time again on the podcast. There is no faster way to fix how you feel than to pour yourself a drink. The only problem is that it's not a very sustainable solution. And now here's the thing: if you're listening and you've never poured yourself a drink to feel better, I am sure that you have turned to something else in your external environment to try to change or cover up how you feel. Everyone does this. Every single person out there, and I mean everyone has at some point turned to something in our external environment to feel better about your stressful day, the people who push your buttons, or just a general dissatisfaction you have with your life.

When you look at your life and you look at the results that you have and you don't like what you see, all of us, to some degree or another will turn to food, will turn to Netflix, will turn to Facebook, will turn to shopping, will turn to accumulating or chasing after your gold stars to feel better. Whatever it is, and a lot of us, myself included, will turn to pouring ourselves a drink so that we can pretend that we're happy when really we're not.

Now I really want to be crystal clear with this, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a drink to feel better and I mean that. The morality police have heaped enough right and wrong on drinking and not drinking over the last several centuries, we do not need any more of that. As a society, we do not need any more judgment on this issue. It is totally unhelpful, but it is helpful to ask yourself, do you like the results you're getting from having a drink to change how you feel?

That is such an important question to answer for yourself and it is a question that only you can answer. Only you can answer that question for yourself. But I do want you to think about how much time are you spending drinking when you get home from work to take the edge off of how you feel? How much time are you spending drinking on the weekends or drinking when you go out or drinking just as the normal thing that you do to have fun?

And then I want you to think about how much time are you spending recovering from hangovers or waking up the next day and feeling groggy or trying to get rid of all the empty calories that you consumed the night before or beating yourself up for having had too much to drink? How much time are you spending dealing with the repercussions of using a drink to feel better? It's really important to ask yourself in your attempt to feel better by having a drink, are you actually wasting a lot of time feeling worse?

I want you do see and I want you to really understand how easy it is to get stuck in this pattern of turning to a drink but really turning to anything in your external environment, not just alcohol. TV or shopping or eating, whatever it is for you. Overworking, that's a big one for a lot of people. How easy it is to get stuck in this pattern of turning to something when you look at the results of your life and you don't like what you see. And the reason that it's easy to get stuck in this place is because most of us do not understand why we have the results that we do. We think we have the results we have in our life, we think that our wellbeing and our career and our relationships and the things that we do or don't create are a product of what's happening in our life, instead of understanding how our thoughts and our feelings and our actions, how these three things really drive and create the results that we have.

You really need to understand this and you need to understand how easy it is to get stuck in the pattern of turning to something else to feel better, and then how easy it is to start creating a whole new set of problems for yourself. So first you're unhappy sort of looking around at the state of your wellbeing, the state of your career, the state of your relationships, the state of your creative life, whatever it is, and you try to control everything in your external environment and that didn't work, and so then you try to turn to things to feel better, to a drink, to food, to ice cream, to TV, to Netflix, to Facebook, whatever it is to distract yourself from how you feel, and how you have to deal with the repercussions.

You have to deal with having wasted all that time, having the disturbed sleep, feeling groggy the next day, the example that you're setting for your kids, feeling embarrassed about what you did or said the night before. Whatever it is, you have to then deal with the repercussions of your attempt to feel better. This is so common I cannot tell you and this is why I think this work is so important, because really it's not just about how much you drink, right? If you stop drinking tomorrow, you just stopped cold turkey, but you weren't dealing with what is truly creating the results in your life, you weren't dealing with what is truly creating how you feel and the reasons you act the way you do, then guess what? You're just going to turn to something else to feel better. I promise you this, because I have watched so many people do this and I've watched myself do this.

Take out alcohol and it's great, I don't have to deal with the hangovers, I don't have to deal with what I did or said the night before, but guess what? I might feel physically better, I might have more time, but I still don't like my life when I'm looking at it. I still don't like the results that I have and when I had no idea how to fix that, when I had no framework for understanding what was creating my results in life, when I believed that it was just my external world, guess what? I just turned to other things. I turned to food, I turned to working as much as possible, so I never had a moment to be alone with my thoughts. I turned to spending money, I turned to all these things, I turned to watching TV. Before you know it you've watched six episodes and just wasted the entire night away. I turned to all these things to try to change how I felt.

So this week, I want you to really, really think about the results you have in your life. Are you happy with your physical health and your wellbeing? Are you satisfied with your job? Do you feel good about your relationships? Are you going after the goals you feel passionate about? Whatever your dream is, are you making music? Are you painting? Are you writing? Are you being creative in a way that calls to you? Are you accomplishing the things you want to be doing?

Now here's the thing, most of you are going to say no and that's okay. I always tell people it's just good to know. It's just good to have that information, because once you know that you don't like something, well then you can decide to change it and the good news is that I'm giving you the framework for how to go about it. You don't have to control everything in your external life. You don't have to find the perfect partner or the perfect boss or go back and create the perfect family members. You don't have to have the perfect body, you don't have to have the perfect bank account. What you need is to understand how the thing-feel-act cycle creates how you feel, how it drives everything that you do or don't do in life and how it gives you the results that you have or don't have.

So once you've answered those questions, I want you to then ask yourself, what are you regularly doing or turning to to feel better about the results in your life? What are you turning to to change how you feel? Are you looking at the external world and blaming it for everything that you have? Are you looking at the external world and expecting that it will fix how you feel on the inside? Or are you looking at everything you have in your life, all your results, everything that was created by how you think, how you feel and how you act and taking responsibility for that and knowing thank god that you have this framework so you can start to change what isn't working?

Understanding this was everything for me. For so long, I can't tell you, I just blamed how I felt on everything in my external world and I spent so much time trying to feel more confident, more self-assured, less lonely, less awkward, less insecure, trying to feel the way I wanted to by covering up how I felt inside, by having a drink, by eating food, by working so much that I didn't have time to pay attention to what was happening in my brain. Anything I could do to cover up how I was really feeling and then I had to deal with all the repercussions created from trying to fix the results in my life and cover up how I was feeling.

I promise you this: not only was I not going after what I really wanted to do in life, but I certainly was not finding the time or the energy to record a podcast every week or to write a book or to do all the things I really wanted to do. So this is what I want you to think about this week. I want you to think about what you have in your life or what you don't have that you want to have. I want you to take a look at those results and ask yourself, what am I attributing them to? What am I blaming them on? And then ask yourself, when you feel stuck, when you don't know how to fix it, what are you turning to in order to feel better and are you spending more time on the backend dealing with those repercussions, the repercussions from overdrinking, overeating, from overspending, from over Facebooking, then you are using that time towards what you really want to do.

Alright, so before I go I want to share with you a new free resource that I put together. If you are struggling to change your drinking, I created a work sheet, it's called Your Complete Picture that I promise will completely change your perspective. I always tell people, if you only ever do one exercise about your drinking, do this one. It is that powerful. It is the exercise that changed everything for me. If you want to go grab it, all you need to do is go to rachelhart.com/picture and download it now. I will tell you, I have heard from so many people in the past couple weeks. I really love getting your emails, please keep sending them in. You've been sending me some really great ideas and questions for me to talk about on the podcast. If you would like to send me a question or an idea or you just want to say hi, send an email, you can send it to podcast@rachelhart.com, and thanks for listening. I will see everyone next week.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Take a Break from Drinking. If you like what was offered in today’s show and want more, please come over to www.rachelhart.com where you can sign up for weekly updates to learn more about the tools that will help you take a break.

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