Actions: The Model-Brooke Castillo
This is the fourth of a five-part series where we are breaking down The Model. Each of the five builds on one another. So if you haven't yet already, go back and check out the posts in this order:
All right, let's get into it!
Quick Recap of The Model
Okay so let's do a quick review of The Model so far. We have Circumstances, which are just existing in the world. Then we have Thoughts about those Circumstances, which give them meaning and cause our Feelings. Our Feelings are the vibrations in our body that drive our action or inaction.
Actions: What Are They?
The Action line in the model includes everything you do and don't do as a result of the feeling you have, which is caused by your Thought. Notice how I said that Actions are things YOU do or don't do. It's important to understand that this doesn't include the actions or inactions of other people.
Actions can be external or internal. External actions are ones someone could observe and internal are ones that happen within us. Some examples of internal actions are ruminating about a problem over and over again or talking bad about ourselves in our mind. Our actions create the results (or lack thereof) in our lives.
Take this scenario for example:
1. On your to-do list for today, you have a list of 20 items. This would be the Circumstance.
2. Then you may have the thought: "There is no way I can get this all done before tomorrow".
3. That thought caused a feeling overwhelm.
4. From that feeling of overwhelm, you did or did not do certain things.
5. Those actions and inactions produced a certain result.
To Change Your Actions, Change Your Thought First
Brooke Castillo in her book Self Coaching 101 says, "There is no amount of action that can make up for negative thinking. The result either proves the original thought, or struggle occurs.".
We often try to change our behavior without first changing our thought causing our behavior. It would be like if you were sitting in a puddle of mud and you wanted to have a result of being clean. Instead of getting out of the puddle of mud and then showering off, you just try and clean yourself with a bar of soap while still sitting in the mud. In this example, the mud is your negative thinking and the bar of soap is you attempting to "act" your way to your result. So, in an attempt to get your result of being clean, you keep scrubbing yourself with soap. Sure, you may make a little progress here and there, but at the end of the day, you are still sitting in a puddle of mud and will keep recreating the same result.
Let's say you want to start planning your meals once a week. But, you keep repeating the thought "I am not a person who follows-through" to yourself. This thought causes a negative feeling which will cause action/inaction that prevents you from being able to create the result you want of having your meals planned. You may try and rely on willpower (which never lasts), or make progress for awhile and then quit. The brain is like a tracking dog. It will continuously look for and create evidence to prove that thought true. So, if you are trying to take action that doesn't line up with the thought-belief pairing you have, it will be like trying to walk upstream against a heavy current. This is true no matter if you want to lose weight, start waking up at 5 a.m., have a cleaner house, make more money, or any other result you want.
However, if you had the belief "I am totally capable of planning my meals once a week" which creates a positive feeling of confidence, which then drives your action to put it on your calendar and follow through, you will have the result of planning your meals. On top of this, you will be gathering evidence that you are totally capable of planning your meals once a week and this will perpetuate the cycle.
Bringing It All Together
So if we relate this back to the painting analogy we've been using through this series, a Circumstance is the canvas existing by itself. A thought is the type and color of paint that would give the canvas meaning. A Feeling is the tool to be used to carry out the paint on the Canvas. Action includes the movements made to bring it all together- producing the final artwork as the Result.
You Try It
Take 5-10 minutes to identify a behavior you want to start or stop doing. Ask yourself what emotion you would need to feel to drive that. Then, ask yourself what you would need to think to feel that way.
So Now That You Understand Actions...
It's time to look at how they create our Results. You can read more about that in the next post!
Want to take this work further?
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