Stop This Train

When we feel stuck, stagnant, out of balance, or in the wrong place in our minds, bodies, or lives, we may strongly desire change. From there, we try to determine how to change, but if the changes we desire are in a realm that we have never been in, we may not have the skills, knowledge, or experience to know how to get there. We can feel like we are on an out of control train carreening toward more of the same old thing that we have always had and the same old results we know we do not want.

As we search for the answers around how to change, we may begin to ask other people what to do, scour the internet for recommendations, or reach for the “quick fix” answers in an attempt to take a step toward our new goal in some way. We are looking for the things that we need to add to what we are doing and we can have so much information coming in and so many suggestions to try out that our current operating system cannot digest it all. This can feel overwhelming, confusing, and frustrating, often leading us to the point of giving up and reverting back to our old ways of being.

There is so much information available to us that it can be very difficult to discern what is actually helpful. It can be hard to know what source to trust and what steps to take next. In fact, the overload of information can get in the way of our being able to find, hear, and receive the bits that will actually take us toward our goal.

According to Shawn Achor, author of Before Happiness, we must be able to recognize what is noise as opposed to what is helpful information that will take us toward our goal. Noise is unhelpful, distracting, and meaningless and it can come from outside sources or even from within our own minds.

It can be helpful to recognize what is noise. According to Achor, there are 4 criteria associated with noise:

  1. It is unsuable and will not alter our behavior. It is just extraneous information that is not helpful at all in pursuing the goal.
  2. It is untimely in that we are not able to use it immediately and so there is no need to pay attention to it at this time.
  3. It is hypothetical and is simply based on opinion (this may be the opinion of other people or one from our own mind).
  4. It is distracting and gets in the way of movement toward the goal. This is where we spend time and energy on things that are a detour from our main path.

So, again, how do we begin to find the path toward what we do want from the limited knowledge we have and all of the noise?

One of the most helpful things to do is to ask ourselves this one question: “What do I need to stop doing?”

In our lives, we can often identify what we do not like, what we do not benefit from, and what we do not need to do. This is an effective way to cancel some of the noise so that the path forward can more easily be revealed. We so often override our inner knowing; we ignore the gut feeling that what we are about to do (or continue to do) is not going to take us toward our goal. As a result, we pay the price in how we feel, how we think, or how much harder we actually made things on ourselves.

And as we ask ourselves what we need to stop doing, we may come up with an entire list of things. But, let’s start with just one. In shifting one thing, we impact the trajectory and the end result. If we picture the importance of the coordinates on a long journey at sea, if we are off by only a few degrees, this can have an emormous impact on where we end up. The same is true in our own journey as we can impact the outcome in big ways with one small change.

This week, run an experiment to see the difference it makes when you stop doing one thing. It doesn’t have to be forever- just for one week. What can you stop doing for one week? It can be something like staying up too late, entertaining that negative mental story, putting off doing tasks, or eating the thing that doesn’t help you to feel good in your body, as examples. Check in and see how you feel and what shifted because of that one choice.

I will be experimenting right along with you.

Chat again soon,


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