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Case Study: How Authenticity Can Change Your Life

Case Study: How Authenticity Can Change Your Life

The Case for Authenticity

We can be ourselves or not, as we please. We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may be true or false, the choice is ours. We may wear now one mask and now another, and never, if we so desire, appear with our own true face. But we cannot make these choices with impunity.

– Thomas Merton, abridged and adapted from New Seeds of Contemplation


I want to tell you a story about a life coaching client I worked with named Sara. 


Just like you, Sara struggled with the tension between her true self and her false self. She’d always been the good girl, the rule follower, the one who never asked questions or went against the flow. 


After graduating from college, she started to have lots of questions about life, relationships, and (most important) her faith. She couldn’t figure out how to make any progress and they felt really STUCK. 


When I first met Sara, she was discouraged, frustrated, and just plain depressed. She’d been told what to think about everything from marriage to mental health to every tiny detail of her faith. Now that she was adjusting to living back home, navigating the real world, and falling in love with a new fella, she was feeling lots of internal turmoil - but wasn’t even sure what questions to ask. 


The first thing I did was get Sara to take a deep breath as I let her in on a great big secret: you are not alone. We started reframing her understanding of God by looking at what she did NOT believe about God. Starting from this reference point, we could then begin to focus on what’s left. 
Case Study: How Authenticity Can Change Your Life

The joys of deconstruction. 


Brennan Manning said, “Real freedom is freedom from the opinions of others. Above all, freedom from your opinions about yourself.” That being said, I introduced Sara to the empowering idea that she gets to create the life she wants. 


When I say things like, “Thoughts become things,” and “Words become worlds,” it’s true. What you think about yourself is absolutely true (at least for the moment). 


As Sara began to deconstruct the lies she’d believed about herself (and God), she slowly began to filter through the pain, social constructs, and fear-based religion which was holding her captive.

 

Getting clear on who you are and what you believe about yourself and that which we call “God” involves lots of interpersonal dialogue, allowing you to finally embrace your true self for the very first time.

Hello, authenticity!

 

It’s one of the simplest, most POWERFUL ways to make progress in the areas of self-awareness and personal development.

 

When Sara put this to work, here’s what began to change:

 

  • She stopped being so afraid to think for herself.
  • She began to care less about the opinions of others.
  • She started to like herself, rather than just tolerate her existence.
  • Rather than feeling like “life is meaningless,” she began to find meaning in everyday life.

 

Suddenly, Sara was making real PROGRESS!

 

I want to encourage you to try this in your life as well. This may not change things overnight, but it will lead to MOVEMENT, and that’s what matters.

 

If you feel like you could use a little boost in this area...I’d LOVE to help. I’d love to see you make the kind of progress that Sara made in this area. So what do you say?

Let’s get you started on the journey to authenticity.

Click here to get more details on my brand-new course:

How to Be Your True Self in a World of Fakers.


Discover new joys as you let go of living the way others think you should & start living your life as the real YOU.

Learning to live your life authentically is a process. This course and coaching program takes you through that process on an introspective journey that will result in newfound self-awareness, self-confidence, and the courage to create a life that truly makes you happy.


You’ll find tools, techniques, and strategies throughout to make your journey a success. The course includes 49 lessons with a variety of reflections, exercises, and even a field trip to guide you through this exciting journey to authenticity.

*THIS COURSE INCLUDES 3 PRIVATE COACHING SESSIONS.


Your journey starts with getting to know who you really are. Clarify your beliefs and values. Discover your true passions. Develop a healthy self-concept. The path continues with proven techniques that will help you accept and love the person you find inside.


Put your new self-knowledge to work in the next part of your journey as you discover your life purpose and determine your priorities in life – what’s most important to you!


The last few stops on your journey help you to develop the courage to show the world who you really are. Set yourself free from the expectations of others. Create a compelling future that excites you as you end this journey of discovery and start a new one as the real, authentic you!

Get the details and sign up by clicking right here.

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How to Embrace Your True Self in a World of Fakers

How to Embrace Your True Self in a World of Fakers

Please call me by my true names,

so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,

so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

Do you have a nickname? Even if no one has used it in years, did you have a pet name of some kind when you were a child?

My grandfather called me “Stevie” until the day he died. (He’s the only one who could get away with it.) I was “Ralph” to my Aunt Missy, and “Butt-Butt” to my Uncle Tiger (his real name is David). “Stinky” is what my wife calls me most often. Those nicknames are a glimpse into the loving relationships I have with those closest to me: the names my inner circle use(d) to remind me they’re quite fond of me.

While I love nicknames, there are other names I’ve been called through the years that haven’t felt so good. I’ve been called, “sissy” and “fag,” “sinner” and “broken.” But those aren’t nearly as painful as the names I’ve called myself; things like “crazy” and “weak” and many that are much, much worse.

Embracing Your True Self

What about you? Have people labeled you and boxed you in, when all you’ve ever wanted to do is be free? What would it feel like to live the life you choose, rather than the life others think you should live? How long have you been performing for the approval of others? What would it feel like to take off the mask and stop pretending?

There are all sorts of labels people try to slap on us, and boxes we put ourselves in. But it’s who we are beneath the noise, chatter, and unrealistic expectations of other people that really counts.

Consider this wisdom from Thomas Merton:

Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self.This is the person that I want myself to be but who cannot exist, because God—because Truth, Light—knows nothing about him. And to be unknown to God is altogether too much privacy.My false and private self is the one who wants to exist outside the reach of God’s will and God’s love— outside of reality and outside of life. And such a self cannot help but be an illusion.

Merton goes on to say...

We can be ourselves or not, as we please. We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may be true or false, the choice is ours. We may wear now one mask and now another, and never, if we so desire, appear with our own true face.But we cannot make these choices with impunity.Causes have effects, and if we lie to ourselves and to others, then we cannot expect to find truth and reality whenever we happen to want them.If we have chosen the way of falsity we must not be surprised that truth eludes us when we finally come to need it and that confusion reigns.
– abridged and adapted from New Seeds of Contemplation
How to Embrace Your True Self in a World of Fakers

The journey toward authenticity (or the “true self”) begins with self-awareness.

What is self-awareness? The dictionary defines self-awareness as “knowledge and awareness of your own personality or character.” When you’re self-aware, you have an accurate and clear understanding of your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and beliefs. You know what makes you tick. Self-awareness also includes an understanding of how others perceive you. Lacking self-awareness can lead to a very confusing and frustrating life!

Embracing self-awareness can empower you to be your true self.

Your level of self-awareness can influence your relationships, career, and happiness:

  • Self-awareness is necessary for taking control of your life. The direction of your life is determined by your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and reactions. Self-awareness is the principle way of understanding and influencing these things.
    • Self-awareness highlights faulty beliefs and emotional reactions that stand in your way and gives you the power to make adjustments.
  • Self-awareness illuminates the real reasons for past failures and challenges. We often dismiss our failures as bad luck or a lack of proper timing. But it’s also possible that we failed to perceive the situation, others, or ourselves accurately. It’s much easier to see the reason behind relationship, work, and other struggles when we can look at ourselves clearly.
    • Do you consistently struggle at work or in your relationships? What can you do better?
    • Those who lack self-awareness are puzzled by their negative outcomes or blame others exclusively.
  • Self-awareness is a critical quality for leaders. One study concluded that a high degree of self-awareness was the best predictor of success for executives.
    • Executives that have an understanding of their weaknesses are able to build a team composed of members that fill those weaknesses.
    • A lack of self-awareness puts a limit on your leadership abilities.
  • Self-awareness is the foundation for personal progress. Without it, any personal development efforts will be severely hampered.
    • Self-awareness is the cornerstone of success and self-improvement. Without self-awareness, the knowledge you possess can’t be applied effectively. It’s necessary to understand your beliefs, habits, strengths, and weaknesses to make a personal change. Avoid assuming that you’re self-aware. Give it some time and thought.

Building greater self-awareness won’t happen overnight, but it can be developed. You can start building your self-awareness, and reaping the benefits, starting today!

Download my Daily Authenticity Checklist:

Use these questions daily to ensure you are living an authentic life. Think of them as diagnostic questions to ensure you are embracing your true self every single day.

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Why No One Really Cares What You Believe

How to Be a Better Christian: Notes from an Ex-Pastor

“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practise the very antithesis of these principles. How often are our lives characterised by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anaemia of deeds! ”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

How to be a Better Christian: Notes from an Ex-Pastor via @iamsteveaustin #exvangelical #lovewins #graceismessy

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For the Bible Tells Me So

When my daughter was around the age of two, she slammed her chubby hand on the kitchen table like some sort of fire and brimstone preacher as she yelled, “For da Bible tells me SO!”

“What did she just say?” I asked my wife. I could barely control my laughter.

“Tell Daddy again, Cara.”

“For da Bible tells me SOOO!” She stretched the last word into at least five syllables, her round face red with fury.

Why was she so angry? She had been refused another snack because it was only half an hour before supper. Sweet Caroline didn’t like my rationale and continued to wail as my wife and I tried our best to keep it together. “Where on Earth did she come up with this?!”

Lindsey laughed and sang the first few words of “Jesus Loves Me.” I smiled wide and said, “I’m quite familiar with the song, but why is this the phrase she chooses when she is pissed off?”

It was funny at the moment, but it reminded me of this truth: no one really cares what you believe.

Love people. Use things. The opposite never works.

Defending Your Faith

As an ex-pastor, I promise you, no one cares how many Bible verses you’ve memorized. They won’t ask what Bible college you attended or how many times you’ve been to a marriage conference. They are less-than impressed by the fact that you’ve read Defending Your Faith or The Case for Christ. Your neighbors aren’t likely interested in your views on penal substitutionary atonement or anything else in the realm of stuffy theology.

When I was in Bible college, I was convinced that people genuinely cared about my theology. We regularly practiced defending our faith. Every theological hill was an acceptable one to die on. Rather than defending Jesus, we were trying to own God.

Before that, it was high school youth group. Every Friday night, we went to the Galleria and passed out Gospel tracts. The paper was printed and folded to look like a dollar bill. We would drop them on the floor or leave them on the bathroom counter, hoping someone would pick them up and be forever saved from eternal conscious torment. I wonder how many dudes lost their cool when they realized it wasn’t a real buck...

The most embarrassing part was getting into the “If you were to die tonight,” conversations with complete strangers. I’m still amazed at our boldness. We would approach total strangers - out and about with their family and friends on a Friday night at the mall - and blast them with our theological certainty. Our blessed assurance included the conviction that anyone who didn’t believe just like us was doomed to hell.

No question about it: in trying to be a better Christian, I did more harm than good.

No one really cares what you believe. Here's why. via @iamsteveaustin #exvangelical #graceismessy #lovewins

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How to Be a Better Christian

The story might feel different if our Bible study and prayer time made us more loving, for sure. But a theology steeped in fear, shame, and guilt will never produce actions rooted in love.

If you want to be a better Christian, hear Jesus calling us to be humble, kind, generous, patient, loving, and gracious. Listen to the greatest commandment: to love God, self, and neighbor. Jesus is begging us to be better examples of the faith we so boldly proclaim by understanding that there’s much more to belief than what most of us hear preached on a Sunday morning. Rather than using the Bible to justify our judgment and exclusion, Jesus is calling us to engage the world around us with Love.

When we talk about becoming a better Christian, we’re talking about the kind of human you are. Are you going to be the kind of person who binds and heals the wounds of others? Or are you going to drive the knife deeper? Will you give a glass of water to someone dying of thirst? Or will you pour the cement of your concrete theology down their throat?

The world is full of hurting people. And sadly, hurting people have bet against church folks. They don’t give a damn about the rightness of our theology or the firm foundation of our faith. They’re just looking for respect. For common decency. For eye contact. For a hug. For someone crazy enough to admit they don’t have it all figured out. For a hot cup of coffee or a cold beer and some honest conversation. For safety and love and belonging and a place to rest their tired feet and weary souls.

How do you make people feel? When you walk into a room, do you shift the energy with your loving kindness? Or do you suck the air right out of the crowd with your judgment? You can spend every waking moment of your life, clinging to the Bible, exegeting Scripture, debating every nuance of theology, and policing the thoughts and actions of those around you, or you can give your life away, embracing those in need.

A theology steeped in fear, shame, and guilt will never produce actions rooted in love. via @iamsteveaustin #graceismessy #lovewins #exvangelical

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A Thread of Love


If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:20

So, you want to be a better Christian? Stop expecting people to fit your mold, agree with your politics, and live up to your societal expectations. The world is so much bigger than your local church and your precious pastor. People are hungry for joy and freedom, but they’ll never find it through your rule-keeping: this is the essence of the message of Jesus.

In a society permeated by fear, shame, and guilt, the way to be a better Christian is to practice more love, vulnerability, and forgiveness. Now, more than ever, we should love the person in front of us, understanding that we are all connected. We are all the same. We are entirely woven together in a tapestry of diversity, and the thread that holds us all together is a universal desire for safety, love, and belonging.

The only thing people really care about is the way you treat them. If you want to be a better Christian, understand that you prove your faith by the depth of your love.

The Divine Call to Action

Looking for a daily reminder that being a better Christian means loving people? Click below to download my free printable, "The Divine Call to Action." Let's start loving God by loving each other.


People will never find joy and freedom through your rule-keeping: this is the essence of the message of Jesus. via @iamsteveaustin #exvangelical #graceismessy #lovewins

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My Little Boy Taught Me How to Love My Neighbor

My Little Boy Taught Me How to Love My Neighbor

"Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of."

- Jim Casy, The Grapes of Wrath

My son loves LEGOs. He’s been building things as long as either of us can remember. At least once a month, his grandma takes him to the LEGO store at the mall downtown, and he gets to build with other LEGO fanatics, just like him.

So you’ll understand why I was a bit concerned when he came home yesterday and didn’t want to go to LEGO night. Ben never turns down a chance to build with the little plastic blocks, I mean ever. I started to question Ben when my wife looked up from texting and gave me “the look.” Any man who has been married very long knows “the look.” You don’t question the look, you just know to shut up, and do it now.

I wrinkled my eyebrows a bit, and then I shut up. Apparently, Lindsey knew something I didn’t know...

What my Little Boy Taught Me about Loving My Neighbor

I'm excited to share my second guest post over at RedeemedForMore.com - click here to read the rest of this story.

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6 Tips for Practicing More Empathy and Compassion

6 Ways to Be More Understanding and Empathetic

Teach Yourself to be More Understanding and Empathetic

What is empathy?

Empathy is the concern for the welfare of others. It’s the ability to detect or predict the emotions and thoughts of others. It’s easy to see why this would be a handy skill to master.

Empathy has an impact on your relationships. This is true for both your personal and professional relationships. Empathy can make your life easier and more fulfilling at home and at work!

6 Ways to Be More Understanding and Empathetic via @iamsteveaustin #powerof1 #lovewins #catchingyourbreath

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Try these tips to increase your empathy for those around you:

  1. Avoid making assumptions. Your view of the world is limited. Your experiences are just your own. Others have lived a different reality. If you’re from a well-off and intact family from the United States, you don’t really have a clue what it’s like to deal with the weight of growing up in an orphanage in Ukraine. If you’ve never lost a job, avoid assuming that you know exactly what that experience feels like. Making assumptions only gets in the way of developing empathy. When you catch yourself making assumptions, question them. Prove your assumptions to be true or false before making any decisions.
  2. Ask questions. One way to understand others is to ask questions. Develop a genuine interest in them. Enhancing your communication skills assists your ability to connect with, and to understand, other people. Ask open ended questions.
  3. Listen. Listening intently is related to asking questions and avoiding assumptions. Seek to understand the emotions that the other person is feeling. Asking questions and then listening to the answers is a pivotal part of creating empathy within yourself.
  4. Try to understand a group of people outside of your experience. Suppose you’re a young, Christian, African-American male. You might decide to learn about Hasidic Jews. Or if you’ve never been poor, you might learn about the homeless. Read books and talk to people. Strive to understand what it would be like to be born a part of a particular group.
  5. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. One way to relate better to others is to imagine yourself in the same situation. This can be painful. It’s not enjoyable to imagine that your spouse has died or that you’re completely out of money. Ask yourself, “What would I be thinking and feeling if I were in this situation?” Just asking yourself this question is the biggest step you can take toward being empathetic.
  6. Be present. Give your undivided attention to others. You can’t be empathetic if you’re thinking about something else while someone is speaking to you. You’re not as good at hiding your disinterest as you think! You miss most of the information, verbal and non-verbal, communicated to you if you’re not paying attention.
  7. Empathy is an important skill. It can greatly increase your ability to communicate and connect with others. Being able to understand their feelings and thoughts will boost your rapport with them. Enhance your personal and work relationships with empathy and you’ll benefit in many ways.

Join the Challenge

30 Days of Empathy and Compassion begins February 4th

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In a World Full of Fear, We Desperately Need Compassion

How to Change Your World with Empathy and Compassion

Grace Can Be Heard in Any Language

I finished teaching my weekly sign language class and felt my nerves subside. I’d been sick over this class, in particular, all day. Those who know me personally would find that odd, considering I’m a very outgoing person, entirely comfortable in front of a crowd, and I’ve taught classes and workshops all over the Southeast for several years.

But I had been physically sick over this class all day long.

Why?

Because some old friends of mine would be my special guests for the evening. These weren’t just any old friends. These were two of my very closest friends. Deaf mentors of mine for fifteen years and friends for more than twenty. I have called them my “second parents” for as long as I can remember.


So why the anxiety?

I hadn’t seen them in nearly five years. I had never even introduced them to my son (who was four at the time). These people who had me at their house countless times. Who invited me to join them for day trips and taught me sign language from the time I was twelve years old. He would drop everything to help me if I ever needed it, and she would drive half an hour every week to come to eat lunch with me at the middle school so I could practice sign language.

These folks had freely given me their time and their language. I have been professional sign language interpreter for the past ten years because this couple was so generous to me. I owe them a high debt of gratitude for the way they shaped my life.

But I had been sick to my stomach for hours over the thought of having to face them.

Sounds ridiculous, right?

That’s what fear does. Fear turns our stomachs inside out as it buries us under a truckload of irrational thoughts and behavior. Fear weighed on me like an overcoat in the summer I couldn’t seem to take off.

Why?

Because I hadn’t seen this couple since my suicide attempt. I hadn’t faced them since I lost my job. He didn’t even know. I was so scared of their disappointment. I feared they would no longer approve of me, just like so many others who didn’t know the full story.

I swallowed my fear for the duration of the class and picked up a mask I hadn’t worn in several years. I know how to perform. I am a master at “fake it til you make it,” and I used that old skill set last night. The class went as planned, and my students had a wonderful time. I was satisfied and ready to go home.

After the crowd left, the three of us walked to the parking lot together. My old friend, my mentor, this man who had been a father figure to me for so many years, dropped his countenance. His face was calm, and his eyes were gracious. I had seen this look many times before. He began to move his hands in a way that told me I was loved.

His fingers silently wove a tapestry of grace in the cool night air as he told me that he had heard the rumors, but those words meant nothing to him. “Because I know you. I know Steve,” he said to me. I thought the old man might cry as he let me know how glad he was that I made it through the suicide attempt. He asked me to no longer put him and his wife in the same boat as the others who had turned their backs or given up on me. He told me that he wasn’t interested in the gossip.

What he was saying is that I mattered. He did not believe the words of those who would spread judgment. He believed in me.

Do any of us really make a difference anymore? Find out here. via @iamsteveaustin #empathy #compassion #catchingyourbreath

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What about you? 

Has fear tried to separate you from those you love? Maybe not a person–perhaps a dream or gift you’ve run from. Like me, have you found your self-worth wrapped up in fear? If your self-worth has been torn down, empathy and compassion promise to build back up.

Perfect love continues to cast out fear as it shatters judgment.

Everyone makes an impact - whether they are acting intentionally or not. Everyone is always making an impact on one another. Your actions, my actions, and the actions of others are influencing the world. What you do matters in more ways than you may realize, and your efforts may create chaos or lead to grand achievements. The key is being intentional with your actions.

There is a principle of chaos theory called the Butterfly Effect. It states that a tiny initial action can cause a reaction of epic proportions. The metaphorical example is that the simple movement of a butterfly’s wings over time can create a wave that results in a hurricane.

This is an illustration of how important even the smallest of actions are in the grand scheme of the world. As someone living on this planet, you too have an effect everywhere you go. What you do and how you do it matters. You matter. You are as vital to the success of the human race as the most powerful influencer you can imagine. Have you ever considered this?

The set of people and places where you make the most impact is called your sphere of influence. This is the where your presence is felt the most. Your sphere likely includes your family, work, and the local community.

What you do matters. Here's why. via @iamsteveaustin #catchingyourbreath #empathy #compassion

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How are you making that impact? Consider this:

  • How you parent your children makes an impact.
  • How you manage your marriage makes an impact.
  • How you engage as a son, daughter, sister, or brother makes an impact.
  • What you contribute to your workforce makes an impact.
  • What you create makes an impact.
  • Your wisdom makes an impact.
  • How you vote makes an impact.
  • How you spend your time and money makes an impact.
  • How you pour yourself into others makes an impact.

I could go on and on, but you’re starting to see my point. In all that you do, you matter. How you do things matters. It is all tied together. This may seem like a big responsibility - and it is - but it isn’t too big when you break it down into manageable bits and pieces, in all the different areas of your life.

The most important thing to realize is that you have influence and impact wherever you go, and by being intentional, you can leave your mark on the world in a favorable and meaningful way.

Grace shows up in unlikely places if we keep our hearts and minds open. What fear buries, empathy resurrects. Fear pushed me to withdraw from precious friends for years, but compassion promises to redeem the lost time. Fear convinced me to lump these friends with everyone else who had hurt me, but grace is a reconciler.

I wish the whole world could be deafened to the noise of condemnation the way I was that night. Grace can be heard in any language.

What fear buries, empathy resurrects. via @iamsteveaustin #compassion #catchingyourbreath

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The Transformative Power of Empathy and Compassion

Join the Catching Your Breath Academy to Learn the Transformative Power of Empathy & Compassion
Class begins February 4th.

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Respect & Admiration

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this group. What I found at the end however was a group of people whom I greatly respect and deeply admire.

Jason F. Online student
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Worth every penny.

I have greatly enjoyed my discussions with Steve and am grateful for his strength, positivity, and encouragement. While he always comes with a plan for our sessions, I appreciate his ability to adjust to the needs of the client and ask the sort of questions that enable thought and growth. Every penny and hour was worth it—I cannot recommend Steve’s work highly enough...

Josh C. Coaching client
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Fantastic life coach!

Steve Austin is a fantastic life coach! He's really helped me focus and get clear about what I want, and helped me make a manageable plan. If you need help reaching your goals and creating peace and space in your life, he’s your guy.

Stephanie Long Coaching client
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One of the best investments we've ever made.

Life coaching is one the best investments we have made for our family. Steve has the ability to help you draw up plans that fit the design for your family. and where you are in your journey. While you may come into life coaching seeking answers and advice, what you will find is that Steve has the ability to help you see that you hold most of the answers already. You just need a gentle (or sometimes straight forward) push in the right direction. Steve is that guiding force and knows what he is doing.

Christy P. Coaching client
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Necessary for greater awareness.

Steve’s workshop is necessary for those who want awareness of the pain that surrounds them, hidden in suffering human hearts.

Matt Suicide prevention workshop participant
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Steve will guide you to the best version of you.

Before I contacted Steve for help I felt frustrated and blocked. After working with him I knew how to conquer my fears. Steve is a warm and caring person who will guide you to the best version of you.

Sarah F. Coaching client
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Encouragement for When Your New Year’s Resolve has Fizzled

Tiny Changes: What to do When Your New Year's Resolve has Fizzled

"92% of people won’t make it to February with their 2019 goals. Don’t be 92% of people."

~ Jon Acuff

Depressing, isn’t it?

We, humans, create grand expectations for a brand new year and for ourselves, but so often we’re busted before we even get used to writing the new date.

It’s even worse than we think it is because for every wrecked resolution, every habit that never fully hatches, and every promise to paint a healthier, happier, harmonious portrait of our lives, we - in the words of author James Clear - “…lose sight of who we are and what we can become.”

When we don’t do what we say we will do, we lose a little more hope. What we say we will do is pretty often an unrealistic expectation.

When we don’t do what we say we will do, we lose a little more hope. #tinychanges

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Jon Acuff in FINISH: Give Yourself the Gift of Done tackles perfectionism.

One person described it this way: “I start with the belief that I could do something. Then I get all excited and start dreaming. At first, I feel confident and like I know what I am doing. Then my dreams get big. Then I want perfection. Then all of a sudden I feel inadequate to do the job because I don’t know how to do it at that level. Then the dreams die, and the goal is forgotten. The best part is most of the time all that I mentioned above is mental. I never actually started anything.”

Y’all…

This has been me, but I’m changing my tune.

How? Lots of ways. Mostly, though, I’m learning how to set reasonable expectations for myself and other people.

You know what? It doesn’t happen overnight - just because I “decided” to live life differently. Don’t get me wrong, the decision to be different and to do life differently is important. But lasting change comes as a result of a series of daily choices.

You know, habits.

The RIGHT habits! Not like the ones a lot of us have already messed up on this early in the new year. But simple ones. Practices that don’t require us to be perfect and only take a couple of minutes to do. (Keep reading to learn more about some new tiny habits that are WRECKING me for good.)

But first, let me ask you a question...

What’s the number one frustration you have with yourself? The thing you tell yourself the most?

  • Is it that you’re a failure?
  • That you’re not smart?
  • That you’re a quitter?
  • That you’re weak?

One more question…

What could happen if you learned to stop beating yourself up?

What could happen if you learned to stop beating yourself up? #tinychanges

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James Clear is a habits guru who wrote the book Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones.

Clear explains how our identities and habits are intertwined:

This vicious cycle of beating ourselves up spirals and spirals and we no longer know how to be kind to ourselves. We no longer know how to set reasonable expectations and achievable objectives with weight loss, fitness, career goals, family objectives, and standards for behavior. We lose sight of who we are and what we can become.

Clear talks about building tiny habits that change the way we see ourselves, giving us the confidence to stack habits and routines onto our first habits, and ultimately improving our lives for the better.

A few weeks ago my friend Tracy Winchell of the Reboots Podcast told me about one of her favorite journaling habits. Every few days she writes a note to her next day self (maybe you’ve seen me practicing this on Instagram and Facebook). Tracy tells me this singular habit has helped her change the way she sees herself.

Through this exercise, Tracy has learned to encourage her next day self, and to set expectations for her attitude toward herself and others. She shared one of her notes with me, and I was blown away! No really, I freakin’ LOVE this exercise (almost as much as I love my friend, Tracy.)

I knew right then that my people HAD to learn how to do this.

Because if James Clear and Jon Acuff are right and that our identities are wrapped up in our habits, then building a habit designed to change the tapes we play in our heads ABOUT OURSELVES is a freakishly powerful method for creating clarity!

For some of us, mid-January means a return to the same old same old: a return to bad habits, and giving up new ones we said would bring us a better 2019.

But we can choose a better way by making a decision to stop the negative self-talk. And then setting up a ridiculously simple method - that takes no more than 10 minutes a day - to change the tapes in our head.

Oh, yeah. And the method still works if we only do it 10 to 15 times in any given 30-day period.

It’s my friend Tracy’s “note to next day self” journaling technique, and it’s helped her send the lying jerks in her head back to wherever the hell they came from. And it can do the same for you and me.

On Friday, January 18th at 11 am CST, I'd love for you to join my friend, Tracy Winchell and me for a free webinar. We’re gearing up for a workshop to show you exactly how this works. It’s called TINY CHANGES: What to do When Your New Year’s Resolve has Fizzled. It’s Friday, January 18, 2019, at 11:00.

If you haven’t signed up yet, do it here.

  • You’re not alone if your New Year’s resolve has fizzled.
  • You’re not alone if you expect way too much from yourself.
  • You’re not alone in unnecessarily beating yourself up.

My friend Tracy found freedom from the negative self-talk during a time of massive change in her life. She was walking through the hell of losing a job, selling her house, moving in with her mom, and dealing with the loss of a close friend. And we’re going to show you a ridiculously simple method (that will take less than 10 minutes, a few days a month) that will help you kick your negative self-talk to the cub.

"My soul sometimes feels like a Twitter feed where I’m following a million of the most annoying people ever, and I can’t find the Unfollow button."

-Steven Furtick in Crash the Chatterbox

Is this you?

It’s no way to live, is it?

If you're ready to take a bold step toward choosing NOT to FEEL THIS WAY ANYMORE, sign up for our free webinar.

My friend Tracy and I will teach you how to unfollow the annoying voices in your head and learn to follow the voices who will tell you the truth about yourself - compassionately and with love and grace.

If 2019 feels a lot like 2018 all over again, sign up.

If you're feeling like this year is a lot more of the same old stuff: procrastinating on building new habits, failing to give up old habits you don’t want anymore, and beating the crap out of yourself, you’ll want to hang with us for this webinar.

  • If you’re ready to stop beating yourself up because you want to change but can’t quite make it happen…
  • If you’re ready to set some reasonable expectations for yourself and get past the fear of failure - or success…
  • If you’re ready to FINISH something excellent in 2019
  • If you’re ready to change the relentless tapes in your head that say you’re not good enough or that you don’t deserve a reasonably happy life…
  • If you’re ready to tell yourself the truth - the good, the bad, and the ugly - about who you are and who you want to become in 2019…

Click here to join us in the LIVE workshop - where we’ll show you how.

TINY CHANGES: What to do When Your New Year’s Resolve Has Fizzled is Friday, January 18th at 11am CST.

Click here to grab your seat.

If you’re already beating yourself up because the New Year is a lot less shiny and bright, please join us.

For now, though, rest easy. Don’t worry about it if your New Year’s resolve has already fizzled. You’re normal!!! And it’ll be okay. I promise.

If 2019 feels a lot like 2018 all over again, sign up for this free webinar, "TINY CHANGES: What to do When Your New Year's Resolve has Fizzled." with @iamsteveaustin & @rebootspodcast #tinychanges

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