“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.”
– Tao Te Ching
It’s January 21.
That means you’ve had 21 whole days to live out your word of the year, change your habits and make all your dreams come true.
If you believe your average success guru – it takes exactly 21 days to make this happen, to create a habit.
Which is, of course, total BS.
This is why I’m checking in with you right now.
A] Because, recently, it has been proven to take more like 65 days to create new habits.
And B] Because exactly none of this works when you apply it to your life – and your expansion.
This month I opened up my Uplevel your Life® Mastery Program for the first time in years. I gave it away for free. Now I’m watching as people move through it – and they’re going through some huge mindset shifts.
In case you missed the chance to join me – I’m sharing one of the daily coaching lessons with you now in honor of this 21-day mark. You might find it empowers you more than the whole 21-day lie.
Set Intention for Who you Become, Not for What You Get
One of the key results of consciously setting intentions and creating new results is that you learn yourself. You become a student of you.
Knowing yourself, being aware of your mind and all its temptations to shrink or get self-righteous – – this is a worthy awareness. It is important work. It is not to be feared or shamed. It is a key to creating your life because it teaches you the patterns that stopped you in the past.
Let’s examine one of the obstacles to shifting our thoughts. It’s a big one.
I call it the Default Setting. When you begin to wake up and become present and clear in your daily life, it’s one of the first things that arises.
What’s a Default Setting?
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles – most of which never happened.”
– Mark Twain
When you install a new email program in your computer, a window pops up and asks, “Would you like to make this your Default Program?”
This means that whenever you click on an email link on the web, this particular email program will be the one that opens.
That’s the same kind of thing we’ve done with our thoughts, isn’t it?
Only we haven’t consciously selected them. We’ve created Default Settings… by default!
In the work of shifting your thoughts or your emotions, you’ll often find that you come back to those old settings, those well-worn neural pathways. These are the places that seem to open automatically when certain buttons are clicked.
When you’re unconscious or unaware (or hungry or tired), these patterns will creep up on you and pretend to be the truth. They’re NOT the truth.
Intention Brings Up Anything Unlike Itself
The Course in Miracles teaches that “Love brings up anything unlike itself.” This means that when we experience unconditional love, we often end up face-to-face with anger or unforgiveness. These things arise because they need to be healed. They’re not aligned with that experience of unconditional love.
Similarly, INTENTION brings up anything unlike itself.
To show you how this works, join me in the garden.
Let’s plant a seed in the soil.
Then, let’s watch as that seed begins to sprout.
What’s the very first thing that comes up?
Is it the sprout?
No! It’s the dirt! The dirt has to be moved out of the way before the sprout can come through.
Perhaps, here in late January, your Default Settings are becoming glaringly obvious to you. That’s because your intention is pushing up the dirt. It’s bringing up anything unlike itself.
It’s not meant to shame you. Nor should you wallow in it and tell yourself crappy stories about the habits you haven’t locked in after 21 whole days.
It’s meant to be observed. And then released.
So, right now, your work may be all about clearing out some of the dirt. Start with awareness.
Finding your Default Settings
Your Default Setting might be a pattern. Or a belief. Or a single thought, or a vague anxiety, or a feeling of worthlessness.
Or maybe you dive headlong into a behavior without even stopping to notice your thoughts or feelings. You automatically plow through the whole bag of tortilla chips. Or you open an app and play games obsessively through the night.
What you’ll ultimately realize is that your Default Setting is where you go when you are unconscious – when you lose your present moment awareness, and when something scares you or triggers something.
Simply become aware of two things:
1. What your Default Settings are, and
2. That they are not the truth. They are not WHO YOU ARE.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
– Albert Einstein
When these voices and messages creep up on you, you want to be able to recognize them. These are the tricky voices. These are the tricky feelings. These are the tricky behaviors.
If you don’t become aware of them, they’ll often make you want to give up. You’ll hear someone spout off some lie like, “It takes 21 days to create a habit” and instantly sabotage yourself for not having ‘arrived’ yet.
Let that shit go, okay? Instead, when you become aware of an old pattern or thought, you can observe it and make a conscious choice to turn away and focus on something different.
For instance, over the years, I noticed one of my Default Settings. I call it “The How’m I Doin’s?” It manifests in obsessive behaviors like checking email constantly, looking at my blog comments, staring at my website metrics, or searching, in essence, for something outside of me to let me know I’m doing okay in the world.
When I catch myself in the pattern, I return to center, remember the power of my intention, and do the task at hand: write the content, create the program, review the P&L – whatever I’m avoiding.
At first, your Default Settings won’t seem as simple as this example. They can be so scary you don’t want to look at them. (And maybe “I’m so overwhelmed!” is a Default Setting!)
Eventually, however, these voices will start to get smaller and weaker. As you realign with your intention, and as you stay focused on taking action, these voices and thoughts can’t help but shrink. Their power is not nearly what you thought it was.
Your Assignment Today
Your ATTENTION is the daily practice of your INTENTION. Energy flows where attention goes.
Knowing the power of our attention, we don’t want to stay focused on our Default Setting. We simply want to name it. This gives us power when this pattern presents itself.
For today, do this: Take a moment to create a little ritual. Revist your intentions for the year. Realign with your Word-of-the-Year. See if you can name any of your default patterns that have shown up. (Smile while you do this. We all have them!)
Then, choose again. Begin again. Observe yourself, and instead of letting these thoughts and emotions disguise themselves as the truth – or worse, see yourself as a failure this year already – see them for what they are: Old patterns.
p.s. I’m curious. Since I shared one of my default settings, share one of yours! Do you have a “Default Setting” that has played out this year? Share it below. Shine the light on it by naming it!
p.p.s. Click here to download a little gift. It’s a poster you can print out and hang by your desk. It’s the six steps of my Uplevel your Life Mastery Program. Use it as a reminder of the powerful process you are embarking on right now.