The 21-Day Lie (And Other Sabotage-y Mindsets You Can Ditch) - Christine Kane

“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.

Why Bother?

“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

Remember this:

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.

  • Monika

    Dear Christine,you are since a year now such a beacon of light and inspiration and your advice comes
    from such a deep understanding about the pitfalls in the human psyche..
    My default setting: NOT GOOD /SMART ENOUGH My Power Words ( I had 3 )for 2019 are:
    FOCUS, EXPANSION,ENERGY shadow side from that: Distraction,Constriction,Low Energy
    I am working on it…
    I thank you for all the encouragement and helping me to re navigate, when I feel lost
    I am forever grateful for your support
    wishing you all the love, success and Joy that Life can bring
    with Gratitude

  • Mary

    My default setting is self-sabotage through procrastination. Daydreaming about how great something would be, and letting everything I can think of get in the way of completing the task to make it a reality.

    Also self-sabotage through self-fulfilling prophecy. I hate this task, so I put it off until it becomes an insurmountable chore that I truly hate.

  • Sheri Keen

    I’d have to say my default setting is procrastination/distractions. Maybe that is due to overwhelm ? But I get amazing ideas…Yeah, that’s great…write them down… and instead of working on them right away, I get caught up in the 10 other things that pop into my mind and my vision, vying for attention…. Hey, I’ll do that, just as soon as I take care of this load of laundry…Just as soon as I go pay that bill…Oh, wow, I should run to the store and get the ingredients for dinner… Oh, the phone is now ringing…. Um, what WAS that great idea I had, again???? UGH!
    My word this year , before you announced it, is INTENTIONAL !
    I Will Get Things Moving in My Business… NO MORE DISTRACTIONS !!!

  • Jackie Daley

    I have started this year off with a bang following my word of the year ‘Confidence’. It has been amazing and had opened the doors to great and surprising things happening. However the awe and excitement can waiver as you end up doing too much and getting overwhelmed and over tired. This has a massive impact on my vibration and on others around me. Then that same old pattern of thought kicks in. I’m not confident. Luckily I am recognising that I can change this quickly. I would be grateful to hear how you keep your vibrations high.

  • Cindy Jensen

    This was an insightful exercise for me because I recognized a pattern I’ve been stuck in for probably my entire life. It is the vicious circle of “avoidance/procrastination” ~ “confusion” ~ “overwhelm.” An old unspoken belief was that “it” (whatever task) had to be hard and/or take lots of time. I have now chosen to discard this old belief and have replaced it with the belief that I accomplish tasks quickly and easily. My word for this year is CHOOSE so this is an important step in actualiziing my intention which is to “release the garbage in my life along with extraneous stuff in my home in order to clear the way for extraordinary abundance and wealth.” I am grateful for you and the program you have developed and I am excited to continue. Thank you!

  • Tracey

    My intention is to believe in myself. My pattern is “I’m not good enough” so even harder to believe in myself. My word of the year is ‘Trust’ in: myself, the process, and magic! I’m finding it quite hard to keep up with all the work but I’m loving being around the positivity with thiese teachings and I’m ‘trust’-ing that the magic will infuse and swallow up my negative self talk. Bring it on. Kia ora!

  • CinDiLo

    My default action is worthiness. Is what I have to say important? Does anyone care? How wil I ever make money doing what I love? I’m a dreamer, always having new ideas in many different arenas. Implementing them past the idea and putting it out there phases are as far as I usually get. When the interest isn’t as much or as fast as I’d like, I think my idea isn’t working and get enticed by my “next, best idea” repeat…

  • Eugenie Drakes

    My word for the year is GRACE. My default pattern is enough…….’I am not enough, dont know enough, not qualified enough’ This is a huge obstacle and I have realised that it is tied to worth – my worth and how I see myself and how the world sees me. GRACE has enabled me to ACCEPT and OWN compliments, acknowledgements, opportunities and others that are coming my way. Instead of feeling less – accepting them with grace has rekindled my inner light, and given me the courage to step up with grace in the knowing that I have what it takes and the bigger the challenge, the higher I am able to reach and the bigger the growth.
    I have a rekindled a dormant energy in my belly and it feels awesome. I am accepting the abundance with GRACE and am have huge GRATITUDE for the abundance which the universe holds for me.
    This has been a major shift and I feel that right now I am preparing the soil for amazing seeds…………Thank you for the inspiration and opportunity

    • Christine Kane

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us Eugenie. What powerful awareness you’ve brought to this pattern that could easily stop you in your tracks.

  • Gwendolyn Washington

    I can’t keep up. I am a failure.

    • Christine Kane

      This isn’t true Gwendolyn. Where I would begin is with the expectation of what ‘KEEPING UP” looks like. It seems that there might be an unreachable demand that is there in the first place. yes?

  • Jasdeep Panesar

    Hello, Christie. My name is Jasdeep Panesar. I start any business or a project with excitement and goals. 😍 After a few months or weeks it just dies. Now I feel embarrassing . Thank you for sharing this email with me. With your guide I can see myself successful.

    • Christine Kane

      Great Jasdeep! It starts with the light of possibility!

  • Rachel Hubbard

    I have a fear of people being envious or jealous of me, and I believe it comes directly from my feeling of alienation from my family of origin. It often makes me question myself, whether I’m going in the right direction, when I forget who they are and seek their attention/approval and don’t get their applause. It took me a long time to figure this out simply because it’s hard for me to ‘see’ them clearly and understand that for whatever reason they’re a hostile audience.

    • Christine Kane

      Totally makes sense Rachel. Have you ever read A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson? There’s a beautiful quote about how when we shine, we give other people permission to do the same. When I read that paragraph, something in my heart completely opened up and I got it. Go for it. People need your light .

  • Giovanna

    An old peep that shows up when triggered is the obsessive search for confirmation of value, to silence my screaming inner voices. It is actually only one inner critic, of which I recently discovered the identity and am working to let go. Thanks Christine for your insights!

  • Leonie Creagh

    I’ve been delving into ‘being in my head’ or ‘being in my body’ for a while, consciously and unconsciously playing with ideas. I work with young people who face some of the greatest obstacles a human can face…lack of connection, lack of belonging, lack of constant, reliable love and affection. These experiences have been challenging, exhausting, empowering…you name it. I think the extreme scope of emotions I’ve witnessed and experienced, it has brought my ‘playing’ into the spotlight and I’ve ralused I haven’t taken my (subconscious) intentions seriously.-I haven’t given them a name.
    My default is to move into doubt and fear, overthink, forecast. The practice of intention and being mindful has given me a profound capacity to acknowledge my default and then move on. Thank you for reminding me. Lx

    • Christine Kane

      Thank you for sharing Leonie. For me, sometimes just being WITH the pattern, the doubt, the fear, etc are enough to create some movement – especially when you realize the illusion of these things.

  • Nancy Salwen

    “The How’m I Doin’s?” is definitely a default setting — thanks for pointing that one out! Also, for me, it’s a default setting to feel threatened, defensive or less than (which certainly makes it harder to collaborate!) which is why I’ve used “Generous” as my word of the year for the last 2 years. It’s worked so well — been such a wonderful guiding light — that I’m using it again this year. When I reconnect with that word it sends me in much better directions. It has opened the door to many wonderful opportunities and experiences as well as growth in my business. And also made me a better mother! Pretty darn powerful!

  • Janine

    I have so much energy with creating new projects … i look at the “successful ” people around me & they seem to always be on & doing things. I become overwhelmed with my inability to earn a decent living from my creativity without burning out & retreat back to comfort eating , being tired, wandering around online.😊

  • Nola Stewart

    My default action is not feeling confident in the things I want to do. Wow, this has really made me stop and think. I have been in a wheelchair for 19 years and I just realised that is the mentality that I have adopted. All the excuses I use are about not having enough room to run workshops, or go to venues where I have to take stuff.
    Thank you I will confront this today.

  • Mary Duggan

    Oh dear! I was forcibly reminded of one of my default settings this morning when I leaned over to hit Snooze on the alarm! I worked on this really hard before Christmas and started getting up early enough to do some Yoga, some meditation, have breakfast and set my intentions for the day before a 9am start on some deep work. It went really well. Then holidays.
    However, I know know that the default ‘Oh, I’m too tired to get out of bed, I will just have another ten minutes’ is a load of tosh. I choose a new default of ‘OK, let’s get this amazing show on the road!’.
    I have to say that over the last few years, you and the M-Club team have helped me to create a whole load of ‘new normals’ with massive changes in my confidence and productivity!

  • Nadia May

    Thank you for sharing your default pattern I have a similar pattern to fulfill my curiosity first thing in the morning by checking emails, FB notices, new articles, new programs, etc. I call it “Curiosity Disarray” If I am not aware of this and I do not intentionally start with my intention, I can easily spend hours and hours satisfying my curiosity. Thank you for bringing it to our attention how easy it is to follow our default deconstructive pattern, unless we make an effort to change it.

    • Christine Kane

      Curiosity Disarray. I love that Nadia! (creating your own funny names for these little patterns diminishes their power over the whole situation.)


    Poor eating habits when I am feeling anxious. Letting stuff slowly pile up around me.

  • Stacie

    My default is a thought. It’s “Ya. But. Shit doesn’t work out for me” Intention is great, but …
    A little ways back, in response to that thought, I asked, but is that true? That shit doesn’t work out for me. And my knee jerk/default was to respond with, “What do you mean, is it true? Of course it is true. Look at XYZ” And then I gently repeated the question, but is that true. And it was then that began to feel a shift. A quiet, little shift. Perhaps there was shit that worked out of me after all. Look at ABC. Somewhere along the way, that ‘shit doesn’t work out for me’ got programmed in. Now I am gently but with attention and effort, flipping that script. That thought no longer serves me. Life might not always go according what I had planned, but there are plenty of ways that situations in my life have worked out, remarkable ways, in fact. This is a much better way to view my life. Thanks for today’s post, Christine.

  • Dru Duffey

    Thank you for the gift! It’s hanging up next to the complaint free contract! 🙂
    My biggest default setting is, “I’m not good enough.” I intend to knock this BS to the manure pile.
    This process is shaking up my world. I don’t know where I’m heading anymore, however it’s going to be financially, emotionally , and spiritually awesome.
    Thank you

  • Paula Bolivar

    Overwhelmed, and tired is how I feel so I just take a nap pretty much every day.

  • Lisa Conran

    My worst anxiety arises when my significant other is doing a photo shoot with models- it makes me feel not good enough and triggers in me a fear that he will be more attracted to them than me which causes me to tell him I’m “out”!
    My word for the year is BELIEVE and my mantra is I choose love and trust!

    • Christine Kane

      Lisa – Well, that certainly makes sense to me. AND – wow – what an amazing opportunity you have to be with all kinds of thoughts and patterns to see where they come from and if they are really true. Uncomfortable stuff, yes. but life-changing. Thank you for sharing!

  • cindi morgan

    Two months ago, I was hired as director of a small neighborhood library where I had volunteered and worked. Mostly it feels like the best job in the world and an incredible fit. But every time I stumble, my default mode is, “Why did I think I could do this? This job is way too big for me!” I still look forward to every day, which is kind of amazing. But the “not good enough” demons are too often lurking, ready to pounce.

  • Joan Gilbert

    My default setting, especially when I get scared, is Avoidance. Like, water the plants. And I’m feeling scared right now, because guess what? I got my firs YES to my first VB workshop scheduled for Feb 9. And my word of the year is ALLOW. As in allow myself to be the best I can be. So, thanks Christine. It’s time for re-set.

  • Andrea

    I have several of the previously-noted default settings (ie: checking social media and also comparing myself to others- which is pure evil!), but for the sake of adding something new, I’ll share another default setting I’ve noticed lately is what I call “resistance.” It’s super subtle but a feeling of not wanting to do whatever it is I’m about to do (usually teaching yoga or something else something that puts me “out there.” The way I bring it to the light of intention is by just acknowledging that I’m feeling it and then going ahead and pushing past it.

  • Brenda M

    I have truly enjoyed all that you have shared Christine! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, and wisdom and personal stories to go along with the ‘lessons’ as it makes it more real. Your attention is the daily practice of your intention is a statement that I have in several areas around me now to keep bringing my mind back to that. My Default Setting is to be so overbooked that I run from one thing to another with no time for rest (mental or physical). Since starting this journey at the beginning of the year, I have now taken Wednesday as a ‘commitment to self’ with no agenda other than my own. I feel this will bring clarity and focus and it already feels so good! Thank you!

  • Yanina Purcell

    I have the same default setting of constantly checking to see how I am doing, instead of getting on with doing!

  • Rosemarie Allen

    Hi Christine,
    I just love your spirit!
    I have completed your Vision Board Workshop and have been a facilitator of them , following your leads. My clients have been very successful with manifesting their desires. I, on the other hand, appear to have some blockages that prevents me from fully manifesting what I want (financial abundance). I have now realized that I am doing it wrong by placing the emphasis on my WANTS, rather than who I want to BECOME. Thanks for the reminder in this information today. It is truly powerful and completely true! My default is ….I am so tired of working hard, and that becomes my excuse to be lazy. I will be doing your Up level program soon! Thanks for the continued awakenings. Rosemarie

  • katherine severein

    I start off strong with brilliant ideas and once that stage is over, I tend to not go ahead with the same gusto and passion.

  • Liz

    One default setting I notice I have is the Victim mindset- that others are more : knowledgeable, thin, powerful, rich, etc and so I don’t play a large part in my own day to day life.

    • Christine Kane

      Thanks for sharing this Liz – and it’s a great awareness to have. A question you might ask yourself could be: What’s one small habit or gesture you could begin to practice to simply shift this into a more proactive energy? Some one step that is the opposite of “victim” or “waiting for rescue” ??

  • Anna Maria

    My default setting is checking email and social media when ever I feel that i’m not good enough.
    Then I get sad that the only emails I seems to recieve are clients who are backing out of apointments and I need a fag to hide my feelings of disappointment and anxiety and not being present.

    • Christine Kane

      Anna Maria – A great pattern to recognize! So here’s my challenge to you: For the next 7 days – set up a single rule that NO MATTER WHAT – you do not go onto any social media channels until XXXX time. 4pm. 3pm. whatever. But set a boundary or standard so that your social media usage is planned. Train yourself out of using it as a reaction. Does this make sense?

  • Lisa Enman

    I worked through your Uplevel Your Life course a few years ago and it was truly life changing. My family lived in a home that previously belonged to my husband and his late wife. This alone had many emotional blocks for me as we worked to remodel it and make it our own. As I worked through the program, I began to see these blocks drop away little by little. I decided to work deeper with you as my coach (I thought it would just be for my business, however it quickly became apparent that it was much more than that). As I worked with your team on developing my business strategies and mindset shifts to make it more successful, it was time to sell the house and relocate our family. Due to the clarity I received from your Uplevel Your Life program and the deeper coaching in your M Club Mastermind group, we were able to sell our house for $100,000 more than the realtor (a professional in our area for 30 years) told us to list it for. I knew deeply and with a fresh clarity that we could get it since the home was remodeled with love in every space and that would somehow translate to the new owners. We sold it to the very first showing, for full asking price. Our neighbors were thrilled as we had increased the value of their properties in the process. This is the power of Clarity and Intention! I am looking forward to another year to bask in your coaching. Thank you Christine.

    • Christine Kane

      What a beautiful comment to read today, Lisa. Thank you! And big huge hug to you for the continued focus and intention you’ve brought to ALL of this. You are one of the reasons I find such joy in all I get to do each day!

  • Kristine Hanson

    My default action is feeling overwhelmed, but I know when I break it down in small steps it is completely doable.

  • Alecia Stringer

    Yes, intentions to find opportunities. Find those opportunities that will allow me to grow to my full potential and who I am to become. Thanks for your enlightened insights!