My college boyfriend – an athlete and a perfectionist – would have these “flash!” moments. All of the sudden he would decide he was out of shape.

“I’m disgusting!” he would proclaim.

Then, the next morning, he would jump out of bed and run for miles and miles. As if he could catch up for a sedentary semester in one quick spell. The day after that, his body would be so sore he could barely move.

Compare that with my friend Suzi who lost over 65 pounds in one year. She made health a habit. And even after losing all that weight, she has a deliberate daily practice of health, working out, eating well, watching her mindsets and living consciously. For Suzi, it wasn’t an event. It was a system.

Now, consider any goal or dream or business idea you have.

What systems or habits or practices (different words, same outcome) do you need to put into place to create success?

Here’s how I explain this to the women I coach:

A system or habit makes you less prone to reactive thinking, to the “whinies,” to the “I don’t feel like it’s,” and to the Panicky Flash moments (like my college boyfriend used to have).

Your mantra becomes: “This is just what I do.” No big deal.

So…

• The alarm goes off at 5am. You don’t have to ask yourself if you feel like getting up from the flannel sheets. (Of course you don’t!) You say, “This is just what I do.” No big deal. You head to the gym.

• Every Thursday evening at 6pm, you spend 30 minutes in QuickBooks, reconciling, analyzing and getting clear on your finances. This means you don’t race to your on-line banking account in a fury when you catch a piece on CNN about the economy. “This is just what I do” means you have a system, and you don’t have to react. You’ve got it covered every Thursday.

• It’s 9am and that means it’s time to spend an hour writing a blog post even though you don’t feel “inspired.” “This is just what I do” means you sit down and write. It’s part of your business. It’s a piece of your art.

• It’s 5:30pm. Time for most people to go home from work. You’ve started a network marketing business, so you stay at your desk for an hour to generate ideas and connect with contacts. “This is just what I do” means that you’re thinking long-term about your income and opportunities, rather than rushing out for a second job to get that extra cash right now. “This is just what I do” also ensures that you’ll continue the practice, rather than giving up after one or two phone calls!

—-

If you tend to fall prey to moods, emotions, or negative thoughts, then creating systems, habits and practices will teach you more about success than success itself! Remember, the meaning of Creativity is choosing to be the Creator, not the Reactor.

When you wait until you’re inspired or until something outside of you makes you happy or until you feel terrified of the chaos in your life before you take action, then you’re creating a Domino Effect Life. A life based on Reactivity. Not Creativity.

I started this blog post with not one single idea in my head. My cat is sick, and I had to go to the vet. By the time I got home, the gremlins in my head told me the well was dry, there were no ideas left, and perhaps I’d be more inspired tomorrow.

Then, I just sat down to write.

This is just what I do.

47 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Tina Mammoser

    Just wanted to let you know how this has helped me start my “structure” for 2009. The phrase ‘this is what I do’ has become my mantra for the last few days. Amazing how it works! So simple. Thanks. 🙂 I’m twittering the link, but don’t know if you’re on Twitter.

  • wildflowerphilosophy

    I love this!! Thank you so much, I love your blog- this post like so many others really sparks for me! To offer you a quote I love “A year from now you will wish you had started today”

    Good wishes for all things 🙂

  • Thauna

    I think this is just what I needed to hear! I just commented on your newer post about dread, ,but I’ve seriously been pondering lately HOW to overcome my tendency to put things off…I love this mantra! This is Just What I Do! I think I can use that to stop the chatter and the debate in my head about how I don’t want to do something or other…it’s just what I do…and then get on with it. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Ellsea

    It’s what I do

    That just works on so many levels, but until you articulated it, I never even understood how important it is to form healthy habits. I’ve been getting there slowly over the past few years, but without focus. Coupling this with my words for the year is giving me real impetus – thank you!

  • b

    Thanks for this timely post. This week my boyfriend’s sister and brother-in-law are staying with us and I find my routine disrupted.

    I felt a little guilty going to bed last night at 10pm while they stayed up playing games even though I was the only one who had to be up for work this morning.

    Now I realize it’s okay – it’s just what I do – I get enough rest.

  • TracyWall

    Inspirational. And not just talking th talk, but walking the walk. Thank you!!

  • Angela

    This blog was incredible! I’m a free spirit who works from home, so to speak. I didn’t realize how much I depended upon others dictating my schedule until I had to create my own; the more I read CK, the better my vision becomes. Will 2009 be the year that I become as good as my perfect mil?! I see hope, thanks to CK’s practical methods that I’m trying out.

  • Cara

    VERY inspiring post! Thank you for giving me a new mantra.

  • Diana

    This really resonated with me. Lately, thanks to the shared wisdom of Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Iyanla Vanzant, Jon Kabbat-Zinn, Christine Kane, I’ve developed a mantra that grows in strength each day: I Am. Just This. Now.

    It has cut down on some of the crazy multi-tasking I do in my ADD world, brought much peace, less stress and for some reason has unlocked oodles of time that allow me to do things I really enjoy.

    For example, in the whirl of breakfast that is all about the coffee, one lunch and two breakfasts, I’m firstly all about the coffee – grinding, boiling, pressing, two to-go cups (to save money – yeah!); then I’m all about the lunch and each breakfast. It all gets done at the same time it used to but without any frenzy. Nice!

    On a non-scheduled day, like Saturday when I’m open to whatever happens and have no plans, I’ve even given in to just standing next to the stove while the kettle boils for my tea. Wow! That is a huge experience of centeredness and the peace being aware of being alive brings.

  • Nancy

    Thank you Christine. This was exactly what I needed!

  • felisha

    This is just what I do! I simply love it…I am on a fulfillment journey to claim the life that I see but somehow keep deviating from. I stumbled upon your blog as I was looking into creating a vision board and I must say that it has been very inspiring. Living life consciously and intentionally is definitely the way to go, it truly is something that is systematic but at the end of the day…I want it to be…
    “This is just what I do!”

  • Andrea

    Perfect! An excellent mantra…I plan to write it big and see it first thing in the morning.
    I persuade myself to “do” what it is that I am supposed to do by saying to myself ” I am the goddess of small things.” This is my short-hand to start by taking small steps on an overwhelming task (or boring task or needed but not in the mood task).
    An inspiring post.

  • Carolyn

    Wow, what an inspiring post! I’ll have to try repeating that mantra when my alarm goes off tomorrow morning! This goes hand in hand with the word that I selected as my focus this year…action. I’m so glad I found your blog!

  • Stacey

    So funny – I’ve had that mantra for a long time. I’m a midwife and am often up in the middle of the night bringing babies in to the world. Sometimes when I get awakened by a call to attend a woman in labor I wish babies could arrive at a more convenient time – I do like to sleep! – but mostly I just smile and think, “This is what I do.”

  • Deborah

    Thank you for reminding me why I do what I do.

  • Elaine

    …so glad Mr PAtticus in on the mend 😉

  • Lillithmother

    I too I’m glad that you just did what you do Christine. I’m just beginning an on-line book club surrounding “the 12 secrets of highly creative women” and about to embark on my first challenge ~ make 15 mins of the day where I sit down and allow my muses the stage. It’s just what I do is bang on with how I’m goinb to being this ritual…so simple, so accepting, so “tenacious”!

    Lil

  • Joe S

    The mantra of “this is just what i do” is very simple and powerful for me. I fall prey to many of the same moods you talk about, so wish me luck.

  • Mindful Mimi

    Christine,
    I am an ace when it comes to organising, creating systems and habits for my kids. Even at work I am doing well on this. In my ‘spare’ time I have seemed to fail so far. I have the intention to improve this. I am creating something every day now in order to get the habit. I am trying to write a blog post every day. I am trying to exercise 2-3 times a week (so far so good). And it does not work all the time. And that is fine. But it becomes a habit more and more and that is what I am aiming at. I still haven’t figured it out and I would love to go on one of your retreats (being in Europe does make that a challenge). In the meantime, keep on writing. I love reading.
    Mimi

  • KatherineME

    I came home from work, read this post, and now I will pack my gym bag and go work out because it is just what I do.
    Thanks Christine, for helping me focus.

  • Mary Miller

    My apologies to his royal fur-ness, Mr. Patticus (the Atticus-Patticus is on auto play in my head :-)) on getting his name wrong. Getting Well – it’s just what he does. Catnip blessings!

  • Laura

    What a fabulous post! I will now add “this is just what I do” to my word for the year! I don’t have the words to express how much you have helped and inspired me in the short time since I found your blog. Thank you. Best wishes to Mr. Patticus also.

  • Carolyn

    I’ve been away from a computer for awhile; my daughter was sick. My resolve for the New Year is to
    replace reaction with compassion. I was delighted to
    see the idea of NOT REACTING here. I tend to react
    to the adolescent storms I experience teaching 7th grade then I’m zapped after school. I resolve to try to understand why they may be upset/hateful/ and just down right mean! That doesn’t mean I have to let them talk back to me; it does mean, I can manage my reactions(:

  • rebecca bush

    I like this – “this is just what i do.” pretty powerful when you think about it. i’ve never really thought of it that way. thank you so much…i know for this sometimes excuse-ridden lazy exercise person, this will help much. as in other areas as well. six little brilliant words.

  • Sue

    Love this Christine!! Love the mantra as well and that you show us how to use it in the very moment of your day. Speaks volumes.

    Good furry wishes to Mr.Patticus!

  • gwen

    Really interesting way to put it! I find myself wondering why certain things, like going to the gym, or eating healthy food, are easy for me to say “It’s what I do,” and others, that I think I have just as strong a motivation for, I have not been able to turn into easy habits, like writing (and getting it out there to be read) or serious study.

    Maybe it’s just that we misjudge ourselves sometimes, i.e. some of those things we struggle with just aren’t connected with who we are inside (that true North thing), and so even if we THINK we want that healthy lifestyle, or self-employment, or to finish the degree, it simply doesn’t resonate strongly enough to move us to act.

    Pianos have two or three strings to each note, that all have to be tuned to match each other. Maybe it’s just a degree of tuning that’s required, and tuning one of those habits can lead to tuning the others. I’m kind of hoping that, anyway, as I work on fine-tuning nutrition and workout routines – otherswise I think I’m just lost!

    Hope your four-footer is on the mend. 🙂

  • Eden

    I come to read Christine’s blog everyday….
    ****It’s just what I do****
    Loved your post today! It sure helps to read this and to get
    our brain behind our goals and push those emotions/moods away!!

  • harriet

    PERFECT timing, Christine. Thank you! Exactly what I needed to give myself some structure and focus during my “free” time, rather than letting the whinies and the taunting demons try to infuse their worries.

    Healing wishes to Atticus Patticus.

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks everyone! (And yes, Mary – Mr. Patticus has been under the weather – though he’s on the mend right now. I’ll let him know that you send your best. He will most likely squeeze his eyes tightly shut when pass on your good wishes!)

  • Nikki

    I am so glad this is ‘just what you do’.
    Thank you!

  • clune

    I’m very glad you just sat down to write, even when you felt you had nothing to say! This article really resonated with me. I’ve now blocked off time this evening to brainstorm where I could implement routines to help keep me on track. Thank you!

  • Elaine

    P.s. I’m off to join the gym tonight – once I’m done with work stuff!

  • Elaine

    ‘This is just what I do’

    – I love this and you’ve got me thinking.

    You also reminded me that I’m supposed to be going to join the gym. I’ve been lost in ‘busyness’ over the last few days. And, I know that I’m going to feel like not getting up to do this! BUT I’m creating a new system as from today!Yay!

    Thank you for this mantra!

  • Laure

    This is just what I needed to hear having found myself reacting to the whinies lately. Thanks for a lifeline, a simple way to deal with all the garbage, stress, and nonsense that we can get buried in (bury ourselves in?!).

    Healing thoughts to you and your furry buddy. Hope all is back to normal soon.

  • Glad

    I love what you said about choosing to be the Creator rather than the reactor. I often wait for the spark of Creativity to hit before I do write a post for my blog, which is actually me reacting to an idea (and ideas do not come the frequently).

    Great advice!

  • l

    I love this post (and tweeted about it.) A few week ago I blocked off time on my calendar every Thursday for 2 hours to work on money and marketing issues (although I might separate those) and so far it’s been a great help. If I get an idea during the week, I know I can work on it on Thursday, and then on Thursdays I’m really motivated to get all the work done, since I know it the big chunk of time won’t come again for a week.

    I’ve got to start saying “This is just what I do” about the dishes.

  • irene c.

    Good post. I like that statement. It is simple no stress attach. Thank you for your great insight.

  • lynne

    Those 5 little words, “It’s just what I do” truly struck a chord with me — and you’re so right — they take the dread out of whatever it is that needs to be done so that it can actually — what do you know — get done! Thank you so much for this… time to go put it into action. Have a wonderful day!

  • Julie

    Thank you for this post, it really hit the spot.

  • Anne

    And boy, am I glad you did sit down and write this. It’s amazing. ‘This is just what I do’ takes the emotion out of doing it. I love how you made the connection with being a creator: ‘Create’ is my word for 2009. 🙂

  • Mary Miller

    I hope your cat (is it Mr. Paticous?) is feeling better, loving our precious furry families, it’s just what we do 🙂 Great post!

  • Barbara J Carter

    Brava! Terrific post, and inspirational in so many ways.

  • pati

    I’m sending get well wishes to your cat, Atticus, and many thanks to you for doing what you do. Thank you, Christine!

    Pati

  • Summer

    Interesting that this blog in particular, which you claim to have not had inspiration for, is, personally, quite inspiring.

    I’ve been doing this kind of thinknig a lot, particularly in these years I’ve been in college — “Oh, when THIS happens, surely I’ll do THIS,” and now, with graduation in May, I have no system/plan/any clue what I will be doing with the rest of my life. Everything does seem to be set out as an event, a “happening,” some random fluke of the world. But getting a rolling start onto habits I’d like to pursue seems like a good idea.

    So yes. Good things. Excuse me, now I need to go write some poetry. It’s just what I do.