Episode 226: The Success Journal

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Research shows that those who have more positive thoughts live longer,healthier lives, and even have better luck! In today’s episode, Renee shares a simple technique that could very well change your life, while it teaches you to see the world as half full. Hear how one woman turned around her depression in less than five minutes a day. Plus, lessons from Melinda Gates and the world’s largest charitable foundation.

Transcript

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Renée Stephens: Welcome to “Inside Out Weight Loss”. I'm your host, Renée Stephens. Together we're accessing the control panel of your mind, body system bringing ease and joy to your weight loss journey and fullness to the rest of your life. Today on the show, I'll be sharing my all time favorite - daily practice, the success journal and how it turned around one woman’s depression, plus, a success strategy from the head of the world’s largest charitable foundation.

So go ahead and set your intention for this episode. Drop inside for a moment and become present with you. You've come to this show for a reason; make the most of it by being present. This time is for you. So wherever you are, whatever you're doing, open yourself up to get exactly what you need to take the next positive step forward.

Marrying the world’s richest man could be seen as a success in and of itself. However, that’s not exactly a [xx] skill for all of the rest of us. So let's talk about how she does it. What goes on in her mind? What I discovered in the article is that ever since she was in high school, she would set herself a single goal everyday.

“I thought that I'd never be able to lose this extra 25 pounds that I've been carrying around, that I wasn't going anywhere with my career, that I'd never have a boyfriend. Then I started that daily practice that you recommended. I started keeping a success journal.”

We get so much input in every moment of the day. So much stimuli coming at us that we have to filter. We have to filter or we won't be able to survive.

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Renée Stephens: That’s what it's about, isn’t it, taking the next positive step forward. I read an interview with Melinda Gates in Fortune the other day. What an inspiring woman she is. Melinda, in case you don’t know, is the wife of Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates and heads the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She's been a high achiever her entire life, from valedictorian of her high school class to earning a BA and an MBA in five years from Duke University to climbing to the level of division leader at Microsoft before she left to marry Bill. The Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the largest in the world, was her inspiration and she set the direction for it by using the simple criteria of which issues affect the greatest number of people and which can we have the most impact with, which can we make the most difference with.

The article shares that her inspiration came from a conversation with her mother before she died where she said to Melinda, “With gifts, with blessings come obligations.” So Melinda decided that with the blessings that she had in her life, of the tremendous amount of wealth that was available to her that she would fulfill her obligation. It's a concept that’s been called “noblesse oblige”, the obligation of the noble, to give back.

So Melinda has done so in a rather big way because the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now the world’s largest charitable foundation. So what’s your secret to success? “Yes, I know, marrying the world’s richest man could be seen as a success in and of itself. However, that’s not exactly [xx] skill for all of the rest of us. So let's talk about how she does it. What goes on in her mind? What I discovered in the article is that ever since she was in high school, she would set herself a single goal every day. It could be a small goal like completing her work, mastering a problem or a big goal like her recent goal of ending malaria in the world. Hoo! That’s an impressive goal. Yet, she does these things one step and one day at a time, starting very simple with simple, small achievable goals.

Now, setting a goal as big as ending malaria is going to have to be a multistep, multiyear goal with many, many sub-goals. Yet, she would set herself one of these sub-goals every single day as she consistently progressed up the corporate ladder through all of the ranks at Microsoft to become a director level, and now as a successful leader of the world’s largest foundation.

Let's face it, all we have is today, this day. The future is uncertain, the past is just a series of memories. So we have this day and this step that we take today. What if you started every day by setting an achievable goal or intent for yourself? You could say, “Today, I’ll center [sp] myself before eating. Today, I'll practice gratitude. Today, I'll affirm love for myself or generally connect with at least one other person. I'll find compassion and curiosity for one other person. Today, I'll read a gratitude list. I'll forgive myself. I'll shop for healthy food. One small goal today and every day.”

Oh, yes. We were talking about intent, and I haven’t yet shared my intent for the show with you. You know, my intent with this show is to end the weight struggle and free as many people as possible to live their best lives. Now clearly, this isn’t an intent I can accomplish in a single day, but I can with each episode of “Inside Out Weight Loss” to do my best. I can, with each effort that I put in to spreading my work to sharing with you the tools and the strategies that will allow you to become peacefully slender and naturally slender.

My intent in this and all episodes of “Inside Out Weight Loss” is to enable you to dissolve what's been holding you back and move clearly into living your dream because I know that it's possible. I know that you deserve it and I know that you can. How do I know this? How do I know that it doesn’t matter what age you are? I don’t care if you're 22 or 72. I know that it's possible for you to change. How do I know this? Well, for example, I have many clients who are age 50, 60 and above.

I want to read an email to you from one of the listeners to this show. She writes, “Renée, I just had to share this with you. I know that your program was working for me by the number of small victories that I had and by realizing that I was feeling more at peace with myself than I had for a long while. But today, I decided to weigh. I would have been happy to have maintained my previous weight instead of gaining, but much to my delight, I found that I'd lost 3 or 4 pounds since I started the program. This is huge for me. Renée, there aren’t words to express my gratitude to you for giving me a program that not only allows me to lose weight but enhances my life in general.”

I want to share with you the postscript. “That in the last 16 days, this listener who have had a conversation with since because she's going to become a private client, has lost over 10 pounds in the last 15 days doing nothing more than listening to this show and doing the homework assignments. This kind of feedback is why I do what I do. I love to hear it and thank you so much for sharing it with me. This is my life’s work and I'm so blessed to be able to share it with you.

Let's review for a moment. Last episode, we shared the power of relaxed intent. Remember the Brazilian bikini story and how we learned the difference between healthy curvaceous and miserable curvaceous? Tyra Banks knows all about that one. We talked about her wearing her weight, her weight gain number emblazoned across her chest in big bold numbers on a tight t-shirt. How about that for going bold?

Have you been practicing relaxed intent? Toggling between wanting and releasing as we did in the guided journey? I'd love to hear from you. So write a comment at the blog at www.PersonalLifeMedia.com/Renée or post to the Yahoo! Group and share with us what your experience has been.

Let's take a break now to support our sponsors who make this show possible. This is Renée Stephens and you're listening to “Inside Out Weight Loss” on Personal Life Media.

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Renée Stephens: We're back now. Before the break, we talked about Melinda Gates and her practice of setting a daily goal for herself each and every day. We also talked about last week’s show with the power of relaxed intent and how you've been practicing with it. Now, let's talk today about this fabulous daily practice.

I want to share a story with you. Sometime ago, I had a client. It was years ago and she came to me for only one session--which is odd because I don’t normally take one session, but for some reason, I had one session with her. During that limited amount of time, I shared with her this daily practice called “the success journal”. I didn’t see her again for quite some time and she ended up taking a class that I taught, a “Inside Out Weight Loss” class.

At the end of the class, she came up to me and she said, “You know, Renée, I want to share something with you. When I came to see you several months ago, I was so depressed. I thought that I'd never be able to lose these extra 25 pounds that I have been carrying around. I thought I'd never be able to afford to buy a house in the Bay Area, that I wasn't going anywhere with my career, that I'd never have a boyfriend. I was thoroughly depressed and I was about to go on antidepressants. But I wanted to let you know that I started doing that daily practice that you recommended. I started keeping a success journal.”

And she said, “I want you to know now that my whole life has turned around. I'm down 15 pounds so far, I'm feeling great, I'm feeling positive with my body.” She was doing her favorite hobby which was--at the time it was about Halloween--she was sewing a really fun Halloween costume. She felt that her whole life had turned around and she said, “You know, Renée, I'm a list maker and before I started doing this success journal, I would go to bed thinking about my list and all of the many tasks that I hadn’t accomplished on. Well, now, I go to bed and I think about all of the many tasks that I did accomplish in the day and I feel great about that.”

Funnily enough, I bumped into her several months later around town and there she was with her boyfriend. She came up to me and she said, “Renée, I wanted to share with you that I'm training for a triathlon.” I was so excited for her. It was simply the practice of the success journal that turned things around for her.

So what is this secret tool to your success? A lot of people journal, and I was an erratic journaler to be more precise about it. When I was younger, when I was a teenager and I suffered from depression, I had learned that journaling was a good way to express emotions. So whenever I felt really down and miserable, I would pull out my journal and I’d write about it. I’d write about how miserable I felt. That made me feel, I guess, a little bit better and it certainly made me realize all the dimensions of my misery. I'd go back from time to time and I'd review these journals and, “Oh, my God! It's amazing I even survived it. It's so depressing to read the pages of this thing. Oh, my God! So I stopped journaling as it were, that’s really a little bit too depressing. Until I learned about the success journal, until I thought about using this tool.”

Now, let me tell you what it is, exactly what it is and why the heck it's so darn powerful? You see, there's a time of the day, a magical time of the day, when we are just on the cusp of the conscious and subconscious minds. Right before we go to sleep at night when we're ready to drift off, our conscious mind is shutting down and our subconscious mind is taking over, leading us delightfully into dream time.

So what is the input that goes in to your subconscious mind at that time? It turns out that that time is a highly open and suggestible time to your subconscious. So I want you to be aware of what the input is into your subconscious mind at that time of the day. Do you have the TV on as you're going to sleep? Well, if you have the TV on, my guess is that you don’t have a lot of control over the nature of the content that’s going in to your brain as you drift off to sleep. So let's take control of that strategic moment of openness, of suggestibility.

Let's do a little experiment right now. I want you to look around your environment and, again, if you're driving, this is not something you want to do as you're driving. You want to pull over or do this experiment when you are not driving. So look around your environment and I want you to notice everything that you see that’s black. That’s right, everything that you see that’s black. Look around your environment, check it out. And when you got a good idea of everything that’s black, close your eyes. You see why doing this while driving will not work?

Close your eyes, and now, I want you with your eyes close, to count all those things that you saw that were black. OK, I'm waiting a moment here, count, count, count. OK. Now, what I want you to do with your eyes still close, keep them closed, is count every thing that you saw that was white. Yes, everything that you saw that was white. Keep those eyes closed! Keep the peeper shut; count everything you saw that was white.

OK. How’d you do? Open your eyes and check your work. Pause this program, take a moment, and check your work. How’s your accuracy? I'm willing to bet dollars to doughnuts--gee that’s an opportune expression for me to use, isn’t it--I'm willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that you were more accurate with the black than the white. What does that teach us? That we find what we seek, we find what we seek. If you're looking for the black in life, you will find it; and if you're looking for the white, you'll find that, too.

You see, we get so much input in every moment of the day. So much stimuli are coming at us that we have to filter. We have to filter or we won't be able to survive. Our [xx] describe this inability to effectively filter out all of the input. Let met give you an example. I bet as you're listening to this show, you really hadn’t been thinking about the feeling in your right big toe until I mention it just now, and yet the information is there. It's there for you to be aware of and to notice, but you hadn’t notice it.

There's tons of information like that available to you especially in our media-rich environment these days. We just can't process it all so we must have filters. We put on filters that work for us and sometimes we put on filters out of habit, maybe the kinds of filters that our parents used or someone influential in our life used. So we put on these filters to make our lives livable. If you've been putting on the black filter, guess what, you're missing the white, you're missing the white. If you've been seeing the cup as half empty, you're missing the half fullness of it.

So now what does that have to do with the success journal? Well, we're going to teach your subconscious mind how to put on, how to get into the habit of a different filter, the habit of positive thinking. So right before you go to bed--you know that wonderful, rich, open time as you're beginning to get droopy eyes and drift away--you're going to have a journal by your bed, you're success journal, you're “Inside Out Weight Loss” success journal. In that journal, you're going to write at least two, two things that are good from the day.

Now, ideally, if you're focus is on being naturally slender, on continuing to be naturally slender, then you'll write things that are related to that successes. How did I self-correct today? Did I do a redo? How did I have a learning mind today? That’s what you'll write down, too, two, two quick things. Now, if that seems a little challenging for you to come up with, just write anything that’s positive. Make it easy on yourself. Anything, we want to make that first step. So if the best thing that happened today was that you did, in fact, remember to brush your teeth before you went out the door, that’s a good thing. If your car started, great.

Recently here in California, we had a really rough storm and we lost electricity from 8 o’clock in the morning one day to 9:30 at night. Well, you know what? I take electricity for granted. But boy, oh, boy, when the electricity came back on at 9:30 at night, I wasn't taking it for granted. I was so grateful that we have electricity at the touch of a light switch, at outlets wherever we go, that we have heat in our homes. These are things to be grateful for, to appreciate.

So this is what you’re writing down in your success journal. Your writing down your “Inside Out Weight Loss” successes and then successes mean not that you were perfect, remember? This isn’t about being perfect, this is about learning, continuous improvement and self-correcting. So that’s what you're going to write down. Now, if you want to overachieve, I invite you to do so. Write down three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten things, whatever you want to do. Go ahead and do that, I do that whenever I can. But the bar is two, that’s all, just two, that’s all it takes; it doesn’t really take more than that. It's up to you if you want to do it but no obligation.

So you're going to write down these two positive things in this “Inside Out Weight Loss” success journal that you keep by your bed with a pen. As you drift off into dreamland, how do you think you're going to sleep having gone to sleep on a positive note? How’s that going to affect the quality of your sleep? Exactly, you're going to sleep better. And if you get a good night sleep having gone to sleep on a positive note, how will that make you feel when you wake up in the morning? That’s right, it's going to set you off on the right foot for your day. Then, that is going to benefit you throughout the day until the next evening comes along and you're writing your journal again to reinforce it.

I'm telling you, 30 days and you're going to feel very different about life than you used to feel because the kinetive [sp] power of this, the reinforcement of making it a daily ritual, a daily practice is so powerful. Literally--remember the story of that client--she went from almost going on antidepressants to feeling great about her life competing in a triathlon and having a boyfriend. Fantastic! You can make positive changes, too. All you have to do is adopt the practices that will get you there. You got to learn to think like a thin person, to be and live and think like the naturally slender and you will achieve your dreams. I know that.

So success journal--simple, point of time, end of the day--how long you think that’s going to take you? Time it, I tell you, I bet you can do it in a minute or two, maybe even less. Feel free to lounge and luxuriate over it if you want, but you don’t need to. You can do it anytime. You know what? My clients, I can tell if they’ve been writing their success journal. If they come in and they haven’t been writing, I can tell. They're like, “I'm depressed”. I'm like, “Have you been writing your success journal?” “No.” “Oh, I could tell!” So that’s what you want to do. Just do this simple daily practice. We want daily practices to stabilize you, to give you that foundation of stability through your journey, your “Inside Out Weight Loss” journey.

We're almost out of time today, but before we go, I just want to remind you that it is the daily practices that make the person, so success journal each and every day. Write and tell me about it, www.PersonalLifeMedia.com/Renée, leave a comment on the blog or join the Yahoo! Group and post to the group, share with everyone. I will love to hear from you.

That brings us to the end of our show today. Thank you for being present. As you know, there's now an “Inside Out Weight Loss” Yahoo! Group moderated by a couple of wonderful listeners to whom I'm very grateful. This is a great place to share your dreams, to support and be supported, to connect with others. Remember, you'll get double or more out what you put in to this journey but you must put in to get out. Write your success journal.

To join the Yahoo! Group, go to the blog at PersonalLifeMedia.com/Renée and click the link on the right hand side bar on to the blogroll. You'll also find the link to other sites and resources that I recommend. Have a question or comment for me? Call 206-350-5333, leave a message, I may play your question or comment on the air.

For other shows on the Personal Life Media Network, please visit our website at PersonalLifeMedia.com. There is loads of great content to feed your mind, body, and spirit. This is your host, Renée Stephens, and I'm on a mission to eradicate the weight struggle from the planet. Join me as we evolve the world by evolving ourselves. Take good care.

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Woman 1: Find more great shows like this on PersonalLifeMedia.com

Renée Stephens: If you enjoy “Inside Out Weight Loss”, please consider supporting the show by shopping with our sponsors. Like public radio, our sponsors make this show possible. “Inside Out Weight Loss” is proudly sponsored by AudiblePodcast.com/thin. Audible brings you audio book downloads instantly to your computer. Wouldn’t you love to while away the hours of your next road trip or easily entertain yourself while working out? Then consider an Audible subscription that entitles you to monthly downloads of the most intriguing content and as a “Inside Out Weight Loss” listener, you'll get a 14-day trial for free that entitles you to one free audio book download.

What titles do I like? Are you interested in the “Law of Attraction”? I certainly am. Go way beyond what the secret offers in “Ask and It Is Given” by Ester and Jerry Hicks. How about the eye-opening read “The Culture Code” that I discussed in an earlier episode? That’s by Clotaire Rapaille and also available at AudiblePodcast.com/thin. You'll love what Rapaille has to say about fat in America. By registering at www.AudiblePodcast.com/thin, to get your 14-day free trial, you'll be supporting this show.