Last week, I wrote how physical exercise was the top area faculty and residents alike identified that, if changed, could make the most improvement in their well-being and joy. And so this week, I wanted to walk you through a framework that can be easily applied to lifestyle changes of many kinds, including exercise - workshop style! As a review – there are some key concepts I’ve written about previously regarding movement and exercise, so if this is important to you right now – review those.
Now, let’s delve into my take on Dr. Lisa Lahey’s and Dr. Richard Keagan’s, two Harvard Graduate School of Education professors, framework, which they outline in Immunity to Change that can be applied to change very broadly.
They really delve into the mindset to help us bring more natural momentum to behavioral change. They unpack how our mindset is often like an auto-immune disease in which the vital immune system turns on the host and harms us by keeping us from change. Their method allows you to move forward from a place of self-compassion rather than beating yourself up for “failing.” Grab something to write on and let’s begin.
Make 5 columns.
In Column 1 write:
What, if you improved about your (exercise, self-care, etc) would make you proud?
Why and how is that important to you?
In Column 2 write:
What are you doing and not doing that gets in the way of that goal?
In Column 3:
Imagine the opposite of what you wrote in Column 2.
What fears come up?
List them all.
Restate each fear as a goal. (What a reframe, right?!)
In Column 4, write:
What underlying assumptions exist to make you believe they are mutually exclusive – i.e, what happens to the Column 1 goal if you meet the Column 3 goals?
In Column 5:
Challenge the assumptions.
How could they all be met?
Action: Run small experiments.
Example (mostly hypothetical 😉)
Column 1 Goal and Why:
Meet the 150 minutes of weekly aerobic exercise and 2 days of strength training
Long-term health, have more energy and feel healthier, keep up with my active family and friends, be able to be active with my grandkids when they’re older
Column 2 Obstacles that I control that keeps me from meeting goal:
Not getting up earlier
Not going to bed earlier/staying up watching Netflix with my husband
Not re-arranging workday/prioritizing exercise
Column 3 Opposite Actions of Column 2:
Not getting enough sleep
Not spending quality time and maintaining connection with my husband
Not having fun or entertainment
Not getting all the work done
Rewrite as goals:
To obtain 8 hours of restorative sleep
To spend quality time and maintain connection with my husband
To have some fun and entertainment
To get my work done
Column 4 Assumptions
If I meet Column 3 goals, I won’t meet my exercise goals. In other words, if I achieve restorative sleep, meet my own job expectations, enjoy time with my husband and have fun, I can’t exercise.
Column 5 Challenge and Brainstorm:
How can I obtain quality sleep, spend and maintain connection with my husband, have fun and entertainment, and still get my work done?
Action: Small test
Next week, I will try replacing 2 of the usual Netflix nights with an outdoor walk or game of pickleball.
Then we have ourselves a PDSA cycle. A way forward.
Try it out and let me know what you think. I found it very powerful in several areas.
Next week, I'm reposting the popular series featuring self-care in the form of movement. In 2 weeks, I will highlight a physician coach known for exercise as she shares her tips.
Until then, have a joy-filled day! Tonya
If you're interested in talking with me about a coaching partnership for yourself, your residents or faculty, schedule a call.