Unwinding Habits and the Power of Focusing

Here’s the thing about change that most people don’t want to hear. Change does not happen merely by doing things differently. Change does not happen through sheer motivation and gritting teeth through the unpleasant parts. Change doesn’t happen via external forces making you do things for accountability.
Change happens when you feel good about yourself and the desired change; want to do it; and when you get to the root of the matter to be able to change what REALLY is the MATTER.
Don’t bolt yet! Here’s a story to show you…
I stopped drinking alcohol more than two years ago now. I would not consider that I was an alcoholic, but had become a habitual daily drinker and didn’t want that in my life anymore. My story is not to prove anything, but to illustrate how I was able to give up booze for good.
I had tried and failed so many times before by using sheer willpower. Each time, I failed, I felt bad about myself… sound familiar? What I was missing was “why” I wanted to drink. You can’t unwire a behavior if you keep “fixing” the wrong issue.
Through my training in BJ Fogg’s Tiny HabitsⓇ, I began to investigate. I know that in order to make a “habit” you should:

  1. have the motivation to do it
  2. make it easier to do
  3. create/have a “trigger” or prompt to do the behavior

To unwire a habit, I needed to apply the reverse. Motivation is tricky, so I didn’t start there, and I knew – through failure – that making drinking harder, hadn’t worked, so I started to look at prompts, which led me to motivation.
After MUCH sorting through all of this, I found some answers. I discovered my prompt to drink and the deep core of why I was drinking. it was not easy and it took some time and conversations. Most importantly, it took an inner reflection to my felt senses – those fuzzy feelings that are usually dismissed as heartburn or a hungry belly. Those deep sensations are usually brushed away as not meaning anything, and I have come to discover they mean everything as a way of re-orienting with the world. You can’t motivate your way in and out of “habits.” It’s always bigger and deeper than what the brain thinks. It takes a look inside to what the body is telling you.
This started my deepening fascination with Felt Senses and the work of Gene Gendlin in Focusing.
Focusing, a practice used by Psychotherapist Gene Gendlin, invite a certain kind of awareness- a felt sense.  Most of us spend a great deal of our time with our attention on tasks or mental issues.  Many ignore our inner, bodily-felt experiencing of all that is happening. What Focusing provides is an invitation to be open, curious and centered on the whole of what is happening in the – often ignored – body’s inner sensations. It’s not therapy, nor hypnosis, but a form of “felt-sensing,” to allow our bodies to guide us to deeper self-knowledge and healing. (Here is a clip of Gendlin from 2000 describing Focusing.)
If you have see-saw results to feeling “all ok”  – be it with your career, weight, money, relationships, nutrition, etc. – the practice of focusing may lead you to new insights. Focusing is not therapy, nor counseling, it’s not coaching, but rather a methodology used to integrate the pieces needing to be heard.
Curious to learn more about how Focusing might look for you? I am offering each of you 2 20-minute focusing sessions for you to experience this practice. You can schedule them here: https://calendly.com/juliebergfeld/20-min-focus

Fasting Accelerator spots still open – In this 4-week program, you will discover benefits of fasting, the science behind it and learn the tools to try it for yourself through weekly group-coaching sessions. To learn more about this exciting program and to register – visit this link: https://go.juliebergfeld.com I will be capping registrations, so if you are interested, snag your spot today.


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I work with mid-life men and women who want to feel younger through improving their relationship to food, movement and mindfulness.

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