How to Stop Hurtful Behavior Patterns

by Steve Troutman on March 12, 2017

It was a long and chaotic week. I felt really rundown and tired today. When I get like that, it’s really easy to let my mind unhinge and fall into automaticity. It’s in that space where it’ll gravitate toward binge watching Netflix, eating some junk just for the hell of it, etc. I want to say I’m justifying these behaviors with the hard work and accumulated fatigue… I earned it! But it’s far less intentional than this. It just sort of happens and I only realize it after the fact in most cases

The more I practice awareness, though, the more I can catch myself going down this path. And when I do, I’ve found the best remedy to be micro-deals that I make with myself.

Tonight literally went like this:

Got done working. Took the family out to dinner. Fully intended on getting everyone home and tucked in and watching the hell out of some Game of Thrones. I recognized that I was in a mode where it’d likely lead to truly binge type behavior… where I’d watch beyond the point of satisfaction. I’d wind up feeling shitty for having spent such a meaningful block of time on a television show. And I would have stayed up far later than necessary, which has a cumulative effect that would leak into, at a minimum, tomorrow.

So my micro-deal went exactly like this in my narrative:

“Look. I know you’re whooped and it’s totally logical to seek our some numbing entertainment to just escape for a bit. You’re totally permitted. How about replying to my client¬†first and see how you feel after that?”

What I thought would be a quick email turned into a monster. For whatever reason, words just started flowing. And if felt really good. For me anyhow… she’s probably like WTF, lol. But in my head, after I replied, I was free to watch some GoT if I wanted. But that small step… that tiny deal… woke up a different state in me. It led to some really quality work on my book. A quick but meaningful facebook conversation with an old friend I hadn’t talked to in a while. And now this message. I’m not done, either. I have one more thing I’d like to add to the section of the book I’m working on and then it’s lights out.

Bottom line…

Sometimes all you need to alter your state is a little awareness and a micro-deal. It’s not about suppressing or ignoring your wants. Rather it’s about delaying the decision point by very, very manageable chunks of time. For me, it was a single email. The deal was do the email and then see where I stood on watching. And by the time the email was done, momentum was behind me and my state completely reversed where I had zero interest on escaping and was fully engaged in deep work that really does make me feel my best.

Tiny actions can sometimes lead to big state changes. And our states tend to dictate how we see the world around us and our future choices.

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