Want to change your mindset? Want to tweak your self talk? Want to become more mindful without going on a 90-day Jared Leto style silent retreat in Sedona? Listen to this episode. I’ll teach you three really simple techniques I learned while doing the research for my new book about overthinking.
Join the free Overcoming Overthinking Challenge at www.Acuff.me/Challenge
Preorder Soundtracks, Jon’s newest book out April 6th, 2021!
Hey everyone, and welcome to the All It Takes Is A Goal podcast. I’m your host, Jon Acuff. And I love goals. Why? Because a goal is the fastest path between where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. And best of all, finishing a goal feels amazing! You will never forget the first time you hold a book you finished writing! You’ll never forget the moment you cross the finish line of your first 5k race. You’ll never forget when someone paid you to do something that you actually love doing. That’s why restaurants have their first dollar bill framed behind the cash register. It’s not a ton of money. It’s a symbol. They did it. They finished. I want that feeling for you. I want you to have that moment. I want to help you cross the finish line of whatever goal you care about, because the future belongs to finishers. That’s why I’m doing this podcast. In today’s episode, I’m going to teach you three ways to start changing your mindset.
Before I do though, today’s episode is sponsored by Medi-Share. Have you guys ever had buyer’s remorse? You know that feeling of intense regret because the thing you thought you just had to have was only something used once or twice? For me it was the time I bought a really expensive road bike because I thought I was going to get into cycling. I proceeded to hang it on the wall in my garage and feel ashamed for six months. Well, I know some of you are experiencing buyer’s remorse right now for something much more frustrating. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the health care you rush to get during open enrollment last December. Well, I have some good news for you. You’ve probably heard me talking about our main sponsor for this podcast, Medi-Share. And these guys have the answer to health care buyer’s remorse. Check this out, members of Medi-Share save up to 50% or more per month on their health care costs. They say the typical family saves up to $500 per month. And here’s the best part, you can become a member at any time. So that means it isn’t too late to ditch your buyer’s remorse and switch to a more affordable health care that will save you money and help you sleep better at night. If this is your first time you’re hearing about Medi-Share, it is the best alternative to health insurance that allows you to share the burden of medical bills offers access to 900,000 plus health care providers and has a proven 25 year track record. Plus in addition to saving hundreds per month, as a member of Medi-Share, you will also have access to free telehealth and free telecounseling. You won’t find that with any traditional health insurance provider.
Guys, it only takes two minutes to see how much you could save. Go investigate that for yourself and your family at MediShare.com/Jon. That’s MediShare.com/Jon. Remember, Jon doesn’t have an H in it. So it’s M-E-D-I, that’s “Medi”, share, S-H-A-R-E dot com slash J-O-N. Alright. Let’s talk mindset. That’s a hot word right now, isn’t it? I mean mindset, mindfulness, self-awareness. You see those words thrown around a lot online, but what do they mean? There are 1,000 good definitions for “mindset.” But here’s the really simple one that I like to use, “mindset” is thinking about how you think. That’s all mindset is. It’s choosing to think about how you think, which sounds really easy to do, but is actually very rare. I learned this over the last two years when I was researching and writing my brand new book Soundtracks, which is all about overthinking. “Overthinking,” according to my definition, this is the one I like to use, is when what you think gets in the way of what you want. And it’s one of the most expensive things in the world because it wastes time, creativity, and productivity. It’s an epidemic of inaction, a tsunami of stuckness, and 12 years ago it was dominating me. It really was. I was the king of “someday,” high on thought, low on motion about a litany of things that I was I was going to do eventually. “Quit overthinking so much,” coworkers would beg. “It’s all in your head,” my wife Jenny would implore. “Get out of your own way,” school children would yell at me as I stumbled through the streets like a heavy-brained monster. I mean, did I, did I want to have 1,345 thoughts about whether there would be adequate parking at the new restaurant we are going to? Did I want to donate an afternoon of brainspace to reviewing something dumb I said to a friend three months ago in the grocery store? Did I want to put off asking for a raise for one more month, overthinking the myriad ways that it could all go wrong? Of course not. But, But what could I do?
Thoughts are something you have, not something you hone. We, we can’t control them, right? I mean, that’s why whenever we talk about thinking we describe it as something outside of us that tends to operate on its own agenda. We say things like, “I got lost in my thoughts” or “my thoughts got away from me” or “she got carried away by her thoughts.” Even if we are very deliberate in other areas of our lives, we tend to treat our thought life as something we have no control over. For example, a simple trick to ensure you go to the gym in the morning is to lay out your workout clothes the night before. Picking them ahead of time helps you achieve the result you want. But have you ever heard someone say that about their thoughts? “Hey, hey, hey, hey, make sure you pick the five thoughts you want to have playing in the background of your head in that meeting tomorrow.” Has a coworker ever said, “You know, I heard some gossip about our new manager, but I don’t want that to color our relationship, so I’m going to leave my three judgmental thoughts at home so that I can get to know her without any bias.” Have you ever heard anyone say anything remotely like that? I haven’t. Learning how to do that is one of my favorite things in my new book, and I can’t wait for you to read it. You can preorder a copy at SoundtracksBook.com. And the coolest thing is that if you do, if you preorder before April 6, you get the entire audiobook for free. I’m a huge audiobook person. I don’t know about you, but I love audiobooks. And that’s right, you get the whole audio book, read by me in this really deep, rich, sonorous voice. Isn’t that the right word, “sonorous” I believe? I believe it is. You get the whole thing read by me with bonus content for free if you order a copy of Soundtracks and then go to SoundtracksBook.com and fill out this really short form, so that we can get it to you, get a bunch of other bonus stuff, too. But for me, my money, the audiobook’s the best part.
Okay, okay, okay. Now, I’m sure you pulled your car over immediately to order the book and you know what, I greatly appreciate that. babies need shoes. But until the book comes out, what do we do with all these extra thoughts? How do we change our mindset? Well, I’ll teach you three really simple things you can do. And at the end of this episode, I’ll tell you about something I think you’re going to love that starts on March 1. Okay. You want to change your mindset. You want to become a little more self-aware, but you don’t have time for like a 90-day, Jared Leto-style silent retreat in Sedona. No problem. Here are three really easy things you can do to start changing your mindset. Number one, pay attention. When is the last time you listened to your thoughts? I mean, when is the last time you paused in the middle of the day and listen to the thoughts that were banging around your head? Most of the time, we’re moving so quickly through the day that we don’t really have a chance to observe what we’re thinking. I’ve heard people describe this process like watching leaves float down a river, or I don’t know, cars pass on the highway or clouds float overhead. Those are all great metaphors. But I like to think of my thoughts like Soundtracks, hence the name of the book. So during the day in different situations, I’ll pause sometimes and ask the question, “What soundtrack is playing right now?” I don’t have a complicated formula or a timer that goes off at 90 minute intervals, and I ask that question, I drink water, and do like seven burpees to get recentered, or anything like that. I just do my best to pay attention and occasionally ask “What soundtrack is playing right now?” And I don’t try to observe all my thoughts. That would be a full-time job. I think a lot of things every day. So, so do you.
So does everybody. But I do try to notice the loudest. Which soundtrack is really blaring over all the rest? For example, two years ago, I was at a 25th wedding anniversary for some friends. The mother-in-law was hosting and had gone out of her way to collect memories over the years for her son-in-law and her daughter. She read them this beautiful letter that she had written and then friends made short speeches about how inspiring this couple’s marriage was. And the soundtrack I heard, do you know what i heard in that moment? You know what thought I had in my head in that moment? The thought that was galloping through my head was, “You should say something sarcastic and funny. Like, right now! Say something really sarcastic and really funny.” As clear as day I observed that thought. “Say something sarcastic and funny.” You have thoughts like that too. Loud thoughts that clamor for attention at unexpected moments. When you do, pay attention, and then do the second step. Step number two, write it down. I never trust a waiter who won’t write down a big order. As soon as someone at my table starts remixing the menu like they’re Diplo, I get nervous. And we all have that friend, right? Who’s like, “Instead of salmon, could it be beef? Instead of bread, could it be cauliflower?” And they do like 17 complicated things, and then the waiter doesn’t write it down and I get really nervous. I mean, the funny thing is that I’ve never tipped a waiter or waitress bigger because of their memory. I’ve never thought “I better, I better add another $10 to this tip because I liked how they didn’t use paper.” It’s all risk with no reward. You risk getting the order wrong. And if you get it right, you don’t get a reward. There’s a life principle right there for you. Be aware of anything that’s all risk and no reward. When you have a thought that’s surprises you or is interesting or something you want to spend a little bit of time with, write it down. Almost nobody does this.
Everyone I know who does New Year’s resolutions, always has “doing” resolutions, but never “thinking” resolutions. This is unfortunate because when you don’t have thinking resolutions you’re doing resolutions often fail before they’ve even started. Going to the gym, for instance, isn’t hard. You know where it is, like, you know where it’s located. You know how to drive there. Like you drive places all the time. You drive, you’re familiar with driving and the rules of driving. The front door of the gym is unlocked, you never have to break in. It’s right there, it’s open for you. All the things you have to do are pretty straightforward. But it’s your thoughts, how you think about the gym, that tend to trip you up. It’s a lot easier to work on a thought, once you’ve written it down. Again, I’m not writing down 1000s of thoughts. Who has time for that? But if every time I see a text from a coworker, I immediately think, “Ugh, I hate that guy.” It might be helpful for me to write down. “Huh. Every time I see a text from Sven, I get mad.” Now I don’t, I don’t work with anyone named Sven. But unless I use a really unusual name as an example, my friend Mark is going to text me like, “Hey, why did you say you hate me on your podcast? I heard you say the word “Mark” and that’s me. So why did you do that?” So today, I have to say Sven, but if I ever get a Sven in my life, I’ll have to change it to something else, maybe like Johann or Ludwig, like, I think I’ll go with one of those. Those seem pretty good. Step two, write it down. Step three, pull the thread. Thoughts are like those Russian nesting dolls. You know the ones where it’s like there’s a smaller doll inside the smaller doll, smaller doll, smaller, doll, like an onion kind of situation. There’s always a thought behind the thought behind the thought.
One of the best things you can do with a persistent thought is to ask “What does that mean?” I think about it like pulling a thread. I want to find the end of the thread to understand what that thought might really be tied to. For example, if you told me that you have a hard time saying no to friends, who want you to work for free. (See every photographer, writer, designer, developer, hairstylist, small business owner, plumber, etc.) If you told me that, that you had a hard time saying no to someone who wanted you to work for free, I would help you pull the thread. Maybe the soundtrack you’re hearing over and over is you can’t tell friends no when they ask you to work for free. Okay, well, what does that mean? Maybe the thought behind the thought is “I don’t want to look greedy,” or “I hate disappointing people,” or “If I have boundaries, I’ll lose friendships,” or “My work isn’t good enough to charge for.” It could be any one of those thoughts or maybe all of them. But once you’ve pulled the thread a little bit, you can actually deal with the thoughts. Let’s take “I don’t want to be greedy.” Okay, let’s write that down. I don’t want to be greedy. If I asked my friends to pay my rate, if I charged them the full rate, if I charged them anything, I’ll appear greedy and I don’t want to be greedy. Okay, that’s fine. That’s fine. But when you order your favorite pizza, Do you ever feel like they’re being greedy? Do you ever think “I can’t believe that pizzeria charged me for this pizza? They should just have given it to me for free!” Of course not.
You’re actually glad they charged you money because it means they’ll be around for a long time. A business that doesn’t charge money for their services, doesn’t get to be a business for very long. It’s not greedy at all to charge money. We’d go through each one of those thoughts that were getting in the way of what you wanted, and we’d knock them out one by one together. For example, what was behind my thought that told me to say something sarcastic at the wedding anniversary? That’s, that’s a good question. I pulled the thread a little bit and I realized I often use sarcasm as an escape hatch from situations that make me feel uncomfortable. Like if I’m feeling uncomfortable or awkward, I’m like, “Woah, say something sarcastic or funny.” I remember one time when that happened to me. I was at an event. There were 8,000 people there is this huge arena and I was opening for Jeff Foxworthy, the comedian, the super successful comedian. I did a couple minutes of comedy, he came out, and then he and Reggie Joiner, who’s a friend of mine, and somebody else all set up on stage to talk about this charity that Jeff was involved in. And I didn’t have anything to say to add to it and I was like, “Say something really funny.” That’s what my brain was saying. I was like, “I don’t know dude. Like it’s, it’s a lot of risk right now. It feels like very little reward.” They’re like, “No, no, you should say something really funny right now in the middle of this serious moment about a coffee charity that Jeff Foxworthy is into.” And I was like, “But I mean, he’s Jeff Foxworthy. And I just don’t know that it’s, what I say is going to be funny. And we’re kind of in a serious moment.” And so then I just stopped and focused on doing whatever Jeff Foxworthy was doing. Like I just looked at his legs. I was like, oh, cool, cool. Jeff Foxworthy. He’s like putting one his right leg over. Okay. I’ll do that too. Oh, now he’s like scratching his head. I’m gonna scratch my head. I didn’t say a single word during this 10 minute, kind of Q&A segment. I just sat up there trying not to say something really, really dumb and really, really sarcastic because I, I felt awkward, I felt uncomfortable. Okay, I need to work on that. Whoo. Like now that I know that, I need to work on that a little bit and I can because I pulled the thread behind that thought. Those are the three steps that can help you start changing your mindset.
Number one, pay attention. Number two, write it down. Number three, pull the thread. But we’ve only really barely scratched the surface of what happens when you turn your overthinking from a super problem into a superpower. And I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, because 2020 was like catnip for overthinking, wasn’t it? If you tried to describe 2020 as a movie, the studio would have said “No doesn’t sound realistic. Okay, so you’re telling me we’re going to have a global pandemic, questionable economy, murder hornets, and the most heated election of the last few decades, all in the same year? Nah, not believable. Let’s make that movie about the tornado full of sharks instead.” 2020 was a doozy. I’m a public speaker and essentially lost my job last March. Every event got canceled. Don’t get me wrong, I pivoted a million different ways, new podcast, new YouTube channel, virtual events. I’ve done almost 40 virtual events, it’s been great! And I was able, with all that pivoting, to right the ship financially, but there was something I wasn’t anticipating something I didn’t see coming. I miss it. Being on stage is my favorite thing in the world. It’s what I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life focusing on. And I wasn’t ready for the emotional funk that losing it would cause. And I’m not the only one who got knocked around by 2020. I think everyone lost something. I think everyone could use a little bit of help. So I had an idea. Every September, I do a challenge. It’s a free challenge called the “September January Challenge.”
The name comes from the fact that in the average year, September is kind of the second January because of the momentum of back to school. There’s all this momentum about fresh starts and new goals as school starts again. And I thought you know what, what if we did that now? Why do we have to wait to encourage each other? Why do I have to wait till September? If I learned anything from 2020, it’s that you have to be flexible. You have to lean into change. You have to experiment, you have to try new things. So that’s what I’m going to do. And that’s where I need your help. I don’t want to wait until September to do another challenge. I don’t want to wait until April 6 to share what I learned about overthinking during the research process for my book. I don’t want to wait to slingshot us all out of the funk of this year. For the first time ever, I’m going to do a five day challenge with live teaching every day. What does that mean? It means every day starting March 1, I’m going to spend an hour teaching people how to overcome overthinking. I’m going to have office hours where I’m available to answer questions. I’m going to have prizes. Spoiler alert! One is definitely going to be a LEGO set.
I’m going to fit as many fun things into that week that I can. I’m calling it the “Overcoming Overthinking Challenge” in part because it’s fun to say “the double O C.” The Overcoming Overthinking Challenge…the double O C, yeah, you know me. And the best part is, it’s going to be free. Second best part of all is Jenny is going to be involved. My wife Jenny. On Saturday, March 6, she and I will be doing a special bonus lesson called “How to be married to a dreamer.” It’s content that’s 20 years in the making and we’ve never shared it before. And if you follow me at all online, you know how rare that is. Jenny is like this unicorn. She’s incredibly elusive when it comes to stuff like this. I’m amazed that I was able to talk her into doing this. So let’s talk schedule. Here’s how the content is shaping up.
On Monday, March 1, I’ll teach you how to use empathy to overcome overthinking. On Tuesday, March 2, I’ll teach you how to navigate change and create new soundtracks for side hustle goals. On Wednesday, March 3, I’ll teach you how to build resilience and create new soundtracks for writing goals. Thursday, March 4, I’ll teach you how to hustle and create new soundtracks for health goals. Friday, March 5, I’ll teach you how to write a new anthem for your life. And then bonus Saturday, Jenny Acuff and I talk about how to be married to a dreamer. And that sounds like a lot of content. You’re right. It is. It’s a ton of content. But I think it has the potential to help a lot of people. If you’re interested, sign up for free at www.Acuff.me/Challenge. I should repeat that again, like they do on radio commercials. That’s Acuff.me/Challenge. And remember, Acuff is always spelled A-C-U-F-F, Acuff.me/Challenge.
The link will be in the show notes as well. Now I’ll be honest with you, I’m a little nervous about this because I’ve never done something like this, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. Acuff.me/Challenge. Don’t wait to sign up either. It starts on March 1 and that’s real soon. Thanks for listening today. If you liked this episode, please review it and subscribe so you don’t miss any of the other episodes. See you next week and remember, all it takes is a goal. This episode of the podcast was brought to you by Medi-Share. Text JON, J-O-N to 474747 for more information. Huge thank you to Medi-Share for sponsoring it. J-O-N to 474747.
Thanks for listening. To learn more about the All It Takes Is A Goal podcast and to get access to today’s show notes, transcript, and exclusive content from Jon Acuff, visit Acuff.me/podcast. Thanks again for joining us. Be sure to tune in next week for another episode of the All It Takes Is A Goal podcast.