FFF 129: 6 Steps To A Sustainable & Satisfying Life – with Dr Jennifer Guttman

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This week, Scott and Dr. Jennifer Guttman talk about the six principles to achieving sustainable life satisfaction, including closing, decision-making, facing fears, reducing people-pleasing behaviors, avoiding assumptions, and active self-reinforcement. Learn how you can apply each of them into your life!

Dr. Jennifer Guttman is a U.S.-based clinical psychologist. She’s good at what she does because she believes human flaw is beautiful. It’s not anything to be fixed, but something that allows people to get motivated and better themselves – a positive way of looking at life! Jennifer is the author of the book A Path to Sustainable Life Satisfaction.

Taking Tiny Steps for Self-Improvement

In order to succeed, there has to be mastery of very small steps. Take small steps at a time. Crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. Better to close things and move along the path slowly than charging ahead of big things which makes it easier for you to stumble. Praise yourself for the small things you do and move slowly. Life is not a race so doing it one step at a time is a lot better.

6 Principles of Achieving Sustainable Life Satisfaction

  • Starting is easy, closing is hard.
  • Decision-making
  • Facing fears
  • Reducing people-pleasing behaviors
  • Avoiding assumptions
  • Active self-reinforcement

Starting is Easy, Closing is Hard

It’s hard for people to close things than it is to start things. People suffer from impostor syndrome because they may only be finishing some tasks instead of all aspects of their lives. So when they get compliments at work, part of their brain tells them they’re not worthy of it because of all their other shortcomings in other aspects. This makes them feel like an impostor, which erodes their self-confidence. Hence, look at all aspects of your life, not just one. Then look at all those things haunting you that are left uncompleted (i.e. clearing your inbox, doing the laundry, pay the bills, etc.) and finish them immediately.

Decision Making

A lot of people delegate decision making to other people in their lives because they don’t want to be responsible for the decisions they’re making and for the consequences of having made that decision (i.e. picking a restaurant or what school to go to, job to take, etc.). They feel their decisions could be wrong. Instead, they delegate the decision to other people because they believe other people know them better than they know themselves. They believe a consensus is a better way to make a decision, than their own personal authenticity.

People get caught up in the idea that there’s right and wrong decision for two reasons: social media and influence from family. No choices are permanent in a way that we are led to believe they are permanent. They’re freely made, but we’re only given the impression that decisions are very weighty and important and that need a consensus. But nobody has the same DNA as us. We are our best judges in making those decisions in our lives. Everybody is guessing because nobody has the right answer and there is no right answer.

Facing Fears

You should face fear instead of running from them. The feeling of discomfort is good because within fear is your feeling of competency. But when you become homeostatic, that’s when malaise can set in. Just push the borders by doing something you thought you couldn’t do before because feeling more effective in the world is going to make you feel more satisfied.

Reducing People-Pleasing Behaviors

People are afraid of saying no for the fear of abandonment and they believe it’s a way to reinforce indispensability in relationships. They also believe their behavior will be reciprocated in the environment. Realize you’re loveable from the inside out.

Avoiding Assumptions

People make a lot of assumptions about what other people think or what they’re going to do. But none of that ever happens and it distracts people from the actual interactions. Be patient to wait for the unknown and see if something actually happens. Breathe, wait, and only act if you believe that something actually happened. Trust in your problem-solving ability to cope if something actually does.

When you pre-emptively cope and nothing has happened yet, you’re backhandedly undermining your belief in your coping mechanisms should something happen. And this undermines your self-confidence. Trust yourself to believe that you will be able to figure it out. Just because we think it, doesn’t make it so.

Active Self-Reinforcement

People like to delegate reinforcement to the outside world. Instead, give yourself a tangible reinforcement no matter how small that is (i.e. taking a bubble bath, buying yourself flowers, taking yourself to the movies, etc.). Celebrate those small wins more often! Additionally, this has to be tied into closing, otherwise, over time, your brain will be tired of closing. You have to provide reinforcement for yourself.

Highlights
  • Mastery of small steps to achieve self-improvement
  • The 6 principles of self-improvement
  • Starting is easy, closing is hard
  • Why people feel the impostor syndrome and how you can overcome it
  • Why people are scared of making decisions
  • Facing fears vs. running away from them
  • Why people are afraid to say no
  • Why and how to avoid assumptions
  • Why self-reinforcement is very hard to do but why you need to do it
  • How Jennifer defines satisfaction
Quotes & Take-Aways

If people think in terms of large steps then it’s actually much harder to succeed at. In order to succeed, mastery of very small steps is much more successful.

Life is not a race so doing it one step at a time is a lot better.

It makes them feel like an impostor at their job… because they know that they’re not closing in so many other areas. That feeling erodes their self-confidence.

A lot of people delegate decision making to other people in their lives. They do that because they don’t want to be responsible for the decisions they’re making.

No choices are permanent in a way that we are led to believe they are permanent.

People need to believe they’re loveable regardless of whether they’re providing a service for another person.

Trust yourself to believe that you will be able to figure it out.

Just because we think it, doesn’t make it so.

Connect with Jennifer:

Thanks for listening and the support – if you enjoyed this episode, I hope you can leave the podcast a rating and review on iTunes, and if you haven’t subscribed yet, this is the best time to do that too. This will help the show to get up in the rankings.

Scott Baptie

Scott is the owner and founder of Food For Fitness. He is a fat loss coach, speaker and fitness writer with a masters (MSc) degree in Applied Sports Nutrition.