126. The Doing Diet

“The Doing Diet.” In this episode, we explore that we sometimes tie our worth and value to things we do. Using examples from some of my clients, who have expressed fear and anxiety about not being able to do certain activities. Such as following a rigid schedule or going on a run. Upon further discussion, it becomes clear that their concern is not about the outcome of these activities. But rather how they would treat themselves or think about themselves if they didn’t do them.

Sometimes these activities can become almost ritualistic. We can use them as a way to feel good about ourselves. However, it’s not the activities themselves that give us worth and value. But rather the thoughts and beliefs we have about ourselves when we engage in these activities. I encourage all of us to consider this for ourselves. Is there something in our own lives that we feel we have to do in order to be a good person? Then, to pay attention to the thoughts and beliefs that arise when we don’t do these things.

The “Doing Diet”

It involves purposely cutting out certain activities in order to separate our worth and value from what we do. Let’s practice the belief that we are still good people with value. With worth. Even when we don’t engage in these activities. As an example, I recently talked with a client who has tied their value to running. I challenged them to run one less day per week. Then practice untangling their worth from running on that day. 

Overall, in this episode we explore the idea of separating our worth and value from the activities we engage in. And I encourage all of us to practice self-acceptance and self-worth regardless of what we do or don’t do.

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0:01 Hey, what’s up everyone, it’s Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS Mission Podcast, episode number 126. The Doing Diet.

0:14 I’m Jennie, the LDS mission coach. And whether you’re preparing to serve a mission, currently serving, a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose again. It’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next.

0:53 Hey, everybody, welcome to the podcast. Thanks so much for being here. How is your November going? Mine’s going along and it’s coming along fast. There’s feels like a lot of things to do. Hence, one of the reasons that I came up with this podcast, The Doing Diet. And so we’re gonna dive into all of that today. One of the things that I’ve started noticing with my clients is, they get on these calls, and they start to become, they’ll start telling me how they’re scared to not do certain things. And so maybe some examples would be like, I’m scared not to keep a rigid schedule, I had one client tell me, “Well, I’ve got a plan, the exact times that I’m going to study”, or that could be problematic. And so they’re scared to not keep like a super rigid schedule. Or one client last week was like, “I’m kind of scared to not go on a run”. And maybe this might look similar for you with something else. Like I’m scared to not read my scriptures one day. And listen, I’m all for doing all of these things.

2:10 But here’s what I started to notice with some of these habits, and some of these things that these clients wanted to do. Is they started to become almost ritualistic. And as we talked about it more, it was interesting to discover that they weren’t actually scared of the fact that they wouldn’t get the studying done for their test, or that they would fail their test. Or they weren’t actually worried that they would lose their muscle tone, or like lose the distance that they can now run. And that that would, you know, somehow ruin their ability or their capability to run as far as they want to. And it wasn’t about them, you know, perhaps like they weren’t scared that they were going to lose the spirit or something, if they didn’t read their scriptures one day. What I started noticing is those weren’t the things that they were worried about or scared about. What they were actually scared about was how they would treat themselves or how they would start to talk to themselves if they didn’t do those things.

3:12 So it kind of goes back to one of the podcasts that I’ve talked about earlier, it’s episode number 103, The Achievement High. It’s almost like they have started to make these things in their lives, the things that they are doing, the reason that they allow themselves to feel good about themselves. So if I, you know, have a very rigid schedule, and show up to study at these times, because, quote, unquote, that’s the right way to do it. Then I give myself permission to believe that I’m doing a good job, or that I’m a good person, or that I’m a good student. Okay? Or maybe like, if I check off my run for the day, or I check off my workout for the day, then I’m gonna give myself permission to believe that I am physically healthy, and that I take care of my body, and that I’m a good person, because I take care of my body. Or if I read my scriptures, then I give myself permission to believe that I’m on the right track, and I’m doing a good job and that I have the abundance of the Spirit in my life. And so what is super interesting about this is that it’s not the thing itself, that makes us feel the way that we want to feel. The thing that we’re doing actually just gives us permission to believe what we want to believe about ourselves. And then that thought creates the feeling of satisfaction, of fulfillment, of contentment, of excitement, of motivation.

4:45 Okay, so what’s so crazy about this is they weren’t actually worried about their results or their outcome. They were more worried that they weren’t going to beat themselves up if they didn’t do the thing. Now this becomes sort of problematic in a way. Because sometimes, you guys in your life, I know, ideally, we would do these things every day maybe. But sometimes in our lives, things come up where we just either physically can’t, or we emotionally can’t, or we don’t have the time or something like that. Sometimes you’re gonna run into a couple of situations in your life where maybe we can’t run, or we can’t write out a schedule, or we can’t get to our scriptures. And if our worth if our value, and if the way we see ourselves is tied up in that thing, than if we can’t do it, guess what happens to our worth and our value and the way that we see ourselves? It is like it does a nosedive. And so it was just really interesting to notice that the thing that these people, these clients were scared of, again, was not the result, but they were worried about the thoughts that they would think. Let’s just think about that for a minute. They weren’t worried about the outcome. If they didn’t do the thing, they were worried what they would think and believe about themselves. They were worried that they would judge themselves and hate themselves if they didn’t do it. And a couple of them, I was like, what if you didn’t? What if you didn’t schedule your studying? What if you just didn’t when felt like the right time? What if you didn’t run just tomorrow? What would happen? And they were like, I, I just don’t even know. I don’t , I don’t think I can do that. And I said, tell me why. And they said, because I would think that I’d done something wrong. Because I would believe that I wasn’t doing a good job.

6:40 It was sort of like these things that my clients are involved in. And maybe this rings a bell to you, too. It’s like, our brain sort of tells us like, we got to do this thing, we got to run, we got to work out, we got to eat this certain way, we got to read our scriptures, we got to do that. Or else. I kind of what our brain says. Or else, my brain is gonna let me have it. It’s gonna say I’m the worst, and I’m not a good person. And we gonna meet these goals. Or else? Do you see what I’m saying? So again, it’s just really interesting to notice. So what I would like you to do maybe, is just like, consider that maybe there’s something in your life that you just feel like you have to do, or you’re not a good person, or you have to do or you know that your brain is going to attack you? And be like, You’re the worst? Who do you think you are? Why do you think you can get away with this? And all of that just pay attention, as we’re kind of talking through this, of what those examples might be for you. Okay?

7:42 Maybe it’s getting up at a certain time, maybe it’s going on dates, maybe it’s checking in with your boss, every time you get to work or something. I mean, it could be any number of things. But what inadvertently happens, right, is when we get into sort of these ritualistic dopamine hits, for checking things off of our to do list is our brain then starts to equate the doing of the thing with feeling good about ourselves. Which is great sometimes, until you can’t do the thing. One example is, when I’ve had my babies, I have five children, that first trimester, I’m so sick, and so tired. And I can’t make myself do the things because physically, I’m not capable. And I’m going to share a couple examples with you. So then what happens, of course, is like, I shouldn’t be doing this, and I should be doing that. And if I was, if I was making dinner, and if I was cleaning the toilets, then I’d be a good mom, I’d be a good person, I’d be excelling, right? And if I find myself in that position, perhaps I was using dinners, and toilets and laundry, to feel good about myself, rather than just creating that intrinsic worth from the inside. So one of the most critical things, you guys, that you can learn for your mission, and for your life, is how to feel good about you. Even when you can’t do the things that you think you should. And I am not suggesting here that we shouldn’t do those things. All I’m saying is the most powerful thing you can do is separate out what you do, the way you show up, how many miles you run, what grades you get, with who you are as just a human that has value and worth.

9:40 Okay, so let me tell you about the doing diet, which is what I encouraged these clients to do. It sounds like to me that we have wrapped our worth up, our value so much up, in this particular thing that we’re doing that if we don’t do it, we don’t believe we’re a good person anymore. And so what I want you to do and what I wanted my clients to do is, don’t do that thing. I asked one client, how many days a week do you think you should run? She’s like, “I would love to run six days a week.” And I said, “Okay, next week, run five. And on the sixth day, practice, untangling your worth, or your belief that you’re a good person from the running.” Her like jaw dropped on the floor, she couldn’t even, she couldn’t even conceive of that, because she’s so entangled how she sees her value and worth as a runner. Right?

9:40 So let’s talk about what this might look like for you. Whatever the thing is, if it’s running, if it’s getting up on time. For me, I’ve been kind of evaluating some of this stuff, like for Thanksgiving, if I’m a good person, then I’m going to make sure that I make homemade rolls. Or, I’m going to make sure that we don’t do potato flakes. We’re going to do real mashed potatoes. Like why not? I’m from Idaho, of course, we would do real potatoes. But you guys, do you see how silly this is? That I would have tied my worth up maybe years ago with only good people do it this certain way? And if I didn’t do it that certain way, then I allowed my brain to go hostile on myself, beating myself up and telling me that I’m not a good person. And that’s a clue that maybe you’ve tangled your worth up with something that you do something on your to do list. Okay?

11:43 So this is what you can try, is figure out what that thing is. So for me, let’s just use this example since Thanksgiving is coming up, and I’m going to be meeting up with my family. And I am in charge of the potatoes and the rolls. Okay, what you can ask yourself is, okay, if I am going to do that, if I’m going to run, if I’m going to make official mashed potatoes, and I’m going to make homemade rolls. If I do those things, what do I allow myself to feel? That’s the question you can ask yourself. So that’s what I asked this client, if you run on a day, you say you’re gonna run, what do you allow yourself to feel? And she was, like, “accomplished.” And that’s probably similar to what I would allow myself to feel is like, accomplished or fulfilled. But you guys, it seems so obvious when we especially put it in this context of the potatoes roll made rolls. Is we don’t feel accomplished because of the thing we did. We only feel accomplished because of the thing we allow ourselves to believe, which I would allow myself to believe I’m doing a good job and contributing here. So then the doing diet looks like this, allow yourself to not do that. Don’t do the thing. And in my mind, I’m already having a wrestle with it. Like maybe I just buy store bought rolls, and practice believing I’m doing a good job. And I’m contributing, like my brain even now, as I’m saying it out loud. It’s like freaking out. It’s like, No, we can’t do that. Which is a clue to me. But I maybe I have connected those two that good people, quote unquote, make homemade rolls.

13:30 Okay, so whatever that thing is for you. Maybe this other client who was like, I have to definitely write everything in my planner, and I have to schedule everything in one hour increments, in order to study for this test. And I was like, “Okay, so when you do that, what do you feel?” And they said, “I feel organized, I feel accomplished. I feel fulfilled, I feel prepared.” And I was like, Okay, great. One day this week, this is the doing diet part, where we’re going to cut out the doing. We’re going to cut it out. You are not allowed to write on your calendar in one hour increments, what you’re going to get done that day. You’re not even allowed to open your planner, and you’re going to practice believing that I’m prepared, I’m doing a good job and feel that motivation, anyway. Practice believing, I’m a good person, even if I don’t open my planner. So I encourage them to not do that ritualistic thing, that thing that they have tied their worth to. So what is that thing for you?

14:38 Here’s the other caveat I was thinking about is, only do this if it doesn’t really affect anybody else. Like if you’ve agreed to go and bring I don’t know sugar cookies to your ward Christmas party or to your district meeting or something like that. Don’t let people down. I mean, for some people, maybe the perfectionist type, maybe you even choose to sometimes let people down. And then still practice believing I’m a good person, I know how to take care of myself, I believe in me, I have worth, I have value. Okay, so maybe even you still want to. But that’s not what I’m suggesting is let’s just all bail on all of the things that we’ve agreed to do. But if you can practice in small doses, this doing diet, you will start to change your relationship with the things that you do. No longer will mashed potatoes, or running or homemade rolls, or your scriptures or your calendar, or your To Do lists, create your value and worth. You will start to create that value and start to create beliefs about yourself from the inside out.

15:49 Now, this is particularly important on the mission, because you can see how if we have this goal to meet a certain amount of people or make a certain number of contacts or baptize a certain number of people, that stuff is not always within our control. It’s just not. But what you do have control over is how you see yourself, how much belief you have in yourself, and how much actual trust you have in yourself. And in one of my podcasts, I talk about self trust. And self trust is not always like I do what I say I’m going to do. Self trust is knowing that sometimes you’re not able to do the things you want to do, and you’re not going to beat yourself up. Your brain is not freaked out that you might not run tomorrow, for fear of that you are going to get the biggest mental lashing and emotional beating of your life, from you. Like, oh, yeah, I have the flu. I guess it’s okay, if I don’t run tomorrow. Okay, because we’ve separated out those two things. So that is your work. Whatever the thing is for you that you’ve tied your worth to, whether it’s your contacts, whether it’s the goals, whether it’s the job, whether it’s the grades. That is my challenge to you, is just one time. Change the ritual, change it up, and see if you can believe the same thoughts, and feel the same feelings, and practice doing that intentionally. Practice believing, I’m doing a good job. I’m amazing. I’m an incredible missionary, I’m doing good work here, this matters, I matter, my life matters. I’m a good person, practice believing those things, even when you don’t do the thing. When you’ve cut the thing out.

17:38 So not only is this important on the mission, but I want to share like a couple examples with you. Is like this year another thing, on my to do list most years, is that I create a Christmas card. That I shouldn’t be working on already. And I’m playing with this idea, have I tied my worth up in this Christmas card? Do I worry about the backlash that my own brain is going to give me, if I don’t send out a Christmas card. And I’ve been toying with this ideas, maybe I just don’t send one. There’s no like serious ramifications and no one’s going to be out anything. And I’m not taking away anyone else’s agency or failing anybody if I don’t do that. And so I’m playing with this idea of what if I could just not send a Christmas card, like I have every year since my kids were born. And I practice believing I’m doing a good job, I’m a good person, I believe in the spirit of Christmas, and then not send the card. That’s what I’m playing with.

18:40 So a couple other examples is I have another client who is a mom, like a missionary mom, and she basically was a runner. And then something happened as she’s gotten older. And she has not been able to run for a while. And so we’ve had a few sessions, actually, where she’s just trying to figure out where she even gets her happiness and worth. Because the running is what has allowed her to believe like I’m doing a good job, I’m a productive person, I take care of my body and all of those things and created emotions that feel good, and now she’s not able to. And so she’s really having to do some work, and going through some stuff to try to figure out, who she is now without that. And even if she even likes herself, right? So we can avoid all of that. And by the way, she has really come a long way. And if she’s listening, my hat’s off to you and you inspire me because that is a hard thing to go through an identity shift, to figure out oh, do I like myself? Am I a good person, even without this? And we can start practicing that now. So that when the doctor says hey, we got to do surgery on your knee, right? Or you have the flu or you’re pregnant or maybe you’re a newlywed and your spouse ends up with cancer or who knows what happens. But there’s just so many variables in this life, right? And so there are times when we won’t be able to do the things that we do. And we can start practicing ahead of time believing what we want to believe, with this doing diet.

20:19 Okay, the other thing that came to mind is I work in The Lab, Jody Moore’s program. The Lab, and it used to be called Be Bold, and I do one call in there a month, most months, and I was coaching a woman. And she actually just got done with her leukemia treatments. And she has, you know, young children. And she was just telling me, like, I just don’t feel reliable anymore. I used to take my kids to school, I used to make dinner, I used to do crafts with them, I used to take them on playdates, and I just don’t feel reliable. I’ve got all these people serving me, and helping me take my kids where they need to be. And she’s like, I just don’t even know who I am anymore. I don’t know if I like myself anymore. And in my mind, I was like, Oh, she has got to do a doing diet Where she on purpose, decides I am not taking my kids to a playdate on purpose, not because I’m incapable, but because I’m on purpose doing that. And I’m going to practice believing that I am reliable, that I am a good person, that I am a mom. And she’s like, I don’t even know if I can believe that about myself. And I said, I know. But what’s our other option, is we can just continue to hate ourselves and judge ourselves, which is not a fun place to be. And it’s not useful to be there anyway. Right? It’s just not useful, anyway, to be there. And so I just encouraged her I was like, you’re gonna have to go through an identity shift, you’re gonna have to start to believe that you are the one that you’re supposed to rely on, you’re gonna have to start to believe like, it’s okay that I don’t take my kids somewhere. That doesn’t mean anything about me as a person, or about my worth, it’s okay that I’m not going to cook dinner, maybe ever again, and practice believing that I’m still a good person, I’m still a good mom.

22:18 Okay, so this is what I encourage you guys to do. Let me just remind you what the steps are. Figure out what the thing is for you that you’ve tied your worth to. Maybe it’s like,, the service that you give your neighbors or your roommates or something like that. And maybe even it’s a food that you’ve tied worth to like, if I eat this I have worth. If I don’t eat that, if I don’t eat doughnuts, then I don’t have worth or whatever. Whatever it is for you that you’ve tied your worth to. And the one thing that if you don’t do it, you end up in a serious like mind, battle, beating up session. Whatever that thing is for you, kind of hone in on that. Notice what that is. And then ask yourself, what do I get to believe when I do that thing? How do I get to feel when I do that thing? Then encourage yourself not to do the thing. I’m not saying every day. I’m not saying don’t ever run again, or don’t ever do your schedule again. Right? Don’t ever take your kids somewhere. Again, that’s not what I’m saying. Don’t ever make real mashed potatoes again. All I’m saying is practice not doing it on purpose. And then still believing that same thought. I’m doing a good job and feel your intrinsic value, your intrinsic worth. That you are a good person, even if you never ran another step in your life. Okay, so that makes sense. So I hope this gives you something to think about. I hope you practice doing The Doing Diet. Cut the thing out just a little bit and see if you can practice still believing what you want to believe about yourself and you guys what is actually true about you.

24:04 Just a reminder, we are now enrolling for Mission Prep Plus for December. So picture it like an online MTC, but all for your mental and emotional well being. We talk about all the stuff that we talk about on the podcast, but then we apply it to you specifically, for your specific mission for your specific struggles. We’re just wrapping up our November cohort, and there is some amazing transformations and shifts going on in there. So hope to see you in the December group. If you have any questions about it. Just go to jenniedildine.com and click on the drop down menu, you can find preparing missionaries and we’ll get you set up. They’ll tell you all about Mission Prep Plus. Okay, everyone, you guys have the most amazing Thanksgiving. We will come back to you with another episode here the day after and take care. We’ll talk to you next time.

25:00 Serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can present a unique set of challenges, and many of those challenges you might not even see coming. So you’re gonna want a unique set of solutions. It’s easier than you think to overcome worry and anxiety, serve the successful mission you’ve always dreamed up and navigate your post mission experience with confidence. That is why I created some amazing free goodies that I’m sharing in my show notes. Maybe you’ll want to grab the free training for preparing missionaries, my video course for RMS or maybe you and I should hop on a free strategy call. If you’re ready to take your preparedness to serve or your preparedness to come home to the next level. Then go grab one of those freebies. And in the meantime, no matter which part of the mission experience you are involved in, just know that Jennie, the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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