Video: On Gratitude and Hating Homework

It’s 7:30 a.m. I just woke up, and I’m wiped out. I had food poisoning yesterday. And it made me realize how grateful I am for how I normally feel. In the spirit of gratitude, I picked up this gratitude journal. It was a gift from my brother-in-law Devon, who’s a master of personal development and growth. Every day there are some questions you fill out.

Three in the morning:
1. I am grateful for…
2. What would make today great?
3. Daily affirmations

Two in the evening:
1. Three amazing things that happened today…
2. How could I make today even better?

There’s a bunch of information in the front of the book about how these questions are scientifically proven to help you live a better and happier life. And it’s making me wonder if these practices are something that I should be asking my coaching clients to take on. I notice that I really shy away from giving a lot of homework because I hate homework. I think that comes from a really self-limiting belief that I don’t do homework. In elementary school, I would be sent home with these little blue notes that I was supposed to give to my parents that said “ Guess whose goose is cooked?” And I would put them in my backpack, which was just a pile of disorganized paper, and eventually a stack of these blue notes would fall out and I’d give them to my parents. Luckily, my parents were pretty cool about that. I did well in school, but I wasn’t into homework.

This self-limiting belief is also rooted in scarcity. That there’s not enough time, that I don’t have enough time, that my clients don’t have enough time to do all of these things. And I don’t want to reinforce that in them. So I’m really going to pay attention now to how are my limiting beliefs about myself impacting the way I interact with clients, and am I challenging them enough? I think coaching is super powerful. I know that they see huge changes in their lives through the insights they get and the assignments I do give them. But in terms of habits and daily practices, I think I could really ramp that up. Because there’s so much evidence that these things really work: gratitude, meditation, exercise, getting enough sleep, drinking water first thing in the morning. It’s low hanging fruit. I’m inspired to make a menu of different habits I can offer my clients that they might volunteer to take on and check in with me about.

I’d love to hear if any of you have healthy habits or have worked with a coach or trainer or a program to develop them. There’s lot of tools and programs out there, and apps. I want to see what works for you. And I will check in and let you know what I’m doing.

Have a great Fourth of July!

8 Replies to “Video: On Gratitude and Hating Homework”

    1. So very kind of you, my love. Clients in case you are wondering, THIS is the Original JEN!! ^^^ (Jen, I’ve told so many clients about the way you made Britely such an well-run organization and such an awesome place to work… almost every CEO I know has been told “You need a Jen!” I love getting updates like “I think I’ve finally found my Jen.” You aren’t yet a verb like Google but I’ll start working on that.)

  1. Hi Caneel!
    I’m so glad you are back online and for sharing these raw thoughts! You are such a brave, inspiring woman.

    I have been reading recently research about habit forming and it looks like some people are allergic to homework but some others really need it to operate. For example, some people cannot stick to things when no one cares (gym for example).
    There are 4 main tendencies – inner and outer:

    1) The Rebels – “I’ll did it my way” (inner)
    2) Obliger – You need to be held accountable by others (external) to do something (outer)
    3) Questionnaires – Questions everything. You need to justify and customize everything to your personality. (inner)
    4) Upholders: you stick to inner and outer schedule and rules

    1. Fascinating. I know there are some who perform better with an audience (me for sure) and some who perform better unobserved. But I hadn’t heard of this 2×2 framework before. I’d love to read more about it…. it would be really useful in designing my coaching programs in a way that fit each client’s “habit tendencies”. I’d also love to get more clarity for myself. I seem to experience myself with tendencies #1-3, and seem weakest in #4. That said, here I am again, waking at 5:30 to meditate and write in my gratitude journal and then write content. Maybe I’m more disciplined that I think. But I do seem to form habits best through experimentation and customization and I like to do things that FEEL good. I’m not the one to try to do things the same way every day for a year straight. I change it up all of the time. I love the creative, strategic process of designing and redesigning my habits. I learn so much about myself and psychology in the process. To me it’s one of my forms of artistic play.

  2. As someone with many of those “self limiting beliefs” you described, and having worked with coaches and read a TON of books on self development, I agree about the not wanting to do homework bit, but I think it is necessary to some degree. It just has to be the right homework, however. I agree it boils down to habits. The book “Miracle Morning” talks about doing the same things daily (I don’t care what he says, I will never truly be a morning person, lol – but the ideas are really good) and the book “The Slight Edge” details that success is making small decisions every single day and you will reap the benefits over time. So I do think some form of habitual “homework” is important. Real success is not magic, not glamorous, nor is it achieved over night. As someone who hates routine and gets bored easily, for me personally, it has been a challenge, however when your habits are consistent and they are good ones (bad habits will certainly have an outcome as well, and not a positive one) eventually those small decisions can lead to amazing success. For me journaling has been huge. I hate the tedium of actually writing, and my schedule often gets in the way, but I find that major breakthroughs seem to come for me when I buckle down and just do it. Also, a big thing for me, as I think is true for most people, is accountability. If you like apps, there is a great one called Habitshare. Physical or online accountability groups are really helpful to make you actually DO those habits, and I like that and the physical meetings (or using an app like Zoom, Skype or Facetime) They have really helped with my business because it keeps people connected and on track. But if you are a tech person, Habitshare actually lets you get very specific with those habits and you can add people to your accountability group with the app. This gives you the freedom to do it at your leisure vs committing to a meeting time. Full disclosure, you still have to do the work and I personally have not been great about it so it depends on your motivation, too, I guess.

    1. Sara, thank you SO much for these recommendations. I am working on compiling a list of resources like these for a blog series about life-hacking and well definitely check these out for that. I am absolutely not the type to do the same thing everyday (as I mentioned in an earlier comment, I like to change up my routines and try new things out). I think finding a balance between experimentation and consistency is key, and I’m still working that out.

  3. This is a very interesting question. There are a lot of self help books or articles that what you should or should not do to be happy. I believe that everyone should learn to know themselves and what it best for them. Meditation and slowing down are for me important. Listening to my feelings and emotions. Listening to what prevents me of achieving my goals, I believe that our inconscient has to be taken seriously otherwise it will control our lives in a way that we don t like. Our shadows tell us a story. My thought is that everyone has a different way of feeling happy or grateful. There is no recipe that will fit everyone. ” know thyself.”

    1. Totally agree, Imene. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Unearthing our internalized fears and habits is the first step in addressing and replacing them. I’m glad to hear you’re on this journey with me.

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