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WORDS PAINT A 1,000 PICTURES

How to create behavior change, nurture growth mindset, and get back on track with just one word. Tomorrow night we flip the calendar to 1/1/2021 without the fanfare of a crystal ball dropping in a crowded city square, or a boisterous party, or champagne glasses clinking, or giant fireworks crackling. Instead, join me, in silently […]

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Image of scrabble tiles arranged to say "Choose Your Words"
Image Credit: @brett_jordan / unsplash

How to create behavior change, nurture growth mindset, and get back on track with just one word.

Tomorrow night we flip the calendar to 1/1/2021 without the fanfare of a crystal ball dropping in a crowded city square, or a boisterous party, or champagne glasses clinking, or giant fireworks crackling.

Instead, join me, in silently – yet strongly – marking this transition from one year to the next with one simple word.

YOUR word.

You know the saying “a picture is worth 1,000 words?” Well, I believe a word is worth 1,000 pictures. Words are a powerful force. The right WORD is a mantra, shifting mindset, providing comfort, strength and getting you back on track when you need it.

In January 2020, I chose CONNECTION as my anchor word, and wrote:

“I anchor 2020 on Connection – with family & friends, community, my muscles, my thoughts, my work, and all of you.” 

As I think about Connection, I realize there is a story before this story.  

You see, I have Trichotillomania (pronounced trik-o-till-o-MAY-nee-uh), also referred to as “hair-pulling disorder,” a mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull hair from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, and other areas of the body, despite repeated attempts to stop or decrease hair pulling.  

Trichotillomania is one of the most common mental health conditions that no one wants to talk about or admit.  Why would we?  “You pull out your own hair?  Ew! That is gross!  Why can’t you just stop?”  For decades I lived in fear of those cruel, judgmental comments.  To cope, I pushed away connections and learned to live within the fringes.  

While there is no cure for trichotillomania, some respond well to cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and habit reversal training (HRT).  I tried it all:  hypnosis, acupuncture, medications, supplements, individual and group therapy.  While group therapy did give me some relief, behavior change did not stick.  It was the lack of awareness that tripped me up every time.

All that changed in May 2017.  After a 3-hour trance-like pulling while watching TV, I googled “breakthroughs in Trichotillomania” and an ad for HabitAware’s Keen bracelet appeared. Keen uses real-time gesture detection technology to make you aware of where your hands are so you can be empowered to make healthier choices.  

When my hands would find their way to my hair, Keen’s gentle vibration made me aware.  Once aware, I had a choice; to pull or do the hard work of behavior change.  I chose the latter.

Within months, 40 years of shame and silence was replaced with being proud and loud.  I contacted the two HabitAware co-founders as I wanted to help others the way HabitAware helped me.  And it was so.  

As I look back at my 2020 anchor word I also wrote in my journal:  “As I think about Connection, I think about my trichotillomania. Before I found HabitAware in 2017, my hands and mind were disconnected. My hands had a mind of their own, scanning and searching for the right hair to pull. But now I have Keen awareness, and a connection between my hands and mind.”

What foretelling!

Believe it or not, CONNECTION anchored me through the chaos of 2020.

I made CONNECTIONS everywhere, from the comfort of my living room:

  • with my Keen family, through dozens of webinars, hundreds of 1:1 Keen training calls, and thousands of email exchanges
  • with my own family & friends through zoom calls and 6-ft-apart outdoor activities
  • with my muscles through live stream pilates classes

Connection served me well in 2020, and as I look to 2021, the word that keeps rushing through my mind is:

Pause /pôz/

v., interrupting action briefly;

n., a temporary stop in action

I tend to do things fast, skipping the Pause. But you shouldn’t skip the pause.  It’s in those moments of pause when change is possible.  

In 2021, I will gently stop for a moment to take in, notice, enjoy, focus on, listen to, and engage with – family & friends, community, my muscles, my thoughts, my work and all of you. I will PAUSE.

So, your turn! What’s your one word to anchor you in 2021? Email me at [email protected] and let me know.  Your word has the power to inspire others!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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