How To Be Committed To Your Goals With Emotional Balance: Life is 50/50

This past weekend I thought I put in my normal grocery order…

It turns out I was wrong.

Rather than ordering 8 bananas, I ordered 8 bunches of bananas. 

Yes, really.

So I ended up with a mountain of 45 bananas on my kitchen counter last Saturday.

And I’m the only person in my house who eats them.

As you can see from the picture, not only is this a plethora of bananas, but it’s also hilarious.

I literally cannot walk into my kitchen without laughing out loud.

But what do bananas have to do with emotional balance?

And how can this story help you commit to your goals?

Don’t worry, I explain everything in episode 77 of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast this week.

You can listen to the episode below, or stream it on your favorite podcasting app here:

Prefer to read? No problem! Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript.

Listen To The Podcast Here!

In This Episode, You Will Discover… 

  • The concept of life being 50/50
  • The importance of processing your emotions
  • How to use these concepts to stick with your goals.

Links From The Podcast

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Episode #77: How To Commit To Your Goals: Emotional Balance and Life is 50/50 (Transcript)

Hey everybody. Welcome to episode 77 of the podcast.

I have to tell you about a ridiculous moment I had this past weekend. And if you follow me on Instagram, you may already know where this is going. And if you’re not following me, let’s connect. I’m @imbusybeingawesome. 

Back Story: What’s With The Bananas?

Anyway, I had put in a grocery order on Friday night for my groceries, and I was using the app on my phone, which is normally a great plan for me. It makes suggestions of the usual items I purchase, so I can just go through the list, restock what I need, and make the order in a few minutes. Super easy.

Well, it turns out I was not paying super close attention when I made my order, because rather than ordering 8 bananas, I ordered 8 bunches of bananas. And since I still had 4 bananas in my fruit bowl at the time, I ended up with 45 bananas in my house on Saturday morning…Mind you, I live in a household of two, and my husband doesn’t really eat bananas. 

And for those of you who want to see how crazy this looks, do head to the show notes for this episode; I have a picture posted there of my banana mountain. 

So now I am gathering all the banana recipes, which is actually super fun. Especially since several of you on Instagram have sent me your favorites, so I know they’ll be good. AND I have an amazingly big laugh every time I walk in my kitchen and see this literal mountain of bananas.

My Reality Check

But the real reason why I am sharing this story with you is because this experience was a huge reality check for me.

And I say this because my response to this event was a combination of initial disbelief followed uncontrollable laughter at the Ridiculousness of this situation. Who has 45 bananas in a house where one person eats them? Me, apparently. 

And what was so remarkable to me is that my response would have been 180° different just a couple of years ago. And this experience really helped me recognize the amount of growth and Transformations I’ve had through coaching and thought work in regard to my thoughts about me and my self concept. 

You see, pre-coaching Paula, before 2016 or 2017, would have slipped into major shame spirals for messing up something like this. I would have ruminated over this situation, the negative self talk would come out in full force, and I would have beat myself up like crazy. All the “shoulds” would have come out: I should have known better. I shouldn’t mess up like this. I shouldn’t be so negligent and wasteful. And I should be better than this. 

The Difference Today

Saying this out loud and sharing it with you now feels absolutely terrible, but it was the constant running track in my mind for years and years. I wouldn’t have told anybody about my mistake. I would have hidden it. And I would have raced back to the grocery store with everything to try and fix the situation. I probably would have blamed it on the employee or the app instead of acknowledging that I didn’t look closely enough. And I would have done it all under this heavy blanket of shame.

And my response now? I can’t walk into the kitchen without literally laughing out loud. Plus, I’m so excited to try all of these amazing recipes. And I am sharing what happened with thousands of listeners on this podcast. If that’s not a 180-degree shift, I don’t know what is.

Of course, not everyone struggles with self-acceptance or imposter syndrome, or these negative shame spirals, so no worries if this doesn’t resonate with you. But for those of you who can relate to this situation in some way, you know that kind of change is powerful. And it’s all because of getting coached and self-coaching and daily thought work. So this weekend and my epic banana mountain was really an amazing moment for me.

50/50 and Emotional Balance

And, believe it or not, this brings me to the topic we’re talking about today more closely, which is the concept of the 50/50. This is a concept that I learned from my teacher Brooke Castillo who teaches that our lives are all 50/50. 50% of the time things are amazing. 50% of the time our experience is filled with love and light and joy and excitement. And then the other 50% of the time, things are hard. The other 50% we’re sad or frustrated or angry or disappointed. 

And I saw that in my experience this weekend. Did I actually want to have 45 bananas on my kitchen counter? No, of course not. I don’t particularly want to eat banana-flavored everything for the foreseeable future. I don’t want anything to go to waste. And I spent money on food I don’t particularly need.  But on the other side, it’s hilarious and I had this beautiful moment to recognize my own growth, which is incredible. 50/50.

So let’s talk about this more in-depth. Where does this 50/50 come up? Why are we talking about it today? Why is it such a noteworthy concept? 

First and foremost, just as in Newton’s third law, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction, the same is true with our emotions. We have that balance of both positive and negative.

We Need Emotional Contrast To Experience The Good

If we were truly happy all of the time, first of all, that would be super boring. But more importantly, we wouldn’t even know we were happy because we wouldn’t have the contrast. We wouldn’t have the other side – the “negative side” – to appreciate what happiness feels like. If you never knew how sad feels, you wouldn’t recognize happiness for what it is. So by having this balance in our lives, it allows us to have that full human experience. It allows us to break away from that life of sameness. So when people say to themselves, “all I want is to be happy,” they may think that’s true. But if you only felt happy, you wouldn’t have anything to compare it to. How would you even know?

Emotional Balance and Freedom

Additionally, and perhaps the number one reason why I think this is such an important concept, is that acknowledging and accepting the 50/50 he’s one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done. It is such a powerful mindset shift because when we allow things to be 50/50, we stop resisting the negative emotions when they come up.

We stop arguing with reality when we’re having a negative emotion by thinking we “shouldn’t” feel bad. And this alleviates the resistance that so many of us experience whenever we feel sadness or anger or frustration or boredom. 

For example, when we feel sad, most of us immediately entertain some version of, “I shouldn’t feel sad. Something has gone wrong. I must fix this immediately.” And since we’re arguing and pushing back against the emotion we have – and we’re resisting the sadness – we’re essentially doubling our negative emotions. Because now we’re feeling sad and resistant because we’re thinking we shouldn’t feel that way.

When we remember that life is 50/50, we realize that nothing has gone wrong when we experience a quote-unquote negative emotion. When sadness comes up, we open up to the emotion. We don’t try to escape it immediately. We allow it to be there and we breathe into it. And coincidentally, when we stop resisting, it allows us to move through the sadness faster. 

Buffering

Now, for many of us, when we do experience negative emotion and rather than allowing it we resist, we do this by buffering. We basically put up a buffer between ourselves and our negative emotions so we don’t have to feel them so strongly. And some of the most common buffers are food, alcohol, social media, shopping,Netflix, video games, and perhaps the most sneaky of them all, overworking or procrastiworking.

So if we feel stressed, we head to the pantry and grab a snack. If we feel frustrated, maybe we hop on Amazon. If we’re overwhelmed, we zone out in front of Netflix or video games, if we’re lonely we grab our phones and start scrolling social media.

Now in the moment, these things might feel good. They might give us that relief from the negative emotion because we get the quick dopamine hit. But remember, it was just a buffer. We didn’t actually process the emotion underneath. So the moment that buzz of dopamine wears off, the negative feeling is still there waiting for us. 

Plus, for most of our buffering activities, it also leaves a net negative result. Maybe we overspend, or we wasted our time in front of the TV or our phones, or we overate, or we overworked and didn’t spend the time we intended with our family, etc. So then we have that additional negative emotion on top of that, which has us wanting to reach for even more buffers, and the cycle continues.

But when we can open up to the negative emotion. When we can slow down, process the emotion, and remind ourselves, “nothing has gone wrong here. I am just in the other 50%. I can absolutely handle this.” it feels so much more freeing. You can give yourself space to process the emotion and then move forward.

Challenges All-Or-Nothing Thinking

This concept of the 50/50 is also beautiful in helping us see the different shades of gray within our traditional black or white, all or nothing thinking. Rather than thinking things are all good or all bad, we have the beautiful word AND.  yes, AND…

So if we think back to episode 73 when we reflected on 2020. Yes, 2020 was challenging. There were a lot of areas for negative emotion where we wanted to feel sad or anger or frustration or fear. AND there were moments of beauty and joy and growth and hope.

My husband is a MAJOR Minnesota Vikings fan – and for my listeners outside of the U.S. they are an American football team. And the Vikings did not have a great season to say the least, and Ryan was telling me all about it this past weekend since it was their last game of the year, And after sharing about his disappointment about how the team did, he then said, but you know – I am so glad I actually had football to watch this year. I didn’t think it would actually happen, so that’s been so nice.

And once again, the 50/50 hit me. It’s a bummer that his beloved team was not on their A game, AND he got to enjoy the season as a whole.

People and 50/50

Another beautiful place where I love to apply the 50/50 concept is with people. And when I say people, I mean both with myself and others. 50% of the time we’re amazing. We’re on our A-game. We’re making things happen. And 50% of the time we buy 40+ bananas by mistake. And it’s all beautiful. Because we are all humans making the most of this human experience. 

And while the 50/50 balance might not be an exact science, I find it really helps me open up to the possibility that nothing has gone wrong. I’m just a human with a brain, and I’m thinking thoughts that make me feel emotions that don’t feel particularly great.

And I also love it because when I am in the negative 50, I can think to myself, I wonder what the other 50 is? Where is that beauty? Where is the joy or the powerful lesson? I may not see it immediately – in fact, I rarely do. But it reminds me to keep my eye open so I’m ready to find it.

Now some of you might jump to the opposite. But what about when you’re in the positive 50? Then are you just waiting for the other shoe to drop? For me, the answer is no. Because I know that I can absolutely handle whatever comes my way. And because I am open to the full human experience, I’m all in. 

50/50, Goal Setting, and Emotional Balance

And that brings me to the last area where I think this 50/50 experience is SO powerful, and it focuses on the concept of goal setting. This episode comes out on January 11th, and so many of us have out new goals and resolutions still fresh on the mind.

And for me personally, working toward goals and establishing new habits is one of the areas where this concept really helps me follow through even when things get hard. 

Because here’s the deal. When we work toward goals – especially goals that challenge us – we are going to run into obstacles. We are going to have challenges. We are going to step outside of our comfort zone and feel uncomfortable.

However, when we first start our goals, those emotions aren’t quite so strong. We don’t have that resistance yet. We are still excited. We’re still connected with our future selves and the goals that we want to reach. We are still in the belief that it is absolutely possible. 

Obstacles Aren’t A Sign To Stop

As we continue working toward these long-term goals, however, that belief starts shifting if we’re not careful of our mindset. We start running into challenges, roadblocks, and obstacles that naturally pop up when we step outside of our comfort zone and do something new. 

But rather than thinking to ourselves, “Ah, this means I’m right on track. Of course, things are challenging right now, I’m learning something new.” We instead jump to thoughts like, this isn’t working. I’m stuck. I should probably try something else. Maybe it’s better to give up. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this. 

And we get stuck in feelings of frustration, overwhelm, uncertainty, and boredom. And we take this as a sign that we should stop. We want to throw in the towel because the shiny novelty of the goal has worn off. We’ve stepped into the other side of the 50/50. We’re spending a bit of time in the negative 1/2 feeling uncomfortable, discouraged, or uncertain. And we think this is a problem. 

Remember, your brain wants to stay safe, and since it sees exploring new concepts and trying unfamiliar things as dangerous, it is going to push back. It will do everything it can to pull you back into the cave – or in this case, pull you back to Netflix with some ice cream.

Challenges Aren’t A Problem

But when we remember this lesson of the 50/50, it helps us realize that the challenge we’re facing is not a problem. It is not a sign that we should stop. And it doesn’t mean that anything has gone wrong. It simply means that you are growing. You are stepping outside of your comfort zone into something new, and your brain is figuring out how to handle it. You are a human having the full human experience of both positive and negative emotion. And when you open up to the feelings of uncertainty or nervousness or frustration, and you keep moving forward on your goals, you are also making greater space for the other 50% – the positive emotion – when you figure out the obstacle and reach that next benchmark in your goal.

In other words, the more willing you are to feel those negative emotions and allow them to be there without it being a problem, the more open you are to receiving the positive on the other side. I think of it like a pendulum swinging back and forth. If you have a very small tolerance for negative emotion, the pendulum won’t swing much to the positive side either. Instead, you might feel a bit flat. But when you open yourself up to the negative side of the 50%, and the more willing you are to feel the discomfort of growth as you try new things, the further that pendulum swings to the other side, too. And the bigger goals you’ll be able to reach because you’re willing to step that much further out of your comfort zone to do amazing things. 

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