Productive Flourishing

The Connection Between Spiritual Practices and Behavior (Episode 219)

Episode Summary

How Spirituality and Habit-Building Influence Each Other

Episode Notes

Eric Zimmer joins Charlie on the podcast today to talk about spiritual and habitual practices. They talk about the relationship between behavior change and spiritual practices, and why it’s especially important now. They also talk about how to get back on track when you’ve fallen out of your habits and practices.

 

Key Takeaways:

[2:10] - Eric shares his story about how he got into the realm of behavior and spiritual practices. Out of necessity to get out of his current situation, he had to think more deeply and learn how to live a good life. This started a life-long learning process about how our minds and emotions work. 

[5:35] - Eric talks about how his degree of privilege from his upbringing helped him be able to navigate his recovery circumstances. His story, and several others, remind us that these ideas can work for everyone, regardless of where they are starting their journey. 

[8:05] - One of the most important aspects Eric has learned over the last six years since starting the podcast is a focus on application rather than learning and epiphanies. In order to be authentic on his podcast, he had to participate in the experiences he was talking about.

[10:30] - Eric talks about the tangible ways that this application has changed his day-to-day routine. As more guests came on his show, there was a focus on spirituality as well as behavior changes and habit-building. His depressions are much more manageable as a result of some of these changes.

[15:10] - The improvements that we make in our lives are driven by the dramatic amount of shift that occurs. The difference is often so dramatic, but we don’t notice because we habituate. This can make spiritual growth a bit difficult because you are always chasing the next high.

[19:25] - Eric has been integrating his work with spiritual practices with behavior changes, called spiritual habits. It takes the science of behavior change and applies it to spiritual life. He talks about some of the most important principles from behavior, and how he has incorporated them into his program.

[23:25] - Charlie and Eric talk about why it’s important to have integrated spiritual practices, especially during this time of pandemic. These practices can help us drop our resistance, and in turn drop our suffering. Focus on the inputs rather than the outputs.

[27:45] - Eric talks about how he’s different when he falls off the “habit horse.” Depending on the habit, he starts to get more irritable, and he is also able to recognize the triggers that might mean he’s falling back into a depression.

[30:52] - It is easier to compartmentalize our spiritual practices from other habits. It’s important to know that your spiritual practice could be your physical exercise, or eating; it is all about the intention you are putting behind it. 

[34:28] - With behaviors, Eric shoots for 90% adherence with his clients. If you shoot for 90% day after day and year after year, your life can transform. Shooting for 100% can lead to burn out and quitting. You will likely fall off, but the key is how you get back on.

[39:40] - Charlie and Eric talk about the correlation between effort and follow through. It is a different conversation when you examine the effort put behind a habit for that day, and whether you actually follow through, versus not even getting started. 

[42:55] - Eric shares how his practices are helping him overcome his current challenge of adapting to working by himself from home. 

[48:10] - Eric’s invitation for listeners is to think about one practice that would improve your mental wellbeing. Start to implement it every day in just a small way. These sorts of practices are more important than ever right now. 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Productive Flourishing

Start Finishing, by Charlie Gilkey

Eric Zimmer, The One You Feed

The One You Feed Podcast

The One You Feed Podcast Episode 300: Getting Things Done with Charlie Gilkey

Triggers, by Marshall Goldsmith