The Happiest Lives Podcast

E14: Why You Do What You Do

August 04, 2023 Jill M. Lillard, MA LPC Season 2023 Episode 14
E14: Why You Do What You Do
The Happiest Lives Podcast
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The Happiest Lives Podcast
E14: Why You Do What You Do
Aug 04, 2023 Season 2023 Episode 14
Jill M. Lillard, MA LPC

This episode is part of the four-part series on Being & Doing.  You will learn why we do certain things and why we may not do what we want to do.  I introduce The Heart Scan Process as a way of gaining a deeper understanding of your life and creating change. You will discover:

  • Relatable examples of clients who are unhappy with their actions not aligning with their values and not achieving desired results.
  • Four parts of Heart Scanning: Expose, Renew, Engage, and Press On.
  • The Self-Coaching Model is introduced as a tool to analyze problems and break them down into five components: circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, and results.
  • Circumstances are things outside of our control, while thoughts, feelings, actions, and results can be controlled.
  • Trusting in God's sovereignty over circumstances is discussed.
  • The importance of awareness of our thoughts and how they create feelings and fuel actions is emphasized.
  • The relationship between thoughts, feelings, actions, and results is explained.
  • The process of doing a Thought Capture is introduced as a way to observe and analyze our thoughts and feelings.
  • The importance of approaching this process with grace instead of judgment is emphasized.
  • The benefits of exposing hidden thoughts and feelings are discussed, including the ability to consciously decide how to deal with them.
  • The connection between hiding and being unable to experience God's presence is mentioned.
  • The podcast emphasizes examining our hearts and emotions for sustainable change rather than relying solely on external actions.


If you are ready to become the woman God says you already are, you have to join me in Clarity+Courage, my cost-effective coaching group for Christian women.

Learn more and enroll at www.myhappyvault.com/clarityandcourage

Questions? Email Jill directly at Jill@thehappiestlives.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This episode is part of the four-part series on Being & Doing.  You will learn why we do certain things and why we may not do what we want to do.  I introduce The Heart Scan Process as a way of gaining a deeper understanding of your life and creating change. You will discover:

  • Relatable examples of clients who are unhappy with their actions not aligning with their values and not achieving desired results.
  • Four parts of Heart Scanning: Expose, Renew, Engage, and Press On.
  • The Self-Coaching Model is introduced as a tool to analyze problems and break them down into five components: circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, and results.
  • Circumstances are things outside of our control, while thoughts, feelings, actions, and results can be controlled.
  • Trusting in God's sovereignty over circumstances is discussed.
  • The importance of awareness of our thoughts and how they create feelings and fuel actions is emphasized.
  • The relationship between thoughts, feelings, actions, and results is explained.
  • The process of doing a Thought Capture is introduced as a way to observe and analyze our thoughts and feelings.
  • The importance of approaching this process with grace instead of judgment is emphasized.
  • The benefits of exposing hidden thoughts and feelings are discussed, including the ability to consciously decide how to deal with them.
  • The connection between hiding and being unable to experience God's presence is mentioned.
  • The podcast emphasizes examining our hearts and emotions for sustainable change rather than relying solely on external actions.


If you are ready to become the woman God says you already are, you have to join me in Clarity+Courage, my cost-effective coaching group for Christian women.

Learn more and enroll at www.myhappyvault.com/clarityandcourage

Questions? Email Jill directly at Jill@thehappiestlives.com

Speaker 1:

You are listening to the Happiest Lives podcast with Jill Lillard, episode number 14. Welcome to the Happiest Lives podcast, where you'll learn to think better, feel better and become the woman God says you already are. Here's your host, jill Lillard. Hello everyone, let's do it. Let's talk about why you do what you do. If you want to do things you aren't doing, then to start doing them, you need to understand why you aren't doing them already and why you're doing what you currently are doing.

Speaker 1:

I often have clients who come see me because they aren't happy with how they're showing up in their life. They're discouraged and some feel defeated because their actions aren't lining up with their values. They aren't getting the results that they want in their life because they're not doing the things that are going to create those results. Just this week I had a client frustrated that she wasn't going to the gym like she wanted, but instead she found herself lying in bed scrolling on her phone in the morning. Another client was constantly questioning a decision she made so much that she was not sleeping well and she found herself getting really short and grumpy with her family and she was beating herself up against this about all of this. But another client felt guilty because she was yelling at her kids and she felt like this was just happening against her will, because she felt like she just couldn't stop herself. Each of these clients was at a loss of how to change.

Speaker 1:

A tool that I use with all my coaching clients, i use it with my therapy clients, i use it in my coaching groups and it is the process of doing a heart scan. I love the heart scan because it helps you learn to think like I think, to think like a trained clinician. That way, you are able to learn how to approach problems when you have them. The heart scan is going to help you look at a problem so that you have a deeper understanding of what's going on. It's going to help you constrain and focus so that you're not going this way and that way and spinning in a circle when you're trying to solve a problem or you're trying to process through your pain. It's going to help you gain insight so that you can create change. It's going to help you figure out why you're doing what you're doing. The four parts of this process of heart scanning are expose, renew, engage and press on To expose the problem and renew it. I like to use this linear format that the Life Coach School uses the self-coaching model. It's basically cognitive behavioral therapy. It includes the five components of circumstances thoughts, feelings, actions and results. We use it. We organize it in a way where we're just going to plug in a problem. We're going to break down the parts and identify which of those five things the part of the problem fits into so that we can look at it.

Speaker 1:

In your life you have circumstances. These are factual, everybody would agree. Everything that is happening outside of you, including the words people are saying, the things that they're doing, the things they're not doing that is the circumstance in your life. These are the only things in your life you cannot control. You can't control the weather. You can't control how other people are behaving or acting, as much as you would like to The rest of the components of the model your thoughts, feelings, actions and results you can control those.

Speaker 1:

If you feel like life is happening to you and everything is out of your control. That is simply not true. 80% of the problem is in your control. Only one out of the five parts is off the table for you. You can't control the circumstances. You may be able to influence it.

Speaker 1:

However, god is in control. He is sovereign over all circumstances. So, though we all have free will, other people have free will and that's going to influence our circumstance. We can trust that God is sovereign over all. He is allowing things to happen. He's allowing people to have free will, and they may not always make the decisions we want them to make, and we may think they need to make decisions that they don't feel inclined to make, but when we trust the Lord, we can trust Him with the circumstances of our life, knowing He has a plan in and for it all.

Speaker 1:

So, though we can't change circumstances like our past, the past is done and over, it's already happened. We can't change the weather. You may have an event planned for outdoors and then a storm comes, even though the weatherman told you it wasn't going to. We can't affect that. We went through a pandemic, there was a virus that we were experiencing in this world. We can't affect sometimes even things that are happening in our body sickness. We cannot control all the people. You can't control your husband. You can't control your kids, the words they say, the things they do.

Speaker 1:

However, instead of putting all of our energy into the circumstance that we can't control, we can route our energy, we can focus on what we are thinking, feeling, doing and the result that our actions are creating. That is our responsibility. We are in charge of that. This is the beauty of free will. Now, when other people get free will and don't do the things we want them to do. We don't like the free will, but it feels pretty good that we are free to make decisions and think what we want and do what we want, that we get that choice. We're not robots. We get a choice in the matter.

Speaker 1:

So your thoughts they include your assessments, your opinions, your beliefs about a circumstance. Your brain is like a filter. It takes in the factual information and your mind is thinking something about it. It is a signing meaning, and then your brain releases a chemical cascade which I call a feeling, and a feeling is going to fuel all your actions, all the things you do and don't do it, and those actions. The sum of those actions is a result.

Speaker 1:

So often many of us aren't even aware of what we are thinking. We are just reacting to life. We are having thoughts that we're not even aware of, they're in our unconsciousness And we are acting on default mode. We're feeling things as though it's all just happening, as though we have no choice. We may feel like a victim of our circumstances and situation. It's a helpless, powerless feeling, and so we're doing things that we don't want to do because we don't even know the thoughts that we're thinking that are creating the feelings, that are fueling the actions.

Speaker 1:

So it's important to know what you are thinking, because your thoughts create your feelings And everything you do in your life really it's just to feel a certain way. We want to experience a certain result, we want to reach a certain goal, we want to have something because we think it's going to create a feeling for us. So if your feelings are caused by your thoughts and everything you do in life is to feel better, don't you want to know what you're thinking So you can learn how to think on purpose and generate new feelings? Those feelings do matter. They are so important because they're fueling your actions and your feeling is really, as I said earlier, it's what you end up pursuing. It's kind of what you're going after. So when I ask you, why did you eat that whole basket of chips last night? So maybe you're asking yourself that question Why do you keep shutting down with your husband? Why do I keep shutting down with my husband, why can't I get my house clean? Why am I yelling at my kids? It's because of the way you feel. Your feelings are driving your actions and your actions are creating the result you are experiencing in your life. Okay, so here's a recap. Something happens. That's a circumstance. You have a thought about it. The thought is a sentence in your head that assigns meaning to the circumstance. That sentence creates your feelings and the feelings fuel your actions and your actions create your results.

Speaker 1:

I had a client whose husband. He criticized a decision she made. Okay, so he said some words. This is a circumstance that she is experiencing. She made his words mean something. She had a thought. There was a sentence in her head and it was I cannot be myself. The feeling this thought created for her was fear. She felt afraid and when she was feeling afraid thinking she couldn't be herself her actions were that she started questioning herself. She was walking on eggshells around him. She started worrying about the relationship. She found herself giving into self-righteous anger and pulling away from him and dealing with things on her own.

Speaker 1:

Now, before she came into coaching, she was doing these things, but she was not conscious of why she was behaving this way. She hadn't pinpointed the thought and the feeling that we're fueling these actions, but now she could see the cause of her actions. The reason she was doing what she was doing was because of what she was believing about his words and how that made her feel. The sum of all those actions were that she couldn't be herself. This was her unintentional model. She could fill in the blanks by separating the parts of her problem and this helped her see why she was doing the things she was doing, rather than trying to show up differently by forcing new actions. She now had a deeper understanding of what was going on in her heart and she could do the deeper work required for real change. She had done the first part of heart scanning in that session. We did that first part the exposing and the next step would be to renew, engage and press on The next step of the renewing. We would create a new intentional model.

Speaker 1:

What determines what we think? If my thoughts are driving everything, then I need to know what I am thinking. I also need to know how to change my thoughts and what I want to think on purpose If my thoughts aren't getting me the results that I am wanting? I want to find some new thoughts. As believers, we willingly choose to believe God's word. That's part of that decision that we make as we enter a relationship with Him, and that decision is made by exposing, by bringing our heart, our behavior, our thinking, our feeling all of that into the light and we choose to believe the truth of the gospel. That's how we enter that relationship. It starts with our mind. The Bible then becomes our source of truth and we look to it for direction on how to think about our life and how to live. We know that God's ways are the best ways, and if they are the best, then that's what we want to align our hearts with our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. So we want to take captive any thoughts that are not serving us and thoughts that are not glorifying the Lord in building up the body. However, if you don't know what the thoughts actually are that are running on the back burner of your life, how can you take them captive? You have to be able to witness your own thinking and own it, and I think a lot of times people are afraid to look at what they're thinking as though it's making it more of a reality, even though it's already happening. So to observe your mind.

Speaker 1:

I teach my clients the process of doing a thought capture, and you can do that too. It's basically freeriding, so you can get the thoughts from outside of you on paper. You can just freeride, you can bullet point all the thoughts that you're thinking and once you write them down, we can look at them and you will be able to see the relationship between your thoughts, feelings and actions. As we pull one thought from that download and we put it inside an unintentional model. As you do this, it's really important to bring grace into this process Rather than judgment and condemnation. We're not looking at all of these things to judge yourself, and that is why I always invite the Holy Spirit to search my heart. I invite him into the process and I know that he will convict me, but I know his presence is kind and it is full of grace.

Speaker 1:

Many of you may be journalers. You like to journal, you like to write, and that really is what thought capturing is. We just take it a step further. You might dump all your thoughts and feelings onto paper, and sometimes that alone may bring relief, as it's no longer just unexposed sentences racing in your head. This is often what happens in therapy You come in and you free talk to capture all the thoughts and feelings, as someone sits beside you and helps you look at them. Your coach or therapist, then, is going to help you look at your thoughts. They're going to help you constrain and focus by asking you questions that allow you to become an observer of your life.

Speaker 1:

When we thought capture, it's the equivalent of turning on the lights in a dark room as we expose all that is hiding. We aren't creating anything that isn't already there. We're just bringing it into the light and looking at the eyeballs so we can consciously decide what we want to do with it. So if there's dust in a room, by turning on the lights we're not creating the dust, we're just exposing the dust to the dirt, the clutter that is already there. And so for some people this is really uncomfortable. They would rather just turn the lights off and pretend the stuff's not there, and they may want to just stay in this place of unawareness, of unconsciousness, and I think that's really unfortunate, because when we hide in the dark, when we turn off the lights, when we don't look at it, we aren't able to live in the light. This is what Adam and Eve did after they sinned. They hid in the bushes, even though God himself already saw everything. The hiding kept them from experiencing God's presence. In hiding, we become prisoners of ourselves.

Speaker 1:

The path to our salvation and our continual sanctification becoming more like Christ it begins with this exposing what is hidden. It requires repentance, honesty and turning toward the Lord. We can't do that when we're unwilling to look honestly at our hearts. If you ever try to change your actions without examining your mind and emotions, you will find that change is very difficult. In the church we call this legalism. It is following rules and regulations without examining your heart and there's a disconnect there. It bypasses any sort of relationship with yourself or with the Holy Spirit. It's not. This sort of change is not life-giving and it's very hard to sustain because you're working against your thoughts and feelings.

Speaker 1:

This is why, when I work with couples who want better relationships, i don't start with some suggested actions. Rather, i teach them this process of doing a heart scan so they can create new actions from new thoughts and new feelings. This is the only way that we're going to experience real change. When you discover the thought and the feeling that is fueling your actions, then you can work on changing your thoughts and feelings, which will make changing the action so much easier. At the heart of the work is willingness and a relationship. It's very relational work. You are having a relationship and becoming aware of the relationship between your thoughts, your feelings and your actions, so that's very integrated. Rather than this being this incongruence or the separation, you're coming into this relationship and knowing of what's going on in yourself, and so that's going to feel more congruent and you're stepping into this relationship with the Lord as you invite him into that process. So everything that I learn in psychology and behavioral sciences, i like to put it under the light of Scripture. So all these cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and insights, i want to ask what does the Bible say about this And what does the Bible say about this topic?

Speaker 1:

What does the Bible tell us about why we do what we do? Is this consistent? And as I studied, i boiled this down to just four things, four observations in Scripture about why we do what we do. Number one We read in Luke 12-34, matthew 6-21 and many other places that everything you do flows from your heart. Proverbs 4-23 tells us above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Your heart, which is your mind, will and emotions, is where all your actions come from. It's telling us the same thing.

Speaker 1:

A second thing the Bible tells us about our actions is that sin and conflict arise from the fallen nature of mankind. So selfish desires, pride and worldly thinking drive our sinful, unloving behaviors. James 4, 1-2, reads What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires, that battle within you? You desire, but you do not have. So you kill, you covet, but you cannot get what you want. So you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. Also, romans 7, 15, i do not understand what I do, for what I want to do, i do not do, but what I hate, i do.

Speaker 1:

It later tells us that it is not our redeemed self doing these things, but it is the sin living in us. So, though we've been saved, there is still this battle of the flesh and spirit and we continually have to work out what God has already done in us. And, as Philippians reminds us, we are not working for our salvation, because that's impossible. We are working from our salvation. This leads us to the third principle Examine your heart and make sure your thoughts and your desires align with the Lord's. And this is where we will use the renew you know of how we renew our minds and we create our new intentional model, which we're not going into all of that today. But Galatians 3, 1 and 2 tells us Since then you have been raised with Christ. Set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. Also, 1 Timothy 6, 17 encourages us to anchor our hearts and God, recognizing that He is the ultimate source of provision and satisfaction.

Speaker 1:

The last thing, my fourth observation, that the Bible tells us about our actions, is that we should repent and rely on the Spirit rather than the flesh. So you can think of that battle between the flesh and the spirit. Oftentimes I see that as your unintentional model, what you are thinking just on default. And then there's your intentional model, which can be the Spirit, right, the flesh and the Spirit. We have to choose one to feed one. Galatians 5, 16 and 17,. So I say Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh, for the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh? They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. This means, as believers, we submit our thinking to the authority of Scripture and the Spirit. We do this by our free will. This working of renewing our minds requires us to engage with the Holy Spirit. We participate in the work He does for us. It requires our willingness and, as we do, we learn how to press on and take new actions despite unwanted feelings and beliefs that no longer serve us. This is the process of change, one that is found in the relationship with Jesus.

Speaker 1:

The heart scan. I think it's just fun. It is so helpful. You know, god gives us tools, he gives us medicine, he gives us interesting ways we can explore the world, we can create cars and we can learn how to fix cars, and we can learn how to cook and watch cooking shows, and there's all sorts of different things that we can do. We can study science, we can study how He has created us, and I think that's part of what the heart scan process is. It's understanding this relationship of the components and the parts that God has put within us, and I think it's a really fun tool to use to help create some life-giving relationships with yourself, with the Lord and with other people.

Speaker 1:

The Holy Spirit, he's the one who changes us, he's the one who works in us and He gives us these tools So as we persevere and work out our salvation and change our actions, we start in our minds, our emotions and our will, and we invite His Spirit into that process. So I love to do this work in group coaching. I believe that is another tool that the Lord can use to help us step in the light, developing a relationship with ourselves and Him, and we can do that in the context of other people. When we're in a group and doing this very authentic, deep heart work, it reminds us that we're not alone on the journey And as you watch other people get coached, your personal defenses are down And so you're open to seeing something you might not otherwise see, and we move from having a very looking at our individual problem, maybe feeling isolated, where we kind of just become really self-centered and focused on our self And in a sense, our self becomes the center of it all, to a place where we view ourselves as part of the greater whole, where Jesus is the life-giving center.

Speaker 1:

So, in summary, why you do what you do? it is because of what you're thinking, what you're feeling, and so your circumstances are neutral, but you're gonna have thoughts that create feelings and those feelings are gonna fuel your actions. So that is enough for today. I feel like we put a lot out there. I hope you enjoyed it. It's been my pleasure to be here with you and show you what I teach all my clients inside Clarity Encourage Coaching. I hope that you can join us there and I hope that I even get to meet you. I'll talk to you again soon. Bye.

Understanding Your Actions Through Heart Scanning
Heart Scanning for Real Change
The Power of Thoughts and Feelings