A+ Method™ – Step #2: Aware
The second step in the A+ Method™ is possibly most important step of the entire feedback loop: Awareness. This step is so important that it can also be practiced outside of the A+ Method™ on it’s own.
Awareness is the step that very few people consider when they set goals or make life changes. And yet, without awareness, our ability to truly integrate a new goal or change into our life experience becomes limited.
After completing the Acceptance step to learn how to view our current circumstances with compassion, many people want to jump right into to making a change. However, without increasing our awareness, we limit our ability to understand what change is uniquely right for us!
Each health journey is completely unique to the individual. Therefore, once we increase our sense of self-acceptance, we are able to observe our behavior without judgement. In the Awareness step of the A+ Method™, we learn to observe our behavior, emotions, and habits with acceptance. This step naturally facilitates insights that we quickly identify as our most efficient health habits. These new habits usually create a domino effect of other healthy habits in our lives.
Awareness in Practice
Let’s say that Matt is a highly ranked executive who wants to have more energy and lose some weight. He does an A+ Method Assessment and realizes that every night he gets up to go to the bathroom and checks his phone. Because he’s a really busy guy, he usually has an email or two that he feels obligated to respond to, and it’s a while before he can return to sleep. He accepts that he feels a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed, and he acknowledges that guys in high-ranking positions often feel this way.
The Awareness step of the A+ Method™ asks Matt to try to be aware of how he feels physically and emotionally when he feels compelled to reach for his phone at night. Matt tries to be aware the first night, and he realizes that he feels physically tense in his shoulders, with an emotional sense of foreboding about what work mess he’ll have to deal with next. The next night he tries it again, and he has the same tension and the same emotional sense of foreboding.
With this awareness, Matt is able to realize that it isn’t enough to just stop looking at his phone at night. He has to learn techniques to reduce the stress he carries around from work. If he had tried to simply commit to not looking at his phone, Matt might have felt even more stressed because he would have denied the deeply negative emotional pressure to succeed that he was experiencing. He would have pushed his emotions aside to exert self-control, instead of feeling his emotions and trying to manage them directly.
After Matt develops an awareness of how his work stress feels physiologically and emotionally, he is now able to use techniques, such as deep breathing, to calm himself when he’s feeling work stress. He begins to dig deeper into why he feels the pressure to succeed. This helps him both at night on his phone, and in the office. Without the Awareness step, Matt could have have tried and failed to make a positive change in his life because he was attempting to use sheer willpower instead of listening to the needs and experiences of his body and mind.
Your Response Matters
So before making a commitment to change, take time to become aware of how your current circumstances are making you feel and determine what you can do to respond to them differently before you commit to a new habit. That’s the next step: Adapt.
Need ideas on how you can improve your awareness and better respond to stress?