Interview with Sarah Knight, author of Get Your Sh*t Together, chatting about mental decluttering as a way to accomplish your goals.
For podcast transcript, scroll down.
SHOW NOTES + LINKS
- Feel awesome on your keto diet with The Keto Bundle
- Try my free 7-day keto meal plan
- Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app
- Check out more from Sarah Knight
- Get Sarah’s book, Get Your Sh*t Together
- Steps for decluttering your mind (15:39)
- Flipping negative thoughts (34:06)
- How to set POWERFUL goals (39:49)
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TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE
Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to episode number 38 of The Keto Diet podcast. If you have little ones around or individuals who you don’t want hearing swear words in this episode, ’cause there are many of them, I highly recommend listening to this episode later or putting your earbuds in before we get started. Today we’re chatting about how to get your shit together, flipping negative thoughts and how to set powerful goals, so stay tuned.
Hey, I’m Leanne from healthfulpursuit.com and this is The Keto Diet Podcast where we’re busting through the restrictive mentality of a traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave. What’s keto? Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar-burning state to becoming fat-burning machines. All listeners of the podcast receive a free seven-day keto meal plan complete with a shopping list and everything you need to chow down on keto for seven whole days. Download your free copy at healthfulpursuit.com/ketomeal. The link will also be in the show notes for today’s episode. Perfect if your daily keto meals have become a bit lackluster, if you’re new to keto and a bit lost when it comes to eating what and how much, or thrive on being guided on what to do and when to do it. Again, that’s healthfulpursuit.com/ketomeal. Let’s get this party started.
Hey guys. Happy Sunday. The show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e38. The transcript is added to the post about three to five days following the initial air date of this episode. That link will also take you to all of the details that we share in today’s episode if there’s links or books or things like that it’ll all be there. Let’s hear from one of our awesome partners before we get started.
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If you have an idea for a podcast episode or you wanted to submit praise over and above the review, which you can leave by going to healthfulpursuit.com/review, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have no announcements for you guys so let’s get right into it. Our guest today, her name is Sarah Knight. She is the internationally best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F*ck, which has been translated into 15 languages and is published in 21 territories worldwide. Her second book, Get Your Sh*t Together, is a continuation of her crusade to promote mental decluttering with a funny, profane twist. She used to live in Brooklyn but now lives in the Dominican Republic and she no longer gives a f*ck about winter.
I had chatted with Sarah, probably at least a year ago, about The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and this was a book that completely changed the game for me. If you don’t already have it I highly recommend checking it out. One of the major takeaways that I took from her book, and it’s actually in my book, The Keto Diet, is that you shouldn’t be surrounding yourself with people you don’t like, doing things you don’t enjoy doing and just being miserable all the time. What The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck allowed me to do is kind of look at all of the areas where I was spending my time, energy, and money and shift those things and get rid of things that just didn’t serve me or didn’t feel well. With her second book, Get Your Sh*t Together, really inspired me to kind of look at, now that I have all this space, what do I actually want to do and how can I declutter and make simple this process of accomplishing things that I’d always set out to do but just couldn’t hit the mark? It’s so much more than just about willpower, it’s developing a strategy and following it all the way through to completion and biting off little pieces.
If you guys have been following Kevin and I on our Explorking blog, that’s explorking.com, where we have combined exploring and working together, Kevin and I are toying around with the idea of actually selling all of our possessions and moving into our RV. Unknowingly, we’ve been doing this get your sh*t together process of just picking apart little things and working on one little bit at a time… you know, fixing up the RV, fixing the things we need to and looking at selling our home and what are the options and do we need to sell our car? Kind of breaking all these pieces down instead of looking at this one big thing, which is moving into an RV, because then all these ideas start to float around in your head like: How are we going to make this work, and doctors appointments, and what if we’re sick or what if the dogs need to go to the vet? I mean there’s a lot of medical stuff that I still need to work through. Just picking apart this project and making it a lot less overwhelming.
While Kevin and I are using this strategy to think about completely changing our lives and flipping upside down, it doesn’t even need to be that complicated. If you’re having a hard time developing goals and trying to understand what you actually want out of life, today’s interview might be helpful for you. If you know what you want but you have no idea how to go about getting it, or you get really overwhelmed or fearful when you think about making even the smallest bit of change, today’s interview is going to be helpful for you on that as well. Without further ado, let’s cut over to the interview and I hope you love it.
Hey Sarah. How’s it going today?
Sarah Knight: It’s going pretty well.
Leanne Vogel: Awesome. For listeners that may not be familiar with your work, why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Sarah Knight: Sure. I did the podcast before and we talked about my first book which was called The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck. Since then I’ve written a second book called Get Your Sh*it Together and I have moved from New York City to the Dominican Republic, which is where I am talking to you from today.
Leanne Vogel: What made you make that choice? When was it and what kind of went into that?
Sarah Knight: My husband and I were really interested in living somewhere tropical. We were tired of New York City, the pace and the weather. When I wrote my first book and I stopped giving so many unnecessary f*cks to things that didn’t make me happy, we realized that you really only get one shot at life and it’s getting shorter every day, so why not just move, take the plunge and do what we always wanted to do? We sold our apartment in New York and we moved down to the DR and we’ve been here full-time since November of last year, although we did spend a few months in 2016 down here getting everything ready and stuff before the big move.
Leanne Vogel: That’s a big deal. Good for you. From the transition of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, how is it different than Getting Your Sh*t Together and how did that come about in your own life?
Sarah Knight: When I wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck it was because I had been really liberated from leaving my corporate job and getting rid of all of the sort of obligations and a lot of anxiety and guilt and unhappiness that was related to that job. The book went over really well, people seemed to really like it, and a lot of people asked me, “How did you do it?” I said, “Well, I got my sh*t together.” It actually turned out to be a really great sequel because both of the books have to do with what I call ‘mental decluttering’. The first step is to discard in the same way if you were decluttering your house you would discard things that you don’t need or that you don’t like or you don’t want.
The second step is to organize what you have left. The first book was really primarily focused on discarding people, relationships, obligations, tasks, things that you don’t give a f*ck about. The second book, Get Your Sh*t Together, is really about organizing what you have left and taking the time, energy and money that you have now conserved and really spending it on the things that make you most excited and doing the things in your life that you really didn’t have, or you didn’t think you had, the time, energy or money to do before.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, so true. In your book you talk about Alvin and the Chipmunks and it’s so funny because as soon as I listened to your book I went to my girlfriend’s house and her son was watching Alvin and the Chipmunks and I was watching just their …
Sarah Knight: Wow.
Leanne Vogel: … It was perfect, it was perfect timing, and watching the way that they are. Can you explain a little bit about who needs to get their sh*t together and how that relates to Alvin and the Chipmunks?
Sarah Knight: Of course. That’s really funny synergy.
Leanne Vogel: Right.
Sarah Knight: I wanted to make it easy for everybody to know, everybody that could possibly be reading the book, that there was something beneficial no matter what kind of person you are. Some people think Get Your Sh*t Together is only aimed at the people who are just a total mess, they don’t know whether they’re coming or going, they never get to anything on time because they don’t even know where the meeting is to begin with. These are the Theodores. They’re lovable, they might be a little bit naïve about what it takes to kind of move and shake in the world. It doesn’t make them bad people but they’re just kind of a disaster.
Then there are also the Alvins, who are the people who kind of … They have it together on the outside, like they’re juggling a bunch of balls but they’re going to drop one eventually and then they’re going to kind of coast on the fact that people like them or they have a pretty good reputation and they’re going to kind of fake it and make it. That’s the Alvin troop.
The Simons are people like me. I think a lot of people I know wouldn’t think, “Sarah Knight needs to get her sh*t together …” because I am very organized and very tidy. I’m a planner, I have everything under control from the outside looking in, but I experience what I call ‘The Deep Sh*t’ which is the last part of the book, which is a lot of the anxiety and the depression and the sort of mental acrobatics that it takes to have everything together 100% of the time. I wanted to give people an understanding that getting your sh*t together isn’t just about going from that Theodore, like everything is a disaster, into becoming somebody who makes to-do lists. It’s really useful for everybody no matter what part of the spectrum they’re on, whether they’re a Theodore, an Alvin or a Simon. That is where that came from.
Leanne Vogel: I loved in the book that you talked about it being more of a state of being and not a character flaw, like if you’re late for every meeting and you don’t even know where the meeting is, by getting your sh*t together you’re just improving your state of being, not that you’re broken to begin with. I really enjoyed that.
Sarah Knight: Exactly. I think it’s really important for people to know that this book isn’t about talking down to them, it’s not about being condescending, it’s not about saying, “You’re a bad person and you need to change.” It’s like, if you want to be more functional, if you want to be more efficient, if you want to spend your time, energy and money on things that are really important to you and move forward in your life instead of being stuck, then that’s how getting your sh*t together works. It’s not about saying you’re a bad person, it’s just about saying, “How could things be better for you in general?”
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. I relate to you as well. I’m a massive overachiever and I have the to-do lists and everyone is always like, “How do you do so much stuff?” In actuality if I’m not careful and I don’t … Well your first book helped me so much. I sat on my floor and I was like, “What do I not give a f*ck about?” I probably say, “I literally don’t give a f*ck about that … ” at least ten times a day.
Sarah Knight: Fantastic.
Leanne Vogel: I’ve said it on stage, it’s in my book. It’s like, “I don’t give a f*ck.” There’s something so liberating about that but still listening to your next book I was like, “Whoa, actually now that I have all this space, what can I do with this space and how can I make this work for me?” Also, I’m that go-getter person and often times there’s a lot of other stuff going on with those go-getter people that you don’t even know are struggling with.
Sarah Knight: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Still waters run deep, they say.
Leanne Vogel: Yes.
Sarah Knight: I really think that you hit upon something. The first book was very liberating. It was liberating for me to write it, it was liberating for people to read it. The second book, Get Your Sh*t Together, is weaponizing. It’s really taking all of this stuff that I teach you throughout the course of the book and just honing in on targets in your life and nailing them. Having what you want, doing what you want, being what you want. I think it’s a natural sequel but it’s also really, I think, inspiring in its own way.
Leanne Vogel: It was a completely natural sequel. When I saw that you came out with the book and I started reading it I was like, “Yes! Yes! Yes! Way to go girl! You got this!” It was perfect, so thank you so much for writing it for all of us.
Sarah Knight: Yeah, well thanks for reading.
Leanne Vogel: More on my interview with Sarah Knight after this message from one of our podcast partners.
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Leanne Vogel: What about the tools for getting your sh*t together? We’ve talked about who needs to get their sh*it together but how?
Sarah Knight: Right.
Leanne Vogel: What do you…
Sarah Knight: What I talk about in the book is, there are really three steps to getting your sh*t together. They’re strategizing, focusing and committing. Everything I’ve ever done in my life, whether it was succeeding in school or quitting my job and starting a business or moving to a foreign country with a totally different language than I speak, all of it has happened because I have strategized, focused and committed. When I talk about the tools for getting your sh*t together, I liken those three things to your keys, phone and wallet. These are three essential life accessories. If you leave the house without one of them, you’re going to have a problem later in the day. The keys are all about your strategy and each key on the ring is one part of your overall plan.
The phone allows you to focus. As we all do, in the 21st century, we make our plans and our calendars on our phone. You can really only do one thing while you’re talking on the phone, you really are focusing.
The wallet symbolizes commitment. Whether that’s financial commitment or just psychological, emotional or physical commitment, that’s really putting your metaphorical money where your mouth is. What I was trying to get across to people is that it’s very simple. If you walk out the door every day with your keys, phone and wallet, you should be able to strategize, focus and commit. Getting your sh*t together just doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think.
Leanne Vogel: What about for people, ’cause those overachievers and the overachiever in me it’s like, “Oh, so I could break everything down and strategize on all the things and have everything done by tomorrow.”
Sarah Knight: Well I don’t recommend that because I actually have a system that I talk about in the book which is turning your to-do list into a must-do list. The reason that that’s helpful for people is people like me who would write everything down and be looking at a 25-item list and thinking they had to get it all done tomorrow either would drive themselves crazy from lack of sleep to actually get it all done, or the Theodores in the room would never even get started because they would just be so overwhelmed by the sheer number of things on the list. I say, don’t actually try to do it all. Make your to-do list. Look at the things by timeline, literally what you have to get done today, and just do those and push the other stuff off until tomorrow.
That’s responsible procrastination. Everybody likes to procrastinate but you’re being rewarded for it. You take a list that has 20 or 25 things and you’re able to reduce it to maybe four or five things or maybe less. I do that myself all the time now when I get a little bit overwhelmed about everything that I have to do. I think, “Wait. What actually has to get done today?” It’s usually only one or two things and then I’m able to calm down and really attack it and not drive myself crazy, and the same goes for people on the opposite end of the chipmunk spectrum, they’re actually able to calm down and do one or two things instead of being overwhelmed by the giant list.
Leanne Vogel: I love that you just said ‘chipmunk spectrum’, like how awesome is that? That’s so great. For example, you moving to Dominican Republic, that must have required some getting your sh*t together strategy.
Sarah Knight: Exactly. Yeah. The thing is, it was a big move. It was a huge life change just to move cities, let alone countries to go to a place that, as I said, the primary language is not English. Totally different lifestyle, culture, systems, government, all of that stuff. We built a house down here so that was … If you’ve ever done even a tiny bit of renovation on an apartment you know how crazy it is to embark on a project as big as building a home. My husband and I just took it one small step at a time. I say that in Get Your Sh*t Together that it’s all about breaking things down into small, manageable chunks.
Yes, moving to the Dominican Republic is a huge thing, but if the first step is booking plane tickets to fly to the Dominican Republic to see if that’s where you want to live, that’s one little step. One day my husband was focused on looking for home loans in order to build the house, obviously we needed some money, and I was focused on learning Spanish. I do that 15 or 30 minutes a day every day. It’s like taking a big, scary, complicated thing and breaking it down into individual items on a to-do list, that become a must-do list, that makes it really possible to make big life changes. It works for small life changes too.
Leanne Vogel: I think it’s very similar to like budgeting, would that be fair? I know that when we want to save up for something and it means something to us we go into our budget and we’re like, “Okay what can we cut?” We just sold our car that was costing us so much money and we weren’t using and so now we have all that extra money that we can put towards things that we care about. You kind of pick away at it, but with money or budgeting, it’s something I do quite frequently, I really like budgeting so if there’s any budgeters out there… When I was reading your book, Sarah, i was thinking, “Oh, okay, so this is similar to what I would do if it’s like I want to save some money every month.” You don’t just, I don’t know, use your credit card less and hope that you’re saving money, you kind of sit down with your budget and you go through like, “What’s our strategy?” Then you focus on ways that you can cut things and then commit to, “Okay, we’re going to do this budget that we now have …” or execute the budget.
Sarah Knight: Yeah, it’s definitely all one and the same. I actually write a lot in the book about not only saving and strategies for saving a little bit every day, instead of looking at one giant sum of money and thinking, “I’m never going to have 10,000 extra dollars.” If you break that down over a period of time, I happen to know that if you save $27.40 every day for a year that makes $10,000 ’cause I did that. Some people would say, “That’s way too much money, I can’t cut $27.40 out of my day every day.” Okay, how much can you cut? Can you cut out three dollars? One dollar, three dollars, five dollars… I actually have tables and charts in the book that show what you can achieve over a period of time if you break it down into small, manageable goals.
For savings it would be a dollar a day, that’s 30 dollars a month and that’s not too shabby if you’re trying to buy something that costs a hundred or two hundred dollars. It’s going to take you three or six months to save up for that. You can scale it so that you can buy a house or buy a car or whatever it is that you want to do. Also, I talk about not just saving but cutting – like cutting out of your budget and saying, “Okay, what can I do without?” That’s really all part of the mental decluttering process is deciding what you really want and need and what you don’t really want and don’t need. If that corresponds to a dollar or three dollars or five dollars a day then you really don’t need that medium frappuccino from Starbucks or venti or whatever the size is that they call it, medium, then don’t buy it and then suddenly at the end of the month you have a hundred dollars’ worth of frappuccinos that you can spend on something else.
Leanne Vogel: Totally. Outside of moving countries or making more money, where do you see this sort of work benefiting people?
Sarah Knight: The idea behind the book is that getting your sh*t together in the process that I’ve laid out, strategizing, focus and commitment, is applicable across the board. You can make big life changes and you can make small life changes. The parts of the book correspond to kind of the level of difficulty so the first part is the small sh*t, which is just learning how to stop procrastinating or to only procrastinate responsibly, like I talked about before. It’s about time management, understanding how long it takes you to do something is really the first step on being on time. If you’re the kind of person who’s always saying, “Yep, I’ll see you in 15 minutes …” and then you get in the shower and it really takes you like 45 minutes to get ready and you’re always late for things, you need to start timing yourself from the minute you step into the shower until the minute you walk out the door so that you understand that it takes you 45 minutes so you need to start earlier.
That’s the small sh*it, which I think has been really revolutionary for a lot of people that I’ve heard from. Then we move into the tough sh*t and then we move on, like I said earlier, to the deep sh*it, which is the mental stuff and the real, the real nitty gritty. Really people can use the steps of Getting Your Sh*t Together and the processes of mental decluttering to make small improvements in their overall life, in their day-to-day life, or to make these big life changes that I talked about.
Leanne Vogel: Where do you see this sort of work, where do you see people getting caught up in … Like we chatted a little bit about overwhelm when you’re looking at the big picture and you can’t cut it down into small pieces, but even the promise of change can be really scary for people. They’re listening to this podcast and they’re like, “Okay, I’m going to get my sh*t together …” and then they’ll look at all their sh*t and they’re like, “Nah, maybe tomorrow.” Where do you see people getting caught up? What’s stopping them from making these changes?
Sarah Knight: Well, I think there are a lot of different things that are stopping different kinds of people. For the Theodores in the crowd a lot of it is just overwhelming, they don’t know where to begin. For people like myself, for the Simons, it’s more of anxiety and fear and being worried that if you make this big change you’re going to somehow upend your entire life and you’re going to have ruined your life because you made this big change and took this risk or whatever. I talk about in both of my books that it’s really important to: A) Stop giving a f*ck about and stop caring about things that you can’t control so that you can get your sh*t together and make the stuff that you can control happen. When it comes to just anxiety and fear, it is … I am preaching a little bit of mind over matter and I know that that is not going to work for everybody, but it’s what has worked for me to really say to myself, “You can’t control … You have no idea what the future looks like unless you make this decision and then live it.”
If I had sat in my living room in Brooklyn and been too anxious and afraid to move to a foreign country where I didn’t know anybody and didn’t speak the language, I never would have done it. I had to say, “Well, you’re never going to know until you try.” When you go and do it if you keep the steps of getting your sh*t together in mind, that’s how you handle the challenges that arise from the consequences of the decision that you made. I get here and I have this house now and that’s so great, but I’ve never had more than a 900 square foot apartment, so there’s a lot of stuff that happens with a house that you don’t know. People who live in suburbia probably know. My parents probably know this, but my husband and I were faced with a lot of new challenges with plumbing and with the water system and the septic system and crazy giant spiders in the house because we live in the jungle now. We had to strategize, focus and commit to fixing all of those little problems along the way.
Leanne Vogel: Good for you guys. That’s like my dream. Working on it, slowly but surely. Strategizing, focusing and committing for the next little bit. I really think when you make those big life choices and, I mean that’s a big deal moving countries or selling your house or these big things, or quitting your job. I remember when I got back from living in India for a while I came back and I was like, “You know what? I’ve just got to quit my job. It doesn’t make me feel good. Yeah, the money’s great but I just can’t do it anymore. I just can’t do this.”
Sarah Knight: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Leanne Vogel: I just thought, “What’s the worst thing that can happen? I know that I am able to find another job. I will be okay. Worst thing that can happen, I’ll have to work at Starbucks for a couple of months until I figure it out and it’ll mean maybe I’ll have to sell my car or do these things, but the cost of almost not doing it is more …” to me anyway, when I look at that stuff.
Sarah Knight: Oh, I definitely agree. I definitely agree.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah.
Sarah Knight: I think that there’s definitely a bigger conversation or a different conversation to be had around all of this about privilege.
Leanne Vogel: Yes.
Sarah Knight: It’s very easy for me, and seemingly for you, to say, “Well, if it doesn’t work out I will be able to get a different job, do something else to earn money, sell something to keep myself afloat for a while.” I do understand that not everybody has that ability and so I tried in both of my books to really make them universally applicable for people so that, like I said, if you can’t save 27 dollars a day but you can save one dollar a day, start there. Start small and keep your goal in mind and get your sh*t together is all about setting goals and achieving them. They can be tiny goals or they can be giant goals but the idea is that anybody who can identify a goal can achieve it with these three steps.
I hear from a lot of people every day that have read the book and really are confirming for me the fact that you can do this sort of no matter where you are in your life and what kind of life that you have. Obviously there are extremes on one end or the other but I think that that’s really important too is to talk about. Getting your sh*t together doesn’t have to mean building a house and moving to a tropical island, it can just mean managing your family budget better. It can mean finishing school. It can mean making time for your friends. There are aspects in the book that deal with stuff that isn’t really, goals that aren’t financial or career-oriented or anything like that but are really about maintaining relationships. Hopefully there’s a lot of ground covered that anybody can kind of find their way into and be able to fix whatever it is that’s going on in their life that they want to fix.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, ’cause oftentimes I know you can just say, “I want to do this thing …” and it’ll stay in your mind but you won’t really sit down and figure out, “How am I going to do it?” Let’s strategize, focus and commit on this, even so much as more self-care.
Sarah Knight: Yeah.
Leanne Vogel: How am I going to just spend more time taking care of myself, whether that be a walk … If you don’t sit down and kind of figure out how you’re going to do it, how do you expect it to actually happen?
Sarah Knight: Yeah. I talk about that later in the book where I say you have to lobby for your hobby. I really believe that people need to treat their recreational time, whether that’s a bubble bath or a horseback riding lesson, as something that is as important as the stuff they ‘have to do’. If you need to schedule in time for self-care, schedule it in. Don’t say, as I did for 30+ years, “I’ll do that when I have time. I’ll do that when I have time …” because you’re never going to have the time unless you make the time. It sounds a little bit cliché but it really is true that if you feel like you need to spend more time relaxing or doing something that makes you feel good that isn’t money-making, that isn’t about your job or about parenting or whatever you have to do during the day, you need to set aside the time. That’s where the focus comes in. You just do one thing at a time. One hour, half an hour a day or every other day spent doing something that rejuvenates you so that you then have more energy to tackle the other stuff.
Leanne Vogel: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I’m curious, the e-mails that you’re getting, what sort of things are people accomplishing? What are they sharing with you? I’m just so curious to hear.
Sarah Knight: It’s a huge, huge spectrum. Some people say they decided that they were going to quit their job. Some people say they decided to go back to school. Some people say they created a family budget and were able to go and take their kids on a really fun vacation that they never thought they’d be able to do. Some people have gotten their sh*t together to get out of relationships. I’ve gotten some really interesting e-mails from people who said that they ended a romantic relationship because of reading this book and they finally mustered up the energy to deal with it. It really does seem to run the gamut.
Leanne Vogel: That’s so cool and amazing that you get to do this work and kind of share what you did to get your life, to create your life and that you can help others kind of guide them through doing the same. That’s awesome.
Sarah Knight: Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
Leanne Vogel: More on my interview with Sarah Knight after this message from one of our podcast partners.
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Leanne Vogel: Where do you feel like negative thinking comes into all of this because I know a lot of people listening, you’ll get going on this goal and you’ll be like, “Yeah, I’m going to do it. I’ve strategized, I’m focused, I’m committed …” and then almost like that doppelganger comes in and this negative voice that says, “You can’t do this. Good luck.” How do you approach that?
Sarah Knight: I actually … I’m a fan of negative thinking so in the book I talk about the power of negative thinking. A lot of people, whether they are self-help gurus or readers of self-help, they have this idea that it’s about aspirational living and thinking about how great your life will be when you get to this point, whether you’re richer or thinner or tidier. I actually find it much more motivating to focus on the negative and say I don’t want to be broke, fat and messy in the here and now. I say in the book that the power of negative thinking is to look yourself in the mirror, literally or figuratively, and say, “Something has to change. I hate my job. I hate my boyfriend. I hate being broke all the time. I hate buying pants three sizes bigger than I bought them when I was in college …” or whatever it is, and really making a plan, a strategy, to turn that part of your life around.
I kind of liken it to, if you’re always chasing after these pretty butterflies that are out of reach and you don’t know what it’s going to be like when you catch one but they look so pretty floating around there, for me it’s more like stamping a cockroach that’s on the floor right in front of you and getting rid of it. Anyway, I have found the power of negative thinking to be very motivational for me. I’m not really good at aspirational thoughts so much as I am at fixing the bullsh*t that’s happening right now.
Leanne Vogel: Okay. Amazing. Let’s say when you were going through the process of moving, did you ever have this moment of, “You can’t do this. Are you crazy? You’re going to lose everything.” Whatever that story is, how do you deal with those negative stories? You’re just like, “Bring it on. I’ll prove you wrong.” What’s your …
Sarah Knight: Yeah. What I try to do is just look at what’s currently happening in my life that makes me unhappy. For example, my job, my corporate day job, which was a career that I had been in for 15 years was just making me so unhappy on a daily basis. I hated commuting. I hated having to work in a very regimented kind of 9 to 5 zone when my brain doesn’t really work very well before noon. I hated corporate diplomacy. I hated being in a million meetings every week just talking about stupid, stupid sh*t that never got solved because there was so much office politics going on. Yes, the idea of quitting and starting … Not even just quitting to get a different job but to start my own business and become a freelancer, was totally terrifying. That’s the reason why I didn’t do it for the previous five years.
It got to the point that I was so unhappy every day that it made more sense to get rid of the thing that was making me unhappy, which was my job, than it did to hold onto it out of fear of what might come next. Does that sort of explain … Does that answer your question?
Leanne Vogel: Totally it does.
Sarah Knight: I let the negative part drive me forward rather than allowing fear and anxiety to hold me back.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, so it’s really becoming present. Instead of your brain going crazy about, “What if? What if when you get there all these problems …” You’re like, “No, this is what’s happening right now so let’s just focus on this instead of worrying about what hasn’t happened.”
Sarah Knight: My feeling is that whatever happens next, you can address it by strategizing, focusing and committing. Like I said, if something … If another bad or challenging or annoying thing happens, then you can use the tools of Getting Your Sh*t Together to address that when it happens, but you don’t have to have been afraid of it for no good reason.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. I’m really good at making up stories of things that might happen but never do. I must spend, oh my gosh, probably an hour every day of coming up with problems that don’t exist to solve them before they happen. It’s such a waste of time. I totally needed to hear that, so thank you.
Sarah Knight: You’re welcome. I’m definitely familiar with that way of thinking and I catch myself doing it still and I have to say, “Hey, what are you doing? Again, you’re spending all this time and energy on problems that don’t exist yet.” I do think that part of what makes me a successful person has to do with being able to plan ahead and think of different scenarios that might happen and have a contingency in mind for each of them. That is something that can easily get out of hand and it sounds like you’ve experienced that as well. I just think, “Sure, plan ahead. Be aware of your surroundings and what might happen if you tip over this particular domino …” but don’t become consumed by these ‘what if’ scenarios because it really does come back to what I talked about in The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, which is your f*ck bucks that form your f*ck budget are limited, they are finite and you only have so much time, energy and money.
Don’t spend your time and energy coming up with these scenarios and spending two hours laying awake at night wondering what’s going to happen if you do this. Do the thing and then either it’ll work out or it won’t. If it works out, great, and if it doesn’t you can worry about it then.
Leanne Vogel: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Brilliant. Is there anything else that you feel like I missed when it comes to Getting Your Sh*t Together and the process of that and the concept behind it that you want to share with our listeners today?
Sarah Knight: The book, as I said, is really about setting goals and achieving them. When I was writing it my editor said, “Okay, but how do I set a goal?” He kept kind of coming back to this point of, “You’re talking about how you achieve the goals, but what if I don’t even know how to set a goal?” This was kind of crazy to me because I thought, “How does anybody not know how to set a goal? You’re like, what’s wrong with my life? Why is it happening? Here’s how I’m going to fix it.” He said, “Well, that’s actually a really good way to explain it.”
The one extra thing I would say to people is that in Get Your Sh*t Together I write about what I call the ‘Why Method for Setting Goals’. If you’re kind of feeling stuck or you’re unhappy for whatever reason and you haven’t sat down to think about it, you just feel stuck or disappointed or unhappy, you ask yourself, “What’s wrong with my life?” Maybe the answer is, “I run out of money every month. I’m always in the red at the end of the month.” Okay, so then you ask yourself, “Why? Well, my rent is too expensive. I buy too many shoes. I shouldn’t have impulse-bought those concert tickets last month that I’m still paying off on my credit card.” When you ask yourself, “What’s wrong with my life …” and you ask yourself, “Why …” the answer leads you to your goal. Stop buying so many shoes. Move to a cheaper apartment. Don’t impulse buy concert tickets on your credit card that you know you can’t afford.
That’s really where the whole process of Getting Your Sh*t Together starts is setting those goals and then achieving them. I thought it was very obvious in my own head but I was instructed that it is not obvious to everybody so I think hopefully that is a piece of the puzzle that I have been able to kind of illuminate for people, which is just how easy it is to set a goal and how relatively easy it is to achieve it if you break it down into small manageable chunks.
Leanne Vogel: Hmm. Brilliant. Where can people find you?
Sarah Knight: They can find all of the information about my books and all of my published articles and interviews and podcast links at sarahknightauthor.com. They can find me on Twitter and Instagram and medium.com, where I do a lot of writing, at the handle MCSnugz, and I’m pretty prolific on Twitter and Instagram so hopefully people will find that entertaining. There’s also a really cool thing that I did since last time we spoke which I gave a TEDx talk on The Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and that video is on my website and you can find it … It’s also on my Instagram, links and everything, and that’s a good 12-minute kind of introduction to The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, which forms the basis for both of the books and for the concept of mental decluttering.
Leanne Vogel: That is awesome. Congratulations on the talk. That’s great. I’m going to watch it. I didn’t know that existed so I can’t wait to check it out.
Sarah Knight: Yeah, I just did it in March and the video came out just about six weeks ago. I haven’t actually checked in the last couple of days but we were past 750,000 views so I think we’re going to hit the million mark …
Leanne Vogel: Whoa.
Sarah Knight: … That would be pretty amazing.
Leanne Vogel: Congratulations.
Sarah Knight: Yeah.
Leanne Vogel: That’s so great. That’s so good. A lot of people need to hear your message and I hope that you being on the show today helped with that and got more people interested in your work. I’ll include links to your books and your website that you shared and a bunch of different things in the show notes for today’s episode …
Sarah Knight: Fantastic.
Leanne Vogel: … Which can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e38. Thanks so much for coming on the show today Sarah, I really appreciate it.
Sarah Knight: Yeah. Thanks for having me back.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah. You bet.
That does it for another episode of The Keto Diet Podcast. Thanks for listening in. You can follow me on Instagram by searching healthfulpursuit where you’ll find daily keto eats and other fun things. Check out all of my keto supportive programs, bundles, guides and other cool things over at healthfulpursuit.com/shop. I’ll see you next Sunday. Bye.