C.R.A.P.

We’ve all heard of VISION BOARDS. Some of us may have heard a whispering of an ACCOMPLISHMENT BOARD. How many of us have ever in their lives heard of developing a CRAP BOARD? Not me. In my quest for gathering knowledge to gain an understanding of my personal quest for manifestation, I came across an Entrepreneur by the name of John Assaraf.

He tells this story of his path to success and of course gives directives on how you too can obtain your own personal success story and satisfied wealth. Part of those directives was the creation of the C.R.A.P. Board.

Conflicts Resistances Anxieties Procrastinations

  1. On a single sheet of paper write down at least 20 of your limiting beliefs, worries, fears, weaknesses, doubts, real or imaginary.

  2. Deeply relax and ask your intuition what else you should add to the list.

  3. Then add all the weakness that you believe other people would say you have.

  4. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and exhale through your mouth three times.

  5. As you feel yourself relax, and gaze at the paper in front of you.

  6. Don’t judge anything you see. Just observe it like any other object in the room.

  7. As you gaze, yawn slowly.

  8. If you are comfortable doing so gently stroke your hands and arms. This helps to stimulate areas in the brain relating to your self-confidence.

  9. Turn off your negativity.


MEL ROBBINS – The 5-Second Rule

For many people just saying the word CRAP provokes all manner of emotions and feelings and we can be quick to judge. I must confess that when I first came across the C.R.A.P. Board, I was in a very dark place and the name jumped out at me in that darkness and felt like a breath of fresh air. Yes, I do feel CRAP, and it felt good to say it and to write it all out and explore what exactly felt crap and then more importantly work out what I could and couldn’t control about my situation and take action to fix what I could.


Although the letters stand for Conflict, Resistances, Anxieties and Procrastination, the humor in the name wasn’t lost on me. It was exactly what I needed at a time when I was ready to make a change. Thank you, Mark Waldman. Below is my adaptation of the CRAP Board exercise (adapted with Mark’s blessing!)


The C.R.A.P. Board: (Adapted version for Our Life Out Loud)

C.R.A.P:

Conflicts: Could be a conflict with a person, a value, a situation or even with ourselves. Resistances: What holds us back from being a better version of ourselves. Limiting beliefs. Anxieties: Our fears and worries. Procrastination: What we know we need to do, but we do everything but the thing we need to do.

Our minds are like washing machines – moving backwards, forwards, sideways and around and around – with rarely any gaps between thoughts. Many of our thoughts, including the unconscious ones, are predominantly negative. We have worries, fears, and doubts, and we procrastinate because of them.


We can spend so much time wrestling with our negative self-talk that the constant “noise” can become overwhelming. If we don’t learn how to deal with our negative feelings and thoughts, they can interfere with our relationships – at home and at work. This, in turn, can worsen our physical and mental health, ultimately leading to an unhappy life. Being aware of how unkind we are to ourselves is the first step to a healthier mind and body relationship. We are full of contradictions. For example, we know we want to lose weight, but we can’t resist those chocolate chip cookies. We know we need to get over 85% in that exam, but we turn on the television instead of studying. We know we want to get fit, but we don’t go down to the gym, and by the time we do, we discover that our gym membership – you know, the one we were so excited about signing up to – has expired. That’s procrastination.

Our mind would rather play than do what we need to do. It doesn’t do it maliciously, it does it to protect us from anything uncomfortable or stressful; like losing weight, studying hard, exercising regularly; feeling unwanted emotions or living through the same trauma we have already survived. That takes work, and we are all born with lazy brains. If we want to take control over our lazy brain and our procrastinating mind, we need to find techniques that put some distance between us and the endless inner chatter in our heads. The paradigm within us is an ongoing battle.

Like all good things……. it’s so simple but it works. It is best done in pairs or in a small group as encouragement and open dialogue enhance the impact. It’s important to celebrate even the smallest wins because it’s those seemingly unimportant achievements that help us get to the BIG ACCOMPLISHMENTS! They are the things that give us hope and keep us going.

Instructions:


1. On a single sheet of paper draw 3 vertical columns. The headings are: My CRAP, SOLUTIONS and ACTION.

2. The first column is for all your C.R.A.P. Without judgement and very much from the heart write down in no order all the CRAP that comes into your head. The initials help give some structure to those thoughts. Although the model goes C, then R then A then P those in the community who have used it found its easier and less emotionally intense to go backwards i.e., P, then A, then R then C.

3. When you have finished writing down all the C.R.A.P that comes into your head, put your pen down and sit back and read back what you have written. Don’t judge anything you read back; just observe it like an object in the room.

4. As you look at each item on your list, ask yourself: are these negative thoughts True? Are they happening right now? How helpful are they to you and your life? Most of the time you’ll see that they are connected to memories from the past or thoughts about the future. They are not helping you……. so next it’s about deciding what you can and can’t control and losing whatever is no longer helpful to you.

5. Next in the middle column write out any possible solutions that spring to mind against blocks of thoughts on the CRAP column. Again, don’t overthink it. Just write down what your gut instinct tells you. Only share what you feel comfortable sharing. This is your CRAP, and you may not want anyone else to see or read what you’ve written. If you can’t think of solutions against some of the CRAP run it past a friend or your “Buddy” and see if together you can come up with a different perspective.

6. Finally take a moment to now look at the solutions you’ve written and in the third column write the concrete, achievable actionable ACTIONS.

7. When new negative thoughts and feelings come up, quickly jot them down on your C.R.A.P. board. Each day you will notice fewer negative thoughts. A lot of the items are not true. Cross them off or write “not” or “cancel” over it in another color! The more often your brain sees the list, the less reactive it becomes. The CRAP remains, but it affects your daily life less and less when you become detached from it!

8. After the initial 7 days set yourself weekly actions and make sure you tick them off as you go. You are building new positive neural pathways, and these grow a maximum of a millimeter a day so you can’t expect to transform your attitude and control of life instantly. It takes time, dedication, and most of all consistency.

9. Finally look at all your scribbles and reflect on what is the one word that jumps out at you…. “FOCUS…it was definitely Focus…. like I was all over the place and that’s what I got from all those scribbles. That one word, “CALM”. It jumped out at me…. all that chaos…and what I most want I realized was “CALM” “JUST DO IT…. that’s what I got”

10. It should take a couple of minutes, but one word will jump out at you. When you’ve got it write it down in caps at the bottom of the page. The brain likes repetition so if you feel you’re wavering or losing heart repeat the word in your head over and over and it helps get you back on track over the next few days and weeks. “I had my word as my screen saver and on a post it by my bed, so I saw it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. It really helped me keep my focus and drive to keep progressing”. If you feel too embarrassed to put up your whole list just seeing that one word will trigger a reminder and help you focus on the one area you most want to progress.

11. After a few weeks of writing down “your crap” and taking small steps you will start to feel a shift. It’s not about taking big steps but baby steps.

To ensure the actions have a meaningful impact, it’s important to be aware of the following:


a. Neuroscience now tells us that it takes 66 days for an old habit to become a new healthy one. So, it’s about CONSISTENCY, REPETITION and PATIENCE.

b. 66 days is a long time so start people with committing to 7 days, then another 7 days…. until you get to 66 days. So, the mountain doesn’t seem so high to climb.

c. Change is uncomfortable so it will be easier to go back to old ways and return to the comfort zone even if that is not a good place to be. So, it’s important to work through actions with someone else…a professional therapist/coach/mentor, a friend, a “buddy” or family member.

d. We can’t block out unwanted thoughts or behaviors…we need to replace them/substitute them with more helpful, constructive ones.

e. We need to understand NO ONE IS PERFECT. That we are humans and it’s OK to make mistakes and get things wrong.

Remember: Old memories are always “there” in your mind, but you don’t have to listen to everything it tells you or believe everything it tries to tell you.

Change is uncomfortable so it will be easier to go back to old ways and return to the comfort zone even if that is not a good place to be. It’s important to work through actions with someone else…a professional therapist/coach/mentor, a friend, a “buddy” or family member.

We can’t block out unwanted thoughts or behaviors...we need to replace them/substitute them with more helpful, constructive ones. We need to understand NO ONE IS PERFECT. That we are humans and it’s OK to make mistakes and get things wrong. It’s time to release your C.R.A.P! Any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Here's what my CRAP Board looks like!


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