Connect Your Feelings to Actions – and Change Your Life

We’ve all experienced that thing where you know you need to DO something (AKA take action)... 

And yet… you freeze.

Inaction = the inability to ACT. (Duh, LOL)

And that suuucks. Because it just ends up perpetuating this downward spiral.

Procrastination keeps you from reaching all those goals you’ve set for yourself. And from realizing your dreams (turns out Mom WAS right).

(And PS, no judgment. I’ve totally been guilty of this too from time to time).

The truth is, we never really do things without a reason. Even if we’re unaware of it.

That’s because all actions and inactions – and therefore results – are ultimately based on our feelings. 

And feelings are based on our thoughts.

When I discovered this, it was a total mind-melting moment.

That’s what makes the CTFAR self-coaching model so powerful. 

This comes from the brilliant mind of Brook Castillo and The Life Coach School. It’s the literal blueprint on how to change your future by connecting your emotions to actions.

What’s the CTFAR Method?

CTFAR stands for:
  • Circumstance
  • Thoughts
  • Feelings
  • Actions
  • Results

But let’s just call it “the Model.”

I discovered this gem a few years ago when I became a Life Coach with Brooke. 

And I’ve used it in my own self-coaching and in coaching others ever since… because, once you get the hang of it, use it correctly, it's freakin’ AWESOME. 

And it works… every.single.time.

The CFTAR Model is based on a relatively simple psychological process involving the mind.

You know what your mind is like, right? 


I only say that because our minds generate about 60,000 thoughts a day. 

And ya know what? Experts say 80% of them are negative. And 95% are repetitive.

Yikes. LOL

The secret to breaking out of this repetitive cycle of negative thoughts is….

You’ve gotta become fascinated with yourself.

This process involves observation of your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

With the end result being that you’ll achieve what you want in life.

Simple enough, right? 

For the purpose of today’s article, we’re gonna zip past Circumstances and Thoughts (boooooo, I know, but this is a big topic!).

And we’re gonna go right to the connection between Feelings and Actions… and how they lead to Results.

Why Your Feelings Influence Your Actions

It’s our feelings that really control us.

No one – not a single one of us – likes to feel bad. 

That’s why I’m so keyed into the motto of: “Change your feelings, change your outcome.”

Getting started requires a bit of introspection.

Most of us have feelings we can’t verbalize. That’s because tons of us have grown up in households where emotions were suppressed, confusing, or straight up ignored. 

Hello, Gen X. (Yes we’re a real thing, google us. Or don’t. Whatever. LOL)

So lots of us literally don’t know how to identify our feelings… let alone express them well.

In terms of the Model though, you don’t need years of navel-gazing psychotherapy to flip your thinking and change the resulting feelings. 

You just need to practice feeling. 

I know that sounds weird, but when you practice “listening” to your thoughts and how you FEEL about them, you become conscious enough that you can come up with an action plan for change.

Here are three examples of Circumstances that led to Thoughts that led to Feelings. 

See if you can come up with something you’re struggling with in your own life after you understand what I’m talking about.

  1. “I launched an online course and did not get one sale — I have no right to teach anything to anyone — I am totally inadequate.” 
  2. “I haven’t been in a relationship for more than six months — I picked bad partners — I’m terrified I’m going to be alone forever.”
  3. “I’m gaining weight — but I’m never going to lose it because I never have before and I’m a failure at it — I feel anxious and depressed.”

Well jeez, no wonder we wind up in this whole friggin’ cycle of negative thoughts → bad feeling → paralyzing inaction.

Remember, 80% of our thoughts are negative. And 95% of them are repetitive. 

And if you truly listened to your thoughts on the regular, you’d probably be like: ”WTF, brain!”

So yes, breaking the cycle takes effort… and conscious action.

How to Get Clear On Your Feelings

At the simplest level, transforming your thoughts (and therefore your actions and results) is really about changing the script. 

Erasing the old tapes and recording new ones—you know, the ones that run relentlessly in your head.

Although honestly, right now my brain has BTS permanently on repeat. I’d like to blame Madeline but have you seen these boys? Seriously talented and adorable.

Anywho, shifting your old patterns of thinking… and therefore your old patterns of feeling… well, it takes work.

And disclaimer alert: this Model gives no guarantees about massive shifts happening overnight.

This is transformative thinking. AKA serious, life-altering stuff. 

If you expect to change all your negative thoughts right away, you’re probably going to stop the process right away.

And that’s denying yourself all of your power.

So baby, you gotta get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Which is hard AF. After all, many of us avoid discomfort at all costs. 

I mean, why do you think feeling “bad” means like 792 different things?

How to apply the Model:

  1. Learn how to identify what exactly the “bad” feeling is: anxiety, fear, loneliness, inadequacy. Google it if you have to (*cough* Gen X *cough*). You’ll find a bazillion lists with nuanced words to help you get clear on how you feel.
  2. Once you’ve done that, identify the connecting thought and then the circumstance that’s generating the feeling.
  3. Practice communicating the feeling. With the right words. Writing it down really helps. Speaking it aloud to others helps more.

Okay. So now you’ve done the hard, painful part of getting super clear on your feelings and WHY you feel the way you do.... 

Let’s take ACTION.

How to Change Your Actions By Changing Your Feelings

Once you know your Feelings (and the connecting thoughts that stemmed from Circumstances), a lightbulb goes on.

You can literally choose new Thoughts and/or Feelings once you become conscious of the chain.

This is honestly the most empowering part of the CTFAR process, if ya ask me.

It’s easiest to explain this using our examples from earlier.

Example #1: Poor sales of an online course

  • Circumstance: I launched an online course. Not one sale.
  • Thought: I have no right to teach anything to anyone. 
  • Feeling: Inadequacy.
  • Action: None.
  • Result: Same as Circumstance.

Conscious shifts using CTFAR:
  • New conscious Thought: I have two college degrees. I know this subject as well as anyone and better than most.
  • New conscious Feeling: Hope. Confidence.
  • New conscious Action: Ask for help.

Example #2: String of broken relationships

  • Circumstance: Haven’t been in a relationship for more than six months.
  • Thought: I pick bad partners. I will never have a family of my own and when I die, no one discovers my body for a week. Which has been gnawed on by cats.
  • Feeling: Terrified. Sad. Hopeless. 
  • Action: Choose people who are bad for me. Or sit alone at home.
  • Result: Continued loop of broken relationships and unhappiness.

Conscious shifts using CTFAR:
  • New conscious Thought: I can find the right person for me by making conscious shifts in my approach.
  • New conscious Feeling: Hope. Confidence.
  • New conscious Action: Find different ways to meet people. (And stay away from bars/apps for a while. No point tempting old behavior.)

Example #3: The yo-yo diet

  • Circumstance: I’m up 10 lbs. 
  • Thought: I’m never going to lose it because I never have before.
  • Feeling: Anxious. Depressed.
  • Action: Eat more.
  • Result: I’m up another 5 lbs.

Conscious shifts using CTFAR:
  • New conscious Thought:  I can lose weight when I find a reasonable diet, start exercising, and don’t expect immediate results.
  • New conscious Feeling: More relaxed because I know why I’m anxious about food.
  • New conscious Action: Find a diet.

One quick note about Results: Give yourself permission to “fail forward.”

That’s when you might not achieve your desired result the first time, even the second (or third) time.

But you’re “failing” with positivity in your corner; you just haven’t found the right action or strategy yet.

Go back to the Model. It might be the wrong circumstance or even the wrong thought you’ve identified. Or they may have changed while you were doing the internal work.

Either way, you ARE making progress. Trial and error. Just don’t give up.

Or… ask for help.

Which you can totally find in my Habit Hackers community.

It’s a weekly coaching program for entrepreneurs, creative professionals, and badass go-getters who want to level up their productivity, nutrition, and stress management approach for a more holistic way of being.

Head on over to and get started. 

Because you can’t be a badass with bad habits. So let me help you make some new choices so you can see the results you want… by applying the CTFAR method with a group of other people just like you.

I’ll see ya online.


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