Ready for a shock? Take a few minutes right now, slow down and detach momentarily from your routine, tasks, and to do list, and contemplate this: As you go throughout your day, try to monitor/write down the thoughts going through your mind AS you try to attain those goals. Go ahead, try it now, just for a few minutes.
Did any of the following usually unconscious, autopilot, often socially conditioned responses come up for you?
Why can’t you do it right? Do it faster! You sure about that? What if you’re making a mistake? Maybe they know better than you? Watch out! You’ll never be good enough. You better wait, what if it doesn’t work?
Yikes! This programmed self-critic isn’t HELPING you in any way, but this issue has been coming up some recent coaching sessions, and because my coaching mantra is ‘It’s time to get out of your own way’ that means putting an end to any mindless, autopilot self-criticism.
The mind has thousands of thoughts a day, so we can’t possibly correct EVERY thought that comes up, but we CAN notice them, without attaching judgment. Then, try to let them just dissolve like a passing cloud on the horizon. Casually notice, then dismiss that harsh inner critic, and pay attention enough to interrupt any stream of thoughts that drag you down, de-energize you as you move towards what you want. Try it today, and see how you do. Do these thoughts HELP you in any way?
Are self-criticism, punishment, admonishment, etc., really the BEST you can do to move towards your goals?
You can’t criticize your way to ‘success’ and even if you can temporarily motivate yourself via this kind of negativity, it will be short-lived, and unsatisfying. Is that really how you want to live your life, turning against yourself, cracking that whip, as your best option for achieving your goals? When we understand there are far better ways to self-motivate, which actually make us feel GOOD, fill us with vibrant energy and self-worth (and thus, self-confidence), we can tell that inner critic to take a hike, because we’ve found a better, far more satisfying (and effective) way to be successful.
Try this exercise today, and identify three of your most common forms of self-criticism. Take a hard look at them, and then decide you’re going to release them and choose a more satisfying means of filling up your fuel tank. Write your own mantra, to train your brain to believe success is NOT attached to self-criticism. Before long, you’ll start ticking off that ‘to do’ list with greater ease, and FEEL good in the process. That’s the kind of ‘success’ I’m looking to experience, what about you?
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