I started the new year with enthusiasm. This was the year that I was going to start running earlier than I normally do (I am a fair weather runner which means I usually run from March to October), get started on my next book, get back to a more regular work day with Happy heading to kindergarten in the fall, try some things out that professionally scared me (in a good way) and personally pushed me. And then life happened and things got in the way and the sun never came out and I looked up and it was mid-March and I thought, Holy Cow!, where did all that earnest determination do? How did I become inert?
Does that sound at all familiar (no worries at all if I am flying solo on this one; in fact, I hope that I am flying solo on this one)?
Did a quiet voice inside you start to ask totally self-defeating questions like…
Who are you to think that you can do this?
How dare you be so presumptuous?
Do you really think you have time for this?
Did you start to feel a bit deflated? A little lost? A bit like you were faltering? Maybe more alone, less capable?
Yeah, I got you. I KNOW this feeling, and I am ready to be done with this iteration of it. Maybe you are, too.
Our most common limit in life is not related to our actual ability to do something. Our most common limit is the voice in our head and heart that tells us no, that voice that is fueled not by truth but by fear. It is not the idea of doing the work that defeats, not compared to the voice in our head that tells us that we are not strong, disciplined, or smart enough or that now is not the time. If there is anything that is going to keep us from achieving the life we imagine—captured in our minds with a resolution, intention, goal, vision or not- it most likely will not be our actual ability. It will most likely be that unfriendly voice in our head that convinces us to stop before we ever really get started. I believe this empathetically.
Given that, it may come as no surprise when I tell you that the best thing you can ever do to improve your total sense of wellbeing is changing the tape in your head. Here are three steps to help you take back your brain so you can take on your life.
1. Make the choice. Realize you do not have to talk to yourself that way. It is not humble (Humility, you see, is not not believing in yourself. Humility is being grounded while having a developed self-awareness and openness) or appropriate or necessary. It is actually defeating, deflating, and indefensible. But this behavior becomes so ingrained and habitual that it is doesn’t just go away on its own. You have to actually decide you are not doing it anymore.
2. Catch yourself in the act. The racket in our head is sometimes so ever-present that we don’t even recognize it any more. When you make the choice to end the behavior, your next action will actually need to be noticing it. While becoming cognizant of how often it happens can be hard to face, it is a necessary step in moving forward towards new action.
3. Reframe your thoughts. Noticing those defeating thoughts isn’t enough. You need to reframe them. Change “Who am I to believe that I deserve a promotion?” to “I have worked hard and committed so much to this team and I deserve more responsibility.” Every time, that negative inner-voice strikes, counter its argument with the truth.
As you deliberately face and argue with that inner voice, you’ll begin to get a boost from so thoughtfully making an argument for yourself, from being your own beacon. Use that momentum to move you forward, proving more and more to that inner voice that living in fear, defeat, exhaustion or inertia is no way to live.
Want more tips? Be sure to check back in on Monday as we look at ways to move past the conditions and towards thriving!