When you’re trying to break a bad habit, you’re inner critic – or even your fully attending negative committee in your head – can be completely self –defeating. This voice CAN serve you to become better, but it can also defeat you during moments when you need that inner strength to push on toward your goals.
Last week, we agreed that we would pick one bad habit, write it down, journal about it, and set S.M.A.R.T. goals that were achievable. I picked something that has been haunting me for years. Mail. It always seems to stack up, because my inner voice says I can deal with it later. My goal is to take action immediately when it enters the house: read, recycle, shred, or take action.
I have to confess something though. For a few days, it went swimmingly well. Then, on the fifth day, my little inner voice said, “Oh, you can just do that tomorrow.” Ugh. That’s the voice that has been the catalyst to piles of mail off and on for nearly 20 years. She just has to go.
So, how do you dismiss your negative inner voice or committee?
Here are a few tips:
1. Get a little perspective. Confirm one of the following: 1) Is this a real thought that is transforming itself into something seriously negative for you? OR 2) Is it something that could be brought down a notch and put in perspective a bit. For example, with my heaping mail situation I’m trying to kick, is my mail problem becoming a hygienic problem that could be caustic? Not necessarily. It’s more of a financial problem if I don’t see to whom I owe bills or need to invest properly. Put it into perspective.
2. Challenge your negative self talk and tell it to shut up. Sorry if that seems rude and flippant, but your negative committee or voice is certainly not welcome when you’re trying to make positive change. It’s warfare against your better soul and you need to tell it to simply, or forcefully, “Be Quiet!”
3. Give your lovely negative self-talk or committee a name. Yes. She (or he) needs a legitimate name so that it becomes real. Then you can have a real conversation with her and tell her to please go away and find someone else to bother. Brené Brown calls hers “The Gremlin”. Mine seems appropriately named Jezebel. Not sure why, but it works.
4. Get leverage on your WHY. Look, for anything to be successful, you have to be on top of it and so motivated by your goal that nothing can stop you. Write out WHY you want to do whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish, and then tell your Jezebel to get out. Seriously. You can stay where you are, or move forward. Which would you prefer??
5. Be KIND to yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I tell this to clients (and myself). What you think about you truly bring about, so get on top of it. Say super nice, ridiculously over-kind nice things to yourself. Back it with action and you’ll not only start believing it, you’ll see change and positive thinking in action. Try it. I dare you.
6. Invite a close friend to join you on your mission. Your close friends are your best outer critics – ONLY IF THEY HAVE YOUR BEST INTEREST AT HEART. I am screaming that in all caps, because I truly believe that we all have good or long-term friends who may not be helpful in our effort to change. So, choose an accountability, get-real partner, and make sure they are an ally, not an naysayer for their own comfort. This person has to be a loyal cheerleader.
7. Finally, imperfection is BEAUTY. As a recovered perfectionist, I speak with some expertise. Perfection is B.S. Total B.S. God is the only thing that’s perfect. Real PROGRESS is the answer. Stop aiming for perfection, embrace your shortcomings, and make awesome progress toward your life’s goals. Even an itty bitty step forward is meaningful!
DITCH THE NEGATIVE my beautiful people.
Just do it. And see your life transformed. And…if you haven’t picked a bad habit to break, maybe this should be the one.