If you have not read my blog, “Why Can’t I Get off My A&$”, start there, otherwise, this may not may sense.
If you have read that blog then it’s time to find a way to make peace with our inner critic. The little booger isn’t going anywhere.
This blog kicks off a 10 day challenge. This will not be complicated but it will be highly impactful.
Day 1, 2 & 3 Mindfulness (humor me)
Mindfulness is noticing-being aware and attuned to what is happening in the present moment without judgement or reaction. It is a skill that requires development through practice and patience.
The first step to retraining your brain involves acknowledging the inner critic and where it is coming from.
What you need:
Journal– If you already journal, feel free to use the journal that you have. If not, get a notebook or something that you can use for a journal.
Goals – If you have already written your goals down, great! Have them handy. If you have not, do it now. You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals just by;
- Having them and
- Jotting them down.
Day 1-3 What you will do:
Look at your goals every day. When your inner critic shows up, write down what it says, the tone of the voice your inner critic used and how it made you feel. What did that feel like in your body? Did it feel like butterflies in your tummy or tingling in your toes?
Every time your inner critic shows up during the course of the day, make note of what you were doing and thinking when it showed up. Really get into the experience of journaling your inner critic. Be watching for the little booger.
Don’t judge or criticize in any way shape or form. Just let it come forward into your consciousness and write down what you hear.
Warning: it may hurt! Your inner critic can be a meany pants.
I promise, your inner critic is also very clever. Sometime your inner critic sounds like intuition. Your intuition does not insult you, it supports you. Your intuition may help you find a different path but your intuition does not try to change your goal.
What to expect:
The first day will be the most difficult because you are not in the habit of being so conscious of your subconscious thoughts. That’s the whole point of the exercise though.
The more conscious that we become of our subconscious, the more control we have over our thoughts and emotions and when that happens…result happen! The result that we want, the ones that impact our lives and our future selves.
Becoming more mindful is the first step in trumping your brains motivational strategy to seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy.
I will do it with you and let me know what you experience during the week. Feel free to share this with your friends!!!
Day 4, 5, &6
So for the first three days you were jotting down your inner critic every time it showed up. You were recording what you were doing and thinking at the time.
Now it’s time for the next three day focus. This focus will help us prepare our positive affirmations which is the second tool that we use to manage the brains motivational strategy to seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy.
It might be hard to come up with positive affirmations if you have not been in the habit of doing that for a while. And this is such a powerful tool for any goal or aspiration that you have. It will give power.
Here is your exercise: Either using your journal or even just a piece of paper, you are going to number it from 1 to 100. For the next three days you are going to write down 100 things that you like and appreciate about yourself. Not what others appreciate about you but what you appreciate about you.
Here are the rules: you can’t ask anyone what they love about you! This is you loving you!
It’s hard to spend that much time thinking about yourself and self-love but that is the point. This will exercise a muscle of self-love that is probably waaaaayyyy overdue.
I have done this and I even had a surprise or two when I did it. I hope this is fun and impactful for you.
Day 7 & 8
OK, we are onto Days 7 & 8. By now, you should be very aware of your inner critic and how often she presents herself daily. Hopefully, you are more aware and mindful of her intentions to seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy.
By seeking pleasure I mean, sleeping in when you need to run or workout, craving sugar and flour when you are watching your weight, watching too much TV, too much shopping, too much drinking etc…
By avoiding pain I mean, pain of fear and anxiety, guilt and shame, doubt and rejection. She would rather you really didn’t put yourself out there emotionally, she means well.
Days 4, 5 & 6 were all about self-love. I know how hard it is to think of 100 things that you like and appreciate about yourself. I am sure that you were tempted to ask for help but this is about the love that you have for you! That exercise was be super-duper impactful for me and critical to support the next step in the challenge.
For Days 7 & 8:
What we are going to do is write positive affirmation statements that you can believe. In order to do this, take a look at your goals. Anticipate when your inner critic will appear and what she will say, refer back to your inner critic journal for help. She may have already had a few words for you earlier in the challenge. Write down your positive affirmation statements on something that you can carry with you. Read them every day right along with your goals.
This is so powerful!!!!
You are in the process of rewiring your brain. You are actually creating neural pathways. Neuroplasticity of the brain is amazing and you are changing it, purposefully to support your goals.
As a reminder, your positive affirmation statements are not lies or exaggerations. They must be truths that your brain will not reject. For example; you can use phrases like, “I am on the road to, or I am learning to or I am becoming…” verses phrases like “I am the best…”
Later, I am going to do a “Habits” challenge and we will further re-wire our brains but this is a fantastic place to start.
Day 9 & 10
OK, we are into the final stretch of the Day Inner Critic Challenge.
This is where we ice the cake!
Mindfulness, Positive Affirmation and Compelling Reason are the three tools that we use to trump the brains Motivational Triad and its motivational strategy to seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy.
It’s time to add the “why” to our tool box. Commitment is the start of the compelling reason, but it’s not the reason. In fact, the compelling reason is what determines your level of commitment. The more compelling the reason, the deeper the commitment.
Your commitment is the stance of knowing what you will do regardless of what happens. I want you to spend some time thinking about the power of commitment. It’s the “no matter what.” It means, I will do this even though it’s hard, even though it’s not popular, even when I don’t feel like it, verses, as long as it’s easy and doesn’t cost me anything. Or, as long as no one judges me or makes me feel silly.
Give your goals some thought. Are they in the “even when” bucket or the “as long as” bucket. It’s ok to have goals that are in the “as long” as bucket, no problem, no judging. Just as long as you understand that these goals are not the ones that will be transformative at this time.
It’s ok if something is more of an interest than a commitment. I know lots of people who started out being interested in something and then commitment came.
My husband is a great case study in this. Several years ago he developed and interest in running. He ran with me a few times and would run with me as long as…and he had a list. Then he made a decision to run a marathon the year he turned 50. He committed to the training and did it even when it the weather sucked, even when he was tired, even when he would rather not, even when I tried talking him out of it, and then became a marathoner.
Case study #2, same husband…started with an interest in biking. We biked often as long as it was nice, not too windy, and not too hot. Then he committed to training for the Hotter Then Hell race in Texas.
Case study #3, same husband…always had an interest in learning to play the guitar. He owned one for many years. Every now and then he would play as long as he had time, as long as his fingers didn’t hurt, as long as no one was around. Then one day, he committed to becoming proficient. Now, he gets up at 5:30 every morning and plays for several hours before work. He plays for hours on weekends even when he is tired, even when his fingers hurt, even when he is frustrated and feels incompetent, even when…
The one thing that made the difference between his interest and his commitment was having a compelling reason.
So, for day 9 & 10…what’s your why? Write it down right next to your goals. Don’t worry if they don’t sound compelling. They only need to be compelling to you. You may not get to the compelling reason right away and that’s OK too. Keep after it. Keep asking yourself, why?
When you get to the compelling reason you will see a transformation.
Now, go be a Goal Digger!!!!