We often have good intentions to make healthy life decisions and stick with them. Often, it seems like “things just get in the way” and we find ourselves saying, “if only this were different, I would be successful.” What we don’t realize is that the thing that needs to be different is our own inner voice.
The “inner critic” demands either perfection or surrender. We’re very familiar with that little voice that nags us into believing that anything other than a perfect success rate is not worth trying. It points out our previous “failures” and tells us that other things will stand in the way of getting what we want. In a word, it sabotages our efforts.
The “inner coach” supports our efforts, motivates us to keep trying even when we’re not 100% successful, keeps us practicing for success, and helps us figure out what we’re doing that could be standing in the way of our performance. Think of it as a personal trainer for your attitude!
Enhancing Your Inner Coach
Step 1: Figure out what you want to accomplish
This may seem self-explanatory but sometimes the reason we don’t notice our success is because we don’t have clear goals. Saying, “I want to lose weight” is a big task! Telling yourself, “I wan t to stick to the diet I choose for one month” or “I want to lose 5 pounds” gives us a finish-line.
Step 2: Set yourself up to meet your goal
Think about what you would need to do to accomplish the task. Break the goal up into smaller steps that lead you in the right direction. That way you know when you’re on the right track. For example, want a new job? How about updating your resume, registering with an online classified service, researching the industry in your area, contacting prospective employers? Along the way, you can see your progress and redirect yourself from going off-track.
Step 3: Remove obstacles and problem solve
Pay attention to the things in your life that could stand in your way. Most of the time, with some planning and problem-solving, an obstacle can be removed or, at least, set aside for a while. You may have to ask others to help. A coach isn’t much good without a team! Some things to look out for include making excuses for why you can’t follow through, scheduling too many things for the same time, and making decisions that bring you further from your goal.
Step 4: Reward your success.
Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for progress made. Remember you are shooting for progress, not perfection! The bigger the success, the bigger the reward should be.
Simple Questions for Quieting Your Inner Critic
Am I taking an “all-or-nothing” point of view?
Am I demanding perfection instead of rewarding progress?
Am I exaggerating the challenges or making excuses for why I can’t possibly succeed?
Am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Is this interfering in my ability to make sound decisions?
Is this line of thinking going to help me or discourage me?
If I wanted to be more positive, what would I say to myself?