Don’t you love the human brain? Our brains think that putting ourselves down is a useful motivation tool. Talk about “thought errors.” But we do these things to ourselves all the time! I have had clients who, after a successful track race, go and think; “ That was probably a fluke” or “I still made mistakes and should do better,” or college students who hold tight onto the thought, “I am not enough” as a motivator to drive him to work out more at the gym. I have had clients who want to lose weight, who posted unflattering pictures on the fridge to remind themselves how much they dislike how they look. STOP! If these techniques worked to get you to your goals, you would have gotten there a long time ago. More importantly, these thoughts make you feel terrible. Plus, it is a sure way to sabotage your journey. More times than not, the idea “I suck” leads you to the opposite action that would lead to achieving excellence. “I suck” leads you to give up.
I like to use Lebron James as an example. He allows himself to feel awful after a loss. He allows himself to think he could have done better, but he knows this is part of the process, that there is a lot of failure on the way to success. He stays committed to the goal, winning the NBA championship. “I have short goals – to get better every day, to help my teammates every day – but my only ultimate goal is to win an NBA championship. It’s all that matters. I dream about it. I dream about it all the time, how it would look, how it would feel. It would be so amazing.” – Lebron James.
That is what gets him to reach excellence. That is motivation. It is not a selfish or unrealistic belief in himself. He is serving a higher purpose and approaches his daily inspiration from the emotional anticipation of winning.
Negative self-talk is so unnecessary. Plus, it weighs your talent down. Be careful here. This is not an invitation to criticize yourself even further for thinking negatively. So why do we do it? Our brains think they are keeping us safe. Our brain’s job is to keep us safe. By not going through the discomfort of being brave and trying to achieve excellence, the brain finds it easier to self-sabotage. It is always safer to keep the status quo than stretch those muscles and habits of becoming something bigger. Your fastest way to self-sabotage is to play the radio station in your head that says you are not that person who gets what they want. Here are three steps to avoid the negative thought circle. The first step is an acceptance that all brains do this and nothing is wrong. The second step is to get a little curious about why your mind is self-critical without indulging too deeply in this question, and the third step is to change the station in your head, let those thoughts go! They are not serving you, so no need to hold onto them. If you want to dive deeper into this kind of work, reach out to me! We can work on a profound level by working with both the conscious and subconscious mind and drive you towards enjoying the journey to excellence, as that is the best part.