Being Kind to Yourself -vs- Forcing Yourself
I can be a bit of a soft touch when it comes to my relationship with me. Although in many ways I am very motivated and disciplined when it comes to getting stuff done, I do give myself a bit too much of an easy ride, and as of this week, that is changing!
The last couple of weeks have been a bit ‘blah’ for no significant reason (other than perhaps fighting the cold that everyone seems to have at the moment and being a bit hormonal) I’ve lacked my usual ‘get up and go’ and throughout this period I’ve been very aware of the self-talk that has accompanied me through this period of ‘blah-ness’.
Do any of these sound familiar? – I feel a bit tired, I’ll go to the gym when I’m feeling in the mood – I’m stressed, I’ll just eat chocolate and watch TV all evening – I deserve it – I have a lot on, I deserve to hit snooze and have another hour in bed
I’ve been guilty of telling myself all of the above and many more excuses along these lines. I’ll be walking home from work after a long day thinking, “I have to go to the gym” but then a little voice will pipe up and say “Look after yourself George, you’ve got a lot on, just rest tonight.” It’s oh so easy to fall into this trap. I like to tell myself I’m ‘looking after myself’ but am I? There’s been many times when I’ve so badly not wanted to go to my spin class. I’d rather have done ANYTHING else, but when I’ve forced myself I’ve felt absolutely amazing afterwards and so proud I made myself do it. The difficulty is that there is a very fine line between having a genuine reason to give yourself a break and making an excuse.
I recently watched a TED talk – ‘How to stop screwing yourself over’ by Mel Robbins and it made me realise that I give myself way too much of an easy ride at times. Just think, if I did force myself to do certain things I could reach so much more of my potential. We can really desperately want something – for instance – to drop a couple of dress sizes, but that desire doesn’t always translate to the desire to really desperately want to spend hours a week in a sweaty gym. So how do we keep our goal in sight and get what we want, when the steps we need to take in order to achieve our goal may, at times, not be so appealing?
The below tips have helped me in the past to stay focused and get off my bum and just DO IT and I’ll be keeping these things in mind next time I even come close to letting myself of the hook:
1. Visualise, visualise, visualise: And I don’t just mean visualise the end goal, for example fitting into that old pair of jeans, I mean visualise how great you’ll feel when you force yourself to do the thing you need to do in order to achieve your goal. Then remember that feeling for the next time you are tempted to make an excuse.
2. Push through the comfort zone: Trying new things and taking on new challenges can feel like a leap too far at times but the reward of pushing your way through your comfort zone and opening up a whole new realm of possibility is far greater than the temporary unease.
3. Make yourself accountable: Tell people your goal and how you’re going to achieve it – your partner, friend, work colleague, life coach. It’s never a great feeling to tell someone you’ve failed at doing something you’d committed to doing. Instead, think how brilliant you’ll feel to report back and say “I did it!”
Of course there are going to be times when we need to give ourselves a break but my resolution from now on is to recognise when I’m being a bit soft on myself and kick myself into shape.
If I look back on all the countless times I’ve been ‘nice’ to myself and let myself off the hook, I wonder if I’d be further along in achieving my goals had I just forced myself to do it? The answer to this is most definitely ‘yes’, so when it comes to my relationship with myself I’m going to enforce a bit of tough love in order to get what I want.