Do you have goals you want to reach? Are you struggling to reach them? It may be what you choose to listen to that’s getting in the way.
Do you listen to each and every voice in your head? Maybe more importantly, do you act on each and every one of those voices? We all have voices in our heads. Sometimes they serve us well and sometimes not so much. For instance, the voice that told you to keep getting up every morning and training to run that marathon because it’s been a lifelong goal of yours…that’s a good voice to listen to.
But when you hear and listen to the voice that tells you not to go out with your friends because it doesn’t like the way your body looks now that you’ve gained some weight after FINALLY giving up dieting and that horrible restrictive lifestyle…that voice can simply go fly a freaking kite.
So how do you know which voices to listen to and which ones to kick to the curb?
The easy answer is that you should keep the ones you like. In other words, those voices that are serving your goals and helping you get closer to your dreams are keepers. But also listen to the ones that keep you grounded and away from making reckless decisions. The idea is to look for, support, and reward those voices that are positive. Any that tell you you’re not worthy or try to squash your dreams will need to be dealt with. When we engage in negative self-talk, we make ourselves absolutely miserable through a constant stream of criticism and self-recrimination. As a result, we hold ourselves back from accomplishing our goals.
While I’d love to say dealing with these voices is as simple as ignoring them, it’s not. There’s more to it. You will need to reckon with them a little, and then make some shifts.
I’ve pulled out four of the most common voices causing troubles with your goals and given you some tips for how to face them head on and turn them into voices that advocate for your brighter future.
I’m too __________ to reach my goals
We all have a pet word that fills in the blank. Stupid. Lazy. Out of shape. Old. Whatever. It doesn’t matter the word we use, the intent is always the same. If we can convince ourselves we’re not able to do something because there’s something inherently wrong with us, then, in a sense, it’s not really our fault when we fail. The problem is that eventually, we start to believe these words, which redefines who we are.
Instead, be on alert for this phrase to creep around in your head. When it shows up, challenge it. Ask why. It’s one little word that packs a major punch. Why do you think you are too (stupid, lazy, out of shape, old, whatever) to get this done? What proof do you have of that? More importantly, what proof do you have to the contrary? How can you debunk this myth you’ve been believing?
When you’ve got some evidence (all you need is a tiny little sliver of evidence), roll with it. Shift this voice into saying I’m too (smart, energetic, spunky, experienced, whatever) NOT to get this done.
It’s My Fault
Shifting the blame over to ourselves can seem like a way to get out of conflict quickly. The problem is, we get so used to taking the blame that we start apologizing for things that never had anything to do with us in the first place. This constant stream of negativity and of living your life as though everything is your fault will keep you from reaching your goals and even keep you from trying to succeed.
Instead, find what’s truly at fault. If it’s truly your actions to blame, then own it and move on. Make the necessary changes. If it’s not your fault, recognize that too. Either way, it’s important to keep this brief and not belabor the point. The truth is that knowing where fault lies is knowledge and knowledge is power. But false blame (especially of ourselves) serves noone and does not lead to learning or power to move forward.
It’s Not Like It Was Going to Work
Ugh. This one is my biggest enemy. This one involves washing your hands of any and all responsibility when something does go wrong. Not only does it let you off the hook, but it sets you up for accepting failure without ever giving you the ability to learn from the mistake. It can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy when you listen to this voice often enough. Eventually, this also keeps you from trying again. After all, why bother?
Instead, remain optimistic. I’m a realist, so know that when I tell you to enlist optimism here, I do so with the knowledge that far too many people want us all to walk around looking at the world through rose colored glasses. That is NOT what I’m talking about here. Rather than presuming failure before you get started, choose to be optimistic about the outcome knowing that failure is still a possibility…but then CHOOSE to learn from that failure. When you do that, nothing will ever be a failure because you will ALWAYS be learning.
That’s Not What They Meant
I’m the queen of over-analysis, just ask my husband and my business accountability partner. This voice usually shows up when we aren’t sure how to handle or accept a compliment (mostly because we don’t compliment ourselves enough). When we analyze what people say and assume every compliment is some kind of put down in disguise, we’re telling ourselves the good things said about us can’t ever be right. Worse, this has a way of making us feel like there can’t even be good things about us. And this will not help us reach our goals.
Instead, enlist the help of “what if”. I encourage this approach because I know it’s not an easy thing to jump from not believing good things about yourself all the way over to the other side of the room and believe all the good things. So when you hear a compliment, instead of assuming they meant something else, just ask yourself what if that were true? How would that make me feel? Do I think I can believe that? What’s the evidence pointing at their statement?
In this way, you give yourself permission to take some baby steps in a more positive direction.
So, what do you do to turn those pesky little goals destroying voices into goal reaching armor? You challenge them. Start by being aware of what you’re actually saying. Throw a counter attack with some questions and look for the proof. And end it all with a positive thought instead. Eventually, this will become a habit, and those voices will become a thing of the past.