You are perfect, amazing and beautiful just as you are right now.
So, how many of you cringed and scoffed at that sentence?
Why is it so difficult for us to be kind to ourselves? To celebrate our uniqueness? To achieve everything we want for ourselves while believing it is possible?
We all have hopes and dreams and aspirations. And we all have more capacity and ability in us to achieve these things than we know. But here’s the catch … we are often our own worst enemy. Our thinking holds us back. Our fears, our beliefs, our negative self-talk, our mindsets … these create our reality. Before any behaviour comes the thoughts that bring actions into existence. Why? Because out thoughts determine our expectations and emotions. And our expectations and emotions drive our behaviour.
Does any of this sound familiar? Do you want to fit into those old jeans, but deep down think it’s a lost cause? How about that goal of feeling lean and toned, but you are just too busy to fit it in? Or, do you really want to like what you see in the mirror but it’s just too much hard work and it’s easier to hide out in baggy clothes? Or have you heard the cold rational little voice that tells you “you don’t deserve this” … “who are you to shine?” … “you can’t do that – be realistic” … “you’ve never been good at this” … “you don’t have enough experience or resources or perseverance or ability” … “you failed last time so why will this time be any different”.
Your mind and body are intrinsically linked. Jeremy Rolleston, Olympian and founder of Active8me explains “Your actions are affected by the thoughts you have, and the things you tell yourself. So, if you want to transform yourself, you’ve got to deal with your thoughts, your excuses, your beliefs and your self-sabotaging paradigms.”
Take these 4 easy steps to get started on changing your mind…and consequently, your body!
1. Recognise how your inner critic shapes your thoughts
Most of our internal dialogue is on autopilot. If you pay close and conscious attention to your thoughts you will notice how quickly your inner critic jumps in, even when something good happens. For example, let’s say you’ve been aiming to lose some weight. You work towards eating well and exercising and realise you have lost a few kilos. Go you! But, all of a sudden your inner critic is saying ‘It’s only water weight, you’ll regain that over the weekend!’. And that seed that the inner critic just planted then grows into more negative thoughts that then grow to ultimately prove yourself (ie the voice of your inner critic) right!
Try today – Take the time now to make note of one or two of your most common inner critic statements. That way, when they pop up at a more vulnerable time, you will know to recognise it and, after reading on, how to deal with it.
2. Challenge your inner critics negative thinking
It is important to remember that our negative thoughts may not be based on reality. They are often an exaggerated, biased and disproportionate reaction, programmed by past experiences and how we perceive things. The good news is that, like any programming, we can rewire your thought patterns. So rather than ignoring your inner critic, recognised your negative thoughts, then challenge them and redirect them with more positive thoughts.
Try today – Next time you catch your inner critic chastising yourself (here’s a way of doing that), attempt to reword the thoughts as if you would deliver it to a friend. For example, would you say to a friend, ‘You’re fat and lazy, you will never lose weight!’? Think about how you could acknowledge where you’re at and use something along the lines of ‘You’re at this point because of the choices you’ve made. You CAN lose weight by making better choices’.
3. Don’t dwell in the company of your inner critic
When things don’t go to plan, like perhaps your cheat treat turns into a cheat week, don’t dwell on it. Honestly, what is the big deal if you fall off the health wagon? Just get back to it, sooner rather than later! The more you ruminate on all the negative, the worse you feel and the more it feeds that negative cycle. And it certainly won’t fix the issue! You often see this in life. When a few good things happen, the momentum of ‘good’ builds. The same goes with the bad times. What you feed and nuture grows, whether that be negative or positive thoughts.
Try today – When you find yourself dwelling in the company of your inner critic, actively choose to be positive and feed that thought. If that is difficult distract yourself with an activity that is easily achievable. Go for a walk, meal prep your snacks for the next day or tidy your desk (ok, that may not be so easy for some, lol).
4. Stop letting your inner critic compare yourself with others
Your inner critic is sneaky and manipulative. It will play on your vulnerability and exploit any weakness you have. This is most evident when it comes to comparing our lives, achievements, looks, health, fitness, work…the list goes on! So, it’s time to stop comparing yourself with others.
We completely understand that this is easier said than done! With the highlight reel of people’s lives splashed across social media, it is hard for even the tamest inner critic to avoid evaluating your own life against this. But comparing yourself against others puts the focus on the wrong person.
Try today – Make your own highlight reel. Think about your strengths and achievements and practice gratitude with yourself and those around you in place of comparing. Use this when you feel that inner critic starting to steer you towards comparison.
There you have it. Four steps you can take towards taming your inner critic. It doesn’t matter how confident, successful or organized you are, we all hear that little voice of the inner critic. The difference is how we manage it and how well we can direct our mind rather than letting it roam around undirected and unconstrained.
At Active8me, we believe so strongly in the power of your thoughts to create your reality that we have incorporated mindset lessons and reminders into your health and fitness journey. (We’ve included some snippets above).
Controlling your inner critic and harness the power of your thoughts is so key to any successful journey – be that your fitness and health journey, or something else in your life.
By the way, you are perfect, amazing and beautiful just as you are right now! You don’t have to change your body. But if you want to – then change your inner story first.