How Negative Self-Talk is Keeping You From Reaching Your Goals
Ever felt at a stand-still in your life? Like you have an idea of what you want to achieve, but you don’t believe you can do it? You’ve decided on a New Years resolution, for example, but you still find yourself stuck in your current patterns of reality. Maybe you’ve set an intention for yourself, but you’re having a damn hard time seeing it through. It happens to all of us and it’s often due to internal setbacks: beliefs that we aren’t going to be able to meet our personal goals. We tell ourselves we can’t do it, we don’t have the resources, and we don’t have the support we need. This is negative self-talk. Unfortunately, we’ve been programmed to think this way about ourselves. The good news is that we have the power to change this habit and get back on track with our goals! Here are five ways that you can nix that negative voice inside your head and say “Bye, Felicia” to your internal mean girl forever.
Give Yourself Proof That You Can Do It
No matter your goal, sometimes you just need a confidence boost to find the will to get it done. The following is an exercise a very wise teacher I once had recommended my entire class do for ourselves. It’s not an easy task, but it’s extremely powerful. The task is to write down 100 things you are talented at and 100 things you are passionate about. These things can overlap, they can be big or small, it really doesn’t matter. The only rule is that you write 100 of each.
It seems like a big task and maybe a waste of time but I promise it’s not – it’s so powerful to help you realize where your talents and passions align. Not only does this give us a good idea of the types of things we might want to pursue, but it’s also extremely helpful whenever our negative self-talk is getting in the way of our goals. Make your list pretty, type it out, or laminate it, and refer back to it as often as possible – everyday if you want to – for confirmation that you do in fact have what it takes to achieve your goals!
Encourage Others to Do The Same
By surrounding yourself with others who hold themselves in high regard, a shared energy field is created and co-elevation becomes inevitable. Doesn’t it bring you down whenever you hang out with that one friend who’s constantly complaining or putting herself down around you? Isn’t it so much better spending time with friends who actually care about you and the rest of the friend group and having meaningful conversations with one another?
Also, why is it so cool to be mean to yourself? I always think back to that scene in Mean Girls where the Plastics and Cady are crowded around a mirror all remarking on what they hate about themselves. Cady, who is new to the whole mean girl dynamic, is thrown off guard – probably because she’s not used to thinking there’s anything wrong with her. It’s way too common for us girls and women to feel like by putting ourselves down we are a part of a club. It’s more like a pity party. Don’t waste your energy on that stuff.
Name that Negative Inner Voice
When you give your inner Negative Nancy a name, you distance yourself from her. I call mine Felicia, as in “BYE, Felicia”, you’re not welcome here! Also, because it’s sometimes easier to have compassion for others over yourself, by personifying this inner voice as someone other than yourself, you may find it easier to find compassion for this part of you. Think of a best friend or loved one – you’d probably never say the mean things you say to yourself on a regular basis to them. So allow yourself to take a step back from this voice and know that it isn’t truly you saying these things – it’s this inner mean girl speaking.
The Universe Listens, Even if Your Intentions are Good and You Mean Well
We all have ambitions – big and small. Most of the time, in a moment of inspiration, we get an idea to set a goal for ourselves, something we no doubt believe we can accomplish in that moment, but sooner or later, that doubtful voice in our head kicks in.
According to Anodea Judith, author of Eastern Body, Western Mind, we all have seven voices in our heads: three positive, one neutral, and three negative. These voices exist on a spectrum from most negative and detrimental to most positive and uplifting. Check out the graphic below to see the names Anodea has assigned to each of these “voices”.
Unfortunately, most of the time a lot of us default on one of the negative inner voices. If you find yourself stuck in the “Doubter” role, you’ll likely have difficulties achieving the goal you’ve set out for yourself. The solution? Oppose it! When you notice a narrative in your mind that is heavy on the “I doubt you can do this, you’ll never achieve this goal, I really don’t think you have what it takes/resources/etc.”, switch to the inner voice with the opposite positive charge and allow yourself some daydreaming time.
The opposite voice is The Dreamer. The dreamer sounds something like “Don’t listen to them; you know you can do it! Imagine how amazing life will be when you’ve achieved your goal. Scratch that, imagine how wonderful it’ll be just to know you are on the path to achieving your goal. All you have to do is take a step and trust it’ll come true.” When you shift your inner voice to that of the dreamer, the universe listens and the positive charge of your thoughts are reflected back at you. Like attracts like. Never feel guilty for changing your inner voice to one of a dreamer or even visionary. The amazing world we live in was shaped by visionaries who believed their dreams were possible and all of their goals were achievable no matter what.
Your Beliefs Get in the Way
Alright. You’ve set your sights on a goal, a finish line you’d like to cross, and now you’re visualizing the path you need to take to get there. Ideally, this is the quickest path and the path of least resistance – but life isn’t always easy breezy. Obstacles are inevitable.
Our goals and intentions are almost always impacted by some form of obstacle: a broken bridge, a flooded creek, a distraction, an injury… These are the obstacles of the outer, physical world. But obstacles of the energetic world are just as real and just as detrimental. The biggest obstacles of our inner world are our beliefs.
The beliefs that you haven’t got what it takes, you aren’t smart enough, you don’t have enough money, you’re too introverted, etc. Each one of these is like a parachute on your back, increasing resistance and making it difficult to achieve your dream. The fix? Trade parachutes for jet packs! How, you ask? Visualization is key. To help free yourself of your limiting beliefs, try this quick visualization exercise:
Take a few deep belly breaths to get you into a relaxed, meditative state. Imagine yourself at the beginning of a path and your goal at the finish line. For each one of your limiting beliefs, visualize yourself wearing a separate parachute. Spend some time “examining” each parachute and feeling the way that particular limiting belief makes you feel. Sit with the feelings for a few moments, letting them wash over you without trying to change anything. Then, begin to remove each parachute – allowing yourself to shed the negative beliefs. As you remove each parachute, you begin to feel lighter and lighter. Allow yourself to enjoy the feeling of shedding the limiting beliefs in your visualization, knowing that you can always take the parachutes off when you notice that your limiting beliefs are weighing you down in life. Stay in this meditative state for as long as you’d like, relishing the feeling of being free from your beliefs and knowing that you’ll always be able to surpass these obstacles when you have your sights set on a goal and you know that you’re capable of achieving it.
So, those are my five tips to try when negative self-talk is getting you down, but it’s by no means a comprehensive list! What do you like to do to combat the negative voice in your head? Have you named your inner mean girl? Share in the comments below!