When most people set out to achieve a health-based goal, they focus entirely on their outside game. Meaning, they hit the gym, they chow down on salads, and they spend all their time focusing on their physical body.
Unfortunately, this approach ignores the most important component in your quest to achieve your goals: your inner game, i.e. the stuff that goes on between your ears! The truth is, if you don’t address this inner stuff, you’re destined to end up struggling to stay motivated. Instead, you’ll be wracked by guilt, cravings, and endless self-sabotage—something that way too many of us can relate to.
BUT, if you can take the time to do the inner work along with the outer work, you can significantly increase your chances of staying on track and actually reaching your goals. Not to mention, you’re going to feel a whole lot better along the way.
If you think your inner game could do with some attention, here’s a four-step framework to help you flip your mental success switch firmly to the “ON” position:
1. Tune in to the emotion behind your goal.
If you don’t have a good, solid, soul-sparking reason for chasing your goal, it’s going to be hard to keep your mind focused on it long enough to see it through to fruition.
For example, if you want to lose weight simply to look good in a bikini on your next holiday, that might not be a strong enough reason to motivate you out of bed on a cold winter’s morning. But if your underlying reason to lose weight is so that you can be fit enough to coach your kid’s soccer team, or so that you can become your healthiest self ever before getting pregnant, those reasons are far more likely to inspire you when the going gets tough (as it inevitably does when we’re making big life changes!).
2. Meet your Mean Girl.
Never heard of your Mean Girl? She’s the voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, whatever enough.
Now that you know the emotional reason why you’re pursuing your goal, pay attention to what your Mean Girl says to you when you think about chasing it. “You could never run a marathon—you’re too undisciplined!” “You’ve never been good at sports—remember highschool gym class?” “You’ll always be the fat, frumpy mom—why even bother trying to change it?”
We really do say some awful things to ourselves sometimes, don’t we? For now, your job is just to notice what she’s saying—don’t react, don’t try to fight her, just observe.
3. Recognize that just because you’ve had these thoughts, it DOESN’T mean that they’re true.
For many of us, the moment our Mean Girl lets fly with a negative thought about how unworthy we are, we become convinced that it’s 100 percent true, and we let her completely derail all our good intentions.
But this is a flawed way to think, and it isn’t serving us. Instead, when she pipes up, choose to treat your Mean Girl with an attitude of gentle curiosity. Ask yourself, “Where did I pick up this old belief?”
This simple question can have an incredibly healing effect. It’s amazing how many times we can trace our fears back to a parent, a teacher, or a kid at school who said something once—often decades ago, and frequently without even realizing how much it stung us—yet it’s stuck with us ever since. The simple act of identifying this connection can be enough to remove some of the negative charge around the fear and help you begin the process of moving through it.
4. Reframe your fears.
To be able to fully flip your success switch to the “ON” position and move toward your goals, you’re going to have to spend some time OUTSIDE of your comfort zone, getting up close and personal with your fears. This can be tough, and it can make your Mean Girl go a little crazy, but trust me—it’s worth it.
With each of the fears you have identified (and you might have multiple fears for a single goal), get out your journal and a pen and ask yourself: “Is this really true? How can I be sure? What evidence is there that proves the opposite?”
More often than not, with these simple questions, you’ll be able to disarm your Mean Girl and disprove her worries. Let’s go back to one of those earlier examples as a casestudy: “You could never run a marathon—you’re too undisciplined!”
When you apply the above three questions to this fear, you might come up with some answers that surprise you: “This isn’t really true, but I’ve believed it for a long time—ever since that basketball coach at school yelled at me. The truth is, I’m disciplined in many areas of my life—in my work, in my hobbies, in my home. There’s no reason why I can’t learn to transfer this discipline to my new running routine to help me achieve my marathon dream.”
This framework for flipping on your success switch is mind-blowingly effective. Mastering your Mean Girl is one of the most powerful ways you can make progress toward your goals, and I can’t wait for you to try it out for yourself.
Photo Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock