Self-Talk: Talk That Makes Or Breaks You
I want you to know that it’s okay if you’re not marathon-ready yet, if you didn’t finish the book yet, if you didn’t drink every ounce of water that you promised yourself you would drink yesterday. I want you to know that it’s okay if your house isn’t clean top to bottom, if you haven’t released all of your clutter, if your to-do list is mostly filled with things you meant to do yesterday. I want you to know that it’s okay if you didn’t get it painted or written, if you didn’t call or write, or if you forgot something important… again.
It’s not that I wanted you to, or that I don’t think there will be (or perhaps already are) consequences to what didn’t get done. It’s that I want you to know that it’s okay to move forward now. This moment is all we have. What if we could just live in it?
I have a client who committed to working on the backlog in her office one hour each day until it was eliminated. She has that hour scheduled on her calendar and after several days of success, she had a day like we sometimes have and she couldn’t fit it in. The next day when the reminder went off, she thought, “Yes, the office. I’ve got to get in there for two hours today!” And she never could get it done. The next day, she shot for three hours in the office and it didn’t happen either.
On the fourth day, when the alarm reminded her about the hour, she came to her senses and said, “One hour in the office, I can do that today.” And so she did and in that hour she accomplished a great deal more than she would have accomplished if she never made it into the office because she couldn’t find four hours for office time that expired over the previous several days.
We live here, in the real world, and sometimes life doesn’t go as we expected. Sometimes we get sick, or distracted, or scared or heartbroken, and the things we meant to be doing with our days don’t get done. We’ve all had interruptions like that–sometimes for days or weeks and sometimes, it’s years before we find our way back.
If you’ve been neglecting something important for weeks, months, or years, what needs to happen here isn’t the undoing of time. This isn’t about making up for what was lost. You got a new day, another chance, not a time machine.
Instead of letting what was lost yesterday build up and paralyze us, we want to look at what needs to be done today to bring us back into alignment with the truth of who we are. If you were running three days a week and you took off a couple of days, weeks (or years… that sometimes happens), you didn’t fall off a cliff, where scaling an impossible wall is the only way back. Just stand up and start walking again. When you can run, run. Take the action that is reasonable for your body today. The key is taking action.The action we take every single day defines who we are. If we want to be fit people, we need to move our bodies. If we don’t for a while, it just means we’ve established a new habit of not moving. We need to begin moving again to cultivate a new habit that will result in fitness. It’s not any more important. We are what we do. If we say we care and don’t do it, we don’t really care. At least, we care about something else more than we care about that thing. We have to invest the resources–time, money, energy, passion, etc.–into the actions that result in who we want to be.
And it’s the same process for whatever it is we want to be. If we want to be a musician, practice your instrument. If you want to be write books, pick up a pen. If you want to have rich relationships, connect with people every single day. If it’s a spiritual life you desire, do something to cultivate that in your life.
Notice that nowhere in that rather simple description is there any added benefit from self-loathing, punishment, and staying stuck even one minute longer than you need to be.
Let it go.
Begin again. Sustaining your commitment is better than not but if you have to make a dozen fresh starts to get moving, do it. What do you have to lose? The other option is much, much more of the same.
So 2012 just started, what is it you that you want for yourself this year? We’ve talked about this before. How are you moving toward that goal, resolution, dreams, or wish? Do you have time in your daily life to commit to your journey toward it? What about support? Do you have what you need to make this happen?
What about the way you are dealing with yourself? Is your self-talk part of the problem or the solution? Are you focused on what you didn’t do in the past or what you will do today? Are you setting yourself up for success when you plan your days? Have you created a supportive physical environment for yourself?
If not, take the time to get right with yourself. If you’ve let yourself down before, release that. Forgive yourself for broken promises. There’s no time for self-loathing here. It doesn’t help and it absolutely will suck the possibility out of your journey back to the one you were born to be.