Is it just me, or does September feel like the beginning of a new year almost as much as January 1?
Even though I haven’t been in school for quite some time, I’ve never lost that sense of renewal and possibility that the back-to-school season brings. It’s a very natural time for self-reflection, routine, and goal setting. I end up doing weird things in September — like organizing my linen closet and purging the kids’ worn out toys — that I never feel like doing again for the rest of the year.
With the craziness of summer in the rear view mirror, September is a time when many of our clients recommit to healthy habits. They make time to try new recipes, attend a yoga class, or get more sleep. The fresh start of the back-to-school season tends to be quite positive and exhilarating.
So without sounding like too much of a Debbie downer, I want to make sure you’re well set up to handle the person who is most likely to come along and sabotage your amazing efforts approximately three weeks from now.
It’s not your mother, sister, or best friend. It’s not your spouse or your children. And it’s not even your colleague who brings a box of donuts to every staff meeting.
Are you ready for this? It’s YOU.
Well, it’s not actually you, but rather the voice in your head. Commonly known as your inner critic, this universal saboteur stops more people from making progress on their well-intentioned goals than everyone else combined. And if you’re human, you know exactly what that voice sounds like.
Who do you think you are? You have no business trying to take this on. Remember how you failed last time and the time before that? What makes you think this time will be any different? Save yourself the heartache and just stay on the couch where you belong.
The volume of our inner critic tends to fluctuate depending on what we’re pursuing. If we’re squarely inside our comfort zone (e.g. sitting on the couch), it may not have too much to say. But here’s the deal. It goes absolutely ballistic when we start making headway towards an important goal. In fact, you can practically navigate by the resistance or push-back you feel from your inner critic. The louder the “you suck” voice, the more certain you can be that you’re on the right track.
As Stephen Pressfield outlines in his epic book on this very topic called The War of Art, pursuits that generally elicit large amounts of resistance are:
1. Any diet or health regimen
2. Education of every kind
3. Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals
4. Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction
5. Any act that entails commitment
Realize this. Every noble health goal you have this fall has the potential to make the voice in your head louder, as if you’ve handed it a giant megaphone. But does that mean you should stop going for your dreams? Absolutely not.
The trick to silencing this internal foe is:
- Recognizing it for what it is (a self-protection mechanism meant to keep you in your comfort zone)
- Taking consistent action in spite of it (no matter how tiny)
Do this process enough times and that pesky voice will start to quiet down.
Here’s what I like to do.
- “Well hello there saboteur, fancy meeting you again. Nice try but I’m still going to…”
- …prep a healthy meal instead of the frozen pizza, meet my friend for yoga instead of bailing, or hit the hay now instead of numbing out on Facebook and an open pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
Do this enough times and you’ll not only start realizing your health goals, but you’ll also develop some mastery over your inner critic. Why? Because you’ll have created a new comfort zone. A new normal.
Many people find that knowledge, support and accountability are hugely beneficial in the early days of establishing healthier routines, which is exactly why we designed the Eat Real Food Academy course. We believe that by eating real food meal after meal, you can reclaim your health and silence your inner critic. Imagine the FREEDOM in that! Registration is open until Sept 13.
I’m curious, what does your inner critic say to sabotage your healthy eating and exercise goals, and how do you keep on making progress in spite of it? Leave us a comment below.
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