It’s too cold to take a walk. I’m too tired to schlep out to yoga class. It’s dark out. I’m tired. I don’t want to get together with friends. I have no time to cook dinner. I’d rather sit in front of the TV and eat ice cream!! Sound familiar?
There’s a little voice inside of my head that sounds a lot like a grumpy old man…and the closer we get to winter, the louder he gets. He’s trying to sabotage all of my good intentions when it comes to getting out, exercising, and taking care of myself.
But I’m so not going to let him.
This little old man really doesn’t want to leave the comfort of his recliner. He especially doesn’t like stepping outside of his comfort zone. And, he’ll do anything he can to lure me into his deep dark hole of bad eating, sluggish, anti-social behavior, and self-depreciating thoughts.
He often shows up a few hours before I have plans to go out in the evening. On yoga night, he pops in around 4:30 p.m. to start taunting me: You don’t want to go to yoga. You’re too tired. You won’t get out in time. You still have to make dinner and put the kids to bed. It’s too much effort.
He also shows up in the morning, when I’m rushing to get dressed and out the door: You look terrible in that top. Why are you even bothering to get dressed? The baby will likely just spit up on you anyway. You’re going to be late…AGAIN! You’re so disorganized. You can’t possibly get work done and take care of your child. Why are you even bothering?
He taunts me when I open the fridge. There’s nothing healthy in here to eat. You’re too tired to cook. There’s no time. Just go for something fast and easy. Who cares about eating healthy?
And, when I sit down to write: You’ll never get through your work today. You’re going to miss another deadline. You’re too tired, too distracted, too unmotivated, too busy to get anything done well anyway.
The more I focus on him, the louder he gets.
But, I’ve had ENOUGH!
It’s Time to Break Free.
I’ve spent so much time in my own head over the past few months that I’ve heard it all. And, I can tell you, I’m sick of it.
The good news is, we all have control over this voice. Because, it’s not actually an old man who has taken up residence inside our brains, but rather our own inner voice or ego, coming out to test us and push us.
We have a choice whether we want to listen and respond, or send the voice on its way and replace it with something better, more productive, and more inspiring.
Easier said than done?
I can tell you, it takes work. And, it won’t happen overnight. But, whatever you do, don’t start beating yourself up over the fact that you’re listening to the voice. That’s like bringing in a fire breathing dragon (your guilt) to fight the old man (your ego). It’ll never work.
Instead, begin with awareness.
Notice the voice when it comes up: “Hello grumpy old man, I see you’re back again.”
Catch it in the act: “I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to prevent me from feeling good today, you want to ruin my mood, you want to stop me from taking care of myself, you want to lure me into your dark hole of self-neglect. Well…I’m not going to stand for it!”
Next, try replacing the negative thought with something a bit more positive. Something that makes you feel better about the situation.
“Not today old man. Not today. Today I’m taking care of me. Today I’m going to yoga, even if I have to skip dinner and leave the house a mess. I’m getting to that class because I need some quiet time to myself. I deserve it!”
Then, let it go. Get out of your head altogether. Think about something else. Focus on what you’re doing in the moment rather than thinking about how you’re going to feel later on. Take a deep breath and practice being mindful.
As you quiet the voice, you’ll feel a weight lifting off your shoulders. (That little man weighs a ton!)
It’s amazing how powerful our minds can be: for good and evil. So get yours working for you…and you’ll be amazed with the results.