How many times have you attempted to try something new only to be defeated by the inner voice that tells you, “You are never good enough?” There might be some instances when you are trying to fight your inner critic, but the problem is, this inner critic always wins.
You try to be brave and to act like a winner, but this inner critic always deters you from stepping out of your comfort zone. You are filled with apprehension and you tried to fight them, but you become defenseless.
While you may feel inferior when comparing yourself with others, being grateful for what you have will help you see the other side of life that is brighter and much better.
It is indeed true that you can be your own worst critic, but that does not mean you cannot do anything about it with these mental habits:
Habit #1: Be grateful for what you’ve got
Like the famous Sheryl Crow line goes: “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”
When you’re focused on what you don’t have or what you’re not achieving, you discount your past success.
If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’ll be good enough once you reach a certain career milestone or have a certain amount of money in your bank account, you will fail to enjoy the path that you’re currently on. You’re essentially “living in the future.”
Being grateful for your current situation, no matter what state it is in will make you feel more comfortable with yourself. Beyond that, gratitude has also been reported to strengthen immune systems, lower blood pressure, and increase levels of positive emotions in people.
It may sound cheesy, but I like to start my day with a short meditation focusing on gratitude. The reason that I’ve made this meditation a habit is because it achieves two important things: having gratitude and presence.
Easy 3-Step Meditative Practice:
- Gratitude for the people in my life– this keeps me grounded and reminds me of all the supportive people in my life
- Gratitude for the small stuff– I then like to think about minor things that make me happy or that I take for granted. Things like the birds chirping outside my window, running water, food and shelter, even silly things like my favorite TV shows!
- Gratitude for the big stuff– I also like to think about the endless opportunities in life that I have access to, like hobbies I’m passionate about, volunteer activities and other cool things I can live and learn from! Other things I may take for granted such as freedom and health are important things to be grateful for every single day.
You can use this same practice and tweak it to your own life. It will help focus your mind on the what you should be grateful for and it will bring you back into the now!
Habit #2: Visualization
Visualization is not mumbo jumbo. Top athletes and entrepreneurs use visualization to help prime their brains for success. The reason why it works is because you’re activating a series of connected nuclei in your brain called the “reticular activating system.”
In short, the RAS controls your belief system and links the unconscious and conscious parts of your brain. It helps filter out the tons of information you are exposed to, narrowing your brain’s focus only on the information that is deemed important by you.
For example, have you ever been at a busy airport but still hear your name through the intercom or someone shouting for you? That’s because your RAS has been primed to pay special attention to something important, your first name. It then turns all the other noise around you into “background noise.”
Visualizing helps prime your brain for success by cueing the RAS to focus on things that matter to you.
How to Visualize
A handy visualization exercise I like to use is imagining my “ideal future.” I like to vividly imagine a variety of things like what I’ll be doing, with whom, in what location and even imagine the way I’ll internally feel.
By doing this exercise, my brain is now focused on the things I can be doing to achieve this “ideal future.” I’d love to work from anywhere in the world, so I imagine myself blogging away on a white-sand beach. Since my brain has been primed with that vision, I’ve become hyper-aware of experiences and stories that I can channel into blog posts because I’ve trained my brain to focus on achieving that ideal goal!
The interesting thing about visualization is that it can be as powerful as actually doing what you’re thinking. In a fascinating study, piano players were divided in two groups. One group was told to physically practice, while the other was told to “mentally” practice by sitting in front of the piano and visualize playing it.
The takeaway was that in both groups there were identical physical changes in the brain and after three days their piano playing accuracy was exactly the same, regardless of how they practiced.
Start visualizing the future you want so your brain can help you focus on the things that will get you there!