Be the best YOU you can be

The Positivity Goal

Did you know that you are far more successful if you motivate yourself with positive messages, than with critical and guilt-ridden criticism?

Although this may sound obvious, when you start to think about it – I bet most of you – like me – fall into the category where we berate ourselves for not reaching the goals we set for ourselves.

How many of us believe we lack basic willpower?

Do you have to get up early to go to the gym, and then berate yourself when you spend those extra few minutes in bed, and you miss your session? Do you wake up in the morning and tell yourself that this is the day that you will start your diet, and fail at the first biscuit offered? Do you promise yourself you’ll only drink at the weekends, but find yourself slipping into the old habits of having a glass of wine ‘to relax’ each night?

How do you react? What goes through your mind after each momentary leap of happy hormones fades into memory?

Do you berate yourself? Feel guilty? Promise you’ll be stronger next time?

I challenge you to spend the next few days just noticing how you talk to yourself.

It's very easy to fall into the habit of starting to believe you’re a failure. The inability to achieve a goal or stick to a goal must reflect on you as a person. You lack willpower, and therefore there must be something lacking in you.

The statement above seems very harsh. You may, at first, think to yourself ‘I don’t do that’. But you’d be surprised at just how many people internalise their perceived failures as representative of who they are at their core.

I’m not just someone who drinks too much/eats too much chocolate – I'm lazy. I just can’t do it – I'd better give up. I’m such a failure – everyone else can do this/has achieved this – it’s just me.

Again, I challenge you to spend a few days just noticing your thoughts.

In the 8 week mindfulness programme, it is only in the very last week that we discuss the subject of being kind to yourself. It’s HARD!

Apparently 80% of our thoughts are negative – and they’re usually the same thoughts that go round and round in our heads. It’s no wonder, then, that we apply this negative, critical thinking to our goals and our ‘willpower motivation’.

Much better is to motivate ourselves with positivity.


What does that mean?

There have been numerous studies that have shown that we are far more likely to stick to goals if we motivate ourselves with positive intentions, rather than criticism.

To do this, we have to turn our goals around, and think of them in a different way – in coaching terms we call it ‘reframing’.

The end goal is the same, but the way we think about it, and the way we move towards that goal – is different.

Imagine this scenario:

Your aim is to drink more water every day.

You wake up with this intention, but somehow find that the day runs away with you. You start by drinking coffee to wake up. You switch to tea in the day ‘to cut down on caffeine’ - you say yes whenever someone offers you a cuppa. Perhaps you meet a friend in the evening and go for a drink. You get to the end of the day and realise that you haven’t had one glass of water. You berate yourself for failing again and promise yourself you’ll do better tomorrow. You could find yourself repeating this scenario over and over again – feeling more and more guilty.

However, what if you could reframe your goal? What if you could motivate yourself with positivity?

One way to think about it is to ‘become friends’ with yourself. Rather than it being something you ‘have to’ or ‘should’ do – why not see it as a gift that you’re giving to yourself?

‘I’m going to start by drinking 3 glasses of water a day – one with each meal’. ‘I’m going to say to myself that each time I think about drinking that glass of water I’m going to smile and remember that by doing so I’m being kind to myself – I'm being good to myself’ ‘I’m going to motivate myself by giving myself a pat on my back each time I have a glass – and celebrate each glass – rather than bemoan and criticise myself for not drinking 8 glasses’.

I highly recommend the book Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg – in it, he describes how to change your habits by changing one tiny little thing at a time. You build up to the big change you want.

Perhaps what you do is to get a glass out in the morning every day, until you’re so used to doing this you don’t even notice. Next, you fill it with water – and get used to doing it, even if you don’t drink.

BJ Fogg also explains the science behind the fact that change does not come from willpower alone. It needs something more – it needs to be achievable, simple and accessible.

Is it realistic for you to expect yourself to become a daily gym bunny, when all the exercise you’ve done so far is the odd weekend walk? Can you REFRAME your goal to make it more achievable, realistic and positive-orientated?

Can you, perhaps, ask yourself to go for more walks during the week, to enjoy the outdoors – and perhaps catch up with a friend? Can you start slowly, celebrating each gym session by focussing on the happy endorphins flowing around you? Perhaps ‘train’ yourself to smile each time you think about going to the gym. In this way, it’s easy to start tricking your subconscious. It's the way that Affirmations work – you're talking directly to your subconscious.

Whatever your goal, my challenge to you is to spend a week just noticing your thoughts about how you motivate yourself.

Your next challenge is to reframe – can you change the way you go about trying to think and achieve your goal, to put more focus on positive reinforcement?

If you need any help with the reframing – and staying accountable for achieving that goal – get in touch. I can be your personal positive motivation coach. :-)

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