Maybe you’ve heard this analogy before in a different context:
Someone is standing on a ledge. They try to pull you up – but it’s hard. You try to push them down – very simple. It’s much easier to use gravity and a small amount of effort to bring them down to you. But them lifting you up is much more difficult.
This metaphor is typically used to speak about the influence those around you can have. But today, I’m speaking about someone far closer to you than your coworkers… your friends… and even your family. Far more influential in your life. Your thoughts. I’m talking about YOU.
You’re In Charge
Think of any goal in your life. Or even call it a hope, dream, want. When you think of it, what do you tell yourself you need to do in order to achieve it? Does that list include telling yourself NOT to do something? For most of us it probably does. I need to stop eating junk. I need to STOP spending so much. I need to stop getting to bed so late. I shouldn’t be so cold towards this person. What you need to stop doing is putting so much emphasis on what you want to avoid!
Tell yourself not to think about an elephant – and what do you do?
Think you have more authority over your own brain than I do?
Tell yourself not to think of a yellow polka dot bikini.
What did you do anyway?
It seems so simple, but we do this to ourselves all day, every day. It’s almost like programming ourselves to engage in negative self talk habitually but also convincing ourselves that it is improving us. What?! Yeah! Negative self talk is anything that you think about yourself that is negative. If you think that you’re not doing that when you think about how you’ve failed miserably at your diet, or how lazy you’ve been, or how irresponsible you are while shopping you should look more closely at what you’re focusing on when you say I shouldn’t, can’t, need to stop…
Focus on Adding, not subtracting
Instead of directing so much thought towards what you DON’T want, for one day commit to focusing on what you DO want. I want to eat more vegetables. I want to spend more time connecting with others. I want to read more books. I want to get more sleep. I want to budget. I want to do something kind for my loved one. I want to MAKE TIME for one small thing that feeds my soul.
If you were busy thinking of and doing those things, I think you’d be surprised how little time you had to engage in all of those things you’ve been telling yourself for years that you need to “stop”.