Can a simple statement really get you motivated to start, do, or improve something you’re putting off? Let’s find out.
Think of something you desire to be different, or feel challenged about following through on. See or feel it in your mind’s eye. Really connect with it. Now, say to yourself, gently and truthfully: “I can do better than this.”
First things first—remove any critical self-judgment from the picture right now. It isn’t useful.
Second, do you believe there’s some truth for you in the statement that you can do better than what you’re currently doing? Is there even one thing you can do differently that would get you closer to your targeted goal or dream, or make an improvement?
Third, watch out for two typical self-entrapments: You aim to start too big and you attempt to reach the outcome—or think you have to—without taking the steps.
Let’s say you don’t like how your body looks (or, use a current issue of your own). You might be tempted to do the following in this order:
1. Look in the mirror and not feel happy with what you see, and begin the verbal self-abuse. That’s always effective, right?
2. Say, “This Is It!”—plus, more verbal self-abuse.
3. Choose a stringent diet program and an exercise program not appropriate for you, or you start at too high a level (and you increase the verbal self-abuse).
I’m not going to keep going with the numbered steps, because how this example, or whatever you’ve started and stopped over the years (or never started), plays out (including creative endeavors) can be filled in by you as well as me. But maybe you feel, perhaps subconsciously, that the way to improve is to first punish (unsuitable, unsustainable diet and exercise programs—or whatever relates to your issue), rather than find what supports you, then start small and grow into it.
We live in an age of Instant: coffee, foods, information. It’s no wonder instant gratification tugs at us so forcefully. But some things, the really important or significant things in life, are usually not instant.
However, it isn’t just instant gratification you’re dealing with these days; you’re also bombarded with emails from people about their “instant” successes, results, or outcomes. When you aim at your targets, if you don’t mirror the so-said instant success of others—or what you believe you’re “supposed” to achieve, you feel like a failure.
Maybe you want to take the temperature of this in your own life. Many times, these people have their “instant” successes after quite a number of years (or hours, days, weeks) of effort that led to their “overnight” success. Some even tell you this, but that information is easy to ignore because you’re fixated on a big number (or whatever) flashing like a neon sign in your mind; and what it takes, or might, to achieve this is virtually ignored.
Tony Robbins said something to the effect that small improvements made daily create compounded enhancements. Don’t attempt or believe you have to attempt to produce the final outcome five minutes after you decide what it is. What do you really want to go for now, or next, that will improve one or more areas of your life? Write this down—writing it really does matter.
Whenever you start to be hard on yourself about any area of your life you’re not satisfied with, rather than giving yourself the verbal self-lashing you may do or perhaps giving up altogether, gently say to yourself, “I can do better than this.” Then take some action each day. Let your daily improvements weave your larger tapestry.
You are what you practice.
© Joyce Shafer