Ditching The Inner Drill Sergeant
Yesterday I started my first test group for a program that was just released, I'm excited to do it! There is something motivating about committing to something difficult and 80 days is a long time!
I bought the tools to do the workouts a month ago and then this past week I was hesitant to commit and I wasn't sure why. Honestly, its not because the workouts are longer than normal or the nutrition is timed and must be followed exactly, I thrive on those kinds of challenges ( just ask my hubby! ha!)
I realized it was because I really didn't know my reasons for wanting to do it. I struggle with perfectionism. It's something that I have been eradicating from my life. I also spent a lot of years looking to other people's opinions for reassurance and direction and I'm done with that too! I've spent much of my life trying to motivate myself with shame and fear and envy and none of that lasted leaving me feeling worse about myself than ever.
I don't want my striving to come from a place of seeking a perfect body or trying to impress other people with what I have accomplished. I want every decision I make to be true to who I am and who I want to become. I want to encourage others to live a life of purpose and to be healthy mind, body, and soul and, my friends, you can be healthy without a six pack. You can be healthy without a job that makes others envious, you can be healthy and look different than those around you.
I have some friends that have chiseled bodies and yet emotionally they are the most unhealthy people that I know. Being fit isn't everything, it should be part of a balanced life. I loved this from Don Miguel Ruiz in his book 'The Mastery of Self':
" It is a widely held belief that the best way to achieve your goals is to whip, chide, or use some other form of self-deprecation to push yourself to get to where you want to go. As a result, many people feel that the best way to succeed at something is to employ the iconic drill sergeant character in your mind, which pushes you with negative self talk to "be all you can be"...First of all,the problems with this type of approach are numerous. Anytime you use negative self-talk as a means to achieve your goals, you imply that you in your current state are not good enough.
Secondly, pushing yourself to achieve your goals through negative self-talk leaves little room for self-acceptance and self-love if you don't reach your goal, setting you up for more internal berating in the future. This is the reason why not achieving a goal can leave you felling worse than before you started If this occurs on a regular basis, the result is that you will become less likely to set goals or even stop setting them all together.
In addition, anytime you judge yourself for not meeting a specific goal, you also open yourself to being judged by others because you have already implicitly agreed with the judgement. This is how the great majority of people interact with themselves and others, imposing goals and expectations onto one another and subjugating themselves to judgement if the goal is not reached.
Admittedly, the reason that setting goals in this way is such an effective trap is that sometimes it seems to work. The voice of your inner judge can be a powerful motivator, and it uses guilt, shame, and envy, and a host of other negative emotions to push you to action. But when this negative self-talk does seem to work, the success is short lived.
By tying your self-love and self-acceptance to a goal, your happiness corresponds to its achievement. When you reach your goal, your self-esteem rises temporarily; when you don't you think less of yourself."
I needed to take the time this week to make sure that I was doing this for the right reasons. It's the middle of January and if you started your resolutions this way and are wilting under the weight of that inner drill sergeant, I just want you to know you CAN do this in a way that build you up. You don't need to shame yourself. My fear was that if I let go of the shame than I would abuse the grace. I held onto shame for dear life as though it was the only thing holding me back from wrecking my life.
My life has been a far better place without it! In fact, I struggle less with binge eating and feeling the need to numb my pain, because I was the source of most of that pain with my negative inner dialogue. Other people's negative perceptions of me don't even phase me anymore because I don't accept their judgements. I know who I am and where I am going and I don't need the affirmation of others to feel confident in my choices.
I have to reassess at times though because old habits die hard and I can find myself entertaining that drill sergeant again. Your healthy journey can be a complete joy, even through the hard parts! Evaluate today. Are fear, shame, and envy leading your decisions? Or are you truly working on treating your yourself well inside and out?
If you need a mental detox I highly recommend his book!
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"And Aubrey was her name. A not so very ordinary girl or name."(Or so says David Gates ;) I'm a wife to Phillip, a mother to Scarlett and Juliet. We live in the beautiful city of Thornton, Co. I'm a recovering red bull addict. I love to read. I hate to cook. I seek to be inspired and also to inspire others. I am a Beachbody Coach on a quest to be truly healthy mind, soul, and body and challenge others to do the same.