Tuesday March 22, 2016
Many people remember their failures more than their successes. They beat themselves up over the smallest mistakes, but they only acknowledge or celebrate their greatest wins.
As a result, they feel discouraged, unworthy and insecure, and they struggle to have confidence in themselves and their abilities.
If you sometimes find yourself in that position, here are four quick things you can do TODAY to silence your inner critic and boost your self-confidence:
1. Keep track of even your smallest wins.
If you told yourself that you were going to call ten prospective clients today, but you only called nine, which are you going to focus on?
The one person you didn’t call, or the nine you did?
As tempting as it is to view success as “all or nothing”, and to see anything less than perfection as a failure, that mindset doesn’t give you enough credit for the things you DID achieve.
So anytime you’re feeling like you haven’t accomplished enough, or like you didn’t perform your tasks as perfectly as you wanted to, make a list of the things you DID get done, no matter how small they are.
Maybe you didn’t handle the phone call perfectly, but you still made the call.
Maybe you ate a bit more than you’d planned to, but you also exercised self-control and ate less junk food than you felt like eating.
When you focus on your successes, you encourage yourself to believe that you can succeed again in the future.
If you have trouble remembering your victories, I recommend writing them down as they happen, so you can refer to a list of your wins whenever you’re tempted to beat yourself up.
2. Don’t measure yourself by the amount of time you spend working.
This is especially important for people who feel like if they aren’t working, they aren’t good enough.
Even if you’ve gotten through your to-do list, it can be easy to feel like you’re slacking off if you finish early and have some extra time.
On days like that, it’s important to remind yourself that your worth is not dependent on your work. You deserve to take a break and take care of yourself, and if you got your work done efficiently, you’ve earned the extra time.
Admittedly, part of my mind sometimes has trouble accepting this, and you might encounter the same difficulty. Deep-seated subconscious beliefs don’t just go away the moment you throw a bit of logic at them, and it takes time and dedication to change them.
If feeling unworthy when you aren’t working is a chronic and serious problem for you, there’s no shame in seeking professional help to change your self-sabotaging beliefs. But for a dose of quick relief, you can try option 3:
3. Take one productive step to assuage your inner critic.
Sometimes, all it takes is one small bit of progress to make you feel like you’ve done enough.
If you’re getting close to the end of the day, and you’re tired and in need of a break, but your inner critic won’t let you relax, try choosing one quick, easy chore that won’t be a drain on your energy.
It could be one step in a project that’s been weighing on your mind, or a load of laundry, or an email that you can’t stop thinking about until you get it taken care of.
If something is nagging at your mind to the point where you can’t relax until it’s addressed, taking one small step toward completing it can make you feel like you’ve made enough progress, so you can relax until it’s time to get back to work.
4. That was then, this is now.
It can be easy to define yourself by your track record, and to use your past failures to forecast your chances of future success. But this can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, so it’s important to change that mental pattern to something that supports your confidence and success.
The next time you find yourself thinking about your past mistakes or bad habits, mentally interrupt yourself, and say, “That was then, this is now. Today, I choose to be (calm, confident, focused, honest, courageous, kind, or whatever it is that you want to become).”
Remember, you can make a change at any time you choose. That doesn’t mean the change will immediately become second nature, but in every situation, you can choose how you’re going to react, and decide how you’ll define yourself.
Whether you define yourself by your failures, omissions and mistakes, or by your successes, achievements and good choices, is up to you.
What do you tend to do when your inner critic rears its head?
Do you have any additional tips for your fellow readers?
I look forward to reading your comments.