Monday, February 21, 2011

Small Steps to Successful Living: Internal Monologues

I’m finding myself at what I think is an important crossroads. With each small step I choose, I find resistance building. This may sound like a bad thing, but I’m not so sure it is.

A small setback appears? My internal monologue kicks in, “See, you knew this would never work” or “This is too hard, and if you can’t cut it for the small steps, you’ll never make huge strides.”

As Julia Cameron writes in the Artist’s Way, “As we gain strength, so will some of the attacks of self-doubt.”

The more I allow these attacks to continue, the less desire I have to pursue my goals. And why not? It’s just more chances for that internal voice to beat me up again (same goes for writing and the internal editor). You know the one – the voice that tells you you’ll never succeed, your writing isn’t polished enough, that you aren’t losing so you might as well eat that cookie…

The solution lies solely in our imaginations.

I’ve begun practicing one of Cameron’s strategies for fighting self-doubts. She calls these doubts ‘blurts’, and she instructs artists to counter each one with positive statements of truth. For example:

“A nap? Well aren’t you just lazy!”

“I work hard every day to support my family and deserve to rest.”

“Told you this would never work.”

“Each small step is working. My body feels more energetic when I exercise. Today simply didn’t work out.”

So many times we allow ourselves to be beat up by that internal drill sergeant, but we are hard-working mothers, wives, friends, employees, and volunteers.

Be gentle with yourself. We deserve it.

So tell me, how do you fight self-doubt and the internal editor? What is one of your most common blurts and a positive statement to counteract it?


I'm doing moderately well with my small steps goals. I'm currently on track in The Artist's Way, but not so on track with my exercise goals, so I'm renewing those goals for the rest of this month. How are your resolutions going?

Coming Soon!
Join us next Monday when guest author Rita Henuber visits the blog.


Playground Monitor said...

Can we talk about something else? ::grin::

I wrote down 4 goals for 2011. One has an April 1 deadline, one has a May 1 deadline and one has June 1. So far I'm on task for that April 1 goal but haven't even touched the project that involves the other two dates. But since I set those goals, I've had an opportunity arise to participate in something worthwhile and it's been taking up a lot of my time. I suppose I should go back and adjust my original goals to take the new opportunity into account. It might mean eliminating one goal altogether since it was a contest with a May 1 entry date. I could live with that since the contest only benefits me and the new thing can make a big difference in a lot of other people's lives.

Angel said...

You know, PM, sometimes goals do have to be adjusted. For instance, the death of an elderly relative last week meant I wasn't able to make my writing goals. I had to take care of that, extra care for the grief of my husband and children, and work, etc. Which meant the online conference I signed up for last week, and fully intended to participate in, got the least of my attention.

I had to shift and say, well, at least there is a GOOD reason for this (well, not good that someone died, but maybe VALID is what I'm looking for) and adjust accordingly. So I checked in with the courses when I could, and plan to read the lessons this week since I'll have more time.

You simply need to do the same on a larger scale. :)


Problem Child said...

My problem is that once I miss a goal or break a resolution, I figure why bother anymore. It's obviously proof I'm not capable of doing it.

Yeah, that's the little conversation I have to have with myself a lot. One setback or one slip doesn't make the whole effort wasted or moot.

Jean Hovey said...

I'm making it up as I go.

Smarty Pants said...

Life happens. People die. Proposals happen. Kids get sick. The key is flexibility. I'm not that great with it. I eat one cookie, I might as well eat 20 and give up. But I'm working on it.

My verification word is : menspin

Yes, men often spin things up and ruin my plans, too.

Rita said...

I am waaay too hard on myself. It's a constant struggle to relax. I find it helps if I look around and say thank you for everything I see. Thank you for beautiful day, thank you for the rain, thank you for the coffee. Something, anything so as not to focus on myself. I throw a marvelous pity party, but it's timed. Usually a couple of hours. Some champagne or a few adult beverages are always helpful. I have been known to schedule a nervous breakdown. Haven't done one of those since I had four kids living at home. I honestly don't know how you ladies with family and a day job write. I bow down to you. You are amazing. Super Women.

Angel said...

I definitely struggle with the, "Well, I screwed up so I might as well not bother." The only problem is it has gotten me WAY behind in my health and sanity. So I had to find a way to cope.

Definitely don't have a sure handle on it yet, but I'm working on it, at least. :)


Angel said...

Rita, I too am discovering the pleasure in saying thank you. Even in those times that are tough. I'll go to a clients house to clean and say, "Thank you, God, for this time alone." :) Trying to find the positive spin on it, even if it is just between myself and God. Also trying to savor things, like coffee, a good hair day, or a full moon in a pitch black sky.

I try to remember to stop and enjoy, say thanks, before rushing by.

I schedule reward days (me, a bed, a book, and some rest) to try to help circumvent the nervous breakdown. Can't do it often. Maybe once every 5 weeks or so, but it seems to be helping. :)