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Have you ever given any thought to the lies you tell yourself?
As a mom I can so easily remind my older kids to sift through their own insecurities, self doubt, and negative self-talk, but I can honestly say that I have never really applied that same thing to my own life. I am quick to remind my kids that lies come from the “enemy” and from the “father of lies” that we as Christians know to be satan, but I don’t so easily think about the lies that he tells me.
I am also famous for reminding my kids that greatness only comes when you push yourself beyond what you think you can handle and that anything worth doing is worth giving it your all.
Just as with the lies, I am also so very bad to speak of these truths to myself. I think this is especially difficult for me as a recovering perfectionist since old habits can die very hard.
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As I’ve been paying attention to my own negative self talk as well as to the self talk I hear of those around me, I hear things such as
- I’m not anything like she is
- I’m just not disciplined enough
- I can’t ever seem to do anything right
- I don’t think I could ever do that
- This is just the way that it is
- It’s just too hard
- I’m just not strong enough
Of course there are so many other things we can tell ourselves all in the name of negative self-talk.
We can’t dwell in the negative self-talk, however, we just can’t stay there. We have made it to the end of our book club book, Breaking Busy. We have worked hard, and we need to continue to work hard. Although this may be an emotionally draining exercise, because let’s face it, change in hard, it is such a good one to see through to the end.
When it comes to getting rid of an “I can’t do it” attitude, I find the following 10 steps to be essential:
1. Crush the negative self-talk by replacing it with three positive statements about yourself
Things like I can learn, I can grow, I can succeed, tomorrow is a new day, just keep swimming, and so many more can work here.
2. Create an action plan to overcome each of the things mentioned above
I have talked before about how it is relatively easy to set goals, it is the follow thru that is the hard part. The action plans are what takes you from where you are to where you want to be.
3. Move forward only one step at a time
When it comes to learning and doing something new, it can feel overwhelming. However, we must only look at what is directly in front of us. If we try to take on more, we are only likely to trip and fall.
4. Recognize that new habits take time, they take work, and they require us to move outside of our comfort zone much of the time
Knowing this truth allows us to be prepared for the time, attention, and even discouragement that a new habit or routine can demand of us.
5. Be prepared for some backsliding
Rare is the person who can try something new and get it right on the first shot. For this reason, it is helpful to plan on taking some backward steps, especially at first. We must know that we will make mistakes as we strive to move forward.
6. Cover your backward steps with plenty of grace
There is a difference between needing to extend grace and coming up with excuses so you want to tread lightly here, but perfection is not to be expected as we try something new. When backward steps happen here and there, cover them in grace.
7. Apply a new strategy if necessary
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, right? As you tackle breaking busy in your life, don’t shy away from trying things a different way if your initial application isn’t working. If you discover a roadblock that will keep you from forming a new habit, try a different way.
8. Make sure you’ve got a good incentive
Making changes, trying new things, and challenging ourselves to come out of our comfort zone is hard, and a good incentive can make all the difference in the world. Hard work is so much easier to take on with a reward. I look forward to my good cup of caffeinated coffee in the afternoons. A good cup of coffee is my one splurge, and it is what pulls me forward when things go wrong in my day and I’m wishing I could just go back to bed.
Are you trying to get up earlier, go to bed earlier, start exercising, or eating healthier? If these are your goals that you’re having trouble following through on, get yourself a really good yet manageable incentive and watch yourself move forward.
9. Get an accountability person—or better yet—a partner who is coming alongside you in a similar journey
Two are always better than one, remember?
10. Stay focused on the big picture
I love a quote from my book, A Realistic Action Plan For the Weary Mom: 15 Days of Hope From The Intentional Mom, that speaks to this very thing…”When we are too focused on where we are, we can’t see where we are going.” Don’t get so hung up on the challenges before you, focus on the other side because if there’s one thing I know, it’s the the other side will come. It really will.
When you are looking to be the best you that you can be, it can be easy to embrace an “I can’t do it mindset.” However, dwelling in that mindset will keep you from moving forward. Adopt these ten steps as your own and you’ll get on your way!
This post is reflection of the book we are reading as a book club community. This is the book we are reading.
Here is a bit more about our book club…
This book club is a way of encouraging others to carve out the time to read at a pace of just two chapters a week because I’ve learned that finding time to read never just happens on its own.
Generally, every Monday and Thursday there will be blog posts here with Monday’s Inspirational Reads somewhere in the title with my reaction to each of the two chapters for the week.