Now you find it challenging to commit to the task at hand. You are thinking about what else is on your plate and the other options of where your attention could go. Eventually, you reach a point of decision fatigue, and ultimately, your productivity gets hampered.
‘Want’ is about connecting to yourself and doing it your way. This kind of thinking is not only relevant to your professional life; consider how you spend your downtime and weekends.
Do you resist free time because you feel guilty about what you should be doing, or do you take the gap for some much-needed recovery time?
2. Interrupt The Pattern.
‘Every thought you think and every word you say forms a blueprint and your mind must work to make that blueprint real.’ — Marisa Peer
Once you are aware when the circling thoughts and spiral of negative self-talk begins, interrupt the pattern by asking yourself — ‘where is the proof?’ For example, ‘I should be further by now, I am not good enough because I don’t have X amount in the bank’.
Where is the proof?
There is no proof. It is simply destructive and irrational thinking. You are focusing on the blueprint you created, the story of where you think you should be. Suffering happens when your actual reality is not aligned to the picture you had in your mind of the ideal reality. Once you can see the thought is not based on fact, let the thought go and find a better one to replace it.
3. Interrupt The Thought With Gratitude.
Gratitude is a powerful tool in managing your mind when the hostile inner critic arrives. Gratitude is the secret weapon that is always in your back pocket; it is the kryptonite to anxiety and negative thinking.
You cannot be angry and grateful at the same time. Gratitude enables you to shift your awareness to a more positive place instantly. Over time, you are training yourself to focus on what you have and not what is missing.
“If you focus on what you have, you gain what you lack. If you focus on what you lack, you lose what you have”. — Greg McKeown
4. Choose A Better Question To Focus On.
“All that stands between you and what you want is a better set of questions” — Tim Ferriss
You can also interrupt the thought with a question.
Your mind is a supercomputer and will provide the information based on the questions you ask it; if you want better thoughts, ask better questions.
Replace the thoughts of ‘Why am I not further along? Or ‘Why does this always happen to me?’ to ‘What is this here to teach me?; What can I do to connect more to my family today?; ‘How can I add value to my clients today?’
This is such a powerful tool because it forces your whole mind to reboot.
Here are some examples of questions that can create some distance between you and the situation and provide a clear perspective:
· What can I learn here?
· How am I growing right now?
· What is this here to teach me?
· What would my 70-year-old self tell me to do?
· How can I use this situation to help myself?
· What am I excited about in my life right now?
· What am I grateful for in my life right now?
5. Defuse The Thought With Humour.
You could also make it comical by creating a character in your mind to represent this critical voice. For example, a little furry green gremlin and name it Harry or a fussy old woman and name her ‘Miss Grumpy’.
When the negative spiral begins — cut it off and say ‘enough, Harry — go back to your room’. Or ‘That’s quite enough of you, Miss Grumpy’.
It’s like a toddler having a tantrum. If you keep paying attention to it, the screaming gets louder. But if you ignore the child, eventually, it will realise that this strategy isn’t working and quiet down.