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February 08, 2017

Turning self-doubt upside down: Squash self-defeating excuses and keep your mindset positive!

We all have a little gremlin that sits inside our head and comes out at the most inopportune moments, like when we’re getting ready for a first date, about to take an exam or creating some new fitness goals. He is the bearer of insecurities; that voice that tries to tell us we’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough.

That little gremlin may not be big, but he can be mighty;

he helps us create excuses for why we shouldn’t do things we love, things that make us happy. But that slimy, little green dude doesn’t get the last say. You do. You can lock him away, power wash away all his negative whisperings and turn any self-doubt he’s created into motivation to make a better you.  

As we’re in the early stages of the new year, we’re making choices and taking action to make our lives better, more fulfilling and in-tune with our goals. Don’t let your gremlin get in the way of what you want. We all know you can do whatever you set your mind to, and that gremlin just represents your fears.

Here are four common pokes the gremlin will take at you and how to can squash them.
  1. You don’t have enough time. There are days when we’re swamped and feel like there just isn’t enough time to squeeze in a workout or make that coffee date with your sister. But you have as many hours in the day as Beyonce and she’s taking over the world. Use your planner or calendar app to track all your appointments, including the time you want to spend on yourself (at the gym, yoga, or with friends). Do your best to stick to that schedule. Find where your weak points are - where you’re ‘wasting’ time, and try to cut that out of your day.
  2. You don’t have the money. This one seems like a deal breaker, but there are tons of ways to work around a budget. If a gym membership is too pricey, find a free workout program online that you can do from home; or see if your yoga studio will do an energy exchange. If your friends always want to go out for dinner, have something beforehand and tell them you’ll meet them for a drink later. It’s about finding a balance and sticking to your budget.
  3. I’m not good enough. You’re as good as you believe you are - not how great (or not great) the gremlin says. Take some time each day to stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself how great you are, or write down everything you’re grateful for and love about yourself. Try not to compare yourself to others, especially those who are doing something similar to you (like in a yoga class, for example). Be compassionate to yourself and recognize where you’re at and what your limits are. Over time, you’ll see yourself progressing. If you feel you need to sign up for a workshop or a class, or ask someone for help, then go for it!
  4. You don’t have enough energy.Being active and working on passion projects gives us more energy. Maybe it’s the adrenaline or just the pure joy that we feel when doing something we love, but don’t let lack of energy hinder your goals. Even if you go to yoga class and spend half of it insvasana, you still showed up for yourself. You made the effort to get there and acknowledged that you needed that time to yourself to reinvigorate, even if you were peacefully lying on your mat the whole time. The more time we spend doing things that make us happy and surrounding ourselves with people who brighten our smiles, the more alive we feel. This in itself is motivation to get steppin’ on your dreams (and tell that little gremlin to take a hike).  

The next time you notice yourself doubting yourself, write down the excuses you’re creating in your head. Once they’re out on paper, they seem more real and we’re better able to acknowledge that we are creating roadblocks for ourselves. Your gremlin will come and go, and with practice, you’ll be able to sense him before he even shows up and be proactive, so that you can keep your mindset positive. When he comes back (because he always does) don’t beat yourself up over it.

Offer yourself some compassion and some space to move past the negative thoughts. Don’t let yourself believe your excuses, because they are just that - reasons not to do something you love based out of fear. Tell that gremlin to go back to his cave because you have happiness to cultivate and dreams to achieve.