You know, the little voice in your head. Tells you not to do the cool stuff. I think quite often it’s described as the devil on one shoulder and the angel on another. I’ve had an inner critic for a long time.
Only one Inner Critic?
Over my time in the coaching industry and working with so many different people over the years I’m beginning to think that there’s more than one inner critic at play. In fact, I know there is. I work a lot in self-sabotage and see people who are doing things that don’t make sense.
On the one hand they really, really want to achieve something, but they keep on getting in their own way and stopping themselves from ever reaching that goal. In my experience what I’ve come to realize is that it’s not just one inner critic that’s at play. It’s lots of them!
Have you met these guys before?
If you watched the Pixar movie Inside Out then this helps to describe some of what I’m trying to explain.
We all have parts of us that are really important and when we try and do something without acknowledging all of the different parts of us, that’s when we can get into trouble.
My Inner Critic at work
Let me use a personal example to try and explain this.
Like many women I have over the years wanted to drop a few kilos. I certainly gained a few after I had my kids and it was something that I wanted to address. But no matter how I put the common-sense in front of me of,
“I know it’s good for my health and I know I’ll have more energy and I know that there are all these benefits of losing weight.”
Somehow, I just couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t make it important enough to actually do I needed to do in order to get the results that I wanted to get.
The first thing I needed to do was find a way to motivate myself to take the action that I needed to. And that came back to my values.
Use your Priority Values to get Results
If you’ve watched any of my videos or read my blog posts before then you’ll probably see that there is a theme of values and that’s definitely where I come from in my coaching, from a values foundation.
The thing is health, whilst it’s important, wasn’t really that high up on my list of priority values but integrity was. Integrity was my top priority value. If I could be motivated by my top priority value, then I’d be much more likely to succeed.
What I realized was that part of my job is to go every month and talk to patients of weight loss surgery about the mindset required for sustainable weight loss. Hey, I have even written a book about it!
My book discusses the psychological blocks to weight loss and the mindset shifts required to help make weight loss easier.
Yet I wasn’t doing it myself. The key for me was integrity. I didn’t feel like I was in my integrity by showing up carrying this extra weight.
But then these guys, remember these guys?
These guys came back and let me explain what I mean.
I was angry. I was angry that I had let myself get to a point where I had to make a radical change in order to satisfy my top priority value and lose this weight.
I was also angry that my 44 year old body doesn’t operate the same way that my 24 year old body used to.
I was sad. I was grieving for a lifestyle that I had enjoyed. That I had to give up in order to have this goal. There was an element of grief.
I was disgusted. Well, I felt ashamed that I knew better. I knew what needed to be done, hell I wrote the book on it! But I hadn’t done it, so I felt ashamed of past failures….
…which led nicely onto fear of failing again.
But I was also joyful and excited about the prospect of integrity being the value that fitted my need to lose weight. Feeling not only OK in my own skin, feeling like I could stand up in my integrity and say hey I wrote the book on this and I’m here in front of you now helping you with the mindset shifts that you need for sustainable weight loss.
PS I am speaking to you now having lost in excess of 20 kilos and kept it off for over 12 months, without all the challenges I had in the past when I did not acknowledge all my Inner Critics.
What are Your Inner Critics?
When you think about your inner critic, think about all of these different parts of you that are at play. They all need to be acknowledged in order to work together to go forwards. Because otherwise it just ends up being a bit of a bun fight and you can end up staying where you are.