When was the last time you got out of a warm bed at the crack of dawn to sweat on a treadmill – with eagerness? Or relinquished the beach on a gloriously sunny Saturday to do tax preparation? Or gladly put your openly introverted self in front of a group of 300 peers to give a lecture? You may have done all or any of these things, but chances are that you had to push yourself out of your comfort zone to do them in the name of some kind of benefit or reward. If, on the other hand, you’ve made a habit of staying in your womb-like routine without taking any risks into the unfamiliar, then you’ve probably missed out on some novel experiences, learning, excitement and rewards.
So, if you’d like to be less risk averse and get better at pushing yourself to do new things, here are a four of my seven tips and tools I’ve developed from my years of working with individuals and couples in therapy:
Create a clear vision for your goal, defined specifically. (Ex: By tax time in April I will have all my financial data tabulated and formatted, ready for the accountant in Quickbooks).
Identify your potential saboteurs and what your options are to head them off at the pass. (Ex: Self, wanting to do more fun stuff. Fix: Reward self with the fun stuff after I’ve done the work each week).
Formulate a clear action plan for the “Push,” defining it specifically and behaviorally. (Ex: I will do two hours of Quickbooks entries every Saturday from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM regardless of the weather or invitations I’ve received to do fabulous things).
Identify the intrinsic and concrete rewards to yourself / others in making this effort to move out of your comfort zone. (Ex: I will feel more organized, centered, and prepared for tax time. My accountant will appreciate the timely, orderly data. My friends and family will get to see a cheerier version of me more frequently on weekends).
For more free tools and tips about this and many other issues, subscribe to my list on the right. “Pushing Yourself” is the 92nd free article you will get about all kinds of issues related to the relationship with yourself and with others.
In addition, if you’d like individual help with self-motivation or any other dilemma, feel free to contact me at my Portsmouth, NH office anytime for an appointment at: 603-431-7131. I’d be glad to help!
Many of us become our own worst enemies by putting ourselves down and focusing on our weaknesses or negative qualities. If you are prone to this, it’s important to know that a bit of self critical thinking can become motivation for positive change and growth, but when you go overboard with it, feeling worthless, incapable of effective action, etc., it prevents you from taking healthy risks because it robs you of confidence in your own capabilities. It raises anxiety and stress, and can lead to depression.
Most of us already know about the importance of learning to accept our mistakes as part of learning, and being kinder and softer to ourselves in general. We’ve also heard a lot about looking for solutions to problems instead of berating ourselves about them. But here is the ultimate nuclear weapon to blast away self criticism: The Howitzer Mantras.
Because self critical talking and behavior is driven by habit and reflex, its important to find words or phrases that are designed to hit the critic like a cannon blast. When you hear your internal critic saying nasty, derogatory things about yourself use a mantra that helps you feel angry and outraged, like “Screw you!,” “Stop this crap!” “Shut up!” “Get off my back!” Use the anger and indignation as a productive way to drown out the critic. Yell out loud if you can, but most importantly, mentally shout the mantras at the critic.
If using the mantras alone is insufficient, take a stronger measure by putting a rubber band around your wrist and snap it while subvocalizing your mantra. By doing this you’re emphasizing your stop commands and making thought interruption more likely. The sharp, stinging sensation breaks the chain of negative thoughts and acts as a punisher so that the critic is less likely to attack in the near future.
Try this method as a routine way to silence your damning critic and you’ll be amazed at the results!
Lots of people, especially wives, complain about not getting enough of this in their relationships with husbands or children. “I get no respect!” I sympathize, then I ask them about how much they respect themselves, and often hear about their lifelong careers as doormats. How can anyone get respect if they don’t treat themselves with respect? Listen to Aretha, and think about it………..
It all started with mean old, red-faced Miss Siegel, my first grade teacher who yelled at me whenever I didn’t put some project together properly. From that year on, I became officially “mechanically challenged”. To this day, operating the giant snow blower, or fancy new washing machine may as well be a secret assignment to decipher the DaVinci code. It often takes me three minutes just to figure out how to turn off the new TV, and the DVD player, not the streaming video. Don’t even ask what I’ve gone through manipulating HTML code, doing uploads, downloads, and distinguishing directories from folders in this bizarre internet world!!! But the good (and not so good) news is: I’m not alone! There are millions of us out there, swearing at the TV, staring at the washing machine, and having a love-hate relationship with their laptops. I’ve worked with many right-brained clients trapped in a left-brained world, wondering what’s wrong with themselves, stymied by online bills, ATM’s, and the ultimate mystery of resetting their car clocks. Over the years, our work together has been a combination of gentle self-acceptance, and self-challenge, i.e. where did this script come from? and how to push yourself outside your comfort zone to master new skills? Recently, I heard that Albert Einstein couldn’t tie his own shoe laces (!) So, go easy on yourselves, Right-brainers, maybe your car clock eludes you, but just think, you could instead create the NEW Theory of Relativity!
I am a licensed, board certified pyschotherapist and relationship coach in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Through my psychotherapy or coaching services, I can provide you with
skills and tools to transform your life.