Recently, I had 5 or 6 tasks I decided I should complete during my day (this was a self-imposed deadline) and instead only got through half of them. I was feeling pretty disappointed about this low completion rate and caught myself coming down pretty hard…on myself. I was creating a toxic work environment on my team of one!
I quickly realized that this attitude was not constructive and was in fact, the exact opposite of how I would tell someone else to talk to themselves. It is also the opposite of how I would treat another person I was managing and if I had a manager who ever motivated me with tactics like that, I wouldn’t tolerate it (let’s be real, I have left jobs BECAUSE I had a manager who treated me like that). I realized that we always tell people to treat others how they want to be treated but we should also be treating ourselves the way we want to be treated by others.
Reframe Your Narrative
When you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, take a moment and recognize that the narrative you are creating against yourself, is simply that – an issue that you have made up. You have likely been on a loop criticizing yourself for a while by the time you notice, so it’s easy for those thoughts to feel like the truth, but they aren’t!
Instead, take control of your inner monologue and get excited for what you did accomplish. This will not only disrupt your negative thought pattern but make completing more tasks the next day feel easier – since you aren’t going to get attacked (by yourself) if things don’t go as planned.
For some people, especially those who hold themselves to a very high standard, this might be difficult. It may even feel more like rewarding yourself for not finishing your work and enabling yourself to repeat this behaviour in the future – but that’s also the negative self-talk, squash it.
Set Realistic Goals
Be honest with yourself about what you can actually accomplish in a day and recognize that this will likely change on a daily basis. Some days I wake up and feel so inspired that I work on my self-imposed tasks until I have to stop to sleep and other days, I only have the energy and focus to work for a few hours. That’s fine! We all have days where we need to rest and reset, this does not mean we are lazy or unworthy of success.
Make a list of all of the tasks you need to accomplish and select one or two (depending upon their importance and estimated time you will need to complete it). Then focus on one task at a time. Don’t multitask, don’t work on one thing while thinking about another. If you finish them and have time to spare, you have an entire list of other things you can do, so choose one more. At this point you will have exceeded your goal, because you set yourself up for success by being honest about what you can accomplish on an average day.
Whether or not you are an entrepreneur building a business or need to clean your house and do laundry on the weekend, take breaks! It has become a badge of honor to run around like chickens with our heads cut off and constantly be busy and stressed out – but this shouldn’t be the case. It is unrealistic and unfair to yourself not to take time to relax, rest, recharge and catch up on this week’s episode of Real Housewives. Schedule in your breaks throughout the day and give yourself a proper one or two day weekend.
Be Your Own Best Friend
If your best friend came to you because they were having a bad day, it is likely that you would build them up (as opposed to tearing them down with criticism) – right? Treat yourself like that as well! Build yourself up! Celebrate your small and large accomplishments! Create a routine of reflecting on everything you have done that day before you go to bed – whether or not it was launching a new blog or binge watching an entire Netflix series. Self-care is important and needs to be celebrated too!
Negative self talk will ultimately only serve to make you feel bad about yourself, as well as more anxious and more overwhelmed. Be kind to yourself, set realistic and manageable goals and always treat yourself the way you want to be treated.