Shut Up Your Inner Critic

Four little words. Four little words that I hear over and over again. You know what they are. I probably don’t even have to write them out. Can you guess?

I. Don’t. Have. Time.

When people learn what it takes to transform their health and wellness habits, I almost always hear this in response.

But, is that really the truth? Can you do an experiment? Just one day.

Set a timer every time you go on Facebook. Every time you “check the news” on the web. Every time you click on the TV. Every time you hit snooze on your alarm.

More than you thought, right? On average, American adults spend 3.2 hours a day in some type of leisure screen time. Surely, in that amount of time, we can probably carve out a little bit to improve our nutrition, right?

Or are other things blocking us? Dastardly distractions… Our IMG. The “inner mean girl.” Or guy. The lizard brain. The little voices in our head that keep us from focusing on the things that scare us most and keep us in our comfort zone.

The amygdala is the oldest, most primitive part of our brain, and it’s responsible for fear, rage and reproduction. It’s purpose is to help us survive, in part, by protecting us from risk. It tells us not to take chances, not to change things up and not to put ourselves out there. After all, back on the savanna, risky behavior could mean becoming lion dinner. But in today’s day and age, risks are more emotional. Less body, more brain.

So how do you outsmart the gremlins running around your head?

Step 1. Figure out what your inner critic is saying.

You may need to look deep. What is your brain is whispering over and over and over?

Maybe it’s that your family won’t love you if you don’t make giant pots of pasta. Maybe it’s that you know you will never fit into your skinny jeans again. Maybe it’s that you can’t take time away from your kids by taking care of yourself. Maybe it’s that moms shouldn’t wear bikinis.

Who knows? Only you.

And are these fears true? How do you know?

Step 2. Do it anyway

The best way to shut the fear gremlins up is to ignore them. Take small steps towards your goal every day.

Let’s use nutrition as an example. Try having an apple instead of a bag of chips at lunch. Try brown bagging a lunch twice a week instead of buying. Even the “healthiest” restaurant meals are usually more than you need. Swap your soda for water. Park a little further away from the door at work.

Will these things transform you overnight? Of course not.

But, not only will they give you tiny health improvements, they will also build up your tolerance for change.

Fear resistance is like a muscle. It needs to be worked. You need to start where you are and take small steps. These small steps will make you stronger over time. The stronger you are, the more dramatic your changes can become.

Start where you are. Do what you can. And keep trying. That’s how you make progress.

Need help putting together a plan to stay on track with your health goals? Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute health consultation!