Here's how to talk back to your negative brain

If the word “drama” doesn’t resonate with you, feel free to substitute any of the following: because you have to want your dreams more than you want your:

  • self doubt
  • overwhelm
  • fear
  • stress
  • cookie dough 
  • temptations
  • social media habit 
  • chardonnay
  • EXCUSES

or better yet ---> goodBYE drama!

For me, drama sums it all up nicely. It's taken me a few decades, but I choose to see all of my un-motivating mind chatter, bad habits and self doubt as “drama”. And I do want my dreams more than I want my drama. thankyouverymuch.

Our minds blather on incessantly to the tune of at least 60,000 thoughts a day. Does that mean we have to believe everything that we think? Hell no. Especially if we’re thinking of quitting our goals or drowning them in chardonnay.

Find an Exterminator for your ANT infestation…

ANT is a term from Dr. Daniel Amen and stands for Automatic Negative Thoughts. We all have them. They’re part of our default programming, but they need an upgrade.

If you’ve never examined your thoughts, you might have a full on ANT infestation going on in your brain. Some of your ants have been around a really long time. Perhaps you’ve thought crappy things about yourself - FOREVAH. Just because your thoughts are familiar, doesn’t mean they are true.

  1. The first step to getting rid of Automatic Negative Thoughts is to just be aware that they’re there.
  2. The second step is to challenge them - take those ANTS to court and dispute them. 
    Side note: even if you believe your negative thoughts are 100% true  (though, I promise you, they aren’t) just ask yourself - is this thought helping me move forward or holding me back? 
  3. The third is to replace them with a thought that propels your forward.

If you’re new to this, I’ve got some examples below that you can try on and see how they feel. I also highly recommend hiring a coach who specializes in thought work. I’m available to help you with this crucial step in goal meeting, and I've reserved a few spots just for people in this challenge.

Our self talk is often QUITE distorted

Talk Back to Smack Talk

Our thoughts are like the operating system that runs in the background on our computer. If our thoughts are outdated and buggy, they'll slow our progress down.

This is extremely important:
our thoughts drive our feelings
our feelings drive our actions
our actions create our results

If you don’t love your current results, you need to upgrade your current thoughts!

Here are examples of thoughts that can change your feelings (and, therefore your actions) from debilitating to motivating. Notice how you feel or what actions you would want to take when reading each pair. 

  • I don’t think I can do this --> I am up for the challenge
  • I'm too tired to do this --> I’m tired, but I’m committed to this goal
  • I’m scared I’ll fail ——-> I’m even more scared of regretting that I never even tried.
  • I had a bad day and deserve a cupcake —-> I want long-term wellbeing not short-term pleasure. 
  • This was a complete flop. I should give up. ——>Here’s what I learned from this experience.
  • I’m bad at this —->I’m ready to get better at this
  • I’ll never figure this out ———>I’m resourceful and I know that everything is “figureoutable”.
  • I want to quit —-> I want to be proud of myself
  • I don't have time---> I'm going to make time
  • I’ll never get there—-> Who do I need to become to get this result?
  • I'm a loser---> I'm a badass
    (this might be a stretch if you've had "I'm a loser" on repeat your whole life, so you might need to babystep your way to believing in your badassery. You could try, "I'm practicing being a badass. I'm learning to be a badass. I'm in the process of becoming a badass." You get the idea. Pick one that you believe and work your way up toward better feeling thoughts.

Are your thoughts helping you take action steps forward or are they sending you backward?

Try This Thought Work Exercise
Think about one of your BHAGS, goal or resolutions and then try on the two thoughts: I don't think I can do this and I'm up for the challenge. Notice how each one makes you feel.

"I don't think I can do this" creates the feeling of hopelessness and, most likely, the action and result of giving up on the goal. "I'm up for the challenge" creates the feeling of being driven. It creates the action of doing what it takes to achieve the desired result. Notice the difference? It's the same circumstance, but a big difference in action and result all because of an improved thought.

Once you learn the process of identifying, challenging and changing your ANTS, you can coach yourself back into your dreams and out of your own drama.

This isn’t something any of us were taught in school, so be patient with your mind or, better yet, hire me or another thought work expert to expedite your learning curve.

Your Brain Will Still Need a Babysitter!

Even after you learn how to flip your ANTS into something more productive, you still have to babysit your brain. Notice when you are choosing to look at a situation in a disempowering way. Then deliberately replace the thought.

When things seem "hard", an unsupervised brain is going to go straight for the jugular of bad habits i.e. the bottle of wine, the pint of ice cream or the Netflix marathon. So stay present and mindful of what's happening between your ears.

Be mindfully aware of your thoughts. Are they helping or harming your progress? 

Plan to Fail

Seems counterintuitive, but planning for failure helps keep you on track. You know that your emotional brain will sell out your dreams in a hot second for a quickie with a donut after a bad day.  It only wants to seek pleasure, avoid pain and take the easiest route.

The solution? Use implementation intentions.
Implementation intention is a term that was coined by Dr. Peter Gollwitzer in 1999 and research has found that using implementation intentions triples the chances of a goal's success. TRIPLES!!!

An implementation intention (or having a plan to fail) is basically creating a WHEN/THEN statement for each goal, habit or resolution. When x happens, then I'll do y.

Here are some When/Then examples-->borrow these for each BHAG, habit, resolution or make your own:

  • When I don’t feel like exercising, then I will put on my running shoes and clothes and do a 5-min  work out.
  • When I am tempted to eat junk food, then I’ll make myself a cup of tea and savor that instead.
  • When I want to jump ship on my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), then I’ll call (insert supportive friend or coach’s name) for a reminder of why I want this more than I want my mind drama.
  • When I feel discouraged by my results, then I'll take 15 minutes to question my ANTs and make more empowering replacement thoughts
  • When I feel overwhelmed, then I'll take 10 minutes to write out a few turtle steps to move me forward.

Plan ahead for those times when your emotional brain is having a meltdown—-> Write out your implementation intentions for each of your resolutions right now.

I am available to coach you through your big dreams, your little habits, and the shadow thoughts that are holding back your greatness.  Email me for details on what I'm only offering to members of the Right Brain Resolution Revolution.


"Thank you, thank you, thank you! I feel like a huge weight has been lifted"
-JM (coaching client)

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