Did you realise you’ve got a superpower?
You have. It’s the ability to talk yourself out of something!
I bet you’re really, really good at it.
You know how the conversation plays out in your head…
“I’m going to get up and workout”
“Well in a minute anyway”
“I’ll just have 5 more minutes and then I’m starting”
“Not sure what I want to do so I’ll plan my workout first, before I start”
“Actually, I ought to do that thing that I’d forgotten all about for weeks but is now so flaming urgent I can’t possibly do anything else until I’ve done it”
“Ooh it’s a bit late now, I’ll have to workout tomorrow”
It’s amazing how good you are at this.
The trouble is though, you’re good at IT but IT is not necessarily good for you!
You need to redirect that superpower to the times you need it. Like when you’re about to scoff down a piece of cake when you’re not really hungry. Or that extra couple of biscuits or glass of wine.
Those times, when we need it, our superpower pretends to not exist!
So, how do we harness our superpower to act when it can help us and keep it dormant when it’s hindering us?
It’s the conversation that makes the difference. The one you have inside your head between your thinking brain and your monkey brain. If your conversation is stopping you from doing things that are good for you then don’t have the conversation in the first place.
As soon as you recognise the conversation begin, take action. Just get up and start the workout without contemplating it in your head. If necessary, distract yourself while you get from wherever you are to wherever you need to be. This could be by reciting a poem or counting backwards from a hundred. (BTW – the counting backwards is exactly how I used to get out of bed to do early morning workouts and it does work!)
If you don’t allow that conversation to take place then you won’t talk yourself out of the behaviour YOU want to do but your monkey brain doesn’t.
Notice how clever and sneaky that monkey brain is? The conversation is very low-key and relaxed. You don’t even realise that your mind is being changed until it’s too late.
The flip side of this is the behaviours that you actually do want to talk yourself out of. Then you need to give the conversation full reign. When you’re stood at the fridge staring at the Chocolate ginger fudge cake (yes he’s been baking again!) start asking yourself questions.
“Am I hungry?”
“Is this helping me look and feel how I want to?”
“Will I be cross with myself for eating this?”
“Can I wait a few minutes?”
“Can I go and do something useful instead for a little while”
This last one is really good because you get a sense of achievement which also boosts your sense of control. It also gets you out of the environment where the undesired behaviour is going to take place.
Don’t forget, keep the conversation gentle and non-confrontational. You want to sneak in that behaviour change without making a big song and dance about it. Don’t alert that monkey brain!
And don’t tell yourself you CAN’T have the cake or wine or whatever it is. That’ll just lead to a feeling of deprivation and restriction. Tell yourself you can have it if you want to, just not right now. Cravings ebb and flow so if you can put the behaviour off for a few minutes the desire will ease.
Learning to flip your superpower won’t happen overnight. It’ll take time and lots of practice but remember, you’ve already got the skill. In fact, you’re brilliant at it. You just need to learn how to call on it at the right time.