Do you begin your day by yelling at yourself because you don’t think you accomplished anything yesterday, so you BETTER double down today?
Verbally assaulting yourself before the day’s already begun isn’t much fun, is it?
In fact, if you’re like me, if you hear that inner voice coming to get you, self-fulfilling prophecy is the likely result.
I wish I had a nickel for every piece of the comfort food du jour that I pop in my mouth while watching some mindless tv show as my way of saying, “Nyah, nyah.” to my impatient self.
It’s a great way to tune out that voice.
It’s not a great way to be more productive.
What’s Missing from this Picture?
Unfortunately, several key elements.
Here’s the good news.
1) We’ve all been there.
2) Mental and emotional aids can stop this destructive pattern.
What are those factors?
Let me count the ways. Count them, acknowledge them, and use them, and together, we can make compassion toward self, concentration, and consistency the keys to your feel-good castle, a castle you can construct right now.
You wouldn’t treat anyone else with such impatience and intolerance, would you?
Of course not.
Imagine starting the day of your spouse, kid, or employee with the words, “You didn’t accomplish anything yesterday, so you better today!”
Okay, you get it. Not the best idea.
What do you do about it?
First, do no harm.
This is a new day. If you didn’t get everything done yesterday that you intended to, simply let that go.
Since it’s a new day, why not imagine a positive one?
Up above, I mentioned concentration.
Here’s how you get some.
Going Hunting? Arm Your Reticular Brain
Your reticular brain is that part of your mind that focuses on something because it is preprogramed or “primed” to do so.
For example, let’s say you just bought a bright blue Toyota Prius. All of a sudden, you are going to notice every single bright blue Toyota Prius you see, simply because your mind is “armed” to “hunt” for one.
Imagine you have four things you want to do on this particular day.
You send yourself an email congratulating yourself for completing those things before you start them, being as specific as possible about how you did it.
Now, you’ve armed yourself:
You’ve actually told yourself you’ve already finished them, and, as a result, you’ve heightened your focus and concentration around completing those specific tasks.
If you’ve never experienced that kind of “priming”, it’s a very exciting feeling, a confident rush that allows nothing to get in the way of completion of “primed” tasks.
The Ultimate Satisfaction: Retrospective that Sets up a Terrific Tomorrow
1-Okay, you’ve allowed yourself a clean slate.
2-You’ve “primed” your mind for maximum focus and creativity.
Now, as this productive day winds down, it’s time for a look back to “close” the experience, to “own” the first of what should be a string of extremely productive days.
Before you enjoy your well-earned relaxation, sit down and write down EVERYthing you accomplished, not just the four tasks you primed for, but all the little things that made the day so great, including staying hydrated, eating well, exercising, being kind to all you come in contact with, doing the things you need to as a loyal family member or friend, all of it.
Make sure you keep this as a productivity diary, put the date at the top of the page.
Now, some days despite all the compassion and priming, you won’t get everything done that you intend.
Could be because stuff happens.
Could be because you get greedy, and you expect too much of yourself because you are feeling increasingly confident, and that little critical voice in you finds a new game to play, heaping unrealistic expectations on you.
Could be, that the negative voice, in addition to heaping unrealistic expectations on you also begins to resume helping you disqualify things that you do, taking yourself and your actions for granted.
Don’t let that happen.
While not every day will go as planned, you can still do the diary step.
GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT FOR EVERYTHING YOU CAN POSSIBLY LIST, NO MATTER HOW SMALL.
That’s the way to shut out the negativity and unrealistic expectations that got you in trouble in the first place.
But here’s the most important thing.
You have to be grateful as you look back. You have to thank yourself, and the divine, the universe, whatever power greater than yourself you wish to acknowledge and thank for what you’ve accomplished.
Because that gratitude is signaling that you appreciate your day and whatever came with it.
Gratitude is the most significant part of the process, because it is the most important ingredient to finding and maintaining the compassion toward self that this post started you out on.
As an example of practicing what I preach, I have a choice right now as this day draws toward a close. I could be thankful and content, for, if nothing else, writing this blog post which I am happy about and am grateful for, a post that could possibly help a lot of people.
Or I could reproach myself for not doing a number of other things.
But I won’t.
Don’t you do it, either.
Make each day a virtuous circle, from doing no harm, to productivity, to the gratitude that makes the next day’s self-compassion possible.
Go forth, do good work, be grateful for it, and, as a result, be the generous person you wish to be, to yourself and everyone else. (bold)
Lars Nielsen writes full-spectrum communication, and now’s your chance to sign up for his newsletter for his website, Make Message Matter. Go to http://makemessagematter.com/ and, download his free guide to messaging, “How to Make YOUR Message Matter Cheat Sheet”.