Do you find yourself putting off your goals or making excuses, only to beat yourself up for it later?
The problem is inertia – a silent but deadly enemy that can destroy our self-confidence, day by day, little by little.
Inertia sounds kind of harmless, doesn’t it? It just sounds like you aren’t going anywhere. Things may not be improving, but they aren’t getting worse, right? Wrong. The problem is that something else is changing as you don’t move forward on your goals. It isn’t just that your health isn’t improving, your wealth isn’t accumulating, or you’re not happier. It IS doing harm and that harm is to your spirit, by way of your self-confidence.
And the speed with which it will harm your self-confidence depends on how bad you want whatever it is you are not acting on. If you have a goal that haunts you daily, one that you wake up with every morning, and go to bed brutalizing yourself over every night, your self-confidence will deteriorate much faster.
You can very quickly go from a state of confidence (I can do this!) to self-doubt (Is this even possible for me?) to self-loathing (What a loser. I can’t do anything).
So, how do we move ourselves out of inertia into action? You probably already know exactly what you need to do to get moving toward YOUR goal, but here are some tips for getting started:
- Focus on how you will feel tomorrow. Feel how that pride of going to bed tonight or waking up tomorrow knowing you took action will affect your self-confidence.
- Pick a small achievable goal. You can always set bigger goals once your momentum kicks in. Instead of “I won’t spend any money today,” how about “I’ll make coffee at home instead of going to Starbucks?”
- If you’ve been thinking in terms of stop behaviors (like quitting something), use a start behavior that focuses on trigger moments for you instead.
Today when I want something sweet, I will eat five carrots.
Today when I want a cigarette, I will take a quick walk around the block.
Today when I want to yell at the kids, I will go to my room, close the door, and take five breaths.
You get the idea.
- Finally, celebrate EVERY success. Avoid the end-of-the-day assessment where you count up all of your “failures”. Every time you follow through on your action, congratulate yourself. Do it all day long. Even surviving one trigger episode where you took the action you committed to is going to boost your confidence. But you have to take note of it. Remember that these are all little deposits in your self-confidence bank account, but they all add up.
Often, there is this little period of time between inertia and momentum where the only thing fueling you is your will. There are no obvious results yet to keep you motivated. The only thing that will be changing during that little period is your self-confidence. You may not feel it as being lighter or richer or happier. But, you WILL feel it. You will feel like you believe in yourself a little more than you did the day before. Every night you go to sleep knowing you moved forward is a little deposit in your self-confidence bank account.
I’m not saying that there won’t be setbacks and stumbles along the way. BUT, the more deposits you make in that account, the better you are able to handle them without being derailed. When we believe in ourselves, little obstacles don’t cause us to question whether or not we can do it. They don’t launch us into self-doubt and fear. The bigger that bank account is, the less it hurts to take a little hit here and there.
And once momentum kicks in and results begin to show up, your success will come that much faster.