Sometimes the best thing you can do to silence your inner critic is to take action. As Nike says, “Just do it.” I realize it’s not that simple, but taking some proactive steps or making the slightest change can be the catalyst you need to break free of your mean inner dialogue. When you physically or mentally make a change, it disrupts the negative pattern. Take a look at some practical ways you can do this.
Take One Small Step
Just one small step toward completing the thing your inner critic says you can’t might just be the push you need to keep going. When you tell yourself you’ll never finish the job, think of one thing you can do as soon as possible toward getting started. If you’re afraid to try for a promotion at work, take just one action to move toward that position. It can be talking to a friend to get some insight or working on improving your resume. One small step is at least something, and it’s often enough to shut your inner critic up for a little while.
Remember Your Assets
When that voice starts telling you all the bad things about you, get out a pen and paper. Your computer’s word processing program or even your phone’s notes section will do. Just find a way to put out into the world all the positive things about you, your personality, your intelligence, and your skills. Doing this will be a reminder for you and will help to refute your inner critic.
Turn That Frown Upside Down
It may seem simplistic, but sometimes it just helps to smile. Yes, the simple act of smiling can improve your mood. Smiling has actually been shown to release endorphins and serotonin into your brain. The same is true for exercise. These feel-good neurochemicals can really perk up your mood, leading you to feel better. Remember, thinking and feeling go hand in hand. It’s easier to shut up your inner critic when you’re feeling happier.
Consider the Opposite
When you think about the worst-case scenario, I want you to immediately try to switch it around. Visualize the opposite of your negative picture. Instead, create an outcome in which you succeed and you’re able to achieve the goal that scares you. Consider what it will feel like to reach success and think about the ways in which it will improve your life. This can be a powerful motivator for turning your inner dialogue around. Plus, visualization can actually help make your dreams a reality. You can trick your brain into faking it until you make it.
Use these tips to make changes in your thinking. Then keep going with the momentum you gain. Each action you take will propel you closer to your goals, and soon you’ll be wondering just why you ever listened to that inner critic anyway.