Have you ever come across a tiny distinction that immediately changed the way you look at things?
This happened to me recently when I was listening to Episode #219: Making and Breaking Habits, Sanely of the Ten Percent Happier Podcast with Dan Harris. The guest was Kelly McGonigal, and something she said hit me hard:
“Why would you let your inner critic decide what it is you want to change?”
We all want to change something about our lives. Quit an addiction, exercise more, eat better, etc etc etc…
As a general rule, and especially if the thing you want to change is extra tough, it’s best to stick to one at a time.
But how do you choose exactly what to work on?
Don’t follow your inner critic. Do Follow your values, those things that are intrinsically meaningful to you, and link them to the behavior you want to change.
McGonigal calls the part of us that tries to shame us into change the Inner Critic. I can’t help but compare this to Steven Hayes’ Dictator Within.
But it doesn’t matter what you call it. This Inner Critical Dictator evolved to make sense of and help you survive in a hostile environment. It’s not interested in helping you create the life you want.
Here’s a few questions that are worth thinking about:
What are your values? How can you link them to your goals? Who is it that’s choosing those values and goals?