Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Quitter’s Circle, a collaboration between the American Lung Association and Pfizer. All thoughts and opinions presented in this post are purely my own.
I’m confident I don’t need to tell you about how we can be our own harshest critics.
If a friend brought any of us the same problems with which we are currently struggling, we’d approach it very differently.
We’d gently and kindly remind her She’s got this.
We’d aid her in reframing her fears.
We’d highlight all she does which is amazing and how small this is in the scope of her as a whole.
When it’s our lives, however, it can be a tremendous challenge not to think catastrophically.
Instead of one struggle we want to overcome, the “bad” becomes all-encompassing and suddenly all-defining of who we are.
If our aforementioned friend were making a big life change – – farewell fast food! sayonara smoking! —we’d be able to approach analytically and without emotional attachment.
When it’s our lives, everything feels more complicated.
We become singularly focused on the negative and can slip into the mindset of the fact we are nothing more than our downside.
We lose sight of our many positive qualities/traits and evaluate ourselves only through the lens of current success or failure in breaking our habit.
We transform into Suzie the Smoker. Paula the Procrastinator. Faye the Fast Food Lover.
We are so much more.
Not only am I here to remind you of this fact, but I’ve also created a three-step process for us to shake this mindset.
An approach to use during the moments when we forget and focus solely on the small piece of ourselves we long to change.
1. Examine who you currently are.
Pause, step back and look at who you are as a whole. Examine your likes and dislikes (I love to read. I enjoy indulging in reality TV. I’m not a fan of scary movies).
Consider what experiences/interactions/people make you feel motivated and inspired.
Reflect on the last time you felt utter joy–what was happening in your life?
Ask yourself when you last felt stress-free. What did your world look like in that moment?
Create for yourself a picture (written, drawn or merely mental) of who you are as a whole.
2. Reflect upon who you used to be.
What used to bring you joy? What actions or experiences used to elicit happiness? What activities used to spark feelings of connection?
Brainstorm as many things as you can think of which you used to love, but haven’t made time for in a while. My coaching clients often approach this exercise by creating a written timeline beginning with childhood passions and progressing through adulthood.
From playing kickball with friends to chalk art on the driveway, list absolutely everything you can remember.
3. Ignoring the negative is challenging, but embracing the positive is simultaneously a powerful opportunity.
It’s a new chance to revisit old passions.
It’s a time to realize how vast and varied our interests are.
It’s the freedom to examine other more positive habits with fresh eyes and re-integrate these into the space we’re creating in our lives.
Rather than defining yourself narrowly by the negativity you’re seeking to shed– how about joining me in redefining ourselves and seizing this opportunity to more deeply explore who we really are.
For example, if you’re trying to quit smoking, recognize the challenge of quitting, and how powerful and strong you are to take it on! Assess your strengths that make quitting possible, and use your personal support systems or online resources like Quitter’s Circle and seize your powerful opportunities head-on!
Remember: you can do this.