I’m sat here at my kitchen table trying to find words to write for you today. I would love to be posting some pictures on social media of me smashing my goals and being a #winner but today my brain just isn’t playing. Seriously what is this all about? I know what I need to do. I need to eat healthily, drink water, take exercise, procrastinate less, just do the stuff on my to do list. For some reason though, my brain does not agree.
Come on brain you know what to do
Whilst I was learning to manage my mental health without the benefit of a few short runs a week I started to read around Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It is basically how our thoughts and feelings affect our behaviour and how our behaviour affects our thoughts and feelings. I personally find my brain baffling, which I really shouldn’t feel bad about. Some of the best neuro scientists in the world have only scraped the surface of what our brains are capable of and why they behave in numerous and contradictory ways.
For example, if I am clearly thirsty why does my brain turn it’s nose up at a glass of water? Any one ready to answer that? When I know that eating all the kids easter eggs will make me feel sick, fat and horrible but my brain will ALWAYS give this the green light. Even if I already feel sick.
Scraping the bottom of your brain
In my case I believe it is down to a long established layer of negative thoughts that have been present in my brain since I was a child. It started with a tiny layer of self doubt and then, left unchallenged, it spread and thickened and hardened and just imbedded itself. Soon it just was an unmovable part that became too difficult and uncomfortable to challenge. “well that’s just who I am”. Really? Are you sure?
I think that my default mode is “you can’t” or “you don’t deserve to achieve your goals”. This layer of negative thought is so long established that it is impossible just to scrape it away with a small amount of challenging. It is not as easy to overcome and even if I did, there will always be scars left behind. evidence that it was once there. CBT suggests that just being aware of this layer of negativity is a start. That the more we are aware of it, examine it and challenge it, the easier it will be to overcome it.
Take on the challenge
Look! I have written 329 words that 20 minutes ago my negative brain was convinced I could not find. Was this easy? Nope, far from it. I daily let myself down because I let this part of my brain convince me not to do things I should. My SMART goal planning, which I am applying to pretty much everything this year, is part of that. If you want to achieve your goals take time to extract the negative hurdles that your brain will present you with. Examine them and challenge them. Then when they pop up and try and stop your progress, you know exactly what they are and you will be prepared to challenge them.
Allow yourself some forgiveness for this layer of self doubt, your brain is human not a computer. All part of being a fragile earth being. Do not however, let it get away scot free. As with the monkeys, acknowledge your brain’s misbehaviour, tell it not to do it again. Then do something positive and show it who is boss. Because we all have a positive brain too and saying “I am just like this” is like saying “I do not deserve to reach my dreams”. That is most definitely not what I want (636 words later). Take that brain!