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Strengthen the Will,Silence the Chatter

The alarm rang at 5 AM. As I was tossing and turning, I started hearing voices…

Procrastinator voice: “Half an hour more. I’ll make up for it tomorrow”

Confident voice: “One day of absence won’t make a difference”

Pessimist voice: “I’m never going to be able to do it…never regularly or consistently, so why ruin my sleep now”

Rational voice: “I shouldn’t overstretch… it’s okay to rest a little longer some days… sleep is also important”

Resentful voice: “Why should I do it? Been running forever and yet it doesn’t show. Pointless! Why should I work so hard when it’s not even been rewarding so far?”

I could hear them… loudly and vividly… voices of excuses… voices of comfort…voices of reason… voices that were powerful and voices that made sense…

Yet, somewhere amidst the chatter, there it was!

A muffled, soft voice saying…“Think about your goals. This is what YOU really want to do. If you just take a step forward as planned … planned by YOU… you will get closer to your goal… and all these other voices… these detractors will change their tune… you won’t find the negative song again… please listen to me “Wake up, Dress up and simply Show up”

I have a thing for supporting the underdog and so, this morning, that’s just what I did! I heeded this earnest voice… one that was suppressed by all the others…. and I realized that loud voices are sometimes caused by hollow containers. The reality – the substance, however, commands respect… it expects you to find it…over and over, consistently.

I’m glad I listened to the underdog in my head… so I could delightfully share with you that doing so has made me stronger and grittier about my ambitions. I managed to complete my planned 8K easy run in preparation for the Tata Challenge Run 35K due in less than a month.

How often this happens in our lives!

It happens with our professional as well as personal plans that we let these skeptical thoughts play with our minds and resolves… We act impulsively because we listen to the chatter, we act intelligently when we listen to our inner voice. We make our plans with diligence… we identify and deploy the tools and just then something flirts with our willpower… and boom! It gives up loyalty to us… to our set path… to our desires… to our aspirations.

Actions emanate from thoughts. Thoughts get shaped by listening…and good thoughts get shaped by listening to YOUR inner voice. So, silence the voices that mislead you or keep you from inching towards progress… look for the one that reminds you what you really want, one that keeps you on track to achieving it.

When facing a challenge ask yourself, what would a stronger, more confident and even better version of myself do in this situation? The answer you get, that’s your inner voice talking and it’s generally a good idea to listen to it.

Here are few ways that helped me tune in to the wavelength of my inner voice:

  • Affirmations: To stay positive and keep you from getting distracted. Create goals with “I will….” instead of “I won’t” eg., “I will stay positive” instead of “I won’t be negative”.
  • Meditation: To train the brain to focus and resist the urge to wander. It also helps you get better at increasing attention, managing stress, thinking clearly, and increasing self-awareness.
  • Mindfulness: Be present. Be in ‘the here’ and ‘the now’. When we become “mindful,” we are also engaging that part of our brain that we need for willpower, rather than just letting our impulses take over.
    Building automatic habits. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give it at least 21 days of consistency and it might well become your new normal
  • Accountability partners: Identify at least one friend or family member who is invested in your happiness, who will give you the nudge when it gets difficult to move ahead.
  • Responsibility icons: Pledge your intentions and plans to someone you admire. You’d rather deliver as pledged than let the negative chatter hijack your intentions and credibility in front of your icon.

Talk with yourself when you are not feeling vulnerable, and then, remember to refer to it, even at your vulnerable most.

The light you are seeking has always been within.

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