Have you noticed that some days no matter what you do you just can't get motivated? You know what you need, or even want to do, but for some reason simply cannot summons the strength to actually do it! That was me this morning. I pushed through the initial wave and forced myself to go out running. I hated every moment of it! Feeling frustrated with myself I decided to take to my journal to figure out what was getting in my way today.
The first thing that popped into my head was 'I hate....' I then proceeded to note the things I was feeling hateful towards. As I read back over the list, they were all things that I intrinsically know are good for me and make me feel more productive. The thought of all the things I hate doing was creating a negative energy that was draining me. I felt agitated, deflated, achy and overall, like life was a struggle. I asked myself why do I ‘hate’, running, getting up early, drinking water or mornings in general? If I'm honest I was totally unable to come up with an answer to this other than 'I just do'. Rationally there is no reason it is just something that I have felt for a long time. To a certain extent I believe that I can't run, I need more sleep (always), I don't like water and I have never been able to do early mornings! If I look at the facts, none of this is true so why do I tell myself I 'hate' it all and I can’t do it!
Just focusing on the word hate, I can feel a sinking sensation in my stomach. A dull demotivation shrouds my thoughts and I sink into a miserable mindset. Reflecting on how I felt running today I can see how the thought of ‘hating’ what I was doing hi-lighted to me every element of the experience that I did not like, it was cold, I couldn’t regulate my breathing, it was like I felt every uncomfortable sensation that went through my body, and they were one hundred times magnified so I thought I was experiencing pain. All of these things were telling me to stop, to give up. My thoughts were getting in my way. Hate has power in my headspace and it was taking control this morning! Engaging in the thought of hating things activated a deep routed avoidance behaviour in me. My body was indicating to me all the reasons running is hard. My critical head kicked in and started telling me you aren’t good at this, you can’t do it and it resulted in my telling myself I hate everything about what was taking place this morning so what is the point if it makes me feel this way?!?!?!
I never appreciated before today how engaging with the thought of ‘hate’ has such an impact on my mindset and how I face my day. Just trying to push through the reluctance wasn’t enough to overcome the power of thinking I ‘hate’ something. It looked for another way in, it stole the joy and achievement I usually feel completing an early morning run and was leading me down a path of dissatisfaction and procrastination for the day. The realisation that running doesn’t make me feel this, it is an old thought that comes up from time to time that sometimes I engage with without realising. A thought that can tap into all my senses and convince me doing something that I normally enjoy and makes me feel better is, too hard and pointless. Knowing this now gives me a choice. I can see how this feeling has the power to derail my progression and growth. It creeps in, challenges the healthy behaviours and leaves behind a familiar trail of not being good enough.
If I think about other times in life where I have been engaged with ‘hating’ someone or something I can see that nothing but bitterness, frustration and feeling powerless came from it. Yet it is a word that is used regularly without much thought. Maybe it is time to think about these words and their meaning. How even though the word is attached to a thought about someone or something else all it does is eat away and deplete you. It’s time to consider what hating the way you look, your job, exercise…..really does for you? Is it helpful or does it simply spiral your thoughts into a negative pit of darkness that feels impossible to climb out of. Self-awareness is a great start on taking back the power from these influential thoughts. Noticing it can sometimes be enough to shift the engagement but if it’s not then maybe it is time to broaden your vocabulary and find some new words to identify negative feelings. Reframing the thought and viewing it from a different perspective can help you identify your limiting beliefs and understand why you keep feeling like you are never able to consistently progress in some areas of your life.
Today I have decided to reframe the ‘I hate….’ to ‘I find…..challenging’. I can work with a challenge, but I can’t do anything with hate!