This is for the perfectionists, the relentless improvement seekers and the harsh self-critics.
When it comes to developing new skills or working on something I want to improve, I more often than not focus on where I’m “off”, not quite there yet, or just plain sucking. I’ll say things like, “that could be better”, “I just need to improve x, y, and z to really rock it”, or “It doesn’t feel natural yet, I still have a ways to go.” In short, the self-criticism roars out, all intent on being helpful.
Of course it’s important to keep an eye out for ways to develop, but what I didn’t realize was just how often I’d say those things and how “glass half empty” I was treating my growth. Not to mention, I was heavily biased into thinking ahead, instead of appreciating the present.
Lucky for me, my super awesome coach pointed out my hyper-vigilance to me in a recent conversation and suggested the following practice to use it for positive instead of negative:
Instead of only noticing where you’re “off”, pay attention to where you’re “on”. At the end of each day, take some time to write down five ways you were “on” throughout the day. This helps to stops the spiral that your mind begins when you don’t feel like you’re making much progress.
I’ll be honest, some days, writing down five seems like a lot. So I’ve started with just one. I have to write down one. And if I have more, then I jot those down too. But I have to find one.
Give it a try. It may start out all awkward and hard, but over time, it becomes easier. The more you can celebrate your wins, no matter the size, the more you’ll be able to build positive momentum to honour and appreciate yourself in the moment every day.