How often does that inner voice pop into your head?
You know the one. It’s always there to provide you with an excuse, self-doubt or anxiety.
I’d like you to meet Barry, my inner voice.
He comes alive when I’m in bed and have pressed snooze for the 3rd time. Telling me, I NEED 5 more minutes – like it’s life and death.
He is there when I push my comfort zone. Reminding me of the worst possible outcome and guaranteeing it will occur.
Nagging me to choose mindless distractions over what I need to do.
Barry can also be encouraging but only when it comes to working on what’s easy over what’s hard.
The thing is, that inner voice serves a great purpose, to protect and make us aware of immediate dangers.
Although this worked well while living in the wild, the only hazards I’m facing now is when I forget to pick up milk for my wife’s morning coffee!
In the world we live in today, that inner voice is holding you back from reaching your true potential.
Taking the first step
Taking the first step can be difficult, or it can be easy.
It’s easy to start procrastinating, but hard to finish early.
It’s easy to press snooze and hard to get up and go to the gym.
The first step determines which direction you’ll go in – productive or distracted. Fulfilling your goals or procrastinating on them.
But there is a way to take back control — a way to override the inner voice that is holding you back from achieving something great.
5 seconds to succeed
You see, Barry is quick to jump to conclusion, but he’s slow to react. There is a small window of opportunity where I don’t have to negotiate with him.
Author Mel Robbins calls this, The 5 Second Rule.
In those first 5 seconds, Barry is still hibernating and doesn’t realize what we’re about to do.
Counting down 5… 4 … 3 … 2 … 1
Springing out of bed at the sound of your alarm.
Grabbing your gym clothes as you head for the door.
Making that sales call you’ve been dreading all week.
Taking action before the inner voice realizes what’s going on. Beating it to the punch before it can make a list of excuses or generate fear of action.
Two minutes to greatness
Another technique written about by James Clear is called the two-minute rule.
If you’re looking for a boost of motivation for taking on a looming task or project, this is the technique for you.
The idea is to focus on the first 2 minutes of any project.
Your only goal is to achieve those first two minutes.
Anything that happens after is inconsequential.
Get a coffee or tea and begin to write an outline.
Pack your gym bag and get in the car.
Sit down and begin meditating.
The sole purpose is to focus on completing the first two minutes of any task.
Who can’t get motivated to complete two-minutes of an activity? I can even convince Barry quite easily to commit to this one.
If you decide to stop writing, not go to the gym or end your meditation – that’s fine.
But by focusing on getting started, you’re more likely to continue.
A motivational tool to overcome the inner voice and take on dreaded tasks or challenges you can’t seem to get started on.
It might sound odd, naming your inner voice. But when you own it, you become more aware of it. And through greater awareness, you can begin to change it slowly.
Who’s that inner voice that is holding you back? What if you didn’t have to listen to it anymore? How much more could you accomplish?
We’ve seen that the first step is the most difficult, yet the most important. How you decide to act at that moment will influence which path you go down.
Put into practice the 5-second rule and try it out for yourself.
Tomorrow morning as the sound of the alarm count down
5… 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 and jump out of bed without a second thought.
Or focus on the first two minutes of any task and hold yourself accountable to only completing those first 120 seconds.
You might fail at first, but that’s ok. The key is to focus on progress over perfection and keep practicing until it becomes a habit.
Becoming the master of your inner voice.