Tips for Training Your Inner Critic


During my workout this morning, my inner critic showed up and started telling me that I was never going to achieve my fitness goals. I blew my internal whistle.

I took my rightful place as the Coach calling the plays of my life and reminded my Gremlin that it’s a member of my team. “Your job,” I told it, “is to help me give this workout my all.”

And it did. Each rep it reminded me of my form, asked me if the weights I was using were challenging enough, and pushed me to squeeze out one more rep, in many cases going beyond what I thought I could do.

That’s more like it!

One of the reasons so many people let that internal voice that tells them they aren’t good enough dominate their inner monologue is they don’t know their own power. They don’t realize that their Gremlin’s job is actually to help them, not hold them back.

When you give all your power to the Gremlin, it gets a little greedy and controlling. What player left in charge of the team wouldn’t start to believe they’re calling the shots? What’s more, the Gremlin likes being in charge!

This can result in a bit of an internal power struggle when people do start to claim the right to create their own lives.

There are ways to not only make this process easier, but to increase your ability to successfully reclaim the position of Coach in your life. Here are some tips to recruit and begin to train your inner critic to become the motivational voice that encourages you to move past your believed limits.

Look for the Truth. Those negative things the Gremlin is saying aren’t the Truth. It’s just playing on your fears. Figure out what is True. For instance, if it’s telling you that you always get lost, look for the Truth, which is that you know how to read a map, stop and ask for directions, or dial up the GPS on your phone. You always find your way eventually.

Treat your Gremlin with respect. Your Gremlin is a part of you and because of this you can’t kill it, beat it up, threaten it, or destroy it. Any attempt to do those things will just make it stronger. When it pipes up uninvited, thank it for the input and then remind it of the Truth.

Look at how and when it came into your life. Often we can think back and pinpoint when and how the Gremlin was created. It’s helpful to do this, but if you can’t remember, don’t worry about it.

Accept that it was created to help you. While it doesn’t feel like it, the Gremlin was created to help us in some way. Perhaps it was to avoid embarrassing situations. The problem is, how it shows up in your life now no longer serves you.

Give it a job supporting you. Think about how the energy of the Gremlin could be shifted to help you meet your goals rather than hold you back.

Remember you’re the Coach. Take ownership of your life and begin calling the plays. You have the power to decide how you are going to react in every situation. You can follow the Gremlin’s old game plan, or implement a new one that helps create the life you want to live.

How are you doing at being the Coach of your life? What can you do today to train your Gremlin to support you? How does that change your ability to meet your goals?

Together we can do it!

Photo by Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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12 thoughts on “Tips for Training Your Inner Critic

  1. Great timing. Published a post this morning. Format looked alright on my computer, but when I saw how it looked from my phone two hours later, I noticed the formatting error. My inner critic went nuts, and then I remembered one of our favorite sayings, “Progress not perfection.” Mistakes happen. I am not immune to the inner critic, but I do try to apply the skills we teach. Have a great day.

    • Sounds like you did a great job of being aware that your Gremlin was jumping in and quickly reframing to focus on the “Truth.” Terrific example of how focusing on progress not perfection is so helpful. Thanks for sharing!

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