Self-Improvement Gremlins

Lately, I’ve been stuck in some stinkin’ thinkin’. I’m getting fixated on the things I’m not doing well and the end results I’ve not yet reached and that type of unnecessary stress is keeping me from doing my best thinking and my best work.

I think it has something to do with turning a year older. Kind of like New Year’s, those peak moments can cause us to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to be, but if we aren’t careful, it can lead to damaging self-talk.

I’m also an enneagram 3 and when left unchecked, my self-improvement gremlins can run WILD. Self-improvement gremlins dress like your most put together best friend. They have the best ideas, manage their time perfectly, are in the best shape, and always say and do the right things. But these gremlins only serve one purpose: to make you feel badly about yourself and the progress you’re making. They whisper things in your ear that are masked as motivation and high standards, but if you don’t pay attention, and you leave them unchecked, what these gremlins are really doing are making you feel small and unworthy. And they are stealing the beauty of the present moment from you.

My self-improvement gremlins have been running WILD. They have taken over my mind and thought life, and they are at the strongest at night when I look back at my day to see what I have and have not accomplished. These gremlins encourage me to jump on social media and see the progress other people are making toward their goals. They encourage me to obsess over better plans and approaches and when they are at their strongest, they encourage me to buy things on the internet that will get me closer to the progess I desire. New water bottles, new meal plans and recipes, new notebooks for new ideas, new books to read, new clothes, NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW.

And it turns out new things, do not equal NEW me. Not when I’m not doing my inner work.

I’m finally getting tired of the chase. I’m tired of listening to these gremlins. And I’m tired of chasing them. And I’m tired of losing my free time and free thoughts to their “motivational” pep talks.

I had a dream not too long ago that Mario and I were staying in a sky rise hotel with another couple. Dreams are so trippy – I didn’t know these people, and they didn’t really have faces, haha. Anyway, I looked out of the floor to ceiling windows in our suite which overlooked a large metropolitan area and suddenly, I saw a huge wall of blackness slowing closing in on us. And an indescribable thunder.

And I knew it was the end.

In that moment, I didn’t wish I had gotten that workout in. I didn’t wish I had read more chapters in a book or had cleaned the baseboards. I didn’t check to see how much water I had consumed or how much weight I had lost. I didn’t reach for my face cream or my favorite pair of shoes. I didn’t make a work call or hurry to finish a meeting agenda.

I reached for Mario, and we held each other. Because that’s what really matters. Not just in the end but in the day-today.

Self-improvement is lovely, and it can be a great feeling. But if we aren’t doing our inner work, what was once good for us is no longer great for us.

What is your motivation for something your’e been obsessing over lately?

What is an area where you find yourself most vulnerable to the self-improvement gremlins?

How might you slow down a bit and talk back to those gremlins when they get out of control?

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