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Are You Your Own Worst Enemy? 3 Lessons I Learnt About Self-Talk

 1. Consider Your Future Self

The other day, I bumped into an old friend in the park. He was still in the same place in life as when I last saw him three years ago—same job, small city centre flat, no girlfriend, and a live-for-the-weekend mentality. After catching up with our mutual friends, he expressed his frustration, saying,

Bloody hell, you lot are making serious moves. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t planned to live past 30, and now in my mid-thirties, I don’t have much to show for it. I’m a bit annoyed actually.

This friend had embraced a hedonistic mindset of living fast and dying young. In the short term, he was kind to himself by indulging heavily. However, he neglected his health and failed to build a solid foundation for the future. Now, he wants to escape the party lifestyle but has nothing to fall back on.

Don’t borrow happiness from the future. Make choices today that are friendly to your future self.

 2. Negative Emotions are Unsustainable Fuels

Anger, disgust, and disappointment in yourself are not sustainable fuels. While they might provide short-term motivation and energy to achieve results, in the long run, they are detrimental. Just like the dirtiest fuel sources, these negative emotions will eventually harm you and those around you. Berating yourself into burnout doesn’t help you or your goals.

3. Be Your Own Best Companion

Spending a holiday with someone persistently negative is hard work (I've been there). Everything seems to be a problem, and it's even worse if they are rude and egregious to others. Nothing is ever good enough. The only person you will never have a holiday away from is yourself. You are inescapable. So treat yourself with kindness, rationality, and fairness, just as you would a friend.

People see massive gains from working with the right coach in almost every area of life. This is because we often have unrealistic expectations and a poor understanding of our actions and abilities. Coaches help cut through the nonsense, providing factual and helpful advice because they are detached and can be objective.

So, how can you be your own coach?

Treat yourself like a friend or loved one and give yourself advice accordingly. That’s why in our tried and tested daily system, we don’t write responses to prompts like ‘How could I improve?’ or ‘What could have gone better today?’ Instead, we write advice for our future selves

This approach solves a few things:

  1. It prevents us from writing about insignificant issues that won’t matter in the future. We don’t sweat the small stuff.
  2. By maintaining a close relationship with our future selves, we have more incentive to set ourselves up for success. We make healthy decisions that are kind and avoid behaviours that will make our future selves suffer.
  3. It means treating yourself like a friend, offering helpful and rational advice that stands the test of time. You extract lessons from your experiences, hoping they will make you a better person.

This journaling prompt has personally helped me remember lessons such as:

relationships are your most important asset, don’t neglect their investments’ or ‘remember not to attach your happiness to external outcomes’ - direct quotes from my own personal Evolve Journal.

Being kind to yourself is an act of self-discipline; it’s not something that comes naturally to me. However, since I started reflecting regularly in this way, my automatic reactions have shifted, and my self-talk has become similar to the advice I would give a friend.

I no longer beat myself up; instead, I aim to build myself up.

Make yourself better—that’s what friends do.

- Freddie, Co-founder of Evolve Journey 

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