““How do I push myself without beating myself up?”

By Katherine Hood on February 15, 2024

Submitted Request..

This post is an answer to a submitted question. It aims to provide help and solutions to overcome the issue.

Podcast version: HERE

Quote: “When we act out of fear paradoxically we create more of what we don’t want.”

Adding to the quote:

Think about any fear that you have, you limit yourself. Mostly I witness clients that logically want one thing and emotionally the fears they have consciously or non-consciously prevent them from having the very thing they deeply want and desire. 

Examples: Wanting to be in a relationship, but afraid of getting their heart broken. Wanting to get better sleep, but focusing and pressuring themself to “be better” and overthinking the process so much they can’t fall asleep due to a troubled mind. Wanting to lose weight but not willing to eat differently than friends, family and detaching from the comfort they believe food brings to them.  

Submitted Question

“How do I push myself without beating myself up?
I have a very important exam to take in a month, but these days I just feel so lazy and procrastinate a lot. I used to be a very anxious person and would always try to finish every single assignment ahead of the deadline. Nowadays, I feel much less stressed out, but at the same time, I don't know how I could work more efficiently without being extremely pressured. I've tried writing it down, I've tried encouraging myself, I've tried determining my goals, what I am capable of achieving...

I honestly don't know what's wrong with me. How do I gain momentum again without burning myself out? I think part of this is because I used to feel things so intensely. I cry a lot (still do sometimes), I feel sad intensely, I feel worried intensely, I feel motivated intensely. I was a very emotional person, which today I've tried to control, but at the same time, it was also my fuel and it kept me going. These days I try to worry a lot less, I care a lot less, I try not to overthink things by not caring about them, which honestly sounds stupid. Any advice? I don't know what I'm doing. I really wish I could punch myself and force myself to do what I have to do and should do..” 


My Response if we were in a coaching setting. Although without being able to ask questions, I may assume or use scenarios to fill in the gaps.

You're not broken, you don’t need to be fixed, you are whole, complete and worthy.

White knuckling anything will never be sustainable.

You're absolutely correct in recognizing that constantly criticizing, name calling and blaming yourself will never lead to positive outcomes. In fact, it will only hinder your ability to fully embrace and appreciate the wonderful journey that we call life.

Instead of dwelling on mistakes or perceived failures, it's important to shift your focus towards personal growth, self-compassion, and finding joy in every step of the way. By adopting a more self-forgiving and nurturing mindset, you'll not only experience greater fulfillment, but also open yourself up and attract opportunities and happiness into your life.

I used to think that I would be happy when I reached the end with the result, reward, trophy, or whatever. I was so wrong. It's about the incredible experiences and growth that occur along the way. It’s about meeting people you admire and looking up to them for guidance. It’s about forming relationships and connecting with people and making an impact in this world.

Comparing ourselves to others and who we used to be isn’t fair to the version of you today. You’re in a different stage in your life, and your energies may be divided differently. Your circumstances are vastly different.

Comparison in any form leads us to unhappiness.

The feelings of laziness, procrastination, anxiety, stress, and pressure, that there's something wrong with you, are all thoughts. They are not real; they are just your mind generating stories. Some of this is to protect you, likely from burnout or other fearful things your mind has created in your imagination. It is important to understand that these thoughts are not a reflection of you, they don’t define you, your worth or capabilities. They are just thoughts that are not real.

When we experience laziness, it is often a sign that our body and mind need rest. It is not a character flaw but rather a natural response to fatigue or overwhelm. I see overwhelm more frequently in coaching clients, they have such high expectations and lists and lists of things that they "should" do and don't know where to begin.

Procrastination, on the other hand, may stem from fear of failure or perfectionism. Getting into action, just starting is huge, take the first step today, right now. Notice what thoughts and feelings pop up just hearing these words, often it will reveal the real fear if you aware. Often it's in the space of "what if I fail" "I need to be ready to start" "I am not sure what thing to work on first". All super common and having a thinking partner, a coach like me can help you sift through the ones like this or others to power forward.

Anxiety and stress are common experiences in our fast-paced world. It is crucial to remember that these emotions are not indicators of weakness or incompetence. They are messages from our body, like a smoke alarm alerting us to potential threats or challenges. Deeply understanding what stress and anxiety are just a lot of thoughts, just stories you’ve picked up over time and you can put them down.

It is important to challenge the negative thoughts and stories our mind generates. Most individuals don't realize they are having negative self-defeating thoughts every day. Recognizing that these thoughts are not reality can empower us to command our thoughts to work for us and steer ourselves towards a more positive, powerful action forward.
You DO have the power to shape your own narrative and choose how you respond to these thoughts.

Paradoxically the harder you try, attempt to control things, the white knuckling the more your mind and brain will appear to fight against you.

You can’t be mad, your brain is actually working super well. In fact that you're stating you feel emotions really deeply indicates to me you're very intelligent, and have high emotional intelligence, you're gifted, and at the same time when this super power is over used it becomes a curse.

Most everyone thinks they need to do more, search for answers outside of themself. That's not where the answers are. You have all the answers. We are just conditioned to believe we need things externally to make us whole.

By delving deep into your inner world, with the curiosity of a child, and exploring the intricacies of your thoughts, feelings, and the inner workings of your brain, you will unlock a profound awareness of your own brilliance and the limitless potential of your mind.

If you’re open to it and want to really understand how your mind, thoughts, consciousness and brain work you will see how easy it is to solve our thoughts problems.

By working with your brain rather than against it, you'll become unstoppable.

You see your brain will move you towards what feels good and familiar. So this current pattern in your life, that's not been fully explained, is moving you towards what feels good and familiar for that's "safe" to your mind. Any patterns in your day that you're doing, is because it's familiar and feels good. Things you're not doing, avoiding and beating yourself up over well your brain sees as not fun, and not familiar and that's the thoughts, the stories, the judgements you're making up in your mind. Simple as that.

Want to do something, change the story that's wrapped around that thing you want to do that makes it feel good in your body and make it familiar, with lots of repetition.

One other thing to look at is where your energy is going each day. Are there things that you’re doing, exposing your mental, emotional energy towards that’s draining? What are you willing to let go of and free up more energy to put towards what you’re wanting to accomplish?

Believing stress is the octane fuel to getting stuff done is your mind trying to trick you into believing the path to success is through force, this isn’t sustainable as you’re now seeing. No one will work under conditions very long where they are being name called, criticized, judged, put down, micromanaged, compared, ridiculed etc. Free yourself from the content of your thinking.

Shift your thoughts to seeing your gifts, your strengths, build on these and work on improving areas that could use improvement. Articulate how you want to feel prior to taking action, and see how your life changes.

Work with your brain rather than against it.


I hope this is helpful.

I wish you all the best.

Please share this with anyone you believe would benefit from the insights. Post a comment, I read and reply to them all. Thank you in advance!

If you want to send a question, please send to [email protected] please include: 

  • A coachable question (something that addresses what's in your control, your thoughts, feelings or actions.)

  • And context, explain a situation in the past, currently going through, or worries/concerns of the future, giving me some details on your thoughts and feelings about it. 

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