In early 2022 I decided I was going to walk three times a day. I made this decision for several reasons. Of course, I understood the benefits walking would have on my physical health, and I was excited to get in better condition. But I also knew the positive impact walking – outside, in nature – would have on my mental health. Nature is the best way I know of to calm my often overstimulated nervous system and get me back to regulation.
So, there I was crushing my goal. Rain or shine. Hot or cold. I walked.
And then a funny thing began to happen – and maybe you’ve experienced this too.
Little by little, tiny thoughts – seemingly benign – began taking up space in my head.
This isn’t working.
This walking is a bunch of nonsense.
No one gets in shape by only walking.
You have better things to do.
You don’t have time for this.
Three times a day is too much. Maybe once a day is enough.
My body hurts; I should take some time off.
My shoes squeak; I’m pretty sure that’s a sign I should cut back. Ha.
The internal chatter was relentless.
I was experiencing what Gay Hendricks coined an Upper Limit Problem in his book, The Big Leap. According to Hendricks, each of us has an innermost thermostat setting that determines how much love, success, and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed it, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel most comfortable.
When I decided to walk three times a day, I exceeded my inner thermostat, which had been comfortably set to slothful for years. So, it made perfect sense that once I tried to increase that thermostat setting, thoughts about why I should quit came flooding in.
How many times have you set an exercise goal, a writing goal, or a new diet or way of eating goal, only to be derailed by counterproductive internal chatter?
How long before the chatter started? Or before you began questioning the validity of your goal? How long before your enthusiasm began to wane? Or before thoughts of quitting far outnumbered any thoughts of successfully achieving your goal?
You’d hit your upper limit.
Here’s the good news. Your upper limit doesn’t have to stop you. With practice and patience, you can raise your innermost thermostat setting for how much success you can experience.
Simply noticing is a powerful tool. The next time you set a goal that stretches you beyond your comfort zone, and the negative chatter begins to filter in, little by little, don’t believe it. Notice it. And then recognize you have a choice – do you listen to that insidious voice and quit, or do you acknowledge it for what it is, honor yourself, and continue striving toward your goal? I hope you’ll choose the latter.
I love hearing from you! So, drop me an email and let me know how things are going as you push past your upper limit to achieve all you want to achieve.
Enjoy your discoveries!
P.S. Pushing beyond your upper limit is easier – and way more fun – when you do it in fellowship! Hop over to Getting an Edge and join the waitlist for the next program starting in October. GAE offers a community of like-minded women (along with strategies, accountability, community, personal support, and resources galore) to help you bust through your upper limit and achieve all that you want to achieve. https://www.encompass-coaching.com/getting-an-edge-program/