When David Goggins started his journey to become a Navy SEAL, he was a 300-pound cockroach killer. He drove around town all night, entering food establishments and killing cockroaches.
He was in no condition to jog, let alone become a combat diver. He would look at his mirror with disgust and loathing while slurping down an extra-large milkshake after every shift.
One day, he snapped. He’d had enough. He was tired of being overweight, tired of looking at the Navy SEAL poster in his room, and doing nothing about it. He stood in front of his mirror and took inventory.
Accountability is about not lying to yourself
When Goggins stood in front of that mirror, he called himself out. He looked at his reflection and said, “You’re fat, you’re lazy, and you’re a liar. What are you going to do about it?”
I’ve had moments where I shy away from the mirror. I’m ashamed of the two muffins followed by three bags of chips that I ate in bed while watching Along Came Polly, alone.
After reading Goggins’ story, I took accountability and told myself, “Mic, you’re being a lazy POS.” I wrote it down in my journal and accepted the fact that I blew past the point of relaxation and entered the realm of unhealthy eating and wasting time.
There is a fine line between making yourself feel bad and being honest with yourself
When I told myself those things, it wasn’t to shame myself. It was to make myself accountable in the nicest way possible. I didn’t say, “Mic, you ARE a lazy POS.” I said, “You’re BEING a lazy POS.”
To me, there’s a big difference. The first is calling myself names. The second is calling out behavior. I used to do the first all the time, and that’s what brought down my self-esteem. That’s what brings down anyone’s self-esteem. Saying “you are…” can be used as fuel like in Goggins’ case, but “You’re being…” is kinder on yourself.
Every human has a relationship with himself/herself. Would you say something nasty to your best friend? No. So don’t say it to yourself. It will ruin your relationship with yourself. If your relationship with yourself is weak, there is a slim chance you’ll be able to convince yourself to be better.
Your reflection speaks back
Anytime you look into the mirror, it’s obvious that you’re viewing yourself. How you see yourself speaks back to you through your reflection. If you’re looking at yourself with disgust, your reflection is also looking at you with disgust.
Now imagine if your friend was looking at you in disgust. How would that make you feel? It’s the same thing when you look at your reflection that way. All it does is look back and fill you with more negativity.
It’s such a simple yet powerful thing, something as small as looking at yourself in the mirror. So there’s an easy way to fix that. Smile. Be nice. Be accepting. Talk to yourself with positivity.
If you feel like shit for being lazy, tell yourself you were lazy, accept it, and resolve to do better. Be on your own team. Cheer yourself on. You don’t have to spin, snap your fingers and point at yourself (although you can if you want), just smile and provide gentle encouragement. You need it. Everyone needs it, and you might as well get a consistent dose from yourself.
Sticky notes are your friend
Unfortunately, I share a house with four other people, so I can’t be putting personalized sticky notes all over the bathroom mirror. So I put them in my room instead. I have dozens. They’re in the places I look most often, subtle reminders from myself to myself, to cheer me on.
Ideally, the best place to put them would be on your accountability mirror, where you can read them and smile at the person staring back at you. When all is said and done, and you’re ready to meet your maker, the only person who will stare death in the face with you is you.
It’s easy to be mean to yourself. It’s easy to talk down to yourself. Sticky notes are an excellent reminder to avoid that kind of talk. So what do you put on these notes? Quotes, goals, ambitions, positive comments.
Yes, some days, negative things will happen. You will feel sad. You’re not supposed to lie to yourself and suppress those emotions. Let them out, but do it positively, with yourself, not at yourself, if that makes sense.
Life isn’t all sparkles, chicken nuggets, and unicorns. With social media making sure you see the best sides of everyone else’s life, it’s important to remember that it’s mostly bullshit.
Comparing yourself and talking down to yourself will do you no good. Take accountability, smile in the mirror, and encourage yourself with positive sticky notes — it’s a small practice that goes a great distance.