How does your “inner team” help or hinder your motivation?
In Pixar movie Inside Out released in the year 2015, the premise is that each person’s brain has several characters inside, who act out individual emotions.
The movie captures the “inner drama” of the average person.
After all, sometimes it feels like we have different “characters” in our head.
In fact, sometimes it feels like being ourselves is a team effort.
Who’s on your inner team?
Our “inner team” represents the various components and “characters” that make up who we are.
If you had to imagine your “inner team” roster, who would be on it?
You probably have some helpful team members and some unhelpful ones.
For instance, your helpful “inner team” members might include:
The #1 Fan: “Hey, you did a great job there! High fives, superstar! YEAH YOU!!!!”
The Planner: “Don’t forget to make your lunch. And you have a 3 p.m. meeting, so pack an apple.”
The Always-There-For-You Friend: “Sure, this is tough, but no worries — we can do this. I’ve got your back.”
The Adventurer: “Ooh! A new exercise! That sounds fun!”
Your not-so-helpful team members might include:
The Doomsayer: “You are never going to succeed. It’s pointless.”
The Negotiator (aka The Wheedler): “You just had a cookie. You might as well have another one. How bad could it be?”
The Agoraphobe: “I don’t want to get out and try anything new. What if I look stupid?”
The Whiner: “This is haaaaaard.”
The Critic: “You suck. You can’t do anything right.”
Usually, your unhelpful team members aren’t bad per se. They often mean well, and are just trying to help.
They’re more like over-anxious and misguided parents who want to keep you safe …
Even if that means keeping you home on Halloween, not letting you date, and making you wear a football helmet, just in case you bump your head.
Your inner team and motivation
Your inner team can work for or against you.
Unfortunately, those unhelpful team members can really kill your motivation. Even if you’re doing everything right and trying your best to stay focused, team members like The Critic or The Doomsayer can drag you down and sap your energy.
So it’s time to put your coach hat on.
Grab a piece of paper and start by making your team roster.
Make a list of some of the most common thoughts and ideas you have when it comes to sticking with a health and fitness program.
“I’m doing really well with my daily actions.”
“Stay focused, and don’t forget to tick off that habit.”
“This is too difficult. I can’t succeed.”
“My thumb hurts! I can’t lift anything today!”
Give each thought/idea a character from your “inner team”.
Imagine each character as clearly as possible.
“I’m doing really well with my daily actions.” — The Cheerleader
“Stay focused, and don’t forget to tick off that habit.” — The Organizer
“This is too difficult. I can’t succeed.” — The Pessimist
“My thumb hurts! I can’t lift anything today!” — The Crybaby
Look at the qualities that each team member brings.
Who is helping you stay on track?
Who is helping you stay motivated?
Who is helping you reach your goals?
Do the not-so-helpful team members have a purpose?
Decide who stays and who gets cut from the team roster.
Make the cuts to your “inner team”, keeping only the players who will help you win the game.
Do you need to add any new “players” to your “inner team”?
If so, who and why? Add any new “team members” that you think would be helpful.
Make your teamwork for you
We’re not suggesting you spend all day having weird conversations with the imaginary people in your head.
But we are suggesting that not all thoughts and ideas are equally valid or helpful.
By imagining our “inner team”, and keeping the team members that serve us best, we can make sure we stay on track and motivated, and don’t get distracted by unhelpful characters.