Hold Me Back

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/@steve

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/@steve

A couple friends and I play the head trash game. When we get together to catch up, hold each other accountable to goals, and talk about our plans and wants, we try to catch each other for mistaken assumptions.

There's no doubt that we are our own worst enemies. We sabotage our own best efforts all the time. We plan to eat better, but we tell ourselves we’ll wait until after the holidays. We sign up to run a marathon, but don't train. We set a goal and never outline the steps to achieve it—or we lay them out and put off tackling them. Oddly, we know that acting this way will sabotage the goal. And we do it anyway.

Catching bad behavior is part of holding each other accountable to goals.

Head trash is more subtle than that, in our definition. Head trash qualifiers are typically assumptions that we don't even realize are holding us back or making us less happy—unexamined ideas that we de facto believe are true:

  • I don't have the skills for that job. (Or, worse, I'm not smart enough for that career.)

  • It's going to take me a long time to get where I want to go in my career.

  • My employees/boss would never go for that.

  • You can't have kids and keep that hobby/lifestyle.

  • It isn't possible to find an employee with the background I want.

  • That kind of company will never hire a company like mine.

Head trash is sneaky self sabotage. It's more subtle than bad behavior.

Very little actually is or has to be any certain way. If that's the way you want it to be, great. Even if it doesn't have to be that way, it makes you happy and serves your purposes, leave it. But it's worthwhile to examine whether your assumptions truly are reality.

I've gotten to the point, after a few years of the head trash game, where I try to poke at anything I’ve come up with as a "rule" or "the way it has to be." I tend to slide into thinking that I can't get a "reward" (such a vacation or something nice for myself) when I haven't "gotten it all done" yet (not that I'll ever "get it all done"). I guess this hang-up goes back to the old "work hard, relax later" mantra? Or the childhood requirement that I eat dinner before I could have dessert? (Hey, that's a good example of head trash: Why would you have to eat one sort of thing before you can have another? Silly. But I bet most of you still think that way and feel badly when you don't comply.)

What's your head trash?