If you're like many, then some days your mind is a war zone.

Complete with the good guys (Mr glass-half-full) and the bad guys (Mr stay-in-bed-you-loser) fighting for your attention; your thoughts.

Competing for valuable territory on your cerebral landscape.

Fear, self doubt, anxiety, apathy; all normal daily, emotional experiences for us mere mortals.
All debilitating... if we let them be.

For many people, every day is an ongoing war of the mind.

A kind of tug-of-war between the you, you want to become... and the you that believes you'll never get there, don't deserve to be there and don't have what it takes.

The you that rationalises failure.
The you that accepts mediocrity.
The you that constantly talks yourself down.
The you that has listened to (and believed) way too much negative crap from idiots for way too long.

The truth is that some of us will have our own personal war of the mind for a while yet (to some extent)... but the good news is that (1) it doesn't need to stop us from creating amazing and (2) things can be significantly better from today if we (choose to) take a different attitude into every situation.

Didn't say it would be easy... just said it's possible.

I'm kinda successful (and sometimes kind of a loser) and I still deal with mental and emotional challenges daily; this isn't called weakness or inadequacy... it's called the human condition.

The difference (from some) is that I choose my future.

I (mostly) control my actions and reactions.

I maximise my (limited) potential... because I want to milk every ounce of my ability and see what I can do and be... in my lifetime.

When I get to the end of my days (hopefully that's a while yet), I want to be able to look back and say "despite my fears and flaws, I did the best I could with what I had... I absolutely squeezed every ounce out of my life and I have no regrets."

I know that I have written on variations of this topic regularly, but the truth is that despite our knowledge, despite our education and despite our frequent visits to sites such as this, many of us still constantly short-change ourselves, constantly accept second-best (we believe that's all we're worth) and constantly under-achieve (no offense intended).

One of the problems with (some) personal development (a.k.a. success) philosophies is that there's typically a huge focus on the external (income, beauty, career, toys) when in fact, nearly everything that truly limits us is internal.

When we get the internal stuff right, then the external falls into place more easily... but too many try and do it the other way around.

When we put the 'who we are' before the 'what we've got'..... then we start to succeed.
On all levels.

We don't stumble across our ideal career, land our dream job, find our perfect life-partner and then... get our sh** together.

No... it happens the other way around

And unfortunately, many people don't really get this.

They have been poorly programmed.
They have had bad teachers.
They embrace the "when I own this, earn that or weigh less... then I'll win the war of the mind" philosophy.

Dumb plan.

A famous crusty old football coach once said that all games are won or lost between the ears... well life's kinda like that also.

Here are my tips for winning your personal War of the Mind:

1. Go on the offensive.
Get a little aggressive (not physically) about what you want.
Nothing wrong with the occasional well-planned attack.
Sitting around hoping and waiting is frustrating, futile and pointless.
Start doing and creating.
Beating ourselves up (emotionally) serves no purpose but sometimes we need to get a little angry at ourselves (habits, behaviours)... in order to create some real momentum.
Stand up for yourself, have an opinion, get off the fence, stop compromising and stop allowing yourself to be a victim.
If you don't have a wooden head and strings attached to your arms and legs, then there's a fair chance your not a puppet... so stop living like one.

2. Get the wheels turning early in the day.
Being productive early in the day generally gets our head in the place we need it to be to create positive outcomes. If possible, exercise early in the day too. Do something significant before lunch time.

3. Do something (soon) that you've never done (properly) but should have long ago.
Make that decision.
Start that diet, exercise plan.
Maintain that new eating and exercise plan!
Make that phone call.
Address that fear front on.
Talk to that person.
Take that chance.

4. Don't accept defeat.
A defeat is only a defeat when we call it that.
We only have experiences... and then we choose what to name them.
We choose what they will represent to us.
How they will impact us.
One person's defeat, will be another person's lesson.

(Are you listening Grasshopper?... this is not a theory, this is a fact)

The labels that we give things (situations, circumstances, events) are very powerful... so be careful how you define things.

One of the saddest sights is someone who has given up.

5. Cut the negative self-talk.
Even if you think you're rubbish, we don't wanna hear it.
It's ugly and pathetic.
It annoys the crap out of the rest of us and it doesn't help you... at all.
Stop talking yourself down.
Call yourself a loser often enough and you'll become a prophet.

6. Commit.
Start commiting and stop avoiding.
Stop fluffing around.
Make commitments which will (help) ensure you keep doing.
Enrol in a course (and pay up front!).
Make a verbal commitment to someone who will keep you honest.
Some people spend their lives avoiding commitment of any kind, don't be one of them.

7. Turn your fear into excitement.
As I've said before, a certain level of fear is healthy.
But that's not the kind of fear we're talking about here.
Being able to turn that debilitating fear into a challenge and an opportunity is where we grow, adapt and win.
A friend of mine who is (was) terrified of heights went sky diving.
Totally changed her.
For the better.
Now she's so fearless and driven she's annoying!

8. Don't confuse what you feel... with what is real.
Just because you feel inadequate.... doesn't mean you are inadequate.
It's a feeling; nothing more.
Learn to differentiate between your self-limiting emotions and reality.
Make sure you don't turn those negative feelings into beliefs.
Sometimes we need to do things despite what we're feeling.

So, if your mind is occasionally (or frequently) a war zone then perhaps today is the day you'll wheel out the heavy artillery and start taking back some ground.

After all, it's yours.

Author's Bio: 

Craig Harper (B.Ex.Sci.) is an Australian motivational speaker, qualified exercise scientist, author, columnist, radio presenter, television host and owner of one of the largest personal training centres in the world.

He can be heard weekly on Australian Radio SEN 1116 and GOLD FM and appears on Australian television on Channel 31's 'Living Life Now' and Network Ten's '9AM'.

Motivational Speaker - Craig Harper