It’s so easy to feel irritated with yourself because you’re not yet where you want to be.

Because you’re still not over it.

Because you haven’t finished your project.

Because you haven’t achieved that goal.

Impatience with yourself feels like a natural response — an inevitable state of mind for anyone in your position. And it seems like a logical motivator to reach your goal. You believe you will get there faster if you stay agitated so you can keep reminding yourself to get moving.

But this is an illusion.

Instead of speeding up your progress, your impatience keeps you stuck in two ways.

First, that desire to hurry up connects to anxiety, worries, and fears:

• that you’ll never get there

• that it’s taking too long

• that someone else is being affected by your slowness

This state of anxiety actually impairs your brain’s ability to move forward.

The blood flow to your prefrontal cortex is reduced when you’re anxious, which keeps it from functioning properly. This is the part of the brain involved in decision-making, problem-solving, and making plans… so these impatience-related fears are actually working against you and inhibiting your progress.

Secondly, your need to rush involves blaming yourself:

• for stalling or procrastinating

• for not being done by now

• for being in this position again

Self-blame slows you down because it makes you contract internally.

Your access to your imagination shrinks when you scold yourself. Your creativity is stifled by self-criticism. It’s very hard to feel inspired when you’re mad at yourself, so the self-punishing thoughts connected to this impatience also impede your progress instead of motivating you.

How to flip it

Start by becoming aware. Set an intention to notice when you get impatient with yourself.

Let go of the anxiety and self-blame with your favorite technique, whether that is EFT tapping, a spiritual practice, or writing out the thoughts and then burning them.

Then gently shift gears by encouraging yourself. Acknowledge your progress so far — however big or small it might be. Affirm that you’re moving forward on the perfect path for this moment right now.

With awareness and practice, impatience with yourself will disappear.

Your subconscious will get the message that such a response is no longer useful or wanted, and it will stop showing up! You will become gentler with yourself. You will gain more compassion for yourself.

And those new neural pathways you form become your automatic responses as the old pathways of impatience fade away.

Originally published at