When I was growing up, my mom gave me and my sister a few "mental health days" each school year - days where we could choose to skip school just because we needed a break.
(Kudos to mom for recognizing the importance of mental health and giving us the autonomy to choose rest when needed!).
I never really liked school (aka: I *hated* school), and would have loved nothing more than to avoid spending seven hours of every day with a large, noisy group of my peers (hello, I am a mega introvert).
Basically my worst nightmare lol
Interestingly, because I had been given permission to do what I wanted to do (stay home from school), it suddenly had much less appeal.
Part of the excitement of skipping school was simply that it was off limits, that I wasn't "supposed" to do it.
It was enticing in part because wasn't allowed; but when it was always an available option, I was far less likely to actually choose it.
(Plus, I became much more aware of when I really needed to us my mental health day vs. when I was just trying to avoid a test!)
You might be wondering where I'm going with this story, so let's explore another example:
I was talking with a client the other day who mentioned she had eaten something even though she was telling herself she "shouldn't," that it was "bad."
I asked her what might happen if she gave herself full permission to eat (and enjoy!) that particular food anytime she wanted, or perhaps included that food on a daily basis.
It was like a lightbulb went off when she considered how removing the "not allowed" label would change her relationship to that food.
The same thing can be said for other actions you're trying to implement or avoid:
What would happen if you gave yourself the option of skipping your workout, staying up late, or eating that food - without guilt or judgement attached?
When you remove some of the negative thoughts, shame, and self-criticism - and instead give yourself permission and a little compassion - it's amazing how the flip a switch almost immediately.
And I'll admit, it can be hard to give yourself complete and totally permission - so if that's the case for you, just know that I am giving you permission.
Eat the food.
Skip the gym.
Take a mental health day.
This is where having a coach can be super helpful - someone who is on your side and can remove some of the burden and responsibility - so you feel more free to experiment and try new things.