Starting tomorrow, August 25th, I am taking part in a 40-day “Inner Mean Girl cleanse,” and I invite all of my women readers to join me (sorry guys – this one’s just for us).  The program was co-developed by life coach and “inspirational catalyst” Christine Arylo, who I met at Rancho la Puerta in June.  The cleanse is completely free.  All you have to do is register on the website and you’re good to go.

I love Christine and already have first-hand experience with the effectiveness of her teachings.  For the deets on one, read this post about creating a dream list and what happened when I started mine.  At the Ranch, Christine also talked about using 40-day practices to create or change a behavior.  According to the best of brain science research, it takes 40 days to make (or break) a habit.  She encouraged us all to establish a daily self-sustainability practice where each day, we would spend at least 3 minutes connecting with ourselves first thing in the morning before anyone else’s needs or desires get in the way.  I chose to spend 5 minutes in a morning meditation each day.  Well, I am now well past my initial 40 days, and that 5 minutes of quiet each day has become essential.  I will admit I am not perfect.  I do miss the occasional morning, but I definitely notice a difference in my patience and anxiety levels when I skip.

All that is to say I expect this Inner Mean Girl cleanse to be a valuable and meaningful experience.  So what is an Inner Mean Girl and why does she need a cleanse?  Hint: it’s not because she’s dirty.

Everyone’s Inner Mean Girl operates a little differently, but in a nutshell, she sabotages you.  She’s that voice in your head that tells you you’re not smart enough, pretty enough, fit enough, etc.  She chips away at your confidence and wears you down until you give in and believe her.  My own Inner Mean Girl takes different forms, depending on the context.  For example:

  • Writing: She’s the editor of the New York Times Book Review.  Every time I get a rejection letter or read an article about how tough the publishing business is these days, her glasses slide down her nose as she recounts all ways I’m not talented enough to be published and the reasons why I’ll never make it.
  • Physical appearance:  She’s the popular seventh grader who calls me names and asserts that I’m not thin enough, pretty enough or fashionable enough.  She points out each new wrinkle and assures me that my butt does indeed look fat in my jeans.
  • Health/Fitness:  She’s the trainer who stands over me with a whip chastising me for not being in better shape.  She continually reminds me that soon I will reach the big 4-0 and that it’s all downhill from there.  She never fails to remind me that red wine is only healthy if you keep it to one glass a day and that a “muffin top” is no longer a good thing.
  • Motherhood:  Think the Supernanny, complete with English accent, honing in on every parental flaw I have.  “You’ve just gawt to get your act together.  Sometimes you do too much for your kids, sometimes not enough!” She convinces me that if I’m not careful, my kids will end up as either entitled brats who can’t find partners or hold down a job, or homeless people living in a box on a street corner.
  • Housekeeping:  Totally Martha Stewart, tsk tsking around my house in silent disapproval.  She constantly compares my home to those of my peers, and of course mine always comes up short.  I am not crafty, my organization leaves much to be desired, and I fail to make my own gift wrap out of recycled materials.  Furthermore, she spends lots of time muttering, “For the love of all that is holy, it’s not that hard to bake at high altitude,” under her breath.

So you get the idea.  I’m doing the cleanse because I’d like to find ways to be nicer to myself, or at a minimum, stop being my own worst enemy.  I’m also doing it for my daughter who, at the tender age of 7, has already started second-guessing and criticizing herself on a regular basis.  Maybe if I can learn how to stop, I can help her to do the same.

If you decide to come along for the ride, let me know so I can cheer you on.  There’s a great lineup of experts to help along the way.  And really, what is there to lose aside from the worst “frenemy” you’ve ever had?  The program lasts six weeks, with each week focusing on how to eliminate one self-sabotaging habit while replacing it with a positive one.  It’s held entirely online, at your own pace, and without taking over your life.  Best of all, it’s FREE.

I’ll blog at least once a week about my experience.  Hope to see you there!

Categories: Inner Mean Girl · Tags: ,



  1. Very cool. I’ll be checking in again to see how it goes!

  2. I might have a go at that too, thanks for sharing Julie.

  3. This is a great idea, I’m going to have to look into it! There’s nothing more powerful than that nasty little voice telling you just how much you stink at everything you do. Shame they don’t make a muzzle for it!

  4. You guys really should check it out. This first week’s topic – gossip – is not a huge issue for me, but the others – judgment, comparison, etc. really are.

    I was just going through my notes from Christine’s talks yesterday, and there is so much good stuff in there. I’m sure I’ll feel the same way at the end of this process.

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