How to side-step your self-defeating thoughts

So you’re think­ing about adding veg­gies to your diet.

Or start­ing to truly exer­cise.

Or finally recog­niz­ing your rela­tion­ship with sug­ar is per­haps slightly more obsess­ive than you once thought.

It’s a very good thing, see­ing the ways that you could make changes and work­ing towards them, even in a small way.

But then the doubts creep in. And that inner voice (or out­er voices) that start dis­put­ing all of these new things, because we like the way things were.


My friend Sarah didn’t exer­cise and she lots 30 pounds by just tak­ing green tea extract”

I’ve always been able to eat whatever I want, surely hav­ing a little bit of sug­ar isn’t that big of a deal”

This pill should make everything go away” The excuses. The blame game. It’s too much work. It’s not my fault. I’m just this way. It will nev­er hap­pen. You did this to me. They did this to me.

Stepping out of self-defeat

Step 1: Know thy weaknesses

Understand a few basic things about your­self when you are in the pro­cess of mak­ing changes. If you know you get scared with some­thing new, take it in little pieces. Adding one veg­gie twice weekly is a major tri­umph when you eat none, and can be more fun than a chore if you are try­ing veget­ables you nor­mally don’t eat. If you know stress at work makes you want to skip the gym, then plan to have a friend to meet up with so you can stick to your new routine. If you are not a morn­ing per­son, arrange even­ing exer­cises.

Knowing your­self and your tendencies/​weaknesses/​triggers, with hon­esty, is import­ant. Even make a list — quanti­fy what things you think might hold you back or trip you up.

Step 2: Develop new habits = change

If you want to lose weight and your have just bought a pedo­met­er, try tak­ing the stairs once and awhile rather than tak­ing the elev­at­or. If you are devel­op­ing the abil­ity to check in with your feel­ings rather than bot­tling them up, then plan on a break every 2 – 3 hours where you can get away for some short “you-time”.

In oth­er words, sched­ule dates with your­self to try some­thing new.

Step 3: Be accountable, but be kind.

If you can­not meet your new goals, or mak­ing the changes is harder than you thought, admit it. Blaming your new run­ning shoes for your lack of abil­ity to get off the couch isn’t fair to them :) Accusing your ther­ap­ist of nev­er being there for you when you call them last minute for an emo­tion­al release ses­sion isn’t appro­pri­ate either…it’s about account­ab­il­ity for your needs and find­ing appro­pri­ate ways to have them met.

You’re going to make mis­takes, it’s nat­ur­al. The more import­ant thing is pick­ing your­self up, and get­ting “back on the horse”, and see­ing it as part of your learn­ing curve :)

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