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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