How to Break the Cycle of Self-Defeating Behavior

It is a simple fact that many of the things in life that are most worth doing are difficult to do. Whether it’s sticking to a healthy diet, following an exercise plan or learning a new skill, if you get negative on yourself, you are likely setting yourself up for failure.

A self-defeating mindset can become a nasty habit indeed, and is often characterized by the phrases, “I can’t,” “I will never,” “It’s useless” and “Why bother?” – among many others that are similar. These are things that we tell ourselves when the going gets hard. Unfortunately, this kind of self-talk can make the going much harder.

Deciding to embrace a positive outlook is sometimes no easy feat in itself, as many of the negative things we tell ourselves are subconscious. Getting rid of them takes practice and a commitment to celebrate your successes instead of wallowing on the times you fell short.

Meditation can be one powerful tool to help let go of self-defeating thoughts. The next time you are feeling discouraged, find a quiet place to sit and center your thoughts. Close your eyes, relax, breathe, and as the thoughts come, let them exit your mind as you exhale. If you let these thoughts flow through you and not dwell on them, you may find that your perceived ‘failure’ wasn’t so bad, and is something you can learn from as you move forward.

It may take some practice, but if you meditate regularly, you can get to a place where negative thoughts arise, but do not linger, and when your meditation session is over, you can open your eyes and make a fresh start to whatever activity you are undertaking.

Another powerful tool is taking time to celebrate your successes. It may help to write them down as you work towards your goals, to remind yourself of how far you have come. According to Dr. Sofia Rydin-Gray, the director of health psychology at Duke Diet and Fitness Center, “if you track your success, you have tangible evidence of your efforts and behavior change.”

Every road has its setbacks, but if you let these get to you, you will not reap the rewards of finally achieving what you set out to achieve. Making a firm decision to think positively, and not to give up, is an excellent starting point.

thinkingWith a little bit of practice and a lot of determination, you can remove the “I can’t” voice from your mind, and move forward with more ease and enthusiasm than you may have thought possible.

-The Alternative Daily

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