"I'm so lazy and unmotivated."
"I suck at cooking healthy meals."
"I hate exercising."
"I could never do that."
Have you ever found yourself thinking these things? Maybe dozens or even hundreds of times over the years? These kind of thoughts may be setting ourselves up for failure before we've even begun.
The thing is, we tend to believe the things we tell ourselves, and this affects our daily behaviors. We may give up easily on things that are a struggle, or not even try because we think that it's a wasted effort. That's the fixed mindset in action, the belief that our skills and talent and competence are all set in stone.
Couldn't we play a different game???
Since we are believing stories that we tell ourselves that aren't really true and are limiting our progress, can't we start telling ourselves new stories? Even if we don't fully believe them right away? Wouldn't that serve us better than our current self-limiting beliefs?
I would argue that it is extremely de-motivating and lends itself to pushing us towards the negative behaviors that we're trying to overcome.
I struggle with this myself. After years of low self-esteem and beating myself up for the most minor of transgressions, I am finally getting to a place where I can catch myself making up these negative stories about myself. These automatic thoughts are becoming less and less automatic, and when they do pop up, they have less of a hold on me. I can see them for what they are: mere half-truths and lies.
When we adopt more of a growth mindset, we empower ourselves to learn and try. We expect a few failures and struggles along the way. This mindset creates space for new skills, increased knowledge, and enhanced abilities. It looks upon failure as feedback, not a sign that we suck. And this builds resilience and discipline so that we can keep growing. So that we keep honing our practice for future successes.
You may have dozens of failed attempts to lose weight or adopt a healthier lifestyle in your past, but that doesn't define who you are and what you're capable of. So what if you didn't get it right the first, second, or tenth try? Did you learn anything from those experiences? Did you have some wins along the way that can give you confidence right now?
Take a minute and write down some phrases that typically run through your head, and then draw a big X over each of them. Now, write down a more positive and empowered version of those phrases.
One example: "I just can't ever stick to a diet" becomes "I may have struggled in the past to stick to a diet long-term, but now I can see areas that I can focus on and improve to come up with a more sustainable plan."
You're not setting any lofty goals that can come back to haunt you and make you feel like a failure. You're not beating yourself up. You're acknowledging your past struggles without judgment and putting yourself back in your own power. You're no longer a victim; you're ready to take action.
And this is the kind of mindset that will ensure your success in any area.
This is your challenge --- to challenge the stories that you tell yourself and determine if they are truly serving you or helping you grow and improve. We can get better and be successful at anything we choose to. We just have to be willing to believe it.