You are what you think about. Can you create a better life by simply thinking about it? Of course not– that’s absurd. But if your mind is dominated by negative thoughts, it’s hard to get motivated to make positive changes that will improve your life. Please consider these 10 dangerous thoughts you should avoid.

1. “I guess this is as good as it gets.”

The second you become complacent, your progress in life will come to a screeching halt. No matter how good you are at something, you could always stand to improve in some aspect. Learn a new craft, hobby or language to keep your mind creative and fresh. Discover ways to increase the quality of your work or decrease the time it takes to complete tasks you’re already good at (then you’ll have more time for the important things that really make you happy!). Make sure personal growth isn’t just something you talk about–make it a daily event.

2. “I’ll just do the easy stuff.”

That thing that you dread doing more than anything else? The odds are, THAT is the very thing you need to do. Do you think employers are interested in hiring people who are only capable of accomplishing simple tasks that anybody else on the planet could perform? Of course not. Whether it’s for the purpose of making yourself more marketable in the workforce, improving your body and health or whatever the case may be, you need to embrace the fact that you sometimes have to do things that you don’t enjoy. You know what I hate? Working on resumes, portfolios and sales pages. But even though I don’t particularly enjoy those things, I am very skilled at them because my success depends on it. Buckle down and do the thing you don’t want to do because like it or not, that’s probably the very thing you need to do.

3. “I don’t care about the details, tell me what to do!”

If you don’t understand why a particular task needs to be done, it is unlikely you’ll be able to pay it the proper attention it deserves. And if you don’t ask follow-up questions about things you don’t understand, your results will suffer.Take ownership of every project. Do you have any ideas to contribute that might make the end result better? Say so. No one is going to fuss at you for asking questions or offering suggestions that will improve the end result.

4. “I’m not good enough.”

If you tell yourself you’re not good enough, pretty enough, old enough, smart enough, or (insert adjective of your choosing here) enough, your lack of confidence will reflect in your words, stature, and mannerisms. Why should someone believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself? Surround yourself with positive people who will motivate you. Read books, articles, and studies about what you’re passionate about until you can truthfully say you are an expert in your field. Stop looking for the reasons you can’t do something and find the reasons you can. People often say, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” but this statement is blatantly false. You are as strong as your strongest link.

5. “It will never work.”

Stop telling yourself you will fail because self-fulfilling prophecies almost always come true.

6. “I’m a bad person.”

Everyone makes mistakes. No matter what wrong you feel you have done to a person, agonizing over a past event that cannot be undone will not make the situation better (and will make you feel a lot worse). Whether you ate something you know you shouldn’t have, said something hurtful that you wish you could take back or made a mistake on the job, don’t live in the past. If you apologized and explained yourself, then it is time to move on. Focus your energy to the future because that’s where progress happens. 

7. “What will they think about me?”

While you should do everything you can to make people around you comfortable, you shouldn’t sacrifice your genuine personality in order to please other people. Embrace your authentic self and share it with the world. If a person doesn’t like you for who you are, that is their problem (and their loss). 

8. “I’ll do it when the time is right.”

There is no such thing as a “perfect time” to do anything. If you keep waiting for the right time to move to a new town, talk to that cute bartender or begin a new fitness plan, you will never take action. Challenge yourself to burst out of your comfort zone. I know comfort makes you feel safe, but how fulfilling is it to spend your life thinking about doing things that you never actually do? Act now or regret it later.

9. “I wish I could look more like _____.”

Please understand that when you see scantily clad models in magazines, you are looking at doctored up images of people who most likely have put themselves through incredibly restrictive diets and/or excessive fitness routines in the weeks or months leading up to their photo-shoot. In other words, such a body would not be attainable for the average person. When you see articles like “The Hugh Jackman Workout,” you are seeing routines that were designed for a specific person (Hugh Jackman) with a specific body type and need. Even if you did the same workout as instructed, you could not reasonably expect to become as ripped as Hugh Jackman was in the latest Wolverine film. Accept your body as it is. Aim to improve your physique, but stop comparing it to other people with figures that are out-of-reach. 

10. “No one cares.”

Yes, they do. Even if you’re not on the best terms with your family, I can’t imagine that they don’t care about you. And even if you’ve lost touch with a lot of your friends, I bet they would be happy to hear your voice in a surprise phone-call. You have impacted more lives than you could begin to comprehend. Send an e-mail or write a letter to an old friend that you haven’t talked to in months or years. Call an aunt, uncle or cousin who made a positive impact on your development as a child. Join an online support community, message board or networking group of like-minded people who could become new friends. You are not alone– you are far from it. If you just moved to a new home, you might want to check out this article about how to make a bunch of friends in any new city.

The first step to a better life is to think better thoughts. 

I hope this list of dangerous thoughts was helpful. You can’t create a better life by the mere act of thinking about it, but it is a positive first step in the right direction. What are some positive thoughts that help you be happy and productive? Please share them in the comments!

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Featured photo credit: high contrast image of timebomb with smokevia Shutterstock

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