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10 Lies You Tell Yourself That Stop You From Making Life Changes

10 Lies You Tell Yourself That Stop You From Making Life Changes

You know those times in life when you really want to make a big change, but you just can’t seem to stick to it? You want to lose weight, but each time you think about exercising, you get distracted. You need to start studying, but you keep raiding the fridge instead. You can’t wait to go on your next holiday, but you keep spending your money on shoes, so there’s never enough to get your plane ticket.

What is the evil little monster stopping you from reaching your goals? Well, you are. That is, the repetitive thoughts you’ve allowed to cross your mind over and over, have now taken control of every new scenario. These persistent and dangerous thoughts don’t want to be ignored, left out in the cold, or even banished. They keep coming back! Being trapped in the comfort zone of repetitive thoughts is a fast track to never reaching another goal again.

Here are 10 common lies your mind might be telling you. Learn to recognize them so you can weed them out and plant new thoughts, and make wonderful life changes.

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1. It’s Too Hard

This is probably the most common and most annoying lie we tell ourselves. It prevents us from even trying to conquer a goal. ‘It’s too hard’ simply means we don’t have any faith in ourselves to at least give it a go. At the end of the day, what’s the point of that? Even if you fail, when you give something a go you increase your confidence in actually giving things a go. And you’ll do it again.

2. I Don’t Have The Skills/Time/Money/Talent

When we want to make a change, we start looking around at our options, and the other people who’ve already succeeded at it. The problem is, our minds tend to jump on all the reasons why they’ve succeeded, just to tell us why we can’t do the same. We all have different skills and talents that work in different ways to help us succeed in life changes, so what worked for someone else may not work for you, and vice versa. Rather than use someone’s success to excuse your possible failure, put your mind to good use by using it to leap over the obstacles, rather than head butting them.

3. The Time Isn’t Right

Our minds, when trying to desperately hang on to comfort and safety, are very good at saying, “When I have this much money, I’ll change my diet,” or “When I move to a better location, I’ll start a new exercise program.” The point is, the only time to ever start anything is right now. Right this second — not tomorrow, not next week, and certainly not when you win the lotto.

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4. I Feel Too Sorry For Myself

When we feel sorry for ourselves, our minds love to run away with all the things we’re then apparently allowed to do, or not do. For example, “I had a bad day at work,” means you get to drink a bottle of wine instead of exercising, to comfort yourself and your frazzled mind. The thing is, if you change your thoughts on what gives you comfort, you can implement healthy life changes. In this case, a bottle of wine isn’t necessary to give you comfort, you’ve just thought it so often that your mind isn’t going to release the idea. Start thinking about a relaxing walk, a long hot bath, and a nourishing meal instead.

5. I’ve Never Done It Before

This may be a true statement; however, it shouldn’t be the reason you avoid making life changes. If you’ve never done it before, the only thing that’s going to happen when you do it is you’ll learn how to do it! See how ridiculous that particular lie is (as a way of getting out of beneficial change)?

6. There’s Always Tomorrow

Quite frankly, no, there isn’t always tomorrow. Not because something bad might happen, but because there’s only ever today. If you want to make a life change that’s going to benefit you, what’s the point of waiting for tomorrow? Dive in, take action, and get going right now on the path towards life change before you end up thinking that there’s always tomorrow — every single day.

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7. I’ll Only Do It One More Time

If we said this statement only once, it wouldn’t be a problem. However, the mere fact that you’re telling yourself that you’ll only do something (non-beneficial) one more time, means you probably shouldn’t be doing it at all. Once you make a habit of this, it’s harder and harder to move beyond “one more time” to never again. How about adjusting that statement to “never again” instead.

8. I Can’t Be Bothered

This is understandable for many reasons. Firstly, if we can’t be bothered to make a change in the first place, we’re not going to find the motivation to do it anyway. Everything depends on how much you really want to do something. Your desire to create change needs to outweigh the lies your mind tells you in order to keep you in a state of not bothering. The way to break through this one is to simply deal with feeling unmotivated and push through it anyway. Keep pushing, even if it means taking just one, tiny step towards you goal.

9. I Need Time Off

Yes, you do need time off. However, if you’re following a cherished dream and you allow yourself to be tugged into this particular lie, you’ll start creating a pattern that will eventually stop the momentum you’ve gathered to reach your goal. Take time off, but schedule it to work with the steps you’re taking to fulfil your dreams, rather than using it as an excuse not to.

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10. I Don’t Care Anymore

In rare cases, this lie might be true. Most times; however, it’s a lie you’re telling yourself because the challenges are huge, the work is hard, or you haven’t seen results yet. Persistence and consistency are the keys to making life changes work.

You will see results if you keep going. Keep in mind that the only reason you’re on the path to life change is because you did care — you cared very much. If you practice awareness of these negative thoughts (or weeds) in your mind that push you off track, you’ll be on your way to planting new ones that will ensure you flourish and grow.

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Nicole Leigh West

Travel and Lifestyle Writer, Choreographer, Reiki Practitioner

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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