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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
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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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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