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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 August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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