Here’s the truth: If you hold negative beliefs about yourself and your ability to be fit, healthy, and happy, you are sabotaging yourself. You are literally setting yourself up to experience an outcome that you do not want.
Have you ever heard of the psychological term self-fulfilling prophecy? It’s a positive or negative expectation you have about yourself, others, or circumstances that tends to be predictive since our beliefs direct our behavior.
For example, you tell yourself “I have no self-control around food” and then because you like to be right (after all, you are a very smart person!) you find all sorts of evidence to support that idea. In fact, you will go so far as to create evidence, say by losing control around food at a friend’s wedding, in order to support that thought. Thus proving to yourself *even more* that you have no self-control around food.
Here are some (unfortunately) common self-sabotaging thoughts that can send you down a self-fulfilling prophecy path that you do not want to travel:
“I’ll never lose weight.”
“All the women in my family are overweight.”
“I don’t have time to exercise.”
“My metabolism came to a dead stop after age 30.”
“Putting my own needs first is selfish.”
“Meditation doesn’t work for me; I cannot calm my mind down.”
These deep-seated beliefs can easily derail your spoken desire to change your life, but you have the power to change them. (Yay, good news!) The first step in changing your beliefs is simply awareness. Try to catch yourself as you think these negative thoughts and just notice “hey, that’s a negative thought I am thinking”.
The next step is to see if you can do a little tweaking. The idea is not to just say the opposite—most likely your brain will recognize that you are trying to trick it and it’s not going to buy in—but see if you can shift to something equally or more accurate that is less limiting, such as:
“It may be harder for me than some to lose weight, but I know I can do it.”
“All the women in my family are overweight because of their behaviors and choices. I can choose differently.”
“Metabolism is affected by many factors. I can optimize my metabolism by moving more, eating regularly, getting adequate sleep, and managing my stress level.”
“I have a busy schedule and I will prioritize exercise so that it doesn’t get pushed aside.”
“Keeping myself healthy and happy makes me better able to care for others.”
“Meditation is a process and a practice—of course I won’t master it on my first attempt!”
Notice how these thoughts feel better than the first set—they are true AND they offer you a way to reach your desired outcome within your belief system.
We are highly suggestible to our own thoughts!
What are some stinky thoughts you’ve caught yourself thinking recently? Can you turn the thought into something that is still accurate (or even more accurate) yet more expansive?