Earlier this week I was talking with a colleague who was telling me how they wanted to start riding their bike to work when the weather began getting nicer. I was impressed with his declaration and told him that his plan sounded like a great idea. After which he said, “Yeah, but I probably won’t actually do it. I’ve already got my excuses lined up.”
His comment surprised me. As I thought about it more, I wondered how often I’ve sabotaged my own efforts to get begin something by having a similar mindset. If I’ve got a list of reasons or excuses why an endeavor will fail before I even start, how could I ever expect to be successful? What’s the point of even trying?
It made me think of all the doubt and negative self-talk we can experience when undertaking a new endeavor (or just going through life) and how, just like my colleague’s comment, this kind of talk can sabotage our efforts, dash our initiative, and place a heavy lid on our potential.
Have you ever experienced this kind of action-stopping self-talk? If so, here are some tools to help you combat this toxic way of thinking in the future:
- Be mindful of your attitude, thinking, and the language you use.
- When embarking on a new undertaking, see yourself being successful. Tell yourself all the reasons why you will succeed.
- When you think of potential barriers, think also of how you’ll overcome them.
- Believe you can achieve the goal you’ve set out for yourself. Not just an “I think I can” mentality, but rather know that you will be successful. Remind yourself of this often.
We’ll never cause something to happen by holding a mindset that has “already lined up our excuses” for failure. Remove that kind of thinking from your mind and replace it with thoughts of persevering, overcoming, and achieving your goals.
As many psychologists and speakers have said, we tend to move in the direction of our dominant thoughts. Let’s all make sure our thoughts are taking us in a direction we want to go.