Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness and nutrition courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
New year or not, making a goal and seeing it through is tricky business, and in some instances, you are your own worst enemy when it comes to success.
“When your unconscious patterns hold you back from having an appropriate emotional response, you sabotage your own success,” says Rock Thomas, motivational speaker and author of The Power of Your Identity: The Secret to Creating Lasting Change (AuthorHouse, 2006). “This leads to a disempowered state and results in a decision that does not take you closer to your desires
According to Thomas, success is an inside job, and your internal dialogue has a lot to do with your circumstances. “Essentially, thoughts become things,” Thomas says. “Most people think about what they don’t want, and therefore that’s exactly what they attract into their lives.”
Don’t despair, though — you can retrain your brain for the better with these tips from Thomas.
Deprogram Your Daily Life
Most of the time, you’re reacting to programming from your past when faced with a situation, so the key to happiness is rejigging those poor thoughts into rich thoughts. For example, perhaps people told you that you were too skinny or too fat as a kid. Today, instead of saying “I hate my body,” say “I am grateful for my health and am unique just as I am.”
New You Review
Ask someone you trust for his or her best memory of you and how that person remembers you at your best. It’s valuable to see yourself through someone else’s less-critical eyes, especially in moments of self-doubt.
Pinpoint a Pattern
Sabotage is usually because of an unconscious pattern that you developed while growing up. Likely someone hurt you or you had a profound experience that now triggers you emotionally. “For instance, my brother would not let me ride his motorcycle, yet he taunted me daily that he would,” Thomas says. “Until I realized this pattern, I would often refuse the offerings of others due to the unconscious fear of them not being given.” Pay attention to the things you say to yourself. If you hear yourself saying something negative or self-defeating, choose in that moment to replace it with a positive thought. Over time, you’ll train your brain to turn negatives into positives automatically.
Practice Daily Meditation
The first step to change is awareness, and carving out 10 minutes each day for meditation is great for slowing down your mind’s chatter. Once you’re able to focus, the answers to your questions and the solutions to your problems will often come more easily.
Stop Blaming Your Parents
Likely your parents downloaded their own programming onto you, albeit unconsciously, so blame them all you want for your issues, but ultimately you have to take responsibility for your life as it is today. Once you’ve claimed ownership, then break the cycle so it does not continue with your own children. “My father never played ball with me, and it hurt my feelings,” Thomas says. “So I decided to become the coach of my son’s soccer team.”
Watch Your Words
The words that follow the phrase “I am …” are powerful, so avoid saying things like “I am a loser” or “I am unworthy.” Instead, each morning and evening, say things that excite and empower you versus things that hold you back. “Speak yourself into your potential, otherwise you will keep living a self-fulfilling prophecy that leads to negativity,” Thomas says.