A negative mindset can stop you from achieving your health goals. When we don’t see the results we want, like hitting a weight loss goal, it’s all too easy to blame the outcome on external factors …
I didn’t have time to exercise.
It was too tedious to meal plan and eat healthy.
I couldn’t afford to keep working with a Nutritionist.
I was consumed by job stress and didn’t have the bandwidth to focus on anything else.
My family didn’t support me and follow my plan with me, so I couldn’t stick to it.
I’m too far away from my goal, so why bother at all?
And the list of excuses goes on. But, if you do a bit of introspection and reflect on what part you may have played in the outcome, you may realize that you and your misaligned mindset may be to blame for not attaining your goal.
A negative mindset and negative self-talk are both something you’ve likely engaged in, and it’s hard not to let these both slip into your routine from time to time.
And when they start showing up on a regular basis, this can lead to self-sabotage and ultimately stop you from achieving your goals, including those you may have set for your health. (Be sure to read my blog post, How to Silence Your Inner Critic.)
A Negative Mindset and Your Health: Self-sabotage
The telltale sign that you’re sabotaging yourself is that you stop trying to achieve your goals, for no apparent reason. You likely still have the desire and ability to do it, but something just stops you from moving forward.
Some common signs of self-sabotage include:
- Chronic procrastination
- Worry, anger, anxiety
- Feelings of worthlessness
- All-or-nothing/black-or-white thinking
- Unfulfilled goals, including those around health
The fact is that the something stopping you is your negative mindset or having a mindset that simply doesn’t align with who you truly are and what you want to achieve.
Ways You Can Combat a Negative Mindset and Improve Your Health
Below are three different actionable ways you can change your inner dialogue, encouraging more positive feelings and healthful behaviors to keep you moving forward in your goals.
“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
~ James Allen, Author
Recognize Your Self-sabotaging Thoughts and Behaviors.
It all starts with awareness!
ACTION #1: Find some quiet time to jot down any thoughts that come to mind about why you feel (or have felt) a negative emotion or have engaged in negative self-talk, especially as it might relate to your health goal.
You may also want to do this work in a space that feels safe, secure and free of judgment, perhaps with a coach, healer or counselor, especially if you’re prone to self-doubt.
After coming up with a list, ask yourself, “Are any of these thoughts (or the behaviors they lead to) TRUE?”
Release Negative Thoughts and Energy.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase before that “everything is energy.”
ACTION #2: Instead of hanging onto both other people’s AND your own bad energy, why not release it? Because it simply doesn’t serve you, allow yourself to relinquish ownership and permit it to dissipate.
Easier said than done, right?
An excellent way to do this is to repeat a mantra. When you realize you’re listening to head trash (negative mindset talk), repeat a mantra. And your mantra can be as simple as repeating the words, “let it go.” This works because it calms your mind and slowly shifts your attention away from negative thoughts.
Of course, those pesky thoughts will return most likely sooner than later. Keep repeating your mantra and preferably, repeat a new thought or phrase that reflects how you’re treating your health as a priority and that you deserve great health and well-being.
Develop self-supporting Behaviors, and Be Compassionate With Yourself!
Beating yourself up and putting your health low on your priority list will only serve to keep you stuck in the same old negative patterns.
ACTION #3: The next time you find yourself saying, “It’s too hard to lose weight/get fit/reach my health goal – I’ll never be able to do it” … do this:
First, recognize that yes, it IS hard to meet many health goals that we set for ourselves!
Then, as we mentioned earlier, replace your negative thoughts and statements with ones about how deserving you are of making your own health a top priority. Create something along the lines of, “What is one thing I can do that’s a small step toward taking care of myself?”
Also, take a moment to reflect on how you would respond to someone who’s going through similar struggles as you, and write down your response as a reminder to go easy on yourself more of the time.
Show yourself the same love, compassion and support that you would give your friends and loved ones.
You’ve heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy, right?
If you declare that you are something, then you will continue to act in that manner. For example, saying you’re an emotional eater, means you’ll continue eating like an emotional eater.
To break this cycle, simply change what you say to make the statement not about who you are but about what you do. Here’s an example: If you say, “I’m an emotional eater,” change the statement to, “I’m eating for emotional reasons.”
Emotional eating is a behavior. It isn’t who you are.
The bottom line is that letting these negative thoughts and behaviors LIMIT YOU is the real consequence of having a negative mindset, and slipups do not spell failure.
As the saying goes: progress not perfection!
Do you catch yourself making “excuses” when you don’t meet your health goals? Are you beating yourself up with your negative thoughts? Think you can follow the three steps above to achieve some peace of mind and focus on your self-worth? Let’s hear your thoughts on this important topic of a negative mindset and your health. As always, we love to hear from you. Scroll down to the box below the recipe and please leave your comments there.
Also, don’t let poor meal planning sabotage your healthy eating goals either! Following is a make-ahead “dump dinner” you can put together in a hurry for an easy weeknight family meal.
Recipe: Slow-cooker Tortilla Soup
1 – 19 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained, rinsed
1 – 15 oz. can corn, drained (look for organic/non-GMO)
1 cup salsa OR 8 oz. can (chopped) tomatoes (Mexi-style, with peppers and onion)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder* (no salt added)
¼ tsp. sea salt
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Greek yogurt (if you tolerate dairy)
Tortilla chips (look for corn-free varieties, too!)
In a large freezer bag, combine all ingredients except for stock. Gently squeeze out air and label the bag with name and date. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To cook, thaw completely in the fridge, about 24 hours.
Dump the bag into a 5-quart slow cooker with the stock. Cook on medium setting for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.
Stir in the fresh lime juice before serving, along with any of the toppings listed.
For additional protein/meat option:
Add ½ breast cooked chicken, shredded to each serving
Bonus Recipe: Chili Powder
*Don’t have any chili powder or can’t find one without added nasties such as excess salt? Why not make your own?
1 ½ Tbsp. sweet paprika
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
1 ½ tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried, crushed oregano
1 tsp. smoked paprika (optional but really adds flavor)
½ tsp. cayenne pepper (or other hot chili pepper powder)
Mix spices together well in small bowl. Transfer to a glass jar with airtight lid, and keep in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.