My Notes: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin


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My notes:



From my training as a therapist, I knew that time doesn’t heal anything; it’s how we deal with that time that determines the speed at which we heal.



A journey through grief is an individual process, but loving friends and family certainly helped.


Grief is an emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting process.



Good habits are important, but it’s often our bad habits that prevent us from reaching our full potential. You can have all the good habits in the world, but if you keep doing the bad habits alongside the good ones, you’ll struggle to reach your goals. Think of it this way: you’re only as good as your worst habits.



Bad habits are like heavy weights that you drag around as you go about your day. They’ll slow you down, tire you out, and frustrate you. Despite your hard work and talent, you’ll struggle to reach your full potential when you’ve got certain thoughts, behaviors, and feelings holding you back.



We work hard to do the things that we think will make us better, but we forget to focus on the things that might be sabotaging our efforts.





What is Mental Strength?



Developing mental strength is about improving your ability to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances.



Developing mental strength requires a three-pronged approach:



1. Thoughts identifying irrational thoughts and replacing them with more realistic thoughts.

2. Behaviors Behaving in a positive manner despite the circumstances.

3. Emotions—controlling your emotions so your emotions don’t control you.



CHOOSE BEHAVIOR BASED ON BALANCED EMOTIONS AND RATIONAL THINKING



We make our best decisions in life when we balance our emotions with rational thinking.



Stop and think for a minute about how you behave when you’re really angry. It’s likely that you’ve said and done some things that you regretted later, because you were basing your actions on your emotions, not logic.



THE TRUTH ABOUT MENTAL STRENGTH



There’s a lot of misinformation and misconception about what it means to be mentally strong.



Here are some of the truths about mental strength:



• Being mentally strong isn’t about acting tough. You don’t have to become a robot or appear to have a tough exterior when you’re mentally strong. Instead, it’s about acting according to your values.



• Mental strength doesn’t require you to ignore your emotions. Increasing your mental strength isn’t about suppressing your emotions; instead it’s about developing a keen awareness of them. It’s about interpreting and understanding how your



Emotions influence your thoughts and behavior.



• You don’t have to treat your body like a machine to be mentally strong. Mental strength isn’t about pushing your body to its physical limits just to prove you can ignore pain. It’s about understanding your thoughts and feelings well enough that you can determine when to behave contrary to them, and when to listen to them.



• Being mentally strong doesn’t mean you have to be completely self-reliant. Mental strength isn’t about proclaiming that you don’t ever need help from anyone or any type of higher power. Admitting you don’t have all the answers, asking for help when you need it, and acknowledging that you can gain strength from a higher power is a sign of a desire to grow stronger.



• Being mentally strong is not about positive thinking. Thinking overly positive thoughts can be just as detrimental as thinking overly negative thoughts. Mental strength is about thinking realistically and rationally.



• Developing mental strength isn’t about chasing happiness. Being mentally strong will help you to be more content in life, but it isn’t about waking up every day and trying to force yourself to feel happy. Instead, it’s about making the decisions that will help you reach your full potential.



• Mental strength isn’t just the latest pop psychology trend. Just like the physical fitness world is filled with fad diets and fitness trends, the world of psychology is often filled with fleeting ideas about how to become your best self. Mental strength isn’t a trend. The psychology field has been helping people learn how to change their thoughts, feelings, and behavior since the 1960s.



• Mental strength isn’t synonymous with mental health. While the healthcare industry often talks in terms of mental health versus mental illness, mental strength is different. Just like people can still be physically strong even if they have a physical health ailment like diabetes, you can still be mentally strong even if you have depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems. Having a mental illness doesn’t mean you’re destined to have bad habits. Instead, you can still choose to develop healthy habits. It may require more work, more focus, and more effort, but it’s very possible.



Benefits of increasing your mental strength include:



• Increased resilience to stress—Mental strength is helpful in everyday life, not just in the midst of a crisis. You’ll become better equipped to handle problems more efficiently and effectively, and it can reduce your overall stress level.



• Improved life satisfaction As your mental strength increases, your confidence will also increase. You’ll behave according to your values, which will give you peace of mind, and you’ll recognize what’s really important in your life.



• Enhanced performance—Whether your goal is to be a better parent, to increase your productivity at the office, or to perform better on the athletic field, increasing your mental strength will help you reach your full potential.



You’ll never become an expert at anything by simply reading a book.



THEY DON’T WASTE TIME FEELING SORRY FOR THEMSELVES



“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”  - JOHN GARDNER



We all experience pain and sorrow in life. And although sadness is a normal, healthy emotion, dwelling on your sorrow and misfortune is self-destructive. Do you respond positively to any of the points below? You tend to think your problems are worse than anyone else’s. 

If it weren’t for bad luck, you’re pretty sure you’d have none at all. Problems seem to add up for you at a much faster rate than anyone else. You’re fairly certain that no one else truly understands how hard your life really is. You sometimes choose to withdraw from leisure activities and social engagements so you can stay home and think about your problems. You’re more likely to tell people what went wrong during your day rather than what went well. 

You often complain about things not being fair. You struggle to find anything to be grateful for sometimes. You think that other people are blessed with easier lives. You sometimes wonder if the world is out to get you. 

Can you see yourself in some of the examples above? Self-pity can consume you until it eventually changes your thoughts and behaviors. But you can choose to take control. Even when you can’t alter your circumstances, you can alter your attitude.



It’s so easy to fall into the self-pity trap. As long as you feel sorry for yourself, you can delay any circumstances that will bring you face-to-face with your real fears, and you can avoid taking any responsibility for your actions. Feeling sorry for yourself can buy time. Instead of taking action or moving forward, exaggerating how bad your situation is justifies why you shouldn’t do anything to improve it.



People often use self-pity as a way to gain attention. Playing the “poor me” card may result in some kind and gentle words from others—at least initially. For people who fear rejection, self-pity can be an indirect way of gaining help by sharing a woe-is-me tale in hopes it will attract some assistance.



Unfortunately, misery loves company, and sometimes self-pity becomes a bragging right. A conversation can turn into a contest, with the person who has experienced the most trauma earning the badge of victory. Self-pity can also provide a reason to avoid responsibility. Telling your boss how bad your life is may stem from hopes that less will be expected from you.
Feeling sorry for yourself is self-destructive. It leads to new problems and can have serious consequences.



Indulging in self-pity hinders living a full life in the following ways:



• It’s a waste of time. Feeling sorry for yourself requires a lot of mental energy and does nothing to change the situation. Even when you can’t fix the problem, you can make choices to cope with life’s obstacles in a positive way. Feeling sorry for yourself won’t move you any closer to a solution.



• It leads to more negative emotions. Once you allow it to take hold, self-pity will ignite a flurry of other negative emotions. It can lead to anger, resentment, loneliness, and other feelings that fuel more negative thoughts.



• It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Feelings of self-pity can lead to living a pitiful life. When you feel sorry for yourself, it’s unlikely you’ll perform at your best. As a result, you may experience more problems and increased failures, which will breed more feelings of self-pity.



• It prevents you from dealing with other emotions. Self-pity gets in the way of dealing with grief, sadness, anger, and other emotions. It can stall your progress from healing and moving forward because self-pity keeps the focus on why things should be different rather than accepting the situation for what it is.



• It causes you to overlook the good in your life. If five good things and one bad thing happen in a day, self-pity will cause you to focus only on the negative. When you feel sorry for yourself, you’ll miss out on the positive aspects of life.



• It interferes with relationships. A victim mentality is not an attractive characteristic. Complaining about how bad your life is will likely wear on people rather quickly. No one ever says, “What I really like about her is the fact that she always feels sorry for herself.”



Remember the three-pronged approach to achieving mental strength? To alleviate feelings of self-pity, you need to change your pitiful behavior and forbid yourself from indulging in pitiful thoughts.



Instead of pitying ourselves for what we lost, we choose to feel grateful for what we had. When you notice self-pity creeping into your life, make a conscious effort to do something contrary to how you feel.



Sometimes, small behavioral changes can make a big difference. Here are some examples:



• Volunteer to help a worthy cause. It will take your mind off your problems and you can feel good that you’ve helped support someone else. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you’re serving hungry people in a soup kitchen or spending time with elderly residents in a nursing home.



• Perform a random act of kindness. Whether you mow the neighbor’s lawn or donate pet food to a local animal shelter, doing a good deed can help bring more meaning to your day.



• Do something active. Physical or mental activity will help you focus on something other than your misfortune. Exercise, sign up for a class, read a book, or learn a new hobby, and your behavior change can help shift your attitude.



REPLACE THOUGHTS THAT ENCOURAGE SELF-PITY



Almost every situation has a silver lining.



Asking yourself the following questions can help change your negative thoughts into more realistic thoughts:



• What’s another way I could view my situation? This is where the “glass half empty or glass half full” thinking comes in. If you’re looking at it from the glass-half-empty angle, take a moment to think about how someone looking from a glass-half-full perspective might view the same situation.



• What advice would I give to a loved one who had this problem? Often, we’re better at handing out words of encouragement to other people rather than to ourselves. It’s unlikely you’d say to someone else, “You’ve got the worst life ever. Nothing ever goes right.” Instead, you’d hopefully offer some kind words of assistance such as, “You’ll figure out what to do, and you’ll make it through this. I know you will.” Take your own words of wisdom and apply them to your situation.



• What evidence do I have that I can get through this? Feeling sorry for ourselves often stems from a lack of confidence in our ability to handle problems. We tend to think that we’ll never get through something. Remind yourself of times when you’ve solved problems and coped with tragedy in the past. Reviewing your skills, support systems, and past experiences can give you an extra boost of confidence that will help you stop feeling sorry for yourself.



The more you indulge in thoughts that willfully delude yourself about your situation, the worse you’ll feel.



Some bad things happen to me, but plenty of good things happen to me as well



Start to acknowledge other people’s kindness and generosity. Affirm the good in the world and you will begin to appreciate what you have.



If you’re reading this book, it means you’re more fortunate than the nearly one billion people in the world who can’t read, many of whom will be stuck in a life of poverty.



Here are a few simple habits that can help you focus on what you have to be grateful for:



• Keep a gratitude journal. Each day write down at least one thing you’re grateful for. It could include being grateful for simple pleasures, like having clean air to breathe or seeing the sun shine, or major blessings like your job or family.



• Say what you’re grateful for. If you aren’t likely to keep up with writing in a journal, make it a habit to say what you’re grateful for. Find one of life’s gifts to be grateful for each morning when you wake up and each night before you go to sleep. Say the words out loud, even if it’s just to yourself, because hearing the words of gratitude will increase your feelings of gratitude.



• Change the channel when you’re experiencing self-pity. When you notice that you’re starting to feel sorry for yourself, shift your focus. Don’t allow yourself to continue thinking that life isn’t fair or that life should be different. Instead, sit down and list the people, circumstances, and experiences in life that you can be thankful for. If you keep a journal, refer to it and read it whenever self-pity begins to set in.



• Ask others what they’re grateful for. Strike up conversations about gratitude to help you discover what other people feel thankful for. Hearing what others feel grateful for can remind you of more areas of your life that deserve gratitude.



• Teach kids to be grateful. If you’re a parent, teaching your children to be grateful for what they have is one of the best ways to keep your own attitude in check. Make it a habit each day to ask your children what they’re grateful for. Have everyone in the family write down what they’re feeling grateful for and place it in a gratitude jar or hang it on a bulletin board. This will give your family a fun reminder to incorporate gratitude into your daily lives.



Simply acknowledging a few things you feel grateful for each day is a powerful way to create change.



People who feel gratitude don’t get sick as often as others. They have better immune systems and report fewer aches and pains. They have lower blood pressure and they exercise more often than the general population. They take better care of their health, sleep longer, and even report feeling more refreshed upon waking.

• Gratitude leads to more positive emotions. People who feel grateful experience more happiness, joy, and pleasure on a daily basis. They even feel more awake and energetic.





• Gratitude improves social lives. Grateful people are more willing to forgive others. They behave in a more outgoing fashion and feel less lonely and isolated. They are also more likely to help other people and to behave in a generous and compassionate manner.



WHAT’S HELPFUL:



Giving yourself a reality check so you don’t exaggerate how bad the situation really is Replacing overly negative thoughts about your situation with more realistic thoughts Choosing to actively problem-solve and work on improving your situation Getting active and behaving in a way that makes you less likely to feel sorry for yourself, even when you don’t feel like it Practicing gratitude every day.



WHAT’S NOT HELPFUL:



Allowing yourself to believe that your life is worse than most other people’s lives Indulging in exaggeratedly negative thoughts about how difficult your life is Remaining passive about the situation and focusing only on how you feel, rather than what you can do Declining to participate in experiences and activities that could help you feel better Staying focused on what you don’t have rather than what you do have



THEY DON’T GIVE AWAY THEIR POWER



"When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness."  - DALE CARNEGIE



EMPOWERING OTHER PEOPLE TO HAVE POWER OVER YOU



Giving other people the power to control how you think, feel, and behave makes it impossible to be mentally strong. Do any of the points below sound familiar? 

You feel deeply offended by any criticism or negative feedback you receive, regardless of the source. Other people have the ability to make you feel so angry that you say and do things you later regret. You’ve changed your goals based on what other people have told you that you should be doing with your life. 

The type of day you’re going to have depends on how other people behave. When other people try to guilt you into doing something, you reluctantly do it, even if you don’t want to. You work hard to ensure other people see you in a positive light because much of your self-worth depends on how others perceive you. 

You spend a lot of time complaining about people and circumstances that you don’t like. You often complain about all the things you “have to” do in life. You go to great lengths to avoid uncomfortable emotions, like embarrassment or sadness. You have difficulty setting boundaries, but then feel resentful toward people who take up your time and energy. 

You hold a grudge when someone offends you or hurts you. Can you see yourself in any of the above examples? Retaining your power is about being confident in who you are and the choices you make, despite the people around you and the circumstances you’re in.



Anytime you don’t set healthy emotional and physical boundaries for yourself, you risk giving away your power to other people.



Each time you avoid saying no to something you really don’t want, you give away your power.



If you don’t make any attempt to get your needs met, you’ll give people permission to take things away from you.



A lack of emotional boundaries can be equally problematic. If you don’t like the way someone treats you, yet you don’t stand up for yourself, you give that person power over your life.



There are many problems with giving away your power:



• You depend on others to regulate your feelings. When you give away your power, you become completely dependent upon other people and external circumstances to regulate your emotions. Life often becomes like a roller coaster—when things are going well, you’ll feel good; but when your circumstances change, your thoughts, feelings, and behavior will shift.



• You let other people define your self-worth. If you give others the power to determine your self-worth, you’ll never feel worthy enough. You’ll only be as good as someone else’s opinion of you and you will never be able to receive enough praise or positive feedback to meet your needs if you depend on others to feel good about yourself.



• You avoid addressing the real problem. Giving away your power lends itself to helplessness. Rather than focus on what you can do to improve the situation, you’ll find an excuse to justify your problems.



• You become a victim of your circumstances. You’ll become a passenger in your own life rather than a driver. You’ll say other people make you feel bad or force you to behave in a manner you don’t like. You’ll blame others instead of accepting responsibility for your choices.



• You become highly sensitive to criticism. You’ll lack the ability to evaluate criticism. Instead, you’ll take anything anyone says to heart. You’ll give much more power to other people’s words than those words deserve.



• You lose sight of your goals. You won’t be able to build the kind of life you want when you allow other people to be in control of your goals. You can’t work toward your goals successfully when you give other people the power to get in your way and interfere with your progress.



• You ruin relationships. If you don’t speak up when people hurt your feelings or you allow them to infringe on your life in an unwelcomed manner, you’ll likely grow resentful toward them.



Choosing to forgive someone who has hurt you, either emotionally or physically, doesn’t mean you have to excuse the other person’s behavior, but letting go of your anger frees you to focus your energy on a more worthwhile cause.



If you’ve spent most of your life feeling like a victim of your circumstances, it takes hard work to recognize that you have the power to choose your own path in life.
The first step is to develop self-awareness by identifying when you blame external circumstances and other people for how you think, feel, and behave.



Resolve to stop giving people your time and energy if you don’t want them to play a big role in your life.



Examples of language that indicates you’re giving away your power include:



“My boss makes me so mad.” You may not like your boss’s behavior, but does he really make you feel angry? Perhaps your boss behaves in a manner that you don’t like and it may influence how you feel, but he’s not forcing you to feel anything.



“My boyfriend left me because I’m not good enough .” Are you really not good enough or is that just one person’s opinion? If you took a poll of a hundred people, it’s not likely that they’d all come to that same consensus. Just because one person thinks something, it doesn’t make it true. Don’t give one person’s opinion of you the power to determine who you are.



“My mom makes me feel really bad about myself because she’s always so critical of me.” As an adult, are you obligated to listen to your mother make critical statements about you over and over? Just because she makes comments you don’t like, does it really have to lower your self-esteem?



“I have to invite my in-laws over for dinner every Sunday night.” Do your in-laws really force you to do that or is that a choice you make because it’s important to your family?



THINK BEFORE YOU REACT



Make a conscious choice to think about how you want to behave before you react to other people. Every time you lose your cool, you give that other person your power.



Here are some strategies to help you stay calm when you’re tempted to react negatively:



• Take deep breaths.



• Excuse yourself from the situation.



• Distract yourself.

Clearly, everyone has an opinion, but successful people don’t allow one person’s opinion to define them.



Retaining your power is about evaluating feedback to determine if it has any validity.



Or individuals with low self-esteem may feel better about themselves only when they put other people down.



If you’re upset or emotionally reactive, take the time to calm down. Then ask yourself these questions:



• What evidence is there that this is true? For example, if your boss says you are lazy, look for evidence of times when you haven’t worked very hard.



• What evidence do I have this isn’t true? Look for times when you have put in a lot of effort and have been a hard worker.



• Why might this person be giving me this feedback? Take a step back and see if you can find out why this person may be giving you negative feedback. Is it based on the small sampling of your behavior that the person has witnessed? For example, if your boss only watched you work on a day where you were coming down with the flu, she may decide that you aren’t very productive. Her conclusion may not be accurate.



• Do I want to change any of my behavior? There may be times where you choose to change your behavior because you agree with the other person’s criticism. For example, if your boss says you’re lazy, maybe you’ll decide that you haven’t been putting in as much effort at the office as you could. So you decide to start showing up early and staying late because it’s important to you to be a good worker. Just remember, though, that your boss isn’t forcing you to do anything different. You are choosing to create change because you want to, not because you have to.





Keep in mind that one person’s opinion of you doesn’t make it true.



There are very few things in life you have to do, but often we convince ourselves we don’t have a choice.



Simply reminding yourself that you have a choice in everything you do, think, and feel can be very freeing.



TAKING BACK YOUR POWER WILL MAKE YOU STRONGER



You don’t get to be named one of the most powerful people in the world by giving away your power.



She chose to define who she was going to be in life by not giving away her power.



When you decide that no one else has the power to control how you feel, you’ll experience empowerment. Here are some other ways how retaining your power will help you become mentally strong:



• You’ll develop a better sense of who you are when you’re able to make choices based on what’s best for you instead of what will prevent the most repercussions.



• When you take responsibility for your own behavior, you’ll become accountable for your progress toward your goals.



• You will never be pressured into doing something that you don’t want to do based on guilt trips or what you think other people want you to do.



• You’ll be able to devote your time and energy to things you choose. You won’t have to blame other people for wasting your time or ruining your day.



• Retaining your personal power reduces your risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Many mental health problems are linked to a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. When you decide not to give other people and external circumstances the power to control how you feel and behave, you gain more power over your mental health.



When you hold a grudge, those feelings of anger and resentment do nothing to lessen the other person’s life.



Research shows some of the health benefits of forgiveness include the following:



• Forgiveness reduces your stress. Over the years, many studies have shown that holding a grudge keeps your body in a state of stress. When you practice forgiveness, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease.



• Choosing to forgive increases your tolerance to pain. In a 2005 study of patients with chronic low back pain, anger increased psychological distress and decreased a person’s tolerance to pain. A willingness to forgive was associated with increased pain tolerance.



• Unconditional forgiveness can help you to live longer. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine discovered that when people were only willing to forgive others under certain conditions—like the other person apologized or promised to never repeat the same behavior—their risk of dying early actually increased. You don’t have any control over whether someone will apologize. Waiting to forgive people until they say they’re sorry gives them control over not just your life, but perhaps even your death.



It takes hard work, but increasing your mental strength requires you to retain every ounce of personal power for yourself.



WHAT’S HELPFUL:



Using language that acknowledges your choice such as, “I’m choosing to ...” Setting healthy emotional and physical boundaries with people Behaving proactively by making conscious choices about how you’ll respond to others Taking full responsibility for how you choose to spend your time and energy Choosing to forgive individuals regardless of whether they seek to make amends Willingness to examine feedback and criticism without jumping to conclusions



WHAT’S NOT HELPFUL:



Using language that implies you’re a victim, such as “I have to do this,” or “My boss makes me so mad” Feeling anger and resentment toward people you allow to infringe on your rights Reacting to others and then blaming them for the way you handled yourself Doing things you don’t want to do and then blaming others for “making” you do it Choosing to hold a grudge and harbor anger and resentment Allowing feedback and criticism to control how you feel about yourself



They Don’t Shy Away from Change



THEY DON’T SHY AWAY FROM CHANGE



"It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t ... It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not." - JAMES GORDON



It was clear that he was trying to change too much too fast, which is a recipe for failure.



Many people shy away from making changes that can drastically improve their lives. See if any of the following apply to you: You tend to justify a bad habit by convincing yourself what you’re doing isn’t “that bad.” You experience a lot of anxiety about changes to your routine. 

Even when you’re in a bad situation, you worry that making a change might make things worse. Whenever you attempt to make a change, you struggle to stick with it. When your boss, family, or friends make changes that affect you, it’s difficult for you to adapt. You think a lot about making changes but put off doing anything different until later. You worry that any changes you make aren’t likely to last. 

The thought of stepping outside your comfort zone just seems too scary. You lack the motivation to create positive change because it’s too hard. You make excuses for why you can’t change, like “I’d like to exercise more, but my spouse doesn’t want to go with me.” You have difficulty recalling the last time you purposely tried to challenge yourself to become better. You hesitate to do anything new because it just seems like too big of a commitment.



Many people shy away from change because they think that doing something different is too risky or uncomfortable.



We can experience different types of change, some you might find easier than others:



All-or-nothing change—Some changes are incremental while others are basically all or nothing. Deciding to have a child, for example, isn’t something you can do in steps. Once you have that baby, your life has irrevocably changed.



Habit change—You can choose to either get rid of bad habits, like sleeping too late, or you can choose to create good habits, like exercising five times a week. Most habit changes allow you to try something new for a little while, but you can always revert back to your old habits.



Trying-something-new change—Change sometimes involves trying something new or mixing up your daily routine, like volunteering at a hospital or taking violin lessons.



Behavioral change—Sometimes there are behavioral changes that don’t necessarily constitute a habit. For example, maybe you want to commit to going to all of your child’s sports games or maybe you want to behave friendlier.



Emotional change—Not all change is tangible. Sometimes it’s emotional. For example, if you want to feel less irritable all the time, you’ll need to examine the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your irritability.



Cognitive change—There may be ways in which you want to change your thinking as well. Perhaps you want to think less about the past or maybe decrease worrisome thoughts.



THE FIVE STAGES OF CHANGE



1. Precontemplation—When people are precontemplative, they don’t yet identify any need to change. Richard was precontemplative about making any changes to his health for years. He avoided going to the doctor, he refused to step on a scale, and he dismissed any comments his wife made when she expressed concern about his health.

2. Contemplation—People who are actively contemplative are considering the pros and cons of making a change. When I first saw Richard, he was contemplative. He was aware that not changing his eating habits could have serious consequences, but he was also not yet certain how to go about creating change.



3. Preparation—This is the stage where people prepare to make a change. They establish a plan with concrete steps that identify what they are going to do differently. Once Richard moved into the preparation stage, he scheduled days to work out and chose one snack to swap for something healthier.



4. Action—This is where the concrete behavioral change takes place. Richard started going to the gym and swapped his afternoon cookies for carrots.



5. Maintenance—This often overlooked step is essential. Richard needed to plan ahead so he could maintain his lifestyle changes when he faced obstacles, like holidays or vacations.



Many people associate change with discomfort. And often, they underestimate their ability to tolerate the discomfort that accompanies a behavioral change.



Staying the same often equals getting stuck in a rut.



You won’t learn new things.



Your life may not get better.



You won’t challenge yourself to develop healthier habits.



Other people will outgrow you.



The longer you wait the harder it gets.



Create a list of what is good about staying the same and what is bad about staying the same. Then, create a list about the potentially good and bad outcomes of making a change. Don’t simply make your decision based on the sheer number of pros versus cons. Instead, examine the list. Read it over a few times and think about the potential consequences of changing versus staying the same. If you’re still considering change, this exercise can help you move closer to making a decision.



Don’t allow your emotions to make the final decision.



Sometimes you have to be willing to change, even when you don’t “feel like it.”



Balance your emotions with rational thinking.



This will never work.



• I can’t handle doing something different.
• It will be too hard.
• It’ll be too stressful to give up the things I like.
• What I’m doing now isn’t that bad.
• There’s no sense in trying because I tried something like that before and it didn’t help. • I don’t deal with change well. Just because you think it will be difficult doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.



Prepare for making the change with these steps:



• Create a goal for what you would like to accomplish in the next thirty days. Sometimes people try to change everything all at once. Identify one goal that you want to focus on first and establish a realistic expectation for what you’d like to see change in one month’s time.
• Establish concrete behavior changes you can make to reach that goal each day. Identify at least one step you can take each day to move closer to your goal.
• Anticipate obstacles along the way. Make a plan for how you will respond to specific challenges that you’re likely to encounter. Planning ahead can help you stay on track.
• Establish accountability. We do best when we establish some type of accountability for our progress. Enlist the help of friends and family who can provide support and check in with you about your progress. Be accountable to yourself by writing down your progress daily.
• Monitor your progress. Determine how you’ll keep track of your progress. Keeping a record of your efforts and daily achievements can help you stay motivated to maintain changes.



BEHAVE LIKE THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BECOME


If your goal is to be more outgoing, behave in a friendly manner. If you want to be a successful salesperson, study how successful salespeople behave and then do what they do. You don’t necessarily have to wait until you feel like it or until the right time comes; start changing your behavior now.



EMBRACING CHANGE WILL MAKE YOU STRONGER

Unfortunately, your life will change whether you want it to or not.



When you practice adapting to the small changes, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the large inevitable changes that come your way.



WHAT’S HELPFUL:



Evaluating your readiness to change with an open mind Setting a realistic time frame to establish and reach your goals Balancing your emotions and rational thoughts to help you make a decision about whether to do something different Willingness to anticipate potential obstacles that could interfere with your progress Reviewing the potential pros and cons of making a change as well as the pros and cons of staying the same Focusing on one small change at a time with clear action steps Committing to behaving like the person you want to become



WHAT’S NOT HELPFUL:



Ignoring or avoiding even thinking about change Putting off doing anything different until you reach certain milestones or until certain time frames have passed Allowing your emotions to dictate whether you want to change without considering the logical aspects of doing something different Making excuses for why you can’t do anything different Only focusing on the negative aspects of change without considering the positive Convincing yourself not to bother trying to change because you don’t think you can do it Waiting until you feel like creating change



THEY DON’T FOCUS ON THINGS THEY CAN’T CONTROL
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” MAYA ANGELOU



KEEPING EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL



It feels so safe to have everything under control, but thinking we have the power to always pull the strings can become problematic. Do you respond positively to any of these points below? You spend a lot of time and energy trying to prevent anything bad from happening. You invest energy into wishing other people would change. 

When faced with a tough situation, you think you can single-handedly fix everything. You believe the outcome of any situation is entirely based on how much effort you choose to exert. You assume that good luck has nothing to do with success. Instead, it’s completely up to you to determine your future. Other people sometimes accuse you of being a “control freak.” 

You struggle to delegate tasks to other people because you don’t think they’ll do the job right. Even when you recognize you aren’t able to completely control a situation, you struggle to let it go. If you fail at something, you believe you are solely responsible. You don’t feel comfortable asking for help. 

You think people who don’t reach their goals are completely responsible for their situation. You struggle with teamwork because you doubt the abilities of other people on the team. You have difficulty establishing meaningful relationships because you don’t trust people.









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