Self-defeating thoughts and habits can be debilitating. They come out of nowhere, creep into our minds, burrowing deeper and deeper.
And you have no choice but to believe it because, after all, these are your thoughts. So, they must be true.
Even if you do realize that you’re stuck in a loop of self-defeating habits, many times changing these patterns is easier said than done.
Below are 10 ways to break this cycle of negative thinking and get a better understanding of your self-defeating habits.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Thought Patterns
The quality of your thoughts and emotions has an impact on how you behave and interact with the world around you. It also impacts how you see yourself and what you’re capable of.
That’s why it’s helpful to identify your self-defeating habits so that you’re not pushed into a corner by your own thoughts.
The problem with this type of self-sabotage is that it breaks your spirit. It makes you feel like you’re not good enough, that you’re not worthy of love and success.
So, why do we do this to ourselves? One theory is that they’re a way for us to cope with difficult situations. We protect ourselves by shying away from anything that may harm us in the slightest bit.
Another reason for negative thoughts is that we fear judgment from others. So, we beat them to it and criticize ourselves instead.
Question Your Reality
Look at yourself from the perspective of other people. How do you see yourself? Does it line up with how you see yourself?
When you feel that you’re struggling with self-defeating habits, take a few minutes to really think about why you’re feeling this way. Ask yourself where these thoughts are coming from and what you can do to stop them.
When you begin to challenge your thoughts, your brain will start to shift perspectives and snap back to reality. That’s when you realize that many of your thoughts are emotion-based and not based on anything factual.
Put Things In Perspective
Self-destructive habits stem from your thoughts. So, to eliminate them as best as you can, you have to understand why they happen in the first place.
Your brain creates these self-sabotaging thoughts because it wants to protect you and shield you from the dangers of the world. Yet many of these thoughts are just that: thoughts. They’re not based on reality, but your own perception of what could happen.
Once you realize that, you have to be strong enough to do what you need to do in spite of these thoughts. You’ll quickly realize that most of the things you were certain to be true turn out to be nothing but your own mind taking things out of proportion.
Find Your Happy Place
Each one of us has a different way of experiencing happiness. Some people are visual, while others feel ecstatic by listening to their favorite music.
If your self-defeating habits are getting the better of you, set up a happy place where you can retreat to when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
You can put up positive affirmations, pictures of your loved ones, and even any awards you’ve received to remind you of your hard work and accomplishments.
Then, play your favorite playlist and let the music lift your spirits.
Having that safe space will allow you to pump the brakes on your reel of negative thoughts. Then, when you’ve calmed down, you can contemplate what brought on your self-sabotaging thoughts and how you can change them around to be more positive.
Change The Way You Talk To Yourself
You can overcome self-defeating habits simply by changing the way you interact with yourself. Your thoughts affect your actions and vice versa. So, to change your actions for the better, you have to modify your thought patterns.
To do that, you have to switch out negative thoughts for more positive ones.
We won’t lie; this takes time. You have to consciously make the effort to stop negative thoughts before they’ve had a chance to grow and fester. Improving your self-talk will do wonders for your health and self-esteem.
Establish A Strong Support System
We all have self-defeating habits and thoughts that we struggle with. If you find yourself having an especially hard time, then why not lean on your friends and family?
Make a mental list of four or five people you can trust to confide in without feeling judged.
Then, whenever you’re feeling stuck in your loop of self-sabotage, reach out. Even if they can’t give you actionable advice, at least you’ll have talked about your concerns with someone you trust.
Sharing that burden can do wonders for your emotional and mental health. Then, when they need someone to listen, you’ll do the same for them. Isn’t that what friends and family are for?
Let Your Goals Determine Your Actions
Most of the time, we just sit back and let our feelings guide our actions. We have this sense that it’s easier to empower our emotions, so much so that we give them full authority to dictate what we do and when we do it, rather than the other way around.
One of the most effective ways to stop self-defeating habits is to do what needs to be done even if you don’t feel like it.
No one enjoys getting up and going to work. But it’s what they have to do to stay on their path and achieve their goals.
That’s how every successful person on this planet became a big shot in their designated field; they put in the time and effort regardless of how they were feeling.
They were also smart enough not to pay much attention to their self-sabotaging thought patterns. Instead, they let their obligation to their long-term goals guide their day-to-day actions.
Switch Out ‘I Have to’ with ‘I Get To’
When you say ‘I have to’ do such-and-such, you feel a sense of pressure and obligation. There are many negative connotations tied up with those three simple words.
On the flip side, by saying ‘I get to’ do something, you’re constantly reminding yourself that nothing in life is guaranteed.
You’ll start feeling gratitude that you’re doing what you once could only dream of doing. Having a change in perspective is a great way to transform your self-defeating habits and thoughts from being destructive and discouraging to being more dynamic and rewarding.
When you feel like everyone’s eyes are on you, remind yourself to stay humble. You’re only spotlighting yourself and we know on good authority that no one is thinking about you with as much attention and scrutiny as you think they are.
How can we be so sure?
Well, because we’re absolutely certain that they’re all too busy spotlighting themselves!
We’re not saying that you’re insignificant. We’re just reminding you to recognize how busy everyone is in their hectic lives, worrying about their personal problems.
They don’t have time to judge and make assumptions about you the way you’re making it out to be. Once you get others out of your head, you’ll start to feel much more at ease. Then, you can begin focusing on your own road to self-discovery and growth.
Don’t Confuse Honesty for Truth
Honesty is subjective. It’s how you feel and think about a certain experience through your own perceptions.
Truth, on the other hand, is objective. It has nothing to do with how you feel. For example, you could be on a successful career path, have a great family, and a big house, and still feel like you’re failing. That’s your personal honesty talking.
However, other people will look on and see the truth is that you’re actually doing very well in life. So, why aren’t you seeing the same truth as everyone else? Because your self-defeating habits are making you feel insecure and unfulfilled.
Understanding the difference between honesty and truth can be a critical step in breaking the cycle of negative thoughts and behavior.
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