Often when the outcome of our efforts isn’t what we originally anticipates, we lose trust in ourselves, don’t believe in our abilities and feel guilty. What we don’t realize is that this thought process sets us up for a not-so-positive state of affairs for our future habits.
When we start a new habit - and don’t really believe in our ability to stick to it - we’re less inclined to succeed. Every time we doubt ourselves, things become exceedingly harder. Often we feel like quitting, our minds will say, “I knew this would happen”, and then we quit, instead of sticking it out and battling the negative thoughts.
Well, that’s not good. What’s better, though?
If you trust yourself to stick to a habit, you feel confident in your ability to get through tough times. You know that even if you get the feeling of quitting, you can beat it. Or if you fail, you know you can start again, get back up and learn from the mistake and try harder.
How to Regain Trust
- Realize that failure isn’t a reason to judge yourself. This is really important, and if you learn nothing else, this is the takeaway. Instead of internalizing failure as an indicator that we are not trustworthy or not sufficient, we need to learn that failure is just an external event. Failure is simply an indicator that something in our method needs to be changed.
- Forgive yourself for past mistakes. Before you can start to trust yourself again, you have to go over all your past failures, and the bad feelings you have of them. Just take 10-20 minutes today to do that. Yes, you failed. Yes, that’s OK. We all fail. That’s no reason to feel bad about yourself. Let it go! Tell yourself that you are good, that mistakes we’re your fault but the fault of the method.
- Start to make and keep promises with yourself. This part takes longer, because trust isn’t regained overnight. Make small promises to yourself. For example, if your habit is yoga, tell yourself all you need to do is get on the mat. You don’t even need to do 5 minutes. Then do everything you can to keep that promise. Over time, you’ll start to learn that you are trustworthy.
- Learn to get through the tough times. There will always be times when you don’t feel like doing the habit, when you feel like giving up, when you miss a day or two for various reasons and don’t feel like starting. First, recognize that these are dips in your motivation and that it will take a little extra effort to get through them. Second, recognize the negative thoughts you might be having about your ability to get through them, or the rationalizations that you have to not do it, and don’t listen. Third, tell yourself that all you need to do is find some extra motivation — ask a friend for help, give yourself a big reward, announce a challenge just to get through this sticking point.
Four steps, none super easy but none too hard that you can’t nail them. You got this. You can trust yourself to form new habits and stick to them, and when you have that trust, nothing can stop you.