Making big changes in your life can be difficult for most people. Many are trying to achieve certain goals such as losing weight, saving more money, finding a romantic partner, or reaching career goals. The list goes on.
Unfortunately, all too often, people begin trying to reach a goal and then quit abruptly. Some even embark on a start and quit cycle that repeats over and over; what results is learned helplessness. Failed efforts cause many to feel like a failure or trapped. They begin to have negative thoughts about themselves.
The Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing (CCCNIP) can help people achieve a mindset of change and develop the strategies needed to turn negative thoughts around.
The cycle of negative self-talk
Once a person begins the cycle of negative self-talk, they often cringe at the thought of change because it makes them feel a whole range of negative feelings from disgust to helplessness. These emotions can feed a cycle that makes a person double down on the very behaviour they are trying to change. For example, they might find themselves eating more junk food or using more substances.
People who get caught up in this vicious cycle also tend to look for help in the wrong places. They seek out advice from those who are more than willing to give it. They hear the same old, “if you only tried this or that, you could change your behaviour.” This type of advice only perpetuates the situation that leads to feelings of helplessness and frustration.
Changing your mindset to turn your life around
At CCCNIP, experienced staff provide professional counselling services and community programs to individuals, couples, and families. “We find that providing advice is actually just a tiny part of helping people change. Most often, people need confidence in themselves to learn new habits,” says CCCNIP Executive Director Alan McQuarrie.
He adds, “Confidence provides the emotional ‘gas’ to move people forward. Furthermore, building positive habits helps to make change stick. The most important part of change is believing that you can change. Finding ways to incorporate change into your regular life routine is an excellent way to embed change in your life.”
McQuarrie explains that when people try to change, they often encounter obstacles such as spending an evening with friends, which can lead to a substance relapse. Perhaps they end up binging on a box of chocolates that were given as a gift. Or they might check a gaming website for a few minutes and end up spending a entire paycheck in one evening. “It is important to realize that relapse is normal. It is even an opportunity to learn. Change is never linear. It occurs in fits and starts.”
How to break the cycle
When people learn to create change and do the hard work, they begin to experience success. They can pick themselves up, dust themselves off and learn from the relapse. It is not easy to do, however, believing in oneself is the key to success. With the support of an experienced counsellor, those seeking change can develop strategies that work so that they can break the cycle of negative self-talk and begin feeling empowered to turn their lives around.
Want to get your life back on track and stop the negative self-talk? Call CCCNIP at 705- 472-6515 or visit our website at www.cccnip.com. We can help you change.
As an alternate resource, please contact BounceBack Ontario, a program of the Canadian Mental Health Association of Ontario.