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Are You Talking Yourself Into Failure?

A couple of days ago I watched a fascinating You Tube clip about mantras. Mantras are the things you say to yourself in your head, over and over again – and they have the power to impact how you feel and act in the short term, which ultimately impacts how your life turns out in the long run.

The clip I watched was presented by Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project, and you can view it over here ( Gretchen spoke about some of the mantras affecting her life, and I could straight away relate. I think you might as well. For example, how often have you said to yourself something like the following?

“I have no self-control”

“I’m so busy, I don’t have time for that”

“I’m so disorganized”

All the time, right? And you’re not alone. It’s human nature to be tough on yourself, most of the time. Inherently I think this comes from the fact that we are driven to constantly improve ourselves and excel at most things we do. There’s just one teensy little problem with coupling this inherent drive with modern-day living, and I’ll be this one will come as no surprise –

You’re trying to do too much, you’re trying to be too many things, and you’re trying to have more than you need.

Put it all together and you have a sure-fire recipe for overwhelm. It’s no wonder you can’t get out of the vicious thought cycle in your own mind for long enough to actually take massive action and feel successful or happy!

Gretchen, whose book The Happiness Project ( is currently #1 on the New York Times list for the second week in a row, says that changing your mantra can dramatically impact the way you feel and the way you live your life. If you think about it, this means that changing the little things you say to yourself – those small attacks or undermining statements that you barely even register – can actually influence how successful you are in achieving your big goals dreams.

Does that scare you a little bit? It sure as heck scares me, particularly when I think back over some of the things I’ve said to myself just this past month or so:

  • “I’m just not motivated enough to follow my nutrition plan 100% of the time”
  • “I’m constantly tired and overwhelmed”
  • “I’m doing too much; there is no way I can achieve everything I want to achieve”
  • “I have to sacrifice sleep in order to fit everything in”
  • “I have a negative relationship with food”

So how about you?

What have you been drumming into your own mind without even realising it? What have you perhaps even said to yourself in the last 24 hours to undermine your skills, talent, and natural potential?

And isn’t it time you stopped being such a freakin’ you-know-what and gave yourself a bit of a break?

Even better – why not actively seek to create new and uplifting mantras. Gretchen’s new mantra, for example, is “I have plenty of time for the things that are important to me”. Of course she does admit that with these sort of mantras there’s a bit of a catch – you have to stop and work out the things that are really and truly important to you.

For me this would be time for myself and my family the way I feel after choosing healthy and energising foods or completing a great workout, and pursuing more of the activities I’m passionate about and love – like writing more and speaking more. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t mind one jot if all of the other busywork just – fell away. It’s an interesting way to look at things, because the truth is that I tend to live my life stuck in little tasks or ‘have to be done’ jobs that I don’t truly love. Always saying to myself that I’ll have more time to relax, play, laugh, LIVE once I’ve achieved ‘just this next step’.

Do you ever do that? I’ll bet I’m not the only one.

And what else do you say to yourself? If you stop and think about it, how much of your current success or lifestyle is affected by what you believe to be true about yourself?

My challenge to you today is the same challenge that Gretchen extends on her Happiness project blog – why not resolve to take a moment to re-evaluate your mantras? Perhaps you could even set some new and more inspiring mottos to live by!

Kat Eden blogs about health, fat loss and motivation over at, and about nutrition, exercise and lifestyle for driven women at Kat’s motto is ‘Life is Now. Press Play’.


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