Ep 23: How We Talk Ourselves Out of Change

In this episode, we explore how and why we often talk ourselves out of making the changes we want to make – and give you some tools that will allow you to push through that self-sabotage.

There’s an odd but very common phenomenon where we identify a change we’d like to make in our lives, we get excited about it (we may even take a step or two toward making it) but then, we abandon the effort before we’ve really even tried long enough to succeed (or fail!).

Resources mentioned:

Workplace Hero podcast episode: Work Expands (or contracts) to the Time Allowed

Key Takeaways:

Your brain is wired to seek familiarity, comfort, and efficiency. Change is by definition unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and inefficient.

Talking you out of change–by convincing you that change isn’t possible or that now is not a good time–is your lower brains’ attempt to keep you safe.

Often these thoughts are operating below the surface of your conscious awareness.

By tuning into these thoughts with your higher brain, you can decide whether or not they are actually serving you.

Lab Experiment:

How are you talking yourself out of making a change? Identify the reason or excuse your brain has come up with and write it down as an “Unhelpful Thought.”

The unhelpful thought: ___________

Then use the following questions to assess the validity of this thought:

  1. Is there substantial evidence for or against my thought?
  2. Am I trying to interpret this situation without all the evidence?
  3. What would a friend think about this situation if I consulted them?
  4. If I talk myself out of change, how will I feel a year from now? How about five years from now?

Now, see if you can rewrite your unhelpful thought in a more balanced, rational, and helpful way. With practice, this can become a very effective tool for thought management in all realms of life.