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Creating New Positive Habits And Breaking Negative Cycles



Creating New Positive Habits And Breaking Negative Cycles

How many times have you heard the phrase, self-fulfilling prophecy? It refers to the “socio-psychological phenomenon” of believing something that is false so strongly, that it becomes true, due to living a life that aligns to these beliefs.

Or to put it another way, a false belief influences the behaviours of someone to the extent that the false belief shapes reality.

Using the example of fitness and weight loss, we might believe that diet and exercise is too difficult for us to achieve. So we live a life not dieting and exercising because it’s not for us. Because we live this life, difficulty eating healthily and exercising regularly becomes ‘fact’ and we become unfit and unhealthy. We then take this to mean that we were right all along and getting fit or losing weight absolutely cannot be within our reach.

Reading it like that makes it sound fairly comical, of course diet and fitness goals are achievable for most of us. But many of us will recognise this behaviour in ourselves and will hopefully realise that it’s often only our own thoughts holding us back from living the life and reaching the goals we deserve.

If this sounds like you, here’s some practical tips on creating new, positive habits and breaking the negative cycle you’ve found yourself in.

  • Becoming aware of your negative behaviours is key to changing them. Take some time to note down all the things that you feel are negative and impeding your progress. Your list could include telling yourself that you can’t lose weight or get fit (your self-fulfilling prophecy), or habits that prevent you from eating well or exercising.
  • A lot of the time, habits form through repetition, so understanding the patterns of behaviour that underpin unhealthy habits is important too. Finding the cue will help, so ask yourself does this bad habit always happen on the same day, around the same people or after the same event? If so, what can you do to change the cue?
  • Some bad habits result in a reward, an instant gratification that provides relief, for example the enjoyment of drinking a glass of wine. So recognising the reward and trying to find ways around either not needing this reward or replacing it with another (such as the feeling of elation after exercise) can help to break a negative cycle.
  • Once you’ve worked out the why behind negative habits, you can start to replace them with positive ones. But it’s important to start small. Plan goals that are easy to achieve such as a quick 15 minute workout or swapping a takeaway for a healthier home-cooked option. These things aren’t impossible, but might feel like things that simply aren’t worth it. But making these small changes will trigger a chain reaction of better, healthier choices that together will amount to whole lifestyle changes.

Celebrate each small change for the better that you make, rather than falling into the trap of thinking that because you did one thing, you don’t need to make any other healthy decisions for the rest of the day or week. Soon, each healthy decision will roll into the next and your goals truly will become a reality.


This blog was Inspired By Cathy Goodman.

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