Do you frequently convince yourself that what you do doesn’t count? In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns writes the following:
"If you have this bad habit, you will naturally feel that you never do anything worthwhile. It won’t make any difference if you’re a Nobel laureate or a gardener – life will seam empty because your sour attitude will take the joy out of all your endeavors and defeat you before you even begin. No wonder you feel unmotivated! "
To reverse this destructive tendency, Burns suggest a two step process:
- Identify the self-downing thoughts that cause you to feel this way in the first place.
- Talk back to these thoughts and replace them with ones that are more objective and self-endorsing.
Burns includes an example of self-endorsement:
|Self-downing Statement||Self-endorsing Statement|
|Anybody could wash these dishes.||If it's a routine, boring job, I deserve extra credit for doing it.|
|There was no point in washing these dishes. They'll just get dirty again.||That's just the point. They'll be clean when we need them.|
|I could have done a better job straightening up.||Nothing in the Universe is perect, but I did make the room look a hell of a lot better.|
|It was just luck the way my speech turned out.||It wasn't a matter of luck. I prepared well and delivered my talk effectively. I did a darn good job.|
|I waxed the car, but it still doesn't look as good as my neighbor's new car.||The car looks a hell of a lot better than it did. I'll enjoy driving it around.|
Focus on What You've Done Over What You Haven't Gotten To
"Another simple technique is to make a written or mental list of the things you do each day. Then give yourself a mental credit for each of them, however small. This will help you focus on what you have done instead of what you haven't gotten around to doing. It sounds simplistic, but it works. "
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