Just because you have a thought doesn't make it true. Your life experiences up until this point--good or bad--color the way you perceive the people in your circles and the things happening to you on a daily basis. Here are a handful of commonly believed and utterly baseless lies that people let influence their behavior and the trajectory of their lives.

Lie: I don't deserve this bad situation.

Jaclyn Johnson, author of WorkParty: How to Create and Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams, makes the point that comebacks can't happen without turmoil beforehand. She writes:

During the portion of my first year in LA when I got dumped by my long-term boyfriend, a friend very seriously looked at me (while I was crying) and said, "No offense, but who fucking cares."

The thought startled me because, well, she was right. People get dumped every day. Shitty things happen. I followed up her remark with, "I just wish good things happened to good people." To which she responded, "I don't know, Jackie, babies get cancer." And there it was, the truth. Horrible, gut-punching, hard-to-process things happen to good people every single day. Conversely, great things happen to bad people all the time. You will get dumped, and life will be hard AF, and guess what? You will move on, no matter how impossible it feels. It was a harsh but eye-opening way of reminding me that there is beauty and comfort in the shared human experience.

Just remember that when things are going badly, there comes a point when it can't get any worse. That's good news because it means something good is right around the corner.

Lie: It's not my fault.

Blaming others is certainly easier than seeing your part in a negative situation. But it's also counterproductive and sabotages your ability to grow and get better. Robert Maurer, writing for Psychology Today, suggests a better two-pronged alternative: taking inventory and ownership of your emotional response to a situation, and finding a way to contribute to making the situation better, regardless of who's to blame. "If we view the challenging people and situations in our lives as classrooms wherein we can learn to take responsibility for our emotions and learn how to leave other people and situations better than we found them," he writes, "at those moments we have succeeded in the greatest of all human achievements."

Lie: I'll change this bad habit tomorrow.

No, you won't. Whatever your vice--whether it's inactivity, smoking, drinking to excess, or eating crap food--make a change today and commit to sticking with your change for at least 66 days. Researchers at University College London have determined it's the amount of time it takes to create a new habit, which they define as a behavior that a person does automatically (without thinking) because it has been performed often in the past.

Lie: I'm old.

I met a 69-year-old man the other day who said to me, "I'm old." Even though he might have a couple of decades left in him, he had decided all the good stuff was behind him. It's a terrible attitude. While you may remember being 29, 39, or 49 and wish you could go back again, you certainly can't. Therefore, knowing how quickly life sifts through your fingers, it's up to you to savor every single second of the age you are right now. A big part of doing that well involves possessing the health and vitality to be physically younger (biological age) than the number of years you have been walking this planet (chronological age). To do it, you need to practice habits such as eating right, exercising daily, and investing in a strong social network. Your goal should be to achieve your eighth or ninth decade physically, cognitively, and emotionally intact.

Published on: Sep 6, 2018
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