Are you in your retirement or empty-nest years, wondering what a happy, full life looks like from this point on?

There are a lot of factors that may be holding you back from living a life full of essence, especially if you suddenly find yourself in a situation that really affects your life.

One big factor could be negative self-talk.

It can be difficult to transform those negative, depriving thoughts into more positive ones, especially when they’ve plagued you for so long. Once they’ve been in your head for a while, you usually start to believe them.

Here are some examples of negative self-talk that can stop you from living your life to the fullest.

I Can’t Do It

One of the most debilitating negative sentences you can tell yourself is, “I can’t do it.” If you believe that you can’t, you won’t. It’s probably the reason that you gave up on a number of dreams and chose to settle for something else.

Try this exercise: the next time you’re discussing hopes and dreams with a friend, just ask what is holding them back from achieving those dreams. They’re probably going to say that they just can’t do it because [insert excuse here].

Whether that excuse is “not the right time to take a risk” or “my financial situation won’t allow it,” there will always be something. When you believe that you can’t, you will find a way to explain why that is true.

Want to beat that attitude? Make a list of the accomplishments you thought you wouldn’t be able to achieve but you have. Look at that list every time you feel discouraged.

I’m Not Good Enough

If you tell yourself that you’re not smart enough or talented enough, it has probably stemmed from the comparisons that you’ve been making with people around you. That’s demoralizing, and it can be destructive.

For example, if you want to be a writer but you compare yourself to Stephen King or Margaret Atwood, then you very well may give up before you’ve really gotten started.

The part of the picture we often miss is the failure and years of hard work those accomplished people put in before achieving their level of success. You can’t compare your starting point to the results of others.

What If…?

It’s natural to consider your future, but if your thoughts are plagued by what-ifs that are all negative, then you’re limiting what you can achieve.

While the future may be uncertain, assuming that it only holds negative things in store for you is illogical. Life won’t always turn out the way you want, but risks are a must.

Chasing Perfection

No one is perfect – no one, not even you. Are you terrified by the thought of failing and worried about disappointing your loved ones or people reveling in your mistakes? Don’t be. It’s exhausting and can hold you back.

Generalizing Failure

There are plenty of reasons why something might fail, and we’re guilty of overgeneralizing them. Just because a handful of your romantic endeavors have failed doesn’t mean all of those in the future will as well, and it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It just means that it didn’t work out in those specific instances.

Making a generalization doesn’t provide insight into the numerous reasons that contributed to something not going your way.

The sooner you learn how to mitigate your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones, the sooner you will be able to start living your life to the fullest.

You don’t need to conquer the world to live a happy life, you only need to conquer yourself.

It’s time to do a little digging! What are some recurring negative thoughts that you have about yourself or your life? Write them down and monitor them for a while. How many times a day do you think a negative thought? Do you think your life might be different if you turned these thoughts on their heads and thought positive thoughts? Try it! Please share your observations below.

Let's Have a Conversation!