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Today I’m going to talk about When Positive Thinking Makes Change Harder

I believe the biggest leap forward in our understanding of how to reach our goals in recent years is the research that uncovered when to think positively, and when it can actually wreck your chance of succes.

Just about every self-help book has in it somewhere that all you need to do to live the life of your dreams is to ‘Believe in yourself, go for it, just visualize yourself having already achieved your goal and it WILL HAPPEN.’

I may be a bit cynical about this, but while the ‘Law of Attraction’ seems to work incredibly well for those who are selling programs that teach you about the Law of Attraction, I believe a more scientific approach works better for the rest of us.

Recently a few different psychologists have done research into this, and they’ve discovered there are two different ways of thinking positively.

For example, if you are trying to lose 20 pounds in 3 months, we can

A. Be incredibly positive about OUR CHANCES of losing the weight, thinking “I know if I stick to my eating plan and build a new exercise regime into my busy schedule I know I CAN shift these pounds.”

Or you could

B. Be incredibly positive about HOW EASY IT WILL BE to lose weight.

thinking ‘I will easily ignore temptations like chips, chocolate and Chinese Takeaway. What’s more, it DOESN’T MATTER how busy my life is, it will be EASY to stick to my exercise plan.’

Most people put both these types of positive thinking in the same basket. But recent research has shown that this is a MASSIVE trap.

Believing deeply within yourself that YOU TRULY CAN achieve your goal, helps keep you motivated and gets you to your goal.


Psychologist Gabriele Oettingen, did this research where she compared the difference between two groups of women who were trying to lose some weight. One group of women who believed at times it would be hard and require discipline to lose some weight, and the other believed they’d find it easy to resist temptation.

Those who admitted to themselves that at times it would be difficult lost TWENTY-FOUR POUNDS more than the women who told themselves it would be easy.

So, if you want to stick to your goals, positive thinking is MASSIVELY IMPORTANT.

BUT… you need think positively about the CHANCES of succeeding, while also thinking REALISTICALLY about the fact that – at times – changing habits and sticking to your new goals will be INCREDIBLY hard.

So why is this? Why do people who believe things will be difficult do better?

Oettingen’s studies show that people who believe it will be difficult expect to HAVE to work hard to get the job done, so that’s what they do.

They do much more planning, put in more effort and take far more action in pursuit of their goals.

In various studies it was found that students who thought their exams were going to easy studied less. And were more likely to fail.

University graduates who thought getting a job was going to be easy sent out less applications. And less got great jobs.

People who thought they would effortlessly fall in love with that secret crush were proven in one study to be less likely to take the risk and go and talk to them, and by they time they did it was too late.

So if you’re chosen a goal that’s worth pursuing, don’t kid yourself that it will be easy, EMBRACE THE FACT THAT IT WILL BE HARD. Then you’ll be far more likely to reach that goal.

If you’ve got something out of today’s video, please press the like Facebook Like button. And please leave a comment and tell me what you are going to attempt now you accept that it will be hard.

Feel free to check out my video series on taking the fear out of change at and I’ll see you soon.






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