Mastering the Art of Self-Negotiation

ChoicesIt happens to many – if not all of us at some point. You see an ad for pizza (insert other favorite non-Primal food) and find yourself fixated on a sudden and persistent craving. Most days you can look past it without much thought. Today is not one of those days. Sensory memory kicks into high gear, and the itch takes root. The inner dialogue of to eat or not to eat ensues. Your mind begins the trek down ye olde path of creative justification, and the trip is pretty well decided from there. “It’s been how many weeks/months since I ‘allowed’ myself to have pizza?” “I’ve eaten really well the last few days.” “It’s been a crappy day of putting up with x, y and z.” “I worked out a whole extra 20 minutes AND went for a morning bike ride.” “I seriously will only eat two pieces this time – seriously.” Within minutes, the argument has escalated into an urgent insistence to pick up the phone. A half an hour later, you’re digging in. Two hours later you hold a different view of those same negotiations and wish a mediator had been present, but the damage is obviously done. There’s the old tongue-in-cheek saying, “We’ve met the enemy, and he is us.” For all the shenanigans of the food industry, the slick tricks of marketing forces, the hard-nosed insistence of conventional wisdom and the guilt trips of those around us, we’re too often our own worst influences. The hardest voice to argue with will always be an internal one.

For some of us, our self-negotiation revolves less around food than other temptations. Maybe we get sucked into deep deliberation about staying up to watch another Netflix show or whether to have one more beer or whether we can take the day off from the gym (again). For every positive choice that affects our health and well-being, there’s at least one counter-argument that – in the murky waters of our mental workings can dissuade us from our good intentions. Is this your third night putting off a decent workout? But wait – have you noticed the number of intriguing Facebook posts, the compelling mobile-friendly news stories, the particular coziness of the couch this evening, the assured disappointment of a partner or family member presented with your absence (who is actually wondering why you haven’t left yet). Given enough time, that inner voice with its stunning myriad of angles and tactics could talk you out of your firstborn child, let alone a “leg day.”

Think about it. Who better knows our nuanced preferences or deep, dark weaknesses. Imagine a marketer with full knowledge of these inclinations and vulnerabilities – and the immense power it would offer. No wonder we’re master manipulators of ourselves. Sure, no one has as much to gain as we do from our good choices. We should be motivated by self-interest in these situations, but damn if we don’t also have the predisposition toward conniving and often sabotaging self-justification. With it, we find ourselves frequently drawn into these inner games of persuasion. How do we break out of these stalled talks and get the upper hand in our own self-negotiation?

Recognize that there are endless reasons to make a poor choice, and dump every single one of them.

Seriously here. Mark every one of them as excuses and promptly discard. Don’t give them time or space in your brain (because they’ll take over from there). If you need to, come up with a commanding image. Visualize an enormous rubber stamp with the word EXCUSE! in all caps with Zeus himself reaching down from the heavens to label each in an angry retort. Get up and do the next healthy thing. Don’t piss off the gods.

Stop arguing in the negative, and frame the choice within a positive outcome.

I shouldn’t stay up and watch another Game of Thrones episode because I’ll be tired and cranky in the meeting tomorrow. Correction: This is a truly awesome show, and I’ll look forward to another episode this weekend. In the meantime, my bed is calling my name, and I love spending a full night there, waking up with enough rest to enjoy my day. Another one… My rosacea/reflux//headaches/etc. will act up if I eat that brownie/burrito/waffle, and I’ll regret the decision for the next week. Correction: Yes, it looks good, but I love feeling good all the time and seeing what my body can do and how it can look when I feed it healthy food.

The point is this. Be prepared to continually pivot toward a positive result – a sense of accomplishment, a post-workout glow, better sleep, smaller jeans, amazing health, etc. A negative will always be a negative – sometimes an effective but not particularly inspiring “stick” we use to beat ourselves with in the hopes of better behavior. Drop the stick and drive yourself with positive vision.

Record those desired outcomes.

Whether it’s a list on your fridge, a couple pages in a journal, an elaborate vision board or a mindmap you did on a napkin three months ago, keep some written record of the outcome you want for your health. Cover the bases: the kind of fitness level you want, the kind of sleep you want, the kind of stress-resistant mentality, the diet you want, the body you want, etc., etc. When all those “good reasons” to make a poor choice come beating at your door, go to your visual and get that feedback without having to conjure all the thinking in the moment. Don’t depend on immediate reasoning every time you encounter temptation in the here and now. Let your notes (or visual) think beyond the present moment for you, and use them as often as need be to redirect.

Limit the need for negotiations – period.

This tactic is more important for some of us than others. For beginners or those looking to make radical change, it can be key. Fend off the stress and complication of self-negotiation by sticking to routine whenever it makes sense, by simplifying your life, by editing a day’s influences (e.g. social media, advertisements, negative people, etc.) and by creating a healthy life you look forward to living out each day rather than one you’re constantly disciplining yourself to stick to. If you have to ride herd on yourself every day, maybe your willpower isn’t the problem.

Thanks for reading, everyone. How do you practice (and win at) the art of self-negotiation? Share your thoughts, and have a great end to the week.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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71 thoughts on “Mastering the Art of Self-Negotiation”

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  1. I like the idea of framing the negotiation in a positive manner. That’s how I’ve driven myself recently. I think about how good my body has looked, I think about how well I view the day when I am rested, I think about how putting off watching an episode of New Girl just means I’ll have more episodes to watch.

  2. I’ve been struggling with this exact thing lately, specifically about ice cream. As soon as I start negotiating and making compromises with myself, it’s over. On one hand I tell myself that I haven’t met my body composition goal yet and to resist. But then I tell myself not to be so hard on myself because two years ago I ate processed/fast food for every meal and two 2 liters of soda everyday and now I’m 60 pounds lighter and eating real food. I like the idea of using positive negotiation. I think I’ll try that. “I like my progress and I know I will get closer to my goals by not eating X.”

    1. For me, positive negotiation means no negotiation. Most often I can skip the sweet roll or piece of pie without a second thought. Any negotiating consists of a fleeting thought at the back of my mind that my weight is perfect and my blood sugar level is great. But now and then the urge to cheat a little becomes particularly strong. I don’t bother to negotiate with myself because, at that point, I already know I’m going to cave.

      The other thing I don’t do is wallow in regret if I do cave in to temptation. I find that feeling bad about myself is really counterproductive. It seems the worse I feel about my lack of willpower, the more I’m likely to say, “Oh the hell with it,” and fall off the wagon again. Instead I concentrate on putting my slip-up behind me, as in “That was then, this is now.”

      1. I agree. Guilt is pointless. If you feel guilty then don’t do it, or, change your “rules” so the whatever you want to engage is is now fine. I never feel guilty about what I eat. Most of the time I eat clean as clean can be. But on date night I fully enjoy my fine Italian dining experience in all it’s glory. No restrictions on bread, dessert, pasta, etc. I whoop it up and enjoy and savor every minute of it. Guilt is for the weak. Own up to your choices and embrace them.

    2. Oh, I hear you on the Call of Ice Cream! I’ve negotiated with my taste buds and agreed that I may have it if I am willing to walk downtown to Zoeys Homemade Ice Cream for one scoop (unless it’s over 95 in which case I have a milkshake and that’s dinner). I don’t do it that often but it’s about a mile round trip so I figure at least I’m stalking my ice cream, right?

      1. LOL! Stalking your ice cream… That’s no joke – WILD ice cream is rare, indeed, and should be savored!

      2. If you walk for your Ice Cream, it doesn’t make you fat. FACT.

  3. I’ve had enough bad experiences not treating myself well to know that bad choices = feeling crappy whether it’s eating stuff that I don’t tolerate or overtraining/running too much or whatever else.

    I frame it in my mind that there are so many things out there that are challenging or hurtful that we can’t control, I just want to make sure MOST of my choices only contribute to making myself healthier and feel better. I don’t want to waste my time being self destructive.

  4. From cycling and mountain biking, I learned to look where I want to go, not where I don’t want to go. In other words, definition by negation can lead me right into that negative space, but a positive definition can be wondrous.

    1. Great analogy Megan, maybe I won’t fly over the “ol’ paleo” handlebars so often if I make of my decisions thinking this way.

    2. In the motorcycle safety courses, they call this “fixating on an obstacle.” If you concentrate on the impending car/rock/road debris, you tend to drift toward it. Which can be an extremely bad life choice at 75+ mph. Ever since hearing that, I’ve noticed it in life, too. We concentrate so much on avoiding the bad that we end up running smack into it

    3. And for the skiers out there: when you ski in trees, don’t look at the trees, look at the space between them! It’s all about seeing the opportunities, not the obstacles.

  5. As a psychology teacher this hits on a lot of the concepts we talk about when addressing emotional intelligence and willpower. It’s amazing what we can ‘talk our selves into’ (and out of!)

  6. Great post. I find that motivation peaks and then wanes over time, but living a balanced Paleo lifestyle enables greater periods of motivation and wanes of reduced length and severity.

    When I began my Paleo diet, I’d generally last about two weeks before slipping back into a diet of take-aways, frozen pizzas and chocolate for another two. Now I feel so rubbish when I eat any sugar or gluten, I literally can’t bring myself to eat them. I’ve negotiated that path enough times that it’s become a habit.

    So I guess I find the key to self negotiation is practise, and trying to sustain motivation. Planning each with elements of flexibility keeps me on track.

    Keeping up with MDA helps too. If I read this, I feel worse when I’m making excuses.

  7. Love this focus recently on making better decisions. Can have all the great information in the world, but if you don’t apply it, it doesn’t matter.

  8. So funny…I just posted on my blog this morning about how I am ramping up my workouts this summer, but I AM NOT going to use it as an excuse to overeat or eat junk food.

  9. Great post!! I tend to be a glass half empty thinker – my mind automaticcaly goes to the negative. I am becoming more focused and clear minded with this lifestyle, thank goodness. Focusing on the things you gain, instead of the things your missing out on; is a great way to stay on track. Really, are we missing out on anything by not eating the pizza?

  10. Great post!! I tend to be a glass half empty thinker – my mind automatically goes to the negative. I am becoming more focused and clear minded with this lifestyle, thank goodness. Focusing on the things you gain, instead of the things your missing out on; is a great way to stay on track. Really, are we missing out on anything by not eating the pizza?

    1. Yes, yes we are. Pizza is amazing. I LOVE pizza and it’s my only non-dessert food temptation. BUT, I have been able to avoid restuarant pizza, as delicious as it looks, by realizing that all that white/wheat flour makes me crash afterwards in a fierce carb coma. I’ve also been able to replace the pizza craving by making a breafast pizza (egg, sauce and veggies on top, like an open-face omelete) once or so a week, spaghetti squash “lasagna” with meatza, veggies and grass-fed mozzarella cheese, and cauliflower crust primal pizza for dinners once every couple weeks.

  11. Great article. I have set my self up for success by being really good at the grocery store, but if something gets into my house, I lose that will-power that comes so easily at the store. I am not one to say that certain foods are off-limts 100% of the time, but 90% of the time….off-limits. I am also fortunate to have a husband that is like-minded, so that when one is feeling the urge for something be it food, an extra glass of wine, staying up late….the other one is there encourage the better choice.

  12. That is an awesome post!

    Self-negotiating in the moment can be extremely difficult and it is most of the times impossible to do the right thing, at least for me.

    Usually,I take a proactive approach and decide about things when I am calm and in total control. When the time comes, I stay true to my decision whatever that was. I can always change my decision, if I see that is not working, but only in times where I am calm.

    I am going to give the reframing a try and see how it works for me.

  13. This works for me – plan a treat or something you really want. Know which day you are going to have your treat, what that treat is going to be, which meal you are going to have it with, etc. When temptation strikes, just say to yourself “today’s not the day. I’m going to get exactly what I’m craving (alcohol, ice cream, etc.), so I don’t need xyz today.” It actually makes the treat more meaningful, taste better and time slows to savor it. Then, go back to your life.

    1. Love that, Kim! And the best thing about “today is not the day” is that once the day actually comes, you may not want what you wanted the other day, so you once again avoid it! You don’t have to eat it simply because you set aside the time for it. You could then pick ANOTHER day and see if you want it THAT day…and so forth until you don’t even crave any of it ever!

      1. True. Sometimes just the knowledge that you can have a treat if you really, really want it is enough to satisfy the craving.

    2. So important! I know that once a craving hits, I cannot put it off indefinitely. I’m not never eating ice cream again! I’m much better off planning it out, picking a day, or looking into the future to find a time where it makes sense – like as an outing after a long day of yardwork, or going on a date or something. And then make it good and don’t settle for a poor substitute.

  14. Entitlement is something that I definitely struggle with, and negotiating internally through justification is the chain that keeps me tied to its’ stake. A vast majority of the time I choose instant gratification over the long term goal. With these impulsive choices I often give up my final reward for something that last mere seconds. There is also a reoccurring pattern that starts after I have negotiated a situation into taking its’ negative option; it becomes much easier to head down that road the next time. Before I know it, that one skipped workout becomes 3, then 5, then 7, and so forth. That occasional monthly candy bar (which at such an occasional rate doesn’t have a major effect on my body) then slowly becomes biweekly, then weekly, then every other day, etc…. I have found that if left to my own devices, I will surely cause my own demise. With this being said, my counter attack to self-deception has become accountability. I have friends and family that know my goals, that know my purpose, and are willing to assist me in reaching the final reward of my hard work. I am much less likely to convince myself of the negative if I know my workout buddy or my wife is going to be hounding me about it for days afterwards. Of course, all of the hounding is out of love an encouragement. Remember that we are social creatures and were never meant to just sit an listen to the voices in our own heads. Reach out to others, establish goals, work hard, have fun, and reap the final reward…. It will be exponentially more enjoyable than today’s slip-up!

  15. I tell myself ‘you’ll only eat it if you buy it’ which is such a daft and obvious thing that I can usually leave it ????

  16. Great blog post! I hope a lot of people read this and realize negative is just a resistance in life. It will ALWAYS be there, you just need to work harder to fight the thoughts!

    I myself have had this issue, but since I’ve gotten older, I feel I have learned to control how I think a little better. I try to make decisions over time rather than instant decisions. Sometimes people are in the heat of the moment and just go with the flow when they know they shouldn’t.

    Anyways, great write up, and I hope you have gotten a lot of credit on pointing this out for people!

  17. I love this post! My hubby and I have had the hardest time resisting cravings in the past so we have adopted a don’t-talk-about-what-you’re-craving rule and we have had fantastic success. We are in the middle of our second Whole 30 and are feeling energetic and healthy! I absolutely love the idea of using positive encouragements to stay primal rather than shaming ourselves…this has definitely worked for me. I also recently put up a bright orange paper with a list of “healthy alternatives” to eating when I am upset/stressed…I have problems with emotional eating. It is on my fridge and, ever since I put it up, I haven’t used food to sooth myself once! Anyway, thanks for this post…it is so encouraging to me!

    1. Oh this is good! I am in the midst of a stupid “down cycle” as I call my times when I’m not controlling anxiety-leading-directly-to-depression behavior. I have not been eating clean, no energy because of that, so not much exercising, which affects my sleep, causing me to stay up at night worrying, which ends up making me depressed…. wash, rinse, repeat… annnnd STOP already!

      I read on the Ap For Mind website (I think?) something about getting your brain to want to please your future self by making the right choices in the moment. I feel like that is what I need to do, because I really am so pleased with myself when I am nourishing my bod and mind. What is it in us humans that makes us sabotage ourselves like that? You don’t see zebras or slugs doing stuff that makes them unhappy – WTH, people! LOL

      1. ” anxiety-leading-directly-to-depression ” Sorry about this part Kari, ugh. When I’m in a down cycle I try to remember to eat enough probiotic foods and spread out my good fat (coconut oil) throughout the day. Not enough in the PM leads to anxiety and poor choices for me (sad face).
        And, yeah, what’s up with us humans carrying around our “box of rocks” when they serve no purpose what-so-ever! 🙂

        1. thanks for that reminder about the fats. I actually forget that… it really helps me a lot as well. I haven’t tried many probiotics (just cow and goat milk kefir). I have been thinking about incorporating more after reading so much about them recently. What types of probiotic foods are your favorites?

      2. Kari,
        I like to eat naturally fermented sauerkraut and pickles. Here in Oregon I can get “Bubbies” brand easily in the “healthy refridgerated” sections. Then I feed what’s there with some good old potato salad. We have little bowls that I use to eat both the kraut and the potato salad, doesn’t take much of either to help the gut out in that department. I supplement with pills as well if I feel like I need a bit more help.
        I find that the potato salad as a night time snack helps me sleep better and I remember some dreams (a new thing for me).

        1. Hey I’m in Portland, OR 🙂 I haven’t heard of Bubbies, I’ll have to look for it. Never been much of a vinegar/sour foods type person, but I have noticed that now I like that stuff a lot more. Probably eating less sugar makes those other kinds of things taste better? I don’t know. I like the potato salad idea, too, since I am thinking of getting some resistant starch into my diet. The dreams thing – funny you should mention that – Just started taking magnesium and I am having all kinds of crazy dreams!

          Thanks for all your suggestions!

          Hey, now that the sun’s out, I am feeling much more positive… funny how that works, huh? LOL

        2. Kari,
          I have a New Seasons across the street from me in Orenco where I can get Bubbies and they have it at Fred Meyer’s too. The “vinegar-y” taste isn’t too strong so you may like the natrually fermented type better than the stuff made in vinegar. Hope that helps. 😀

      3. i am exactly the same. after two years of clean low carb tended towards best quality food, best quality exercise,sun exposure and sleep, i find my self slipping astray from the main road, with two carb bender and unable to come back, lack of energy, no will to exercise,depression, and not able to put three days in a row of right eating patterns. perhaps i have exaggerated with a few things, like IF or because of a new job i had to change sleeping patterns. who knows.
        i am back to basics, but i find this time around harder to start with. (dr m. eades teaches).
        it is incredible how with two two-days carb binges, i put on 10/12 pounds instantaneously, that are still there. having been fat burner for long time probably made my body unable to know what to do with all that sugar and just deposited it in and around my internal organs mainly.
        anyway, thanks for this article , it was much needed.

  18. I find that getting enough sleep helps to regulate my cravings for sweet and any feelings of low energy so that I’m better able to make the right decisions – no negotiation required!

  19. I was just discussing with myself whether I would skip my primal-friendly lunch and instead go for a sandwich. I told myself I was having a really crappy day and that I needed something to pick me up and make me happy.

    And then I decided that maybe before making heading out, I should come here and see what’s new. This post helped me so much! I’m eating my (actually delicious) healthy lunch, and looking at it from the positive stand point. Thanks for the post and thanks for all the encouraging comments!

  20. I’ve been down this road so many times I call the potholes by name. I’m tired of sliding off the path and having to climb back up. My mantra is “Not An Option”. Small corrections as I go, having a plan for any situation, eating before the event to not be hungry, chatting in a place other than the buffet, staying out of the break room, etc. My feelings are my greatest problem. Pity parties are dangerous.

  21. Clay, above, has it spot on. You can’t beat yourself up. Enjoy your indulgence, when you choose it, and then move on. Spending so much time focusing on choices about every bite of food you eat is obsessive and unhealthy. I like the way I’ve observed the French and Italian eat. Life is meant to be an experience, and good food is a part of that. This piece perfectly sums up what I’m inadequately trying to say:

    1. Yes, Beth. I agree. Because I suffered with eating disorders as a young adult, I can become obsessive about every thing I bite. When I do eat wrong, I imagine all the bad things that could go wrong with my health. I think there’s a balance of thinking carefully about what you do eat but also just enjoying life and all the good things it offers.

    2. i am italian, but we need to consider also addiction. if you are not addicted to anything you will be not able to understand and what you say does not work for these kind of people. i am addicted to sugar and if you give me a pastry i will not able to stop myself till i feel sick.anything after that will do: ice cream, nutella, fruit and so on. the only thing for us that work is keep it clean and avoid that sweet.
      but i am glad that you can have your indulgence and stop when you are finished. good for you.

  22. I have a list on my phone entitled Memo to Self where I put all those choices that have been bad in the past.
    For example: don’t have coffee after 6 pm, don’t have melon (mild allergic response), don’t drink more than 2 glasses of wine etc. Some have needed an asterisk as I have tested them out a few times with the same poor result.

  23. This article is a good reminder for me in other areas in my life. It’s helpful. Thanks. 🙂

  24. Science says a dose of sugar increases willpower(see the book ‘willpower’ for easy to read details.) So when I go off the reservation I do it with chocolate. And very seldom ice cream(twice in last six months.) My advice if you are losing the battle go for a small bit of quality chocolate. We used to eat so much worse.

  25. Ah, thank you for this post, Mark! Just what I needed to get up and get outside for my walk today =)

  26. On the other side of the spectrum of talking yourself into making a bad choice, there this greater empowering feeling and magnifying effect of keeping a promis to yourself.

  27. I have a quote from Penelope Trunk on my phone related to this (alas, VERY familiar issue): “I’ve read that people who have willpower don’t actually have willpower. Rather they make decisions for themselves that have clear parameters and then they don’t reconsider them, so those people don’t need any willpower.” With regard to ice cream and those other food-sirens, I try to remind myself, “I have already made this decision.”

  28. What if this obsession/negotiation cycle happens with every single bite, every single day? Nothing, that’s what. I feel so horrific about eating at all because I’m so heavy, even though I model the Blueprint, I can’t lose anything. I am at the point where yes, my body feels better physically, but how does that help when I am so sad about how I look I can’t leave the house? Therapy on disordered eating has made me feel bad when I don’t eat, so add that to feeling bad when I do eat, there is no feeling good.
    Negotiating can’t include my old “work out to make up for a bite” strategy, that leads to the dark side of too much exercise, so that’s out. So there’s no winning. Ever.

    So you can be Primal Poster child, ticking all the boxes perfectly, and still live in an overweight nightmare if you can’t be positive.

    Know that in this lifestyle, as in just life itself, it’s about being happy. If you are happy with how you look and feel, you will succeed. If living paleo and eating brings you joy, and your biggest issue is a craving for ice cream, count yourself lucky. And KNOW that you’re lucky, step outside your head and think bigger than one slice of pizza!

    1. I’m sorry to hear you are feeling so frustrated – I can relate. I’m digging myself out of a hole at the moment. Please trust that there is light at the end of the tunnel (and I promise, it’s not a train!) It might be that your bod is just getting used to your new eating style, and it’s “shy” about changing its form right now. Sounds stupid, I know. You are doing well following PB so keep it up and trust – it will get better. You hit the nail on the head when you said “this lifestyle, just as in life itself, is about being happy…” I struggle with this a lot, but I try and remember if I want to be happy, I will be eventually.

      Best of luck.

  29. One thing that I have found that helps me resist sudden cravings (I mean, passing in front of the craved food and wanting to buy it right then), even if it is a bit on “focus on the negative” side, is to not only think “this is not good for me”, but actually to make a disgusted face. I make the face and at once the craving disappears. I was wondering if anyone else has had this experience.

    1. Hmm…

      Maybe you can use this trick once or twice, but…

      This could expand the craving, and somehow work it subtly, into your subconscious mind… The next day or week, it may be harder to resist it. Or, simply put, you may dream about eating that craved food. Desire is still there, it’s just on another mind level.

      Did you think about this? 🙂

    2. I had a friend who quit smoking after about 40 years by sticking her tongue out at a pack of cigarettes each time she passed by them on the fridge. She said it really helped. She actually loved smoking but knew that she must get rid of the habit.

      1. yes! flip the bird at all the crap my fiance brings into the apartment 😀

  30. What do you recommend doing at social events where there are no healthy options available? Personally, i don’t often go out and buy a pizza, for example, but at a party or gathering it is difficult to turn down unhealthy food with the combined temptation AND the pressure from family and friends. Although i would love to ignore any judgement from others, i also don’t want to be the only person not eating, or the person eating plain carrot sticks.

    1. You may want to try this: First, eat before you go to such a gathering, if possible and/or have a small snack in your purse to tide you over.

      However, the main thing is: Put just a few bites of the “forbidden food” on a plate, get half a glass of “death soda”– AND DON’T EAT OR DRINK ANY OF IT!

      If someone offers you something to drink, for example, you just hold up your half filled glass and say, “no thanks, I’m still working on this.”

  31. Hi Mark

    I’m all about simplifying one’s life. However, although I’m a positive thinking person, I never thought to reframe the self-negotiation in a positive context. Thus, I got inspired today – for the rest of my life!

    A big thank you!

    P.S. Why do you think only beginners will find this to be a key element?

  32. I have found this IMMENSELY HELPFUL. Seriously, this is the best book on the subject I’ve ever seen, full of useful information on how to stop self-sabotage. It’s called “The Willpower Instinct” by Dr. Kelly McGonegal. It’s also available as an audiobook.

    I’m not making a dime off this, I swear– I’m just that convinced the practical information this book contains CAN make all the difference between success and giving in to temptation. Every chapter helped me discover yet another way I was using mental judo on myself to justify skipping a workout, eating food I shouldn’t, etc.

  33. As a psychotherapist, I personally love the technique of “Internal Family Systems” of which there is a superb self-help book called: “Self-Therapy” by Jay Early.

    It’s a way of negotiating and working with the different parts or roles of ourselves. It can work well for eating and exercising. I’ve literally set up three chairs and have gone through this method with myself with amazing results.

  34. Reminds me of The War of Art and Resistance. The author describes Resistance as a sentient being, not simply a noun.

  35. I like and have done many of the things i see on here and won’t add to those.

    But something unique I would might try is simple practice. Get some cookies (or whatever you like) knowing you won’t have any. Go home, open the box, don’t have any, throw the box away. Success.

    See? You can do it. Part of changing a habit is knowing it’s a real possibility. Don’t think you can do it? You just did. Do it 5 times. Ten times. It getsa little easier.

  36. Just recently my husband and I started a competition: Who can be in healthier for more days and be in better shape for our cruise in July? I have lost 3 pounds since starting, and every time I want to misbehave, I imagine our tally sheet. My competitive side keeps me healthy!

  37. Just a note of refererence: “We have met the enemy and he is us” is from Walt Kelly’s Pogo cartoon strip.