1. ‘If I’m good, eventually I’ll get the life I deserve.’ Newsflash, you are already good enough. As we all know, success does not only come to those who deserve it.
2. ‘Some day my prince will come.’ Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. But don’t waste your precious, lovely life waiting. The frog prince is the world’s most popular romantic metaphor for a reason – it happens every day.
3. ‘I’ll save those for a special occasion.’ No, you won’t. Whether it’s a gorgeous party dress or vintage Royal Doulton china, it’s pretty much guaranteed that said items will languish in the back of a cupboard. Use them today. To quote author Loretta LaRoche: ‘Life is short, wear your party pants.’
4. ‘When I achieve X, “they” will finally tell me they love me.’ Trouble is, they probably won’t. If someone doesn’t approve of you today, let go of trying to change their opinion tomorrow. And for heaven’s sake don’t make major life choices in the hopes of winning them over.
5. ‘If only I lost 10lbs, I’d feel happy with myself.’ OK, so you might feel better, but only for about five minutes and the novelty will wear off. And in any case, you’re unlikely to ever lose weight starting from a place of self-loathing. Make peace with the way you look now and change is more likely to happen.
6. ‘It’s all their fault...’ When life hits a U-bend, it’s tempting to blame other people, be it an unsupportive parent, toxic partner or mean boss. You may well be right, circumstances may be down to them. But blaming them is keeping you stuck and giving them power they don’t deserve. Success is the best revenge.
7. ‘I’ll pay off my credit card bills when I get a large chunk of money.’ From where, the tooth fairy? While it’s comforting to fantasise about the lottery win/billionaire husband you haven’t met yet, the banks are laughing all the way to the, er, bank, with those interest charges. Three words, zero balance transfer.
8. ‘Hey, the kid can sing...’ Somewhere deep in all of our hearts is a fantasy about our talents being fully seen by another person, usually a person with the power to offer us, if not an international recording contract, then at least gold-plated permission to do the thing we dream of doing. The good news is this – the only person who can really give you permission is you. Ask her, she’s not going to say no.
9. ‘I’ll do it tomorrow...’ Why is it that we imagine that we will magically feel more in the mood for getting out of our comfort zone the day after today? Any daunting task, be it doing your accounts or getting down to that screenplay/exercise regime, is not going to get easier tomorrow, because you’ll have a much heavier burden of expectation on yourself. It’s far better to do five minutes of a task right now, than promise five hours tomorrow.
10. ‘I can’t believe they let me down like that, this relationship is over.’ Looking to one person, be it a romantic partner or best friend, to meet too many of our needs is a recipe for disappointment. Everyone has their limitations and you may be expecting more from a particular person than they’re capable of giving. American coach Cheryl Richardson has a useful maxim: ‘Don’t go to the hardware store for milk.’ In other words, don’t call your recently divorced friend if you want someone to listen to you swoon over your new love interest.