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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

One Strategy to be More Successful Day to Day

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Apr 23rd 2009

 So many of us have the aspirations to do better, feel better, and improve our lot in life. More often than not we get caught in the rigamaroll of daily living and never really take the actions we wish we could get around to in order to do these things. However, once in a while we gather up the strength and courage to take action and lo and behold something gets in our way and we don't end up in the aspired place we wanted to be. Immediately we start feeling down on ourselves, saying that we knew we couldn't accomplish this, why did we even try? Self judgments of being a loser, worthless, and hopeless start swimming around and we just settle for the status quo. This is easy to happen in daily living and even easier to happen when we're feeling depressed. How do we get unstuck?

In some earlier articles I wrote about anger and walking away from stress I noted this phrase "Forgive and Invite." I want to give this phrase its space in this blog to really stamp in the importance and significance of it. It is completely unhelpful and counterproductive to begin berating ourselves or to allow these self judgments to get a hold of us after slipping in the practices that we wanted to do to get to our desired aims. All this serves to do is create another obstacle because it saps our motivation and energy to begin moving in that direction. Once we understand this, we can begin to see this is a habit of the mind that is looking out for our best interest. How could that be? The deeper you get into the practice toward your goal, the greater the stakes are for failure. By sapping your energy and motivation, you are unlikely to actually do it and therefore unlikely to risk great failure. Our minds are clever, so it's important for us to become aware of these traps.

In Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), we practice the phrase, "forgive and invite."  When you have slipped, notice the mind trap beginning and then notice that you are present. You have noticed that you have slipped and are currently aware. That is wonderful! Now, forgive yourself for those missed days of whatever you hadn't been doing, and now that you are aware, invite yourself to either do it now or make a concrete plan on when you will do it. This gets us back on the path that we want to be on. You may have to practice this forgive and invite over and over again. That is perfectly fine. The purpose is to begin to notice more often when you are present and choose to pay attention, on purpose, to what you want to pay attention to. It can take some time to break an old mind habit.

With and patience and persistence we can get there.

As always, please interact in the comments below. Your thoughts and questions provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    How true - 2002to2009 - Apr 25th 2009

    "The deeper you get into the practice toward your goal, the greater the stakes are for failure. By sapping your energy and motivation, you are unlikely to actually do it and therefore unlikely to risk great failure. Our minds are clever, so it's important for us to become aware of these traps."How true! There's a primitive part of us that thinks it's helping, but it's not (Jeez--did I just personify the brain?). The thing is, it wouldn't need to be "helping" if we didn't stress ourselves out so much!

    live today - steve - Apr 24th 2009

    you hope for tomorrow but live today

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