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

The Secret Ingredient to Making Change Stick

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Feb 9th 2012

friendsSometimes the instructions we get in life can be very simple, but not necessarily that easy to engage. There are so many books that come out year after year that we connect to, make us feel good for moments at a time, but for some reason, we just don't end up engaging in the practice the book is telling us about.

Take for example the simple message that when you engage in healthy activities, you feel good and when you engage in unhealthy activities you don't. This could mean engaging in activities from mindfulness, diet, exercise, to letting go of beating yourself up so much.

Aha, there's the culprit. Just when we start to try and do something for ourselves the ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) creep in. "This is just surface stuff, my issues run way deeper than this," or "I'm too busy for this," or "I'm hopeless, this isn't working." We then follow by putting the book, CD, therapy session, etc... down and falling back into the auto-pilot of our lives.

But wait, there's a second culprit. The people you hang out with. Yes, that's right. If there's one thing we've learned, the community we spend time with has a great influence on our ability to actually cultivate change. Take a good look at who you spend most your time with. Are these people supportive of the changes you want to make? Are there other people you don't spend time with who are more supportive? Are there groups or organizations in your area that would be more supportive? Begin spending a bit more time with people and groups who are more supportive and a little less time with those who are not.

This is precisely why I created a free live online interactive monthly call to support people in integrating more mindfulness and the now effect into their lives. It makes it so there is a grounding post, a reminder and a space to go deeper. If you’re interested in this free space just go to The Now Effect Community on the right hand side. 

Most of all, know that it took you many years to get to the state you are in today and it may take some time to work through the ANTS and engage with supportive people. So try and have compassion for yourself along this process and as time goes by, you may notice, overall, there are less ANTS in your head or they bother you less and you feel better about the people you're spending your time with.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interaction provides 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.

    The secret to life! - Wouldn't you like to know - Oct 2nd 2012

    The secret to life, Llama manure (keep it simple :P)

    Think about that 1 :D

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