water bottle, apple, hand weight with text overlay: Tips to Avoid a Negative Mindset When Contemplating Wellness Changes

[Wellness] Tips to Avoid a Negative Mindset When Contemplating Wellness Changes

Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! Now that we’re approaching the end of the year, how satisfied are you with your overall wellness? If any areas of your “wellness wheel” are a little flat, you may be thinking about changes you need to make in the coming year.

The problem is, even when we have great intentions of improving our wellness,  we may subconsciously be resistant to change. Your brain might be like my son was with one of his stocking stuffers one year…

When he was about three years old, one of the small gifts in his Christmas stocking was a set of ‘Bow Biters.’ These were little plastic clips in the shape of characters (these were Animal from Sesame Street) that you clipped on the bow you tied with the shoe laces to keep them from coming untied.

As he opened this little gift he started crying. When I asked why he was crying, he said, “I don’t wike ’em.” I said, “that’s okay, we’ll just put them aside for now. Maybe you’ll like them later on.” He started crying even harder and through his tears said, “I won’t nebber wike ’em!” Needless to say, the Bow Biters disappeared, never to be seen again.

This was many years ago, but it’s still kind of a running joke in our family. If there’s something we don’t like or we’re asked to do something we we don’t want to do, we’re quick to say “I won’t nebber wike it.”

How many times do our wellness efforts fall victim to that mentality? We try something once, aren’t particularly comfortable with it, and decide it’s just not for us. Or maybe we think about trying something, but it looks like it might be too hard or time-consuming. Perhaps we think we have too many different things to work on, so we might as well not even start.

We convince ourselves that ______________(you fill in the blank) won’t work for us, so we might as well give up. We decide we “won’t nebber wike it.”

So how do we defeat that negative mindset as we contemplate making wellness changes? Here are a few tips that may help:

Review previous wellness efforts. Before deciding on wellness changes, it’s a good idea to take stock of things we’ve tried in the past. What worked? What didn’t? What new habits were you able to successfully maintain? Are there things you can build on?

Only tackle one thing. Rather than trying to tackle multiple areas of wellness at once, it can be helpful to choose one thing at a time to work on. As we talked about in Why One Small Change Can Improve Wellness, gradual changes allow us to build a foundation for wellness that we can stick with. Because we’re not trying to make a bunch of changes all at once we’re able to stick with the changes we are making.

Start small. Rather than trying to make sweeping changes, which can set us up for failure, small actions that give us early successes can help us feel more confident and give us the desire to try other things. For some suggestions of small things you can do, please check out 20 Small Things You Can Do to Improve Your Wellness This Year,  21 Small Ways to Move More and 11 Easy Ways to Eat More Fruits and Veggies.

Try new things, even if they’re not something you would normally do. You never know, doing something new and different might be just what you need to make progress. Remember that anytime we do something new, it might take a couple of times doing it before we know whether it’s something we want to stick with or not.

Build on the good habits you’ve already established. Often, rather than doing something completely new, just building on good habits you’ve already established can pay huge dividends. The real key to improving wellness is consistency. Developing healthy habits that you can maintain over time and building on those good habits ensures that consistency.

These small things can help us not only combat a negative mindset toward wellness changes; they can help set us up for long-term success. They can also change our mindset from a ‘deprivation’ mindset to an ‘addition’ one – we’re not having to ‘give up’ things; we’re just adding new ones.

This time of year is usually not the ideal time to start making wellness changes. With the busy-ness of the holidays, all the fabulous food, and the stress that can accompany all the additional social obligations, sometimes it’s just better to work to maintain the healthy habits we already have in place.

That doesn’t mean we should just forget about wellness though – this is a good time to start thinking about how we’re doing with our overall wellness and start thinking about how we want to proceed with our wellness endeavors.

How do you feel about your overall wellness? Have you been able to develop and maintain any healthy new habits this year? Please share!




  1. Oh gosh no…. but I keep starting over. Ride stationary bike 10 min a day (not ready to do more—it’s mental). Drinking LOTS of water and logging all of it. And just yesterday started logging my food and other liquid intake. And go to gym once a week to exercise 15-30 minutes.

    1. Wow, Ruth, it sounds like you’re doing lots of good things! I like your attitude – just keep starting over when things don’t go as planned. You know that old saying, “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall; what matters is how many times you get up.” Thanks for sharing!

  2. My husband lost 50 lbs and I decided three weeks ago to join him on his journey. Have lost 5 lbs so far, but am pleased with myself. I have no doubt my body will appreciate the effort.

    1. Congratulations to you both V.J.! That’s wonderful! It’s great that you have a “partner in crime” too. That way, you guys can help each other stay on track. Blessings to you sweet friend!

  3. I am a believer in baby steps. A small change that is consistent can have result in drastic change over time. And while I sometimes do add more than one new thing at a time, it can make it very hard to figure out what is actually helping!

  4. 😞 Not good and I haven’t in a long time. I like your suggestion about small steps. I also have noticed if I buy healthy food I eat healthy food so I guess I can build from there.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Shelie! I’m so sorry you’re not feeling great about your overall wellness right now, but it sounds like you’ve identified a place to start. Having healthy food around so that it’s what you end up eating is a great thing to do. That definitely helps set you up for success! Blessings to you!

  5. Terri! I need to do some reading. I still love the wellness Wednesday posts! I agree, once we’ve tried something… that’s it! It pays to go back and try some things again! I found some old things that work for me now! AND something that worked no longer do.😊

    1. Thanks so much Kim! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried something once and then decided it wasn’t for me, especially when it comes to group exercise classes since I’m so uncoordinated. I’ve learned over the years, though, that it usually pays to try again. Sometimes I end up liking things I absolutely hated before. Also, like you, I’ve found that some things that used to work don’t anymore. Being open to change helps us not get stuck in those unhelpful habits. Hope you’re enjoying yourself dear friend! Sending hugs!

  6. As always Terri you get us thinking about how to do a better job at taking care of our health and I deeply appreciate you for it. you are absolutely right, when you are ill, everything is more difficult, and trying new things add more stress to your life……..but, we have to tell ourselves that it will be worth our efforts or we may give up too soon.

    1. Thank you so much Wendi! One small step at a time is so much easier to start and maintain, especially when we live with chronic illness. Trying new things can definitely scary, but sometimes those things that scare us can turn out to be something we needed. Hope you’re doing well sweet friend!

      1. you are absolutely right Terri! the whole thing is scary and exhausting – but I believe there is hope and healing for all of us, if we can just find the right combination of of inputs 🙂

    1. Wow, it sounds like you’ve found a great new doctor Melinda! It’s such a good feeling to be heard and understood, isn’t it? I’m glad you’ve found someone who understands and may be able to work with you to help your pain levels more effectively. Blessings to you sweet friend!

  7. An addition mindset really does make a difference. When you start seeing change for the positives it brings then, at least in my experience it becomes easier to stay the course.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! I agree with you about it being easier to stay the course when you start seeing some positive change. It’s always easier to keep with it when you can see some results. That’s why small changes that you can do consistently are so important. Thanks also for the follow – I look forward to getting to know you. Blessings to you!

      1. Exactly. Results serve as motivation. I look forward to reading more of your posts!
        I just started a blog: irazemagarcia.com I’d love for you to check it out.

  8. Bow biters? I’ve never heard of them. How can he not wike ‘em? I would wuv ‘em!
    Really good example to segue into this, and you’re right, that mentality can be a barrier because we’re steeling ourselves against something, setting it up for failure really, when we resist. I think that if It’s not going to cost you must (risk factor, rather than actual cost), then it’s worth trying, even if briefly. You don’t know until you try, as the saying goes. Noentheless, I’ll admit I do find myself thinking the same sometimes and facing that same mentality, so these are very helpful tips to consider.
    Fantastic post as always, Terri!
    Now, where can I buy a pair of these bow biters? 😉
    Caz xx

    1. Thanks so much Caz! I wish I could get you a set of bow biters, but they probably don’t even make them anymore. 😁 I’d guess most of us probably struggle with that negative mindset from time to time. Sometimes it seems easier to keep the status quo instead of risking changes, even if those changes might be good. Hope you’re doing well sweet friend. Sending hugs your way!

  9. I loved this post Terri. You can make all the plans in the world but your mindset needs to work in conjunction with it. Most people don’t realize how powerful the mind is.

  10. Love this post Terri! I’m including it in my gift post this Friday with a link 😀

    I have implemented the following changes for wellness this year;
    No added sugars,
    No processed foods,
    Low carbs,
    Low fat,
    Increased low impact activity to between 120 – 150 minutes per week (depending on FM fatigue),
    Lost 5 kgs in weight. Doing the happy dance! 😀
    Bless you,

    1. Thank you so much Jennifer, and congratulations on all your positive changes this year! Woo hoo!!! I’m glad you’ve found ways to implement your wellness changes within the parameters your Fibro allows. You’re a great example of someone who is thriving, not just surviving! Thanks so much for including me in your post on Friday – I look forward to reading your post! Blessings to you sweet friend!

  11. Terri, thank you for another thought provoking post! You always hit right on point and I particularly enjoy the helpful and honest points other readers share in your comment section. I’ve been making a conscious effort to fit in a half hour walk as many days a week as I can. Sometimes I do well, some weeks not so good but I try to remain positive and get back out there as soon as I can again.

    1. Thank you so much Marie, and thank you for sharing! You all share so many helpful tips, and I truly appreciate it! I hope you’re doing well sweet friend. I’ve gotten waaayyy behind on everything blog-related this month, so I’m playing catch-up. Sending hugs your way!

      1. It is, and this month has just been so busy I just had to concentrate on “the next thing” which meant, unfortunately, that blogging had to take a backseat…. I really enjoyed it all, though. I think next year I may just plan to take December off from everything except Christmas. Wishing you a wonderful new year, full of all good things! Sending hugs your way!

  12. I’ve made it a point to focus on myself more. My first step was setting time aside in the mornings for me. Whether it was the gym, or coffee with a book. I want some time everyday that is uninterrupted, even if that means waking up before the sun! I implemented before the New Years though. I don’t believe in waiting for the right time. If I want the change, I do it!

    1. Thanks for sharing Dana! I like the idea of setting time aside just for you. Like you, I don’t believe in waiting for the right time. If we wait until circumstances are perfect to start something, we’ll never get started. Wishing you lots of health and happiness!

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