How to Stop Beating Yourself Up

WARNING: DO NOT just watch this, nod your head and go on with your life. These videos are short nuggets, but APPLYING them is infinitely more important. Take time to think about them, absorb them, look over the study questions, and think of just one way to apply them to your own situation.


  • “I really should do that” is code for “actually, I’m not going to do it at all.”
  • Feeling guilty doesn’t motivate you to change, it just makes you feel bad. True behavioral change is a result of triggers in our lives. e.g., a 10 year high school reunion, an old dress that doesn’t fit anymore, or a friend having a baby.
  • How you describe yourself becomes your self-concept. “I want to do that, but I’m just really lazy.” Focus on getting one quick win to overcome this.
  • Develop a mindset of abundance, not scarcity. e.g., “Instead of dropping sweets/carbs/T.V. completely, I’m going to give myself one cheat day a week and do whatever I want guilt free.”
  • 4 steps to overcome guilt:
    • Step 1: Acknowledge the guilt and examine it like a scientist.
    • Step 2: Use the five-why technique. “Why am I actually doing this?”
    • Step 3: Write it down.
    • Step 4: Come back to this tomorrow and take action.

Study Questions

  1. What is one thing you are constantly feeling guilty about? Why aren’t you taking action? Is there a quick win that could help you overcome this in the next 48 hours? (E.g., “I know I should read more. I always say I’m going to get some book from the library, but I don’t end up doing it because their website says it is checked out. Tomorrow morning I will order three books from Amazon that look interesting.”)
  2. Think about an area of your life where you have developed a negative self-concept. How do you describe yourself? If a friend asked you about it, would you describe yourself in the same way or try to justify it? (This is a key indication of guilt.) What are the short and long term effects? (E.g., “I want to start running, but it’s hard to get motivated. I know I’m being lazy, but when my friends ask I say things like, ‘I’m so busy these days’ or ‘I need to get a new pair of shoes first.’ Short term I’m not reaching my goal of losing 10 lbs, and long term I’m starting to see myself as someone who doesn’t have an active lifestyle.”)
  3. Is there something you struggled with in the past and eventually accomplished? How did you do it? Instead of trying to duplicate that methodology, could you focus on the two or three steps that had the biggest impact?