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The show “The Biggest Loser” is very popular. In it we see men and women who are determined to make monumental changes and are willing to embrace new habits and significant personal discomfort to do so. When I recently asked one of my friends what they most like about the show, they expressed how inspired they are to see the beauty that comes forth in each person as they intentionally transform their appearance, shedding excesses in their behavior and from their bodies that no longer serve them.

The same is possible for each of us on a social and emotional level. We all have some habits and excesses that no longer serve us, and that we would benefit from losing. Our transformation, and the beauty that would come forth from us and within us, would be a sight to behold. The greatest benefit is that each of us can become and enjoy the fulfillment of being more of who we truly are-magnificent!

“Cultivate only the habits that you are willing should master you.”

– Elbert Hubbard, Author and Publisher

Emotionally and socially, what habits would it benefit us to lose, drop or put down to become more extraordinary in our relationships and in our lives? I suggest three harmful social and emotional habits that we can definitely benefit from losing.

Doubt and Fear

One habit to lose is the nurturing of doubt and fear. It’s understandable that negative thoughts come into our minds. The challenge is to proactively stop that flow as soon as it appears. It’s similar to a person who’s decided to eat healthy. They must stop themselves mid- stream, in the moment, and put down a poor food choice. We overindulge in doubt and fear when we not only think about but also speak negative thoughts out loud, which only serves to reinforce a pessimistic “what if” story. In turn, others often become inspired to join us in doubt and fear, usually at great cost. We sap our own energy and that of others, often without awareness of the destructive effects.

An example of this is when I attended my first parent training class in 1984. I walked in with my son, who was four at the time, and said, “This is my son, the biter.” After he was out of earshot, the instructor pulled me aside and said, “Your first lesson is to stop speaking about your son except to express what you want to nurture and cultivate in him. Then train yourself to have only positive thoughts about him.” She was teaching me to lose the habit of nurturing doubt and fear in my son and in myself.


Similarly, another habit to lose is gossip. In our work with clients, we provide an exercise called “creating a mind trust.” In the exercise we ask everyone in the program to mingle with each of his or her co-workers and make a one-on-one, face-to-face commitment to cease any gossip about him or her. We ask them to say, “I commit to you that I will not talk negatively about you behind your back, and that if I have an issue with you, I will come directly to you. Also, if anyone comes to me to talk about you behind your back, I won’t listen. I’ll direct them back to you.” Gossip is the number one contributor to poor trust and many other negative side effects, so lose the gossip and indulge in creating mind trusts.


A third habit to lose is blame, of others and of self. For many, this feels counter-intuitive because we have heard and seen blame modeled so much that it almost appears as a fact of life. Blame is actually a very costly habit with the number one side effect being that it’s the greatest way to recreate any negative event you are facing and blaming about. Instead of blaming, choose to affirm that you, and you alone, are the author of every experience in your life, and that each is a golden opportunity, no matter how bleak things look. Then choose to also insist that in every moment, you and everyone around you, is doing the best they can and it’s good enough

As published nationally in the column Emotional Intelligence in Women’s Journals, February 2008

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