If you’re interested in self-improvement, you’ve probably read—or at least heard of—Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey’s premise is compelling and simple: that people who are productive, happy, engaged, and effective share what he calls “true north” character traits, habits that connect with their inner compasses and keep them aligned with their core, essential selves.
In other words, being happy and effective is a matter of changing your thoughts and behaviors. Even more importantly, you need to practice these new thoughts and behaviors until they’re as “hardwired” into your brain as the negative stuff you’ve been doing to shoot yourself in the foot.
Bringing the negative thoughts and behaviors to a screeching halt isn’t always easy—in part because some of those thoughts and behaviors have been with us for so long they’re practically reflexive; we’re not even aware we’re doing it. There are all kinds of insidiously creative ways we can undermine ourselves and keep ourselves stuck. Do any of these sound familiar to you?