Will Negative Thinking Sabotage My Recovery Goals?

Even with negative thoughts racing through your head, it may be hard to focus on anything else, especially those ambitions. Goals can seem hard to achieve when the mindset is not right. Negative thinking can get in the way of your recovery if you don’t stop it in its tracks. Here are some strategies to use to try and combat the stinkin’ thinkin’

Getting Past Negativity

One of the ways to turn negative thoughts into positive ones is to provide a counterpoint every time you have a doubt or find a reason not to do something. Thoughts can move fast and are hard to track if you are not focused. There are some ways to combat this way of thinking that will benefit you in the long term.


The best (and easiest) way to combat negative thinking is to do a point-counterpoint with each negative thought. Start with grabbing a piece of paper and writing down all your goals in a bullet list format. This may be anything you want to accomplish, big or small. Start with:

  • Making your bed in the morning
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Focusing on work initiatives
  • Note personal goals

After you finish writing down a list of personal goals, next to it, write why you cannot accomplish it. Use all the negative words you tell yourself. It may look something like:

  • Make the bed: I’m too lazy or tired to care
  • Drink enough water: I am not disciplined enough
  • Focus on work initiatives: I am not capable of having more responsibility and feel worthless
  • Learn a new language or other personal goals: I’m too stupid, don’t have the money, skills, or time

Now that you have a list of negatives, it is time to take and turn those around. You don’t want to sit and dwell on the negative but you cannot face what you don’t acknowledge.


Take out another sheet of paper and write the same goals, only this time write a counterpoint for those negative thoughts creeping in:

  • Make your bed: I’ll feel so much better if I do this
  • Drinking water: I work hard and need to keep my body healthy (plus I feel better)
  • Learn a new language or get goals moving forward: I have the skills and passion if I dedicate myself to it

When you finish, put this list somewhere you will see it each day. Anytime you start to doubt your capacity of accomplishing a goal, refer back to it. Remind yourself of negative thoughts and that they are not reality. They will try to trick you into thinking you’ll never succeed. This is not true. Visualize these thoughts and then find ways to turn them around. When you use positive thinking strategies, you will find accomplishing your goals is not as hard as it seems.

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