Blog How To Overcome Negative Thinking Traps with Javier Bajer

How To Overcome Negative Thinking Traps with Javier Bajer

Javier Bajer is a cognitive psychologist, cultural architect and a trailblazer in Leadership Performance and Culture Change.

As part of our marathon top tips, Javier Bajer gives us an insight into how to change our thinking to overcome our barriers to changing behaviours. Read on to see Javier's insight into altering our behaviours. 

You are ready to go: the right kit, a step-by-step incremental plan to get you training, and a series of rewards strategically placed to reinforce your milestones.   

Focussing on behaviours is great, but, behind our behaviours, we have our BELIEFS, which might get in the way. They have the potential to boycott your most well thought-through plans, disempowering you and convincing you to give up.

The key is to understand that our brain often falls into certain thinking patterns that helped our ancestors to survive. With modern life providing nearly 100% chances of survival, these cognitive biases become traps, stopping us from doing the things that we want, whether that's 'get fitter', run a marathon, find a better job, or have a more fulfilling relationship. 

brains-thinking.jpgOur brains can fall into thinking patterns which are barriers to changing behaviours or building habits


Here are the 5 most common thinking traps that might get in the way when training for a marathon:

1. All or nothing thinking: "I'm not good at this, so I'm not going to try"

2. Overgeneralization: "Gyms are boring" or "Running is for young people"

3. Fortune telling: "It will hurt my knees"

4. Future discount: “I won’t train today.  I’ll have more energy tomorrow"

5. Emotional reasoning: "I don't feel like it today"


Overcoming thinking traps is the key to changing habits


Once you have spotted a thinking trap, acknowledge it and treat it merely as a trap. Try re-writing those beliefs with ones using concrete, fair evidence.   

For example:

1. I haven’t done this before, so I don’t know whether I am good at it yet. 

2. Some gyms can be boring, but I don’t know all of them.  Running is easier when you are younger, but I know that there are people who started even later than me.

3. It might hurt my knees if I overdo it — I’ll need to wear knee-pads / take it easy

4. I might feel the same tomorrow, so better get going now.

5. I don’t feel like running now, but it is just a feeling. I might feel different if I start moving.


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