More often than you may realize, a negative mindset makes the difference between achieving a goal--whether related to health, career, personal relationships, or any other area--and failing to reach it.

What is mindset? It's your pattern of thought. Think of mindset as that little voice in your head. It either gets you through a challenge by building you up and cheering you on--or makes simple tasks impossible by chanting insults and discouragement. Poor mindset can even make a person more likely to struggle with frequent illness, weight control issues, poor working relationships, and premature aging.

A negative mindset is powerful, but it is not absolute. You can learn to adjust your thinking pattern. Forming a positive mindset means abandoning all those old habits that don't serve you, erasing the constant internal soundtrack of negativity, and moving forward.

Let's take a closer look at some thoughts that could indicate an underlying negative mindset. Better yet, we'll examine the flip side of those ideas--how to turn negativity on its ear and adopt productive, can-do thinking.

1) "I have such a hard time sticking with something new."
Welcome to the have a lot of company. Have you ever thought you're just getting a better fitness or nutrition routine in place, and then something happens to break the momentum, like birthday cake after no-sugar days? Pretty soon you're sliding back to the afternoon cookie snacks--and then giving up.

A better message: "I can have my cake...and get right back to eating good food, too."
A couple of waves in the water are no reason to abandon ship. Observe what's really happening, and remind yourself of the larger goal. If sugar is sneaking back in during holidays, for example, intervene to end that pattern. So you ate a piece of fruitcake. Now move past the dessert table and on to the rest of life.

The sooner you return to the place where you felt in control, energized, and confident--the place you were before those snacks appeared--the sooner you can give up the up the burdensome guilt, remorse, premature aging, and extra weight that come with overindulgence.

2) "I don't have any support. I have so few friends."
One of the most common complaints about social media is the perception that everyone is having so much fun, business success, and personal connection--except you. When you're looking to meet a new goal, this feeling can be especially defeating.

A better message: "The only constant in life is change."
This applies to friendships as much as it does to anything else. Your former field hockey teammates may be "friending" you on Facebook, but they may not share your interests and choices today. In other words, are they your real friends?

Step away from the computer for a moment. What are the activities and interests that speak to who you are right now? Seek out those communities. That's where you'll find the support that matters. If yoga is your preferred exercise these days, you'll be far more flexible, have much greater endurance and yes, even stay younger in a class with like-minded individuals than you will chasing up and down with a hockey stick. Ommm.

3) "I just can't say 'No.'"
Want to be helpful and show that you care? You won't have the energy or brainpower to do that for long if you neglect to take care of yourself, too. If you say "yes" to requests while sacrificing your own self-care and valuable me-time, then it's time to get tougher.

A better message: "I can politely refuse."
Have you been too helpful for too long? Over-serving at your own expense contributes to the age-accelerators of resentment and fatigue. Perhaps it's time to make some changes.

Don't say "yes" when you need to say "not now." Please don't make extra promises to others before you've given yourself a much-needed break. Continue to weigh choices carefully even if your polite refusal isn't well received at first. Maybe it's time to enlist someone else's help to run those errands? Don't you feel lighter already?

4) "I'm too busy. Health can wait."
The world moves at a fast pace these days. Sometimes it feels like all you can do is stay caught up, or at least not too far behind. But if you're running around without regard for informed self-care, you might not be happy with the results later--premature aging, pain, illness, and just not feeling and looking like you hoped you would.

A better message: "Starting now can make my 'later' more fun."
Procrastinating preventative health and wellness can backfire dramatically. Just like any high performance machine, your body requires maintenance to keep it running smoothly and top grade fuel and fluids for highest performance and maneuverability. Deprive it of this care, and your body could be headed toward a breakdown--maybe long before you reach "high mileage." Don't take that chance.

5) "I'd like to look and feel more youthful, but I don't know how."
Feeling run down, catching colds, and suffering joint pain and poor skin tone? A major contributing factor could be what you're presently eating. Perhaps you know that there are natural ways to feel better, but the choices and confusion seem overwhelming.

A better message: "Guidance is there--I just have to ask for it."
You need easy-to-follow guidelines for nutrition. It's not easy keeping up with all the latest reports appearing in the media. (For example, are eggs still on the do-not-eat list, or is that just for the yolks?) Finding a reliable source of sound information is a good first step. There are many Internet sites that can help you begin to get on a healthier, more youthful plan--just take the time to search them out, and be sure to skip any "authority" that makes wild claims. Here's a start: A good plan includes basic proteins, vegetables, and a portion of whole grain, with healthy fats added in for your memory and circulation. And remember, you don't have to go it alone. Check with your doctor or enlist the guidance of an alternative health specialist.

Negative mindset is a challenging problem, but with determination and practice, you can build a new, healthier thinking pattern.

Author's Bio: 

Roberta Roberts Mittman, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., M.S., is a nutritional and lifestyle consultant, holistic mindset mentor, and nationally board-certified acupuncturist. Using natural, drug-free techniques, Roberta opens the door to complete mind-body health. Roberta's goal is not only to relieve patients' illness and discomfort, but to help them set realistic goals for physical and mental preventative care and overall wellness. Roberta believes in empowering individuals to be their own best healers.