STOP Doing This

How To Put Yourself On The Fast Track To A Better Life

Unshackling Yourself from Reverse Conditioning: A Guide to Embracing Action and Living Fully

Today, I will teach you about reverse conditioning and the benefits of shifting how you condition your life.

Have you ever found yourself caught in the cycle of saying, “I’ll start that when I feel inspired”, “I’ll go to the gym when I feel energized”, or “I’ll start dating when I’m more confident”? (Guilty ✋)

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By understanding reverse conditioning and eliminating it from your life, you’ll be able to achieve all it is you desire a lot faster, and ultimately, become a lot happier. Sounds pretty great right?

Getting Started Is ALWAYS Better Than Perfection

Reverse conditioning can hold you back from seizing opportunities and embracing life to the fullest.

Reverse conditioning occurs when you believe you must feel a certain way before taking action on something you desire or need to do. It's akin to putting the effect before the cause or the cart before the horse.

This pattern leads to a cycle of procrastination, avoidance, and self-sabotage. Waiting for that elusive perfect moment, mood, or opportunity becomes an endless pursuit, causing us to miss out on the rewards and benefits of taking action.

The truth is, feeling good often stems from doing good. Action creates positive feedback loops, nurturing motivation, confidence, and inspiration.

For instance, if you wish to feel more confident around others, particularly when interacting with someone you're attracted to, waiting for confidence to strike before engaging in conversation won't help. Instead, engaging in conversation itself will cultivate confidence. Through these interactions, you learn communication skills, resilience to rejection, and that others are simply fellow human beings.

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When I was bedridden dealing with extreme anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and misophonia, I was scared and ashamed.

I isolated myself for a long time because I didn’t want to be out in the world until I had resolved my mental suffering.

I was reverse conditioning.

I would say to myself, I will go do x, y, and z once I feel better mentally.

This was a recipe for disaster, as over time, I felt worse mentally rather than better.

Fortunately, I eventually started working with a practitioner who called me out on my bs and explained the fallacy of reverse conditioning to me.

Instead of sitting at home reading health books, talking to doctors, and meditating 24/7, I decided I was going to start going to yoga every single day.

A special note for you if you have misophonia - it can be hard to accept this mentality at times. However, I believe in you. You’re a lot stronger than you think.

The way I shifted my attitude was, every situation I go into where there will be triggers is an opportunity for me to overcome them. In yoga, there are a few triggers present, however, rather than avoiding going, whenever I hear one I would try to think of a REALLY positive memory, or respond by saying thank you over and over in my mind, or by thinking about how funny it is that this sound was creating this emotional reaction. See this article for more information.

By forcing myself to go to yoga every day several things happened.

  1. I became more confident as I faced head-on the anxiety that was holding me back - the fear of people finding out about my mental struggles, that I wasn’t doing okay, and that I didn’t have my life together. Surprise, nobody’s perfect, despite what you see on Instagram.

  2. I made amazing new friends who lived healthy lifestyles and were good influences. Most of the people you meet who regularly attend yoga are healthy, loving, and wise people.

  3. I realized that people want to help others. When I shared what I was going through, people would come ask me questions and tell me their own stories of dealing with depression, anxiety, etc, and how they overcame or managed it. I started feeling awesome about my own story.

  4. Guess whatttttt… I started to feel better and happier! Building this sense of community around yoga did wonders for me. And eventually I realized, “Hey, if I can make it through yoga classes, I can do more things outside of yoga.” I started seeing more friends, writing this newsletter/blog, thinking positively about the future, and LIVING life again.

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So, how can you break free from the shackles of reverse conditioning and start truly living? Here are some actionable tips:

  1. Identify Areas of Reverse conditioning: Recognize the aspects of your life where you consistently postpone actions due to feelings of unreadiness or unworthiness.

  2. Challenge Limiting Beliefs: Question why you believe you must feel a certain way before acting. Is this belief genuinely true? Ask yourself when you started believing this and question it.

  3. Shift to "Do-Feel" Mentality: Replace "when-then" statements with "do-feel" statements. Instead of waiting for a feeling to act (e.g., "I'll go to the gym when I feel motivated"), commit to action first, knowing that the feeling will follow (e.g., "I'll go to the gym and then I'll feel motivated, energized, healthy, etc").

  4. Take Consistent Small Actions: Avoid waiting for the perfect moment. Begin with manageable, consistent actions. For instance, start with a ten-minute daily exercise routine, or going to yoga. Gradually increase duration and intensity as habits form.

  5. Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and reward yourself for taking action. Celebrate even the smallest victories, appreciating your growth and progress.

“But Chris, my anxiety and depression are so bad I can’t even”

You’re not alone. I used to feel the same way. Getting out of bed was seemingly impossible.

At one point, I didn’t shower for almost three weeks. I had to decide that I wasn’t going to let my mental health dictate my life anymore and that regardless of how I felt, I was going to keep doing seemingly hard things.

Reverse conditioning with our mental health can often make us believe that certain emotions or mental states must precede taking action. It's a mindset that perpetuates avoidance, exacerbating anxiety or deepening depression.

Consider this: waiting for anxiety to fade before socializing may only reinforce avoidance. Instead, engaging in social activities, even with initial discomfort, can gradually diminish anxiety.

This gradual exposure helps in desensitization, eventually making social interactions less daunting and contributing to a sense of empowerment and ease.

Whether you struggle with mental health issues or not, identifying areas in your life where you are waiting for the perfect moment to do something, and STARTING instead of waiting, will pay huge dividends for you down the road.

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Remember, you will feel x by doing y. Starting is better than perfection. Love yourself and embrace this growth mentality.

As always, feel free to ping me with any questions. I hope this post was valuable to you. Thank you so much for sharing Mental Martial Arts, it means the world to me.

Love you,



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