Self-Care and Shopping

In this age of social media, self-care has become associated with spas, massages, boutiques, workouts and saunas. All of which require serious amounts of cash.

Self-care is made to sound expensive and claimed to be a need by an industry, that while they may care about you, are also motivated by a bottom line.

We are encouraged to take mini-breaks and “treat” ourselves by spending, on expensive products.

However, I propose that you don’t have to earn a six digit salary to make caring for yourself a priority.

In fact, daily self-care as a practice is simple and effective because it is about getting the basics right. It takes more effort, but a lot less cash.

Doing these 10 things will shift the needle for you significantly more than spending on luxury items that lose their magic within a few hours or days after purchase.

Try these and I assure you that you will have a significant shift and will make you feel better long term.

1. Eat cleanly

Eat foods like they look in nature, rather than after they have been processed.

A handful of raw or toasted nuts will be more beneficial than a commercially produced nut bar.

2. Sleep: Get 8 hours sleep, including 1-2 hours of deep sleep

Yes, getting 8 hours of sleep regularly does have a cumulative effect on your mind and body. This includes 1-2 hours of deep sleep.

Some ideas on how you can make this happen:

  • Charge your device in another room overnight – you won’t be tempted to pick it up and start scrolling and then shopping.
  • If you have a partner who snores, bless them, sleep in another room.
    It doesn’t mean that you don’t love them – it’s self care.
    Even the Queen of England sleeps in room separate from the Duke.

3. Read a physical book

Yes, a physical book – not on your kindle or phone where there are pop-ups. Reading a physical book is a far more soothing experience than reading on technology.

Books uplift you, expand your mind & require you to be in the pre-frontal cortex – an area of the mind that is not as prone to distress and emotional upset.

Visit a library – Magazines can cost upwards of $10, but also can be borrowed from the library for 50 cents per week.

4. Exercise

As daily practice walk for 30 minutes around the block. Initially, it can feel difficult to make these changes, but after just 3 days you will feel significantly better.

5. Drink 2-3 liters of water

Sounds crazy as a self care action right? But, I assure you that once you start you will not go back. Being well hydrated with water, will exponentially improve your sense of well being and focus.

6. Friendship circle – Circle of influence

It is said that we become the sum average of those we surround ourselves with.

Associate with happy, goal orientated people, you will be inspired to be happy and goal orientated.

Associate with negative, toxic, people who complaining continually, guess that the result will be?

Having a good social circle positively impacts your mental and emotional health. Spending time with them, chatting, laughing, discussing issues will have a positive impact on our body and mind.

The more good people you surround yourself with, the better your circle influence will be.

7. Clean and organize living space

A messy space effects your mental health and the efficiency of your daily routine.

Spending time cleaning up your living and work-space is a gesture of self-care and self-love. After a while a clean space to live and work in will be less of chore to create for yourself and the impact soothing.

8. Reduce amount of time spent on social media

Unlimited scrolling, over a long periods of time only yields a lot of unnecessary problems. Things like sleep disturbance, a feeling of missing out, damage to eye-sight and lowered self-esteem.

Social media is great to have in our lives as it connects and entertain but it also snatches our sense of worthiness and well-being, leaving us numb to the beauty around us.

9. Meditate and check in with yourself and others

Spending time on your own self, taking a break and reflecting on your current position in life. In this moment – are you hungry or full, what brings you joy, are you focusing on what you don’t have vs what you do?

Asking yourself these questions as this will free your mind a lot.

10. Find a hobby that does not require a screen

Shutting off the electronics for a while and spending precious time doing a fun activity or hobby will nourish you.

Electronic media entertains our mind, but hobbies and physical activities nourish the mind, heart, body and soul.

These actions are genuine self-care that won’t send you into debt or require a trip to the mall.

Let’s redefine self care and get the basics right first.

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Ishani Noble is a Chartered Accountant and Mindset coach that helps individuals whose shopping habits are impacting their finances and relationships to understand why they over shop and how to stop.

If you are ready to change and want an experienced guide to show you how to stop over shopping and improve your self-worth, reach out for a FREE strategy session for us to discuss your particular situation.

Developing Impulse and Self Control

Do you wonder why you can’t control your impulses to shop?

Do you ever think to yourself that you need to have more self-control?

Do your family or friends question your shopping habits and say you need to develop more self-control, but they can never tell you how?

You’re not alone. 

Let me say that again: You are not alone. 

When it comes to practicing self-control—be it for shopping habits or another area of one’s life—most people could do with a little help. In the US alone, there are over 18 million people who struggle with this—and that’s just for shopping!

How to Practice Self-Control

There are two ways of practicing self-control in your life.

First, you can demand it of yourself. And second, is through a by-product of Attention Control. 


Let’s tackle the first one—Demand it of yourself.

Demanding self-control of yourself is when you:

  • beat yourself up with criticism
  • shame yourself
  • take on others’ criticisms of you
  • remove all temptations
  • avoid the malls
  • do a “No-buy” challenge

This means that you force yourself to behave in a way that is uncomfortable and unnatural to you

While this method produces short-term results, it’s important to know that it doesn’t always work for the long-term.

Attention Control

The second, and more effective way is to grow self-control, is a by-product of Attention Control.

Attention Control is what we call your capacity to choose what you pay attention to and what you ignore. We all have this powerful ability, and yet very few people know how to use it in a way that propels them forward to achieving their long-term goals. 

Attention Control is a skill and mastering it is the key to developing impulse control and getting a handle on the desires that cause individuals to impulse shop.

By exercising Attention Control, you engage the executive functions of your brain. What follows is a by-product that is the ability to control yourself. 

60,000 Thoughts a Day

According to science, we have over 60,000 thoughts a day, and these thoughts have the power to take us in all sorts of directions, feelings, emotions, and experiences. It is these 60,000 thoughts that lead us to over-shop, over-eat, and over-drink, among other things.

By learning Attention Control i.e., to control your attention, you will have a leg-up on developing self-control, without the need to berate yourself and harm your self-esteem and self-worth.


Abraham Lincoln said, “Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”

In a moment of temptation, the mind cleverly creates many justifications and reasonings as to why an unplanned purchase is a sensible thing to do. 

Learning to notice these false justifications, and questioning them in the moment of temptation, will give you a way to reign in your impulse shopping before it turns into a destructive habit.

Stopping a destructive shopping habit will require you to develop impulse control and self-control.  We can only learn these however, by first learning attention control.


Ishani Noble is a Chartered Accountant and Mindset coach that helps individuals whose shopping habits impacting their finances and relationships to understand why they overshop and how to stop.

If you are ready to change and want an experienced guide to show you how to stop and change this in your life, reach out for a FREE strategy session for us to discuss your particular situation.

Stopping Unnecessary Shopping

If you are a shopping lover—compulsive, habitual or for pure enjoyment—it can be hard to change your ways without a plan.

Whether you participate in a “no buy” challenge, cut up your credit cards, or go cold turkey; without addressing the underlying thought patterns that are driving you to shop, denying yourself the act of purchasing can be a stressful undertaking—almost as if you are punishing yourself. And when you turn to others for a bit of help, well-meaning advice may come in the simple phrase, “just don’t buy it”.  

The reality is, those who do not have the same tendency to shop do not truly understand the deep craving that is burning within you.

How to Tame the Desire to Shop

As with just about anything, when caught up in a moment—the  heat of the moment—taming the impulse to act can be difficult. In your case, overcoming the desire to shop is the beast that needs to be tamed.

So how do you do it?

You train yourself.

Sounds simple enough, right? But don’t worry—I know that it isn’t. I understand that it takes more than a click of the fingers.

When faced with temptation, the desire is real. It is strong. All your mind can see is the end result and the misnomer that giving in will make you happy.  That is, buying the dress, those shoes, or the fabulous purse, will make you happy. And on one level they do, till the moment passes and you are faced with the credit card bill.

It is important, however, to recognise that this feeling is temporary. It passes when you move on to the next task or activity. 

When you shift your attention onto something else, the desire dissipates. 

Urges and Cravings

Urges and cravings are the results of thoughts that manifest as desires. By taking a moment to questioning the thought before you click that infamous “BUY NOW” button—or take an item to the store counter, you have the opportunity to break the spell and change you behaviour.

Train Your Thoughts

Train yourself to question the “I want to buy this” story  before actioning the purchase.

By asking yourself these 5 questions before each purchase,  the consequence—whether short or long term—will be clearer to you.

Ask yourself about the thought:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can I absolutely know that it is true?
  3. How do I react? What happens when I believe the thought? 
  4. Who would I be, or what would I do without the thought?
  5. Turn the thought around. Ask yourself if the opposite thought is actually more aligned with what you want in the long term.

Example 1:

If faced with the thought: I want to buy those shoes – Question the thought and get clarity before you purchase it.

  1. Is it true that I want to buy those shoes?

Answer Yes or No only. 

If No, go to Q3. If Yes, go to Q2.

  1. Can I absolutely know that it is true that I want to buy those shoes?

Again, answer a Yes or No only.

  1. How do I react and what happens when I believe the thought that I want to buy those shoes?
  1. Who would I be, or what would I do without the thought that I want to buy those shoes? If this thought had never occurred to me, what would I do in this moment?
  1. Turn the thought around. Ask yourself if there is more truth in the opposite.

 “I DON’T want to buy those shoes.”  How much truth is there in this statement as opposed to I want to buy those shoes?

You may find in yourself genuine reasons like:

  • I don’t want to buy those shoes because:
  • I already have shoes that work for me
  • I can’t afford this right now and prefer to spend the money on getting my debt down or start saving for retirement
  • I’m just browsing online because I’m bored

As you learn to question the impulse shopping  thoughts, you will find that the consequence becomes front and centre in your mind’s eye and you are able to refocus your attention on the financial consequences that you want to create for your life long term.

Ishani Noble is a Chartered Accountant and Mindset coach that helps individuals whose shopping habits impacting their finances and relationships to understand why they overshop and how to stop.

If you are ready to change and want an experienced guide to show you how to stop and change this in your life, reach out for a FREE strategy session for us to discuss your particular situation.

How to Stop Buying Things You Don’t Need

Let’s face it—shopping can be fun. And I’m not talking about grocery shopping or taking the kids out to buy school supplies. I’m talking about shopping for one’s self when you simply feel like it. Right?

But at what point does shopping on a whim become a habit that needs to be broken?

Impulse Shopping

Think about this for a moment.

Have you ever purchased something—whether online or at the mall—that you didn’t need? Have you surfed through ecommerce websites like Amazon or AliExpress gleefully filling your online shopping cart and found great satisfaction in hitting the BUY NOW button? 

Or have you ever had your partner or friend ask why you bought x-y-z and not have a valid answer for them, because even you don’t know why you bought it? 

Even worse, have you received parcels in the mail and opened them up forgetting that you even bought them in the first place?

Consequences of Impulse Shopping

Although shopping can be fun, buying something you don’t need or want is wasteful. So when reality bites, you are left feeling embarrassed, or maybe a little bit guilty, or ashamed for having done it.

Truth be told, that’s the just the tip of the iceberg. Because what happens when you don’t have the financial resources to fund your impulse purchases? Are you relying on your credit card and falling into debt to fund your habit?

So why do you do it?

The first step in stopping your shopping habit—or any other habit—is to acknowledge that you want to stop and then understand where the habit stems from. 

Why do you do it? Simply put, it’s because you have trained yourself to do it.

Do you find that you turn to shopping to either satisfy an urge or pacify a feeling? 

Impulse shopping is a habit you have formed. It is a learned response for dealing with or avoiding upsets, boredom, anger, or simply wanting to feel like you belong. 

You have trained your brain to release dopamine—a kind of natural messenger, essential to the normal functioning of the brain—which has a role in your ability to experience pleasure or pain when you buy something.

Human Nature

As humans, it is in our nature to move towards comfort and happiness, keeping away from emotions and experiences that make us feel uncomfortable or sad.

Your urge to shop is a comforting mechanism that you have unconsciously trained your mind to create whenever you feel lonely, depressed, bored, or in a situation of discomfort.

When you buy something you don’t need—you aren’t buying it because you want it. Rather, you buy it to satisfy an urge—the need to feel happy, to feel like you belong, or are special and valuable; or even the satisfaction of getting one up on someone who has annoyed you.

In other words, you aren’t buying the item for itself. Instead, you are buying it for the feeling that you experience when you make a purchase, or how imagine you will feel once you have it.

Look Back

This habit could be a long-standing behaviour that started in childhood. Perhaps, as a young child, going shopping with your parents was a happy activity that you did together as a family; and so you associate shopping with happiness. Or this could be a recent thing that has developed in your life in response to an event you didn’t want, e.g. the loss of a loved one, a relationship breakup, or redundancy at work.

Train In/Train Out

Understanding that your impulse shopping is a deeply rooted habit—rather than a moral failure or financial inexperience—is really good news. The reason I say this is good news is that, if you trained yourself into this behaviour—no matter how young you were when you started—you can train yourself out of it.

Let’s consider this example. 

Let’s say you had a disagreement with your partner or colleague. And afterwards, you find yourself browsing online, looking at shoes or clothing—even if you don’t need either one. It’s important to remember that you are doing this because your internal subconscious programming has directed you to do something comforting. To soothe yourself, it has created the urge to shop. The act of shopping is an attempt to either satisfy the urge to detract you from the disagreement with your partner or colleague. The training you have given yourself is:

However, as you know, this cycle has an unwanted end which is the consequence.

In this instance, the consequence is what is left after the item has been purchased and the urge has been satisfied. 

Consequences can take many forms— increased debt, a wardrobe full of clothes you never wear, a frustrated partner, and an emotional need that remains unfulfilled.

When you understand why you are shopping in these scenarios, you have a significantly higher chance of changing your behaviour and breaking this pattern in your life.

The good news is that when you understand how you got to this place, and can identify the habit cycle in operation, you can re-train yourself into a new learned behaviour and create a new happier, healthier and cheaper way of living without the shopping.

A fundamental change in your behaviour is possible.

Ishani Noble is a Chartered Accountant and Mindset coach that helps individuals whose shopping habits impacting their finances and relationships to understand why they overshop and how to stop.

If you are ready to change and want an experienced guide to show you how to stop and change this in your life, reach out for a FREE strategy session for us to discuss your particular situation.

10 Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

In a world that is fast-paced and highly competitive, our self-esteem can sometimes take a nasty hit as we allow negative thoughts to ease into our minds and weigh heavily in our hearts. Soon after this happens, we find ourselves in a deep hole of self-doubt that is difficult to climb out of.

But let me tell you this — it doesn’t have to be this way.

Just as we are able to train our bodies to meet its optimal physical condition, the same can be done with our minds. 

Here are 10 proven tips for improving your self-esteem when you need it most.

Tip 1: Ask Yourself the 5 Inquiry Questions

You know those negative thoughts racing in your head? Take a moment to consider whether those things are actually true. Take a moment to validate them.

You see, the mind is very powerful. It has the ability to make the stories in our heads appear real, urgent, and imperative. But in reality they are just thoughts.

The most powerful way to lift your self-esteem is to learn how to discern whether the story in your mind is real and likely to occur or whether your mind is simply lost in thought.

When you are faced with thoughts such as I don’t belong or I don’t matter, question their validity by using these questions.

  • 5 Inquiry Questions:
    1. Is it true?
    2. Can you absolutely know that it is true ?
    3. How do you react, when you believe that the thought is true?
    4. Who would you be— or what would you do— without that thought?
    5. Turn the thought around — Is the opposite as true or truer? eg: I do belong, I do matter (And find proof as to how this is so).

Tip #2: Stay Focused on the Present Moment

Tell me… how many times have you thought about something that happened in the past, telling yourself that you should have done things differently? And how many times have you thought about the future — tomorrow, next week, or next year — worrying about what may or may not happen?

Reliving the past, or imagining the future, can be painful and futile exercise. It distracts you from what you want to, or should, focus on. 

Instead of thinking about the past or the future, Ekhart Tolle encourages our generation to stay focused on what is happening in the present moment.

The past and future are functions of imagination. 

Keeping focused on the present moment keeps us grounded in reality and gives us clarity as to where to direct our attention and energy.

Ask yourself: “In this moment, other than what I am thinking and believing, am I okay?”

George Orwell in his book 1984 wrote: “He who controls the present, controls the past, he who controls the past controls the future”.

Tip #3: Reach Out and Ask for Support

If the high-flyer in you feels grounded or stuck, a good way forward is to reach out and ask for support.

All high flyers — yes, even space shuttles — need a lift from a friend or coach to get them to where they want to go.

Just as the space shuttle needs to lean on a 747 to get it to where it wants to go, there are times when leaning on another for support is the best way forward.

Tip #4: Take a Risk and Be Authentic (One Situation at a Time)

Chameleons are amazing creatures with their ability to change their appearance to suit the environment they are in, don’t you think?

This way of being would be easy if we were chameleons — but we’re not. For us, having to change ourselves to suit every environment we enter can be exhausting. Instead, we should strive for authenticity.

Take a moment and ask yourself: “What is the thought that would stop me from being my authentic self in this situation?”

And then, apply the 5 Inquiry Questions to the thought. 

  • For example, if the thought that stops you from being yourself is: “I have to fit in, ” ask yourself:
    1. Is it True – that I have to fit in?
    2. Can I absolutely know that it is true – that I have to fit in?
    3. How do I react when I believe the thought that I have to fit in?
    4. Who would I be (or what would I do) without the thought that I have to fit in?
    5. Turn the thought around — Is the opposite as true or truer? eg: I don’t have to fit in (and find proof as to how this is so)

Tip #5: Steer Clear of Comparisons

Comparison is one of the most destructive activities the mind engages in, when it comes to self esteem. 

But how do you steer clear of it when you are feeling jealous? How do you get over it? We all would if we could.

The way forward for me has been to ask myself the question: “Who’s business am I in?”

Byron Katie talks about 3 types of business: Mine, Yours, and God’s (God’s being anything that you or I don’t control). 

If you are mentally in someone else’s business, who is looking after your business, interests, and life? 

And if you are living someone else’s life, then who’s living yours?

  • When you notice yourself stuck in comparison, a fantastic way forward is:
    1. Notice – that you are comparing yourself
    2. Question yourself: “Can I absolutely know that it’s true that what s/he has would be better for me than what I currently have?”
    3. Gently bring your focus, attention, and energy back to your world and the fun that is waiting for you in it.

Tip #6: Forgiveness and Making Amends

Without genuine forgiveness, self-esteem is impossible. 

When we hold ill-will against ourselves, it is difficult to see any goodness in us.

If you are regretting something you’ve done in the past, take a moment to consider what you were thinking and believing when you did it. What is it that you now know that makes you regret what you have done?

Now that you know more and are certain that you would not have done the same thing in the past — give yourself permission to forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself for not knowing then, what you are aware of now.

Making amends by putting right that which can be done to restore the situation — will make the pathway to forgiveness possible. It is also an effective way to silence our “inner critic”.

Tip #7: Choose Your Friends Wisely

Consider this: Who are the 5 people who influence you the most? 

People with a positive outlook on life have an infectious influence on your self-esteem. They value themselves and they value having you in their lives. 

You may also notice that these people are usually busy creating a fun life for themselves, traveling, busy with hobbies, gardening, and having “#spark joy” moments.

  • Take a good, objective look at the lives of those you allow to influence you and consider:
    1. Are they positive and uplifting influences? Or do the subtly (or overtly) put you down?
    2. How do you feel after you have spent time with them? Uplifted or drained?
    3. Are they going in the same direction as you? Do they even have a direction?

Friendships change and evolve. And it is perfectly understandable that this can have an impact on your self esteem. 

Let’s take social media influencers, for example.

  • Take notice:
    1. Who on social media influences you? Why?
    2. After watching them, do you feel refreshed and energized or find yourself in comparison and feeling lack?

Choose friends that are going in a positive direction in their own lives. The choice of which kind of people you allow into your life matters.

Tip #8: Reboot Your Mind

Our minds are like a computer operating system. In the morning, our mind reboots itself and starts running the script we have programmed into it since childhood.

These scripts come in the form of thoughts. Thoughts such as, I’m not good enough, I won’t be successful, or I’m not attractive.

While these thoughts feel real, they are simply just part of the mental model of ourselves that we have created and now hold true. They are not a true reflection of the reality of who we are.

Just because you think a thought — it doesn’t make it true.

A Way Forward:

Just as we regularly upgrade the operating software on our computers, we can upgrade our thinking and belief systems. We can change our script/story and consequently change the results we are getting.

I am now running Ishani Operating System v4.0. This version of me can do so much more than Ishani Operating System v1.0 could, and the results are reflected in the peace of mind and enjoyment of my daily life.

If you’d like some support to upgrade your internal operating system, get in touch. It is easier to do than you may think!

Tip #9: Resilience

Simply put, resilience is the ability to recover quickly from a setback. 

We all have moments in life when we experience an upset or setback. And when these occur, taking notice the self-talk that is running through our minds and verifying it, will help you to recover quickly and be more resilient and effective in your life.

If you want to develop the skill of resilience, drop me a line at

Tip #10: Social Media Ain’t That Social

Okay, let’s be honest — Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc. are all FUN and interesting social media platforms. I get it. And I understand that it provides a form of connection from the perspective of humanity. But it’s important to note that they also have an addictive and isolating component to them. 

Social Media provides a platform for, and encourages, comparison. And more often than not, it can leave one feeling “less than”.

Limiting the amount of time you spend on social media has been shown to improve one’s sense of wellbeing. 

Making a few tweaks to the way you use social media will exponentially improve your self-esteem.

  • How to Tweak Your Personal Social Media Usage:
    1. Check social media only once a day from your home computer. Set a timer for 30-minutes and get off when it rings. You will need some discipline to begin with, as you work to break the habit. Trust that if there is something thing on social media that you need to know, it will find its way to you. If you use social media for work purposes  — again, set the timer and be efficient about your posting. Prepare it offline first, then post.
    2. Delete all Apps, apart from the absolutely essential ones.
    3. Turn off all notifications. Yes all of them.
    4. Remove email from your phone.
    5. Charge your phone overnight, in a room other than your bedroom. Get an alarm clock  — like in the olden days. They still work!

If you go to Google and type “reduce social media usage“, there are 160 million suggestions on how to do so. 

For this year’s Amsterdam Light Festival, Design Bridge and Gali May Lucas have collaborated on a new light sculpture entitled ‘absorbed by light’. The sculpture aims to comment on how digital technology engrosses us and takes people away from reality.

Wrap-Up: Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem days can happen to anyone at anytime, so it’s important to know how to process them and find a way to move forward.

  • Remember:
    1. Ask Yourself the 5 Inquiry Questions
    2. Stay Focused on the Present Moment
    3. Reach Out and Ask for Support
    4. Take a Risk and Be Authentic (One Situation at a Time)
    5. Steer Clear of Comparisons
    6. Forgiveness and Making Amends
    7. Choose Your Friends 
    8. Reboot Your Mind
    9. Resilience
    10. Social Media Ain’t That Social

Ishani Noble helps people improve their self-esteem. She is an expert at helping people overcome barrier thinking and being unstoppable in creating their dream life.

If you are interested in working through a situation wherein you feel that you can’t wholeheartedly move forward, reach out and contact Ishani today. She can be reached by emailing:

I Can’t

Clients usually come to me for coaching because they have an issue they cannot resolve on their own. These people are talented and capable individuals who live well-adjusted and secure lives, yet are overwhelmed by an inability to create something they desire in their lives.

In most areas, they thrive and are highly successful; while in others, they are lost at sea, struggling to find a way forward.

How is this possible?

Barrier Thought: I Can’t

This can be because they have the “I can’t” barrier thought running in their mind. This thought predicts that if they take a specific action, an unpleasant or dire consequence will follow. Therefore, to avoid the perceived hazard, they remain frozen in inaction

They are able to say “no”, in some areas of their life; but in others are unable to do so leaving them feeling completely stuck and powerless.  

This thinking typically begins with the statement “I can’t”.

I can’t:

  • bring up the topic with her
  • control my temper
  • post on social media (even though I want to)
  • skip eating at the work morning tea, even it’s if it’s my preference not to
  • say, no

Defining the Situation

When I work with a client, we begin by defining the situation and unpacking the beliefs that lay beneath their inaction. They then, typically, list a range of reasons they feel they can’t do something. 

On the surface, the reason appears valid and reasonable. However, with some investigation, we are able to identify the thoughts that hold up the belief that keeps them from succeeding. 

For example:

  • I can’t bring up the topic with her because she will get verbally aggressive.
  • I can’t control my temper because I just lose it and it all just pours out.
  • I can’t post anything on social media (even though I want to), because I’ll embarrass myself and people will look down on me.
  • I can’t skip eating morning tea at a work function, even it’s if it’s my preference not to, because it will look odd.

When we hold on to reasons which begin with the phrase, I can’t — we trap ourselves in our own internal prison.

A Way Forward

One way forward is to consider the question: Is this really something that I can’t do? Or is it something that I won’t do?

Can’t means, you don’t have the skill or ability to do it.

Won’t means, you are making a choice — be it unconsciously— not to do it.

So how do we navigate through this?

Begin by rephrasing the barrier thought I CAN’T to I WON’T then add the word “AND” to the sentence. This allows you to see things with a different perspective.

Using the examples above. Let’s try it out:

I won’t bring up the topic with her because she will get verbally aggressive, and I don’t have a strategy to deal with her meltdown.


I won’t skip eating at the morning tea work function because it will look odd, and I really don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to eat some delicious food.

With this perspective, you can turn the barrier thought around by changing the word won’t to can, thus giving yourself more options. 

  • I can bring up the topic with her, and if she’s get verbally aggressive, I will confidently and kindly do X, Y, Z.
  • I can skip eating morning tea at a work function, because I can say I’m detoxing. Everyone will leave me alone and I know there will be another opportunity to eat this another time. I can resist the urge to eat it now.

Once you have realized that your desired outcome is possible, a decision and action plan can be made to address the barrier and achieve the goal.

  • I will bring up the topic with her because I would like to deal with the elephant in the room and resolve this situation.
  • I will skip eating at the work morning tea because I have self-control and I don’t need it. My weight-loss goal is more important to me.

Saying “I Can’t” is you saying “I Won’t“, because you are expecting a bad outcome or consequence, and prefer to avoid it. By doing so, you get locked into the state of “I Can’t”.


When you say “I can’t,” take a moment to think it through. Is it something you really can’t do or is it that you won’t do it? By turning the thought around to I can and I will, pathways to action immediately appear before you.

Ishani Noble helps people improve their self-esteem. She is an expert at helping people overcome barrier thinking and being unstoppable in creating their dream life.

If you are interested in working through a situation wherein you feel that you can’t wholeheartedly move forward, reach out and contact Ishani today. She can be reached by emailing:

Barrier Thinking

Over the 25 years that I have been involved with self-esteem enhancement courses, the key takeaway I have for clients is that it is the thoughts we think and act out that are our greatest asset — or our largest liability.

Past events and experiences have a way of triggering the mind to create barriers. Our minds build these barriers to protect us by controlling what it believes is safe to think, say, do, or even, believe. 

I call it Barrier Thinking.

What is Barrier Thinking?

Barrier Thinking is when what we think or believe become barriers to living the life we really want to live.

Have you noticed yourself procrastinating or changing the way you present yourself just to please whoever you are with at the time? This is a result of Barrier Thinking.

Just as parents put physical barriers around their children — like a playpen around an infant to keep them safe — we too, as adults, put barriers around ourselves in the form of thinking patterns to keep ourselves safe.

But as we move forward, it may well be that these thoughts and beliefs are no longer necessary. This is why it is important to question them. Questioning your barrier thoughts and beliefs will provide a significant degree of internal freedom and mental energy —  energy that can be used to focus on achieving goals and creating your dream life.

7 Examples of Barrier Thinking

There are seven barrier thoughts I often come across with clients who are experiencing low self-esteem or do not achieve their set goals.

1. Barrier Thought: I Am Not Good Enough

This Barrier Thought holds on to the belief that the person is not enough. Despite all their natural skills, education, talents and efforts, they believe that they are a failure and therefore not good enough.

2. Barrier Thought: Stuck in Comparison and Jealousy

This kind of thinking stems from looking at someone and comparing your lifestyle or circumstances to theirs, only to conclude that yours is not as good. Perhaps you think you are not worthy of the life they have or that you are not as talented as they are.

These thoughts can be as simple as “she’s prettier” or “he’s more successful” than I am.

If not controlled, this kind of barrier thinking can become repetitive, habitual, and very hard to break out of.

3. Barrier Thought: I’m Different, Therefore I Can’t Connect With Them

With this Barrier Thought, the mind finds a reason to justify why you are different and isolated. For example, “I am single”, “I‘m not sporty, or “I’m of a different faith or religion”.

For myself, growing up in Palmerston North as the only brown-skinned child in my class led me to think I was different and left me feeling isolated. These thoughts became my self-created barrier to connection.

4. Barrier Thought: There’s Something Wrong With Me

Similar to the barrier thought, “I’m different”, the thinker creates a barrier belief that there is something wrong with them. They genuinely believe that if anyone were to find out about it, then we would reject them. Because of this thought, they reject themselves.

5. Barrier Thought: I’ve Done Something That Is Unforgivable

With this barrier thought, the thinker believes that they have done something unforgivable. This deed, in their mind, is something so terrible and perhaps, against their own moral code — that even they cannot forgive themselves.

Even if God and others forgive them, they still cannot forgive themselves because they feel that they have violated their own internal sense of morality, and so, hold on to self-resentment or self-directed ill will.

6. Barrier Thought: A Painful End to a Friendship or Relationship

If you have relied on a friend, partner, or family member to give you love, approval, and appreciation —  and one day they stop giving it to you, this can cause feelings of pain and emptiness.

Relying on others to provide you with a constant stream of positive thought stimulation never ends well. The affirmation from these people in your life becomes a drug; and withdrawal from that drug is a painful process.

7. Barrier Thought: I can’t do ____ because____ will happen

This barrier thought predicts that if action is taken, a dire consequence will occur. Therefore to avoid the perceived hazard one remains frozen in inaction.

Overcoming Barrier Thinking

These thinking barriers prevent us from being free and living an enjoyable life. Overcoming barrier thinking is not only possible; it is very doable.

Inquiry* is one process I offer in this programme. This will you discover that you don’t have to “let go” of the barrier thoughts. Instead, as you question their truthfulness, they will let go of you.

Once you are free from the influence of your barrier thoughts, taking action to create your dream life becomes easy and doable.

Ishani Noble helps people improve their self esteem. She is an expert at helping people overcome barrier thinking and being unstoppable in creating their dream life.

If you are interested in boosting your self-esteem or removing barrier thinking and launching yourself wholeheartedly into your next goal then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.

*Inquiry is also known as The Work of Byron Katie