Mental Health

If You Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Get What You’ve Always Gotten

May 27, 2014

If You Do What You've Always Done, You'll Get What You've Always Gotten - Sweet and Savoring

I started seeing my first therapist when I was seventeen years old. Daniel was in his twenties, always wore a necktie, and smiled a lot. I saw something on his bulletin board early on and pointed it out to him:

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. 

Daniel called this the circle quote, and it was one of his favorite principles (I’ve searched and found it attributed to both Henry Ford and Tony Robbins.) He reminded me of it throughout the time we worked together: sometimes I would be in the middle of complaining about an oft-repeated scenario, and he’d smile and point up to the bulletin board in response. Yep, I’d nod, I do have some control over how this goes.

Depression is often about getting stuck in repetitive unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns. We get stuck in negative self-talk loops, or we continue to engage in relationships that don’t serve us, or we become resigned to the cycle of depression in our lives, accepting it instead of being proactive to work with it and not against it.

The circle quote is a good reminder whenever I’m feeling depressed or frustrated with some aspect of my life: do something different! Change it up! Try and look at something from another point of view, and see if that makes a difference in how you feel about it.

Another example: if you find that you’re always anxious before an encounter with a particular person (coworker, acquaintance, family member), change your approach. Develop some coping strategies, like excusing yourself when you start having those Okay, this is enough, when can I leave thoughts. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel at ease. Remember, especially those of us who struggle with social anxiety and depression: it’s not your job to make other people feel comfortable. (It was such a revelation when one of my therapists told me this)

If You Do What You've Always Done, You'll Get What You've Always Gotten - Sweet and Savoring

I’m also thinking of the circle quote lately as I try to get back in shape and love my body again. What I’ve always done is not place restrictions on my diet and eat what I love- sound good, right? It’s fun until your metabolism slows and you notice more fat than usual sticking around for longer than usual. I also have a habit of starting exercise routines and keeping them going for a short period of time, then eventually stopping. I’m hoping that with the changes I’ve made lately I’ll be able to see  a difference, too. I’ve already seen a big difference in how regular exercise helps my mood and motivation level. Major plus for that one!


Did you know that May is Mental Health Month? I made a commitment with myself to regularly write about mental health topics like depression, anxiety, Seasonal Affective Disorder, panic attacks, and antidepressant medication because bringing these issues out into the open helps to ease the shame that others feel. I write about these things for me, because writing has always been therapeutic for me, and I share these struggles because they need to be talked about just as much as any physical illness.

If You Do What You've Always Done, You'll Get What You've Always Gotten - Sweet and Savoring

Art by Piper Macenzie

I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

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  • Deb Rothaug May 27, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Thank you, again, Christy, for your openness and honesty, The circle quote really strikes me as SO helpful. I keep wondering what I”m doing that I’ve always done, that needs to be changed. One of them is wishing I could write a children’s story…hmm, I know what that means. start, right!

    • Christy May 28, 2014 at 7:29 am

      Yes, try starting and see what happens!

  • Hata Trbonja May 27, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    I love this quote.
    My therapist also said to me that my job is not to make others happy. It was so freeing and I remind myself of it all the time.
    Huge hugs.
    (that’s a tongue twister)
    Hata Trbonja recently posted…S.O.S. : Send Mexican Food!!!My Profile

    • Christy May 28, 2014 at 7:32 am

      Glad you can identify, Hata! I should probably write the quote down and hang in next to my bathroom mirror or something 🙂

  • Elizabeth May 27, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    We all can be more centered and willing to promote positive mental health!! Thanks for posting and for being so honest. Love the circle quote

    • Christy May 28, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Your welcome, Elizabeth. It’s not easy or always pleasant but I am all in favor of more people talking about mental health!

  • Ellen May 27, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    <3 <3 <3 Yes to everything you wrote my love!

    Especially… " it’s not your job to make other people feel comfortable"

    That is my new practice! I'm ready to take on this challenge. Thank you!

    • Christy May 28, 2014 at 9:54 am

      Yay for yesses and hearts! I can’t wait to see you!

  • Amberly May 27, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Such a great quote 🙂 And so true!!

    • Christy May 28, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Thanks, Amberly!

  • Miss Angie May 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    So so true! Change is scary, but definitely good!

    • Christy May 28, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      I’m a big fan of change! Thanks for visiting, Angie!

  • Tamara May 28, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    I think we’re similar with food/exercise! Start/stopping for me and never watching what I eat until recently.
    I’ve had some therapists over the years who have said some really light bulb, earth shattering things to me. Whoa!
    And I know how it is to have certain people make me anxious. It’s weird. And it always bums me out. It’s not so bad as it used to be.

    • Christy May 28, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      It’s SO TOUGH for me to practice ‘conscious eating’, as I’ve been half-jokingly referring to it. Ugh. Like willpower? I have none.
      I’d like to think I’m not as bad as I used to be, either! I hope.

  • Heather May 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    i see two amazing quotes. The headliner (obvi) and “it’s not your job to make other people feel comfortable.” two things to def thing about 🙂

    • Christy May 28, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Thank you, Heather! Glad this resonated with you.

  • Rea May 28, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    It’s so nice that you have this kind of commitment — to talk about mental health not just for yourself but for others. I think we all need that, we all need to learn more because most of us experience depressions although not in the same degree or level with others.

    Love the quote.. and true enough, it’s not our job to make people comfortable.. well I guess except of course if it’s your real job (like mine).. and you’re paid to do it. 🙂

    • Christy May 28, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks, Rea. Yes, I was almost going to be a disclaimer- unless you’re a concierge/hostess/or something else where it fits into your job description, it’s not your job to make other people comfortable 🙂

  • Madaline May 31, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I love this “circle quote”. It’s basically how I’ve had to live my life. I live with depression (sometimes none sometimes too much). Sometimes to stop doing what I’m always doing I force myself to brush my teeth, put the contacts in, a swipe of lipstick and to get the heck out of the house! (Obviously this is a simplified way to change things but I mean somedays that’s all I can manage!)

    Thanks for sharing!
    Found via SitsSaturday

    • Christy June 1, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      I’m sometimes none, sometimes too much, too. I understand about doing the little things and that’s it, believe me! Thanks for visiting Madaline- I’m glad the circle quote resonated with you.

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