Reclaim your life with the ICE Method for controlling self sabotaging thoughts

4 minutes
the ice method for self-sabotaging thoughts

Hot thoughts skew your perception and keep you from achieving goals. Read more about them here

So if you want to give yourself the best chance at success (and mental wellness) then you need to focus on neutralizing your hot thoughts. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to do that. Well, there wasn’t, until now. Introducing the ICE method. A scientifically backed method to calm hot thoughts that will also help you build self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and resiliency. 

So let’s put some hot thoughts on ice. 

The ICE Method 

The ICE Method is a three-step process. It borrows from, and brings, unaccessible cognitive behavioral techniques to a wider audience in an easily digestible way. 

  • Identify the hot thought 
  • Challenge the hot thought 
  • Evaluate the benefits 

Identifying the hot thought 

To correct a hot thought you need to identify it. While this may sound simple, most people have had their thought processes their entire lives, so identifying hot thoughts can take some self-reflection and time. The great news is, the more you do it, the more self-awareness you’ll build, and the easier it becomes. The best part is that the benefits are ginormous and will help you in every area of life.

Challenging the hot thought 

After identifying the hot thought, you want to challenge the thought and find a more balanced approach. This looks like finding balanced alternatives to your current thought process and evidence to disprove the hot thought. Since we may have a limited view, getting an alternative perspective from friends or in therapy can be helpful here. Similar to identifying the hot thought, the more you challenge the hot thought, the easier it becomes. 

Identify the benefits

The last step is identifying the benefits of cooling the hot thought. This part helps build internal motivation and emotional intelligence as you reflect on how reducing hot thoughts will help you achieve goals. It will also helps those who are aware of hot thoughts and how they are negatively impacting them but are not making changes. If you are not motivated to make changes then the hot thought is serving you somehow and it’s an opportunity to understand why self-sabotage is happening.

ICE Method example  

Joe took some time off after high school. Now he is in college getting a degree but he is a few years behind his peers. He is typically the oldest person in every class. While he wants to be grateful he found direction, Joe can’t shake the feeling of being a failure. He compares himself to his friends and feels like he should be further along in life. It is killing his motivation.


What’s the hot thought?
“I should be further along, married, have kids, etc. by now.”

Where does the hot thought come from?
Unrealistic and rigid societal expectations. 

How does the thought make you feel?
Defeated and like a failure.


What evidence supports the hot thought is true?
There is societal pressure, and my friends seem further along, but there isn’t any actual factual evidence.

What evidence supports the hot thought is not true?
The KFC dude started his business at 50 and there are a bunch of other examples of people getting married and being successful later in life.

Would you say the hot thought to a friend in your same situation?
No, that would be a mean thing to say. My friend is doing the best they can. 

What are alternative, balanced thoughts?
That life is not a race and everyone does things at their own pace.


How is the hot thought negatively affecting you?
It makes me feel like a failure and that I am behind and will never catch up. I can’t go back in time. I feel stuck and completely demotivated.

How will the alternative, balanced thought impact you?
It will help me to meet myself where I am at and stop comparing my life to others. I’ll be motivated and focus on progressing towards my current goals. 

For more examples of using the ICE Method to cool hot thoughts check out these articles:
It’s not that everyone cheats, your thoughts are distorting your perception
It’s not Mondays that suck, it’s your mentality around Mondays that does

what do you think?

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