How to change your thoughts in 3 simple steps
Lately it’s been frigidly cold in my hometown of New York City. The kind of cold where you just want to crawl under the covers and not come out until the spring! Yesterday I had a long mental battle with myself about leaving my comfy, warm bed to go work out. I know I’ll feel great after the workout, and I know how important it is for my body and my mind but…. I just don’t feel like it.
In that moment I had a choice AND 100% say over whether I worked out. At the heart of the decision is my mind and what I CHOOSE to think and believe. Yes, I did say what I CHOOSE and I promise you pick your own thoughts too! When I first heard that 10 years ago, I had a hard time believing my thinking was by my own design It was also pretty confronting. Am I really responsible for what goes on in my head all day long? Can I really be deliberate with what I think? Remember our thoughts turn into feelings, which lead to our actions. So this is important stuff.
Yes we can and no I’m not saying it’s easy. Being deliberate with your thoughts and managing what conversations you have with yourself is just like building a muscle. In the beginning it may feel overwhelming and frustrating trying to manage what’s flying around in your mind. With persistence and patience it will get easier.
So if we CAN choose, that means we can pick and believe what thoughts support us in getting to our goals.
But how do you even start training your mind to support your goals? The first step is awareness. You might think you know what goes on in your mind in its downtime but you may be surprised.
Do some research on your thinking! Keep a thought log for a week. It’s simple, a few times a day, when your mind starts wandering, stop and jot down exactly what you catch yourself thinking.
The good news is we don’t’ have many original thoughts each day. The same tape plays over and over in our heads. So you don’t have an insurmountable amount of thought patterns blocking you! All you are looking for is your “theme”. What’s the most common thought stream that throws you off course?
Here are a couple of common “theme” examples:
“I’m too tired, don’t have enough time and have too many other things and people to take care of.”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s not going to make a difference anyway. I’ve tried before and failed and maybe I’m just not good enough.”
“I’ll do it tomorrow. I don’t feel like it right now.”
None of those examples are the truth but those thoughts start to become true when you repeat them over and over.
Once you’ve become aware of the thinking that holds you back, tell your truth. What’s really going on? Most likely you’ve been “buying” your own justifications for quite awhile. In order to dismantle your “theme” you ‘ve got to get real about what’s happening.
Here are some possible “truths” in response to those “theme” examples above:
Do you really not have enough time or do you not prioritize or make time for what you say is important to you?
Does it really not matter to you? Did you give it your best effort and push through blocks until youmade progress?
Are you really going to do it tomorrow? How long have you been saying that? Will you feel like it tomorrow or ever?
Get honest with yourself. Remember if you continue thinking the same way you have been you will continue to get the same results.
Decide what you WANT to think. What thoughts would support you in getting to your goals? Write them down. Read them a few times a day. Start to train your brain to replace those negative thought “themes” with new ones you CHOOSE to give airtime.
Here’s where you start thinking yourself into achieving whatever it is you want. I know it’s not as simple as just repeating some mantra, but figure out what thoughts would support you and start to live from that place.
Remember, this is not like flipping a switch. It takes time to train your mental muscle. Most likely you’ll have days you feel strong and others may feel like you’re losing the battle.
Be committed and patient with yourself. You’re retraining your thoughts. Thoughts are simply habits. You’ve probably had your “habit” of thinking as far back as you can remember. Keep showing up for YOU! You can think yourself into being fitter, stronger, and happier or whatever it is you want to be!