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change your thoughts mindset journey
Why change your thoughts
At the beginning of my mindset journey, a lot of what I read sounded good but didn’t really click for me. Yes, it made sense. I could read book after book and it all made sense. However, it wasn’t until I started living my life differently that anything really truly resonated with me.
The first step of living my life differently? Changing my thoughts.
If you believe nothing is possible, you are right. If you believe anything is possible, you are right.
I originally started my mindset journey about 8 years ago. For six months I read and meditated and read and focused and then I got lost. Imagine it like an actual journey from Point A to Point B. Through the woods, over a river, however you want to picture it. I was on my way from A to B and I took a wrong turn that got me lost in a forest for about six years.
During those six years I crossed the correct path several times and picked up some tidbits of knowledge, but never figured out exactly how to get going the right way again. Then one day I was crossing that right path again, and was about to just walk over it and keep going, but something made me stop. The something that made me stop was the universe, of course, and it was saying to me “Rachel, check out this opportunity. I know you have been feeling low, depressed, kind of lost and a bit without purpose. Try this, and remember anything is possible.”
Ok, no I didn’t actually hear a voice, nobody was speaking to me. It was that inner feeling, in your heart, that pulls you toward something.
You know what would have happened if I thought to myself, “I don’t think I can do that”?
Which is about the saddest thing I can think of. Here’s exactly what would not have happened: I would not have started a business with LuLaRoe, I would not have found The Socialite Suite, I would not have hooked up with an amazing business coach, I would not have done a Blogging Boot Camp, I would not have started my blog, I would not have a community of kick-ass positive women cheering me on. Saddest of all, I would be miserable having not found my calling yet.
Throughout all of those things that have happened, I have been consciously working on my mindset.
change your thoughts
How to change your thoughts
Specifically, I have be consciously turning negative thoughts into positive ones. Negativity doesn’t just go away on its own. If you are outside on a sunny spring day basking in the sunlight thinking “I am a positive person now” assuming that’s it and everything is fixed and happy forever… enjoy your moment but I hate to tell you it’s not that easy. What happens when the clouds roll in quickly to storm on your declaration of positivity?
Changing your thoughts means actually changing your thoughts, and requires focus and dedication.
My office flooded not too long ago. I was on my way to leave town when I had to stop in for something, and I walked into water dripping from the ceiling. Into puddles. Flowing into larger puddles. It was leaking from two spots and it was just barely missing soaking the inventory that I am liquidating.
What would your first thoughts be?
My first thoughts: “Oh my god, this is a disaster. Of course this would happen right as I am leaving. I have no time to deal with this, what am I going to do? This is a mess, what if the ceiling caves in, all of my stuff is going to get ruined. What do I do now? The universe must hate me.” That’s clearly the PG version, I can promise I cursed much more.
Since I have been working on changing my thoughts, my immediate next reaction was to close my eyes, take a deep breath and say to myself
“How do I rephrase this? What can I learn from this? Is it really that bad?” change your thoughts
I opened my eyes and saw puddles of water still, but I no longer felt paralyzed in despair. I grabbed some towels and started wiping the puddles up. Then put down new towels in case the ceiling continued to leak. I reached out to my office-mate and found out the AC had turned off so it was probably overflowing. He was heading up to the attic to vacuum it out and would double check that it stopped leaking into my office before he left. I moved all of the inventory to the other side of the room where it definitely wouldn’t get ruined. Unless the whole ceiling did actually cave in. (Which, after a few deep breaths didn’t really seem probable)
After one last glance I thought to myself: “Thank the universe that I had to stop in here on my way out of town, or that water would’ve sat for over a week. I am so lucky that’s all that happened. This must be the universe testing me to see if I really want to go camping in an area with predicted thunderstorms all week. I’m glad I could take care of this.”
Because of my practice changing negative thoughts to positive ones, I was able to head out on my trip in a good mood. Three years ago I would’ve been in tears, angry and probably silently stewing on the drive. Which would have made the drive pretty unbearable for myself and my husband and kids who were stuck in the car with me for eleven hours.
By the way, this doesn’t mean I was happy about what happened while I was cleaning up those puddles or moving that inventory. I would much rather not have had any water coming into my office. Being positive doesn’t mean being happy about upsetting or frustrating things. It means realizing that you may not be able to change the thing that’s happened, but you can change your response to it.
”I hate that it’s rained everyday this week and I’ve been stuck inside” becomes “I’m so glad the rain has allowed me to stay inside and organize the house without feeling guilty for missing a nice day.”
Notice how in my example the positive outlook wasn’t “I love rain, this is great!” Just because you are working on being positive doesn’t mean you have to love everything. change your thoughts
The Work is learning to respond to the things you don’t love.
- Be hyper-aware of all of your thoughts.
- When you think or say something negative, stop your thought immediately.
- Reword your negative thought to be more positive feeling.
- Continue your day
- Repeat with your next negative thought.
- Stay hyper-aware of your thoughts until you do this without thinking about it.
Things that may be difficult that you will have to work through:
- Catching yourself when you are starting a negative thought train.
- Stopping yourself from continuing your negative thought train.
- Figuring out how to reword your negative thoughts to be positive.
A lot lot of times when we are in a bad mood, or feeling down, we want to mope and stew and curse and complain. It sounds ridiculous when you think about it, but it’s true. So, having the strength to say “nope, not today. I am not going down this spiral today.” Is something you may have to practice. That’s OK.
Practice. Get better. Go forward.
As I already said, this isn’t an overnight process. Be patient with yourself. If you start to feel frustrated, reword those thoughts. “I’m never going to get this. I guess I am just a negative person and always will be.” Becomes “It is taking some time to get this down, but I have had a lot of years where negative thoughts were default. It is expected to take a little time to reprogram my responses. I am doing great.”
Other helpful tips:
Read personal development books. I read about one a month, sometimes more. Keeping positive words in your head will help your words be more positive. I listen to books instead of read for a couple of reasons. The biggest being time. I use drive time and exercise time to listen. It is also super easy to stay on track with an Audible membership, because you get one credit a month and recommendations based on past reads. Lastly, I can hear the author reading it in their voice, which is extremely powerful and especially helpful when I am in a bad mood- I use their energy to boost mine. Change your thoughts
Repeat affirmations. Affirmations are important because they are positive words said in your voice, just for you. Create affirmations based on the negative thoughts you have most often. Take those thoughts, reword them into something positive and repeat daily. Affirmations are so important, I even gave them their own category when listing ways to change your mindset. You can read more about them here: What are Affirmations and How Can They Help Me?
This is an abbreviated excerpt from the eBook: 10 Steps to Change Your Mindset & Improve Your Life click here to grab your copy!