Our thoughts are tricky to control. Our beliefs and habits may not be so obvious to us, but they have great influence over our thoughts. Your thoughts influence your actions so if you want to change your behavior and results, it’s important to gain control over your thoughts.
Our thoughts can be exhausting. One thought can lead to another and another and before long, you’ve gone down a rabbit hole, exploring ideas and possibilities that haven’t even occurred. Or, you can think about something that happened, something you did, you said or wished you would have said. Those ideas can play out in an endless loop of thoughts taking you nowhere.
So what can you do?
Here are 5 techniques to start reprogramming your thoughts:
Affirmations. Affirmations are essentially thoughts that you choose for yourself. You can
listen to them, read them silently, or read them aloud. Affirmations require repetition and emotional
involvement, but they can be highly effective.
- Create affirmations that support the pursuit and achievement of your goals.
- Create affirmations that move your weaknesses towards something more positive.
- Create a schedule for writing or saying your affirmations. It can be helpful to associate them with something else like: “I’ll say my affirmations while I brush my teeth.”
- Be patient. Expect that it might be several weeks before you begin to see results.
Learn. Learning from those who have overcome something or achieved something you’d like to achieve can have a huge impact on your thoughts.
- Instead of simply ruminating on the idea that you’re not (smart, successful, thin, good looking, etc.) enough, learn from others who’ve found a way around a limitation, challenge or obstacle. For example, it’s so easy to lose confidence and question our worthiness after betrayal and/or shattered trust. Learning from those who have healed and transformed can slowly change your thoughts that keep you stuck and struggling.
- Instead of fighting for your limitations through your thoughts and actions, begin rewriting your script. What would life look like if you refused to speak to yourself with disrespect? What would happen if you spoke to yourself the way you’d speak with a friend? That kindness you so easily give to others can change those negative thoughts, when you give that kindness to yourself.
Ask yourself questions. Questions change your focus and thoughts. Asking yourself questions like, “What’s good about this situation?” or “What are my greatest strengths?” or “What should I be working on right now?” will change your thinking.
- Use questions to redirect your attention and thoughts. This is one of the easiest ways to change your thinking. Develop the habit of asking more empowering questions.
Visualization. Visualize something negative and notice your thoughts. Now, visualize something positive and notice your thoughts. Compare. There’s no doubt that visualization impacts your thoughts and beliefs…they impact you physically too. Use this to your advantage:
- Visualize achieving your goals.
- Visualize completing the tasks you need to do each day.
- Visualize moving forward from a painful experience.
- Visualize yourself mastering a skill you want to learn.
- The period of time right when you’re waking up and just before falling asleep can be especially effective.
Address limiting beliefs. Your beliefs largely create your thoughts. Eliminating (or at least managing) negative beliefs and adding positive beliefs will drastically change your thoughts. Take a negative belief and apply the following process:
- Where did I get this belief? Is it my own? Did someone else give it to me?
- What is the belief based upon? Is the source valid? How do I know it’s true?
- What is this belief costing me? What would happen if i believed the opposite instead?
- Am I willing to let go of this belief for a month and see what happens?
Your “programming” is the result of someone you trusted, saying something enough times that it became your belief. It doesn’t make it right or wrong, it doesn’t make it true or false…but it does make it your belief. So, instead of simply accepting the programming from others, it’s time to program yourself with thoughts that move you closer to the health, work, relationships and life you want.
While our thinking patterns are so habitual they seem challenging to change, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Though repetition and consistency, you’ll be thinking differently in no time. Just something to think about :).
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute