Everyday millions of people around the world embark upon some sort of new change but sadly many of them fail the first time around. Honestly, they probably fail the second and third time around too (Sorry if that hit a sore spot). I wish I could tell you that I’ve never been a part of that group, but I probably could have been their president many times over.
Part of the problem is that although our desires have shifted, our mindsets stay the same. We want to change, but we don’t always have the tools needed to do it. Think about it. So many people that I know have been conditioned over the years, whether self-inflicted or by others, to believe negative things about themselves and their abilities; things that paralyze them and stop them from pursuing their dreams before they even get started. Though necessary, altering our beliefs isn’t likely to happen overnight or without lots of intention and focus, no matter how badly we want it to. It’s something that we have to work at.
Shifting your mindset is key when it comes to change or reinvention. The Bible says “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” – (Romans 12:2). Similarly, Author Marianne Williamson says “You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be”. There are many others that have spoken on this philosophy but the message is always the same, you have to reprogram your mind before you can truly change your habits. Below I will list a few ways that you can get started on your journey towards renewing your own mind. There are lots of ways that you can work on shifting your mindset and habits, these are some of the tips that have been the most helpful to me. I also urge you to remember that consistency plays a key role in sustaining change as well, so do your best to challenge yourself daily in reinforcing your new habits.
#1 – NO MORE NEGATIVE SELF-TALK!
Don’t underestimate the power of positive reinforcement and daily affirmations. I know that to some the idea of giving yourself daily pep talks can seem corny, but it isn’t, and it can be so invigorating! Be conscious and intentional in the things that you think and say not only to, but about yourself. The Bible says “As a man thinketh, so is he”. Take a moment to think about what kind of thoughts you have been thinking about yourself and how they have influenced who you have become. Do those thoughts affect your confidence and ability to follow through on your goals and aspirations? If someone were to ask you to list three positive things about yourself, could you easily do it? A lot of people can’t. This is something that I’ve struggled with as well. Something that helped me in this area is realizing that simply recognizing positive aspects of your character or acknowledging a gift you may possesses does not make you conceited, it builds your confidence. On the other hand, perpetuating negativity kills progress. So, if that is the kind of mindset that you hold about the things that you wish to change, what real motivation do you have to propel yourself towards that change?
Tip: If you don’t already have one, invest in a journal. Each day write down one thing that you did well that day or one thing that made you feel a sense of pride. You can also look up affirmations and save a favorite as the screensaver on your phone or computer. Something positive that will help you stay encouraged throughout the day.
#2 – GIVE THANKS DAILY
Another important step in shifting your mindset in a more positive direction is to be thankful. Starting your day off with a mindset of gratitude goes a long way towards setting the tone for your day. When you’re complaining about the day before your feet hit the floor, there’s a good chance that the rest of your day will be filled with that same negative energy. That isn’t to say that people who practice gratitude never have bad days, of course they do. But when you are in the habit of being thankful and maintaining a more positive mindset, you are better able to handle those bad days or situations and not allow them to change you for the worst. Even when things aren’t necessarily going the way that we want them to, if we look hard enough and just take a step back, we can more clearly see and count our blessings. The fact that you’re privileged enough to have a device that you can read this on, is something to be thankful for.
Tip: In your journal, write down at least one thing each day that you are thankful for. It’s a good idea to do this in the morning, to get your day started, but it can be done at any time.
#3 – IT’S OK TO START SMALL
When it comes to your goals, know that it’s ok to NOT have everything completely figured out in the beginning. In fact, I’d dare to say that that is normal. As you work towards your goal, keeping the larger end goal in sight, focus on setting a series of small goals leading up to it. Sometimes when we have grand aspirations, they can be intimidating, even to the most confident or positive person, and sometimes that feeling of intimidation will cause you to scrap the goal all together. If you find yourself in that boat, map out the individual steps that you’ll need to take in order to reach your goal and go at them one by one. It may take a little bit longer, but it’s better than getting frustrated and giving up all together. Along the way, remember to do a little something to celebrate your victory each time you reach one of those goals. You don’t have to do anything extravagant, but treat yourself to your favorite dessert or a movie, whatever helps you to stay motivated and mark the achievement in a positive way.
Tip: Create a timeline for your end goal and plot the smaller goals leading up to it. Place it somewhere that will allow you to look at it daily to help you stay motivated.
#4 – AVOID or MANAGE TRIGGERS WHEN POSSIBLE
Steer clear of things and people that trigger behavior that counters the shift that you are trying to make. This can be hard, but it is very important to your success. Triggers come in many forms depending on where your issues lie. If you are trying to be more positive, avoid constantly being around people you know to be negative. If you’re trying not to swear, maybe it’s best that you not listen to death metal or gangster rap (just a thought). The point is to try not to put yourself in situations where you will be tempted to revert back to the habits that you are trying to change. If avoiding your triggers doesn't quite seem right, or possible in your situation, try learning how to manage them. You may benefit from speaking to a counselor to discuss your triggers and the best strategy for handling them.
Tip: Take a moment to list the changes that you would like to make and note why you want to change. What would these changes mean to or for you? Keep this list handy so that when you are feeling tempted to give in to some of your triggers, you can refer to it and remember why it’s important not to.
Well, I hope that you’ve found these tips to be helpful. I can’t promise that they will be life changing for all, but they have helped me tremendously and I hope that they will be useful to some of you as well. If you have a moment, comment down below to share with us your tips for facilitating change in your life. What’s worked for you? We’d love to hear it.
Until next time!