To start this off, I have two questions. 1) When was the last time you decided that you were going to make a change in your life? This can be attempting to get that promotion you have been chasing at work, quitting smoking, becoming healthier by improving your diet and getting more exercise. 2) Is this project still ongoing? We tend to find someone or something to blame when we lose sight of our goals when we are completely ignoring who is actually to blame…ourselves! We are our own downfall and worst enemy because we put ourselves down too much and too often. The power of positive thinking is truly underestimated when it comes to everyday life when it should be used during these big ‘life-changing’ decisions and even in smaller everyday tasks.
A recent study looked at two different groups of athletes, one group used self-talk when learning a new task and the other group didn’t and the results speak for themselves. Not only did the athletes who were feeding their brains with positivity improve more than the other group, they also experienced fewer interfering thoughts and were able to focus easily on the task in hand. We have some key tips on how to train yourself to look towards the positives rather than focusing on the negatives.
Firstly, we have a natural ability of beating ourselves up and at finding ways to put ourselves down and to overcome this, first you have to notice just how often you do it. You can start this process by marking it down own a piece of paper or in a document on your phone or simply just by noticing it in the moment. You will be shocked at how often the negatives appear simply because we are used to them and have accepted them in our lives. A good way of overcoming this is by trying to take yourself out of the situation. Say to yourself ‘if this was my friend in the situation, what would I say and how would I deal with it?’ You would more than likely take a more cautious and sensitive approach as not to hurt their feelings so why not try that with you?
Secondly, track your progress so you can visibly see how far you have come. It seems strange to put yourself through weeks of hard work trying to lose weight or trying to stop smoking and then give it all up just because of one ‘bad day’ when the negative thoughts become too much. If you track your progress, you can see everything that you have done up to that point, you can see how many workouts you have done and therefore how many hours you have put into this change or how many days you have gone without a cigarette. You are much less likely to cave in if you can see your development written down in front of you. One good way of motivating yourself is to set up a reward system, for example, every day you go without a cigarette, put some money in a jar towards a new piece of clothing or a day out and if you fail and cave in, you have to take that money out and start again. Money makes the world go round and it can be a huge motivator!
The next way of using positive thinking is to look at things in a more subjective way without the emotion that normally comes with it. The way you respond to ‘failure’ plays a key part in whether you are motivated to carry on towards your goal. For example, if you are attempting to lose weight and you step onto the scales and you have put on a couple of pounds in the last week, the normal response would be to think that you have failed and be down for the rest of the day or simply, to give up. However, we should change that mind-set and try to take emotion out of it. We could say ‘well, I put on a couple of pounds this week, how am I going to make sure that doesn’t happen again? Should I change the way I prepare certain foods? Should I cut out certain foods?’ This is a much better response that will yield greater results. Don’t think about how bad you have failed because that is in the past and you cannot change it, instead think about how you can grow and develop to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. If you make the changes and it happens again, something else has to change; there is always room to grow.
It can also be helpful to write down some key things about your life. Firstly, write down what you are grateful for right now; that may be your job, or your partner, or where you live. Next, write down somethings that have happened in your life that you are proud of; that could be a promotion in your job or maybe even when you completely changed careers to be happy, maybe you have a child. Finally, write down some dreams and aspirations; this could be to marry your partner and move into a bigger place or a different area, a promotion at work, to be able to fit into a smaller dress size by a certain date, to stop smoking. Whatever it is, write it down and follow that up by planning how you are going to achieve it. Once all that is down, stick that piece of paper somewhere that you will see it every single day so you have a constant reminder of your goals and then use the positive thinking to make it happen!
So there we have it, some great tips on how to implement positive thinking into your life and how to use it for the better. Good luck, you know you can do it!