Some people find this concept a little New Age. They immediately think of movies like The Secret and Law of Attraction. However the power of thought is an idea that goes far being marketing gimmicks and “self help” talk.
As part of my practice, I work with thoughts and belief systems all the time. It’s usually one of the first steps in ensuring my clients get results. Our thoughts have the power to set us up for success or failure, even before we start. The beauty is: we get to choose.
If you’re still not convinced, consider this: When you think about biting into a juicy sour lemon, what happens to your body? There is a physical reaction right? What about when you focus on someone you dislike, or an event that happened that really upset you. Your body becomes tense or maybe you have a tightening feeling in your chest or stomach. The point is, our thoughts have the power to create a physical experience. And this phenomenon is constantly at work, whether you are conscious of it or not. So why not use it to your advantage?
Consider another example. Studies were done on athletes who were working to improve their performance. One group continued to practice every day. Another group practiced but also visualized their results and perfect performance. A third group only visualized their perfect performance. Guess which group had the best results? The group that visualized. Hard to believe? It’s a fact that top performance athletes, body builders and even in successful entrepreneurs had a vision of their success long before they achieved it.
Ever heard sayings such as “whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right”. There is a reason these having been around for decades. They resonate with us because at some level we know they are true
So what prevents us from getting to the top of our game? Most of us have a thought pattern that goes something like this….
I would but I’m too old.
I wish I could but I don’t have the time, the education, the talent, the money.
I will try.
I hope it will work this time.
That’s sounds good, but I couldn’t do that.
I’ve always been this way.
I’m not pretty enough, not smart enough, not thin enough.
Sound familiar? All of these reasons that we believe are facts, are just reflections of our own belief systems. They are thoughts, not reality. Except that they are OUR reality. Two people from the same family and background can have a completely different outlook on life. They both live in the same world, one sees opportunity and one sees hopelessness. What’s the difference? Only their perception.
Ask yourself how you see the world. How you see yourself. There are countless examples around us of people who have achieved their goals, whether in personal achievements like weight loss or finishing a marathon, or professional success. People who have had all of the odds against them, coming from poverty or abuse. Don’t let yourself believe that somehow they are different and they have done something you can’t do.
So how do you begin to change the way you think? First understand that it’s a process. It won’t happen over night. Our thoughts are like habits, they run on autopilot. We’ve learned many of them from the time we were children, so we need to re-train our brains.
- For one week, just notice your thoughts. Begin to pay attention to what you say to yourself on a daily basis. Most of us aren’t even aware of the thoughts and beliefs that run our lives so the first step is to become aware of them. Use a journal or small notebook and after a week, see if you can notice a theme.
- Next, notice people around you. Start to listen to the dialogue of those that are generally happy and successful versus those that are stressed, depressed and generally unhappy. You will begin to notice a difference in what they say, how they respond to situations and how they approach their life.
- Surround yourself with positive influences. No one successful has ever done it alone. You must consciously seek out an environment that will support you. This includes networking or mastermind groups, finding new friends, hobbies and reading (audio books in the car are great). In fact, the next time you’re getting into the car or train for that hour commute to work, I recommend putting in a positive Audio CD over listening to the noise of traffic and negative news – I guarantee it will change your day.
- Finally, start to work at changing your thoughts. Take one or two dominant thoughts and next time you catch yourself thinking or saying them, turn it around to something positive. For instance, instead of “I’ll try” say “I will”. Or instead of saying “I hate my body” say “I am grateful for my strong and healthy body”. You don’t need to do this out loud, just notice your thoughts. Be patient and gentle with yourself, this is harder to do than it sounds!
Whatever your goals or dreams are for yourself and however big or small, begin today by changing the way you think.
To your health and happiness,