Want to achieve your GOALS this year? Let’s reframe the negative thoughts that are holding you back.
“We make our thoughts and our thoughts make us. If we want a better life, then we need better thinking.”
Main tips from today’s episode:
1. Write down the negative thoughts you want to reframe.
It’s very challenging to become free of negative thoughts if you can’t see them. This is like trying to find your keys in a dark room. So the beginning of changing negative thoughts is to first bring it into the light by writing it down.
Now you might be wondering, “Patrick, what if it’s more of a feeling, not necessarily a thought?” First, you wouldn’t be alone in that.
When we practice mindfulness and self-awareness, the first “onion layer” we encounter is usually a generalized feeling (let’s say anxiousness). When we continue to sit with that feeling and lean further into it, thoughts emerge. For help making the unconscious, conscious, I’d recommend this video.
2. Find any connections to your “self-concept.”
Now that you can literally see your negative thoughts, next see if any of your identity (or self-concept) is trapped in that idea. As I showed in the video, one of the actions I was trying to get myself to do for years was get up early and go to the gym.
But my freedom began when I wrote down the negative thought, “getting up early is hard.” When I dug further, I realized I had a solid chunk of my identity trapped in there as well.
I did not think of myself as a morning person. In fact, when I wrote out the limiting belief, “I’m not a morning person,” one part of me agreed with it, and the other part was saddened to see myself believe such a small concept.
Not being a morning person was a pretty old story about myself that had been lingering around for years. I probably formed it when I was young, but never circled around to challenged it – so it stuck around.
That’s when I realized, that what I was holding onto was holding me back.
3. Use “Yes, And” to create turnarounds.
As you see in the video (5:10 mark) I changed this negative thought by first ACKNOWLEDGING it; not denying it or running from it.
“Yes,” I said to myself, it’s TRUE that I have not been behaving as a morning person. YES, it’s true, I often snooze through four alarms. YES it’s true, my comfort zone is to sleep in (and so on).
Then I took the next step and said, AND…
AND what’s also true is that I stay up extra late, a LOT. Which is making it hard for me to get up early.
It’s also true that I could achieve a great many things (including my health goals) if I were to let go of this old story of myself. AND it’s also true that I have a history of changing other aspects of my life, so it stands to reason that I could change this too.
NOTE: If you keep going down that truth rabbit hole, you may just strike gold. A truth that once acknowledged, drops you back into your chair. A truth you have been hiding from yourself (possibly for years) until you finally saw it. More on those types of realizations in another episode.
With my mind now open to new ideas, the situation was ripe for change. But I wasn’t done yet.
4. Write down a new POSITIVE thought that is a reframe of the negative one.
As I show around the 6:50 mark, changing the story in your head begins with a dramatic gesture of scratching out the old story and replacing it with a new one.
With the simple stroke of a pen, I changed “I am not a morning person” to the possibility statement of “I CAN BE a morning person.”
Whatever new idea you write down, sit with it. Try it on like a shirt and see if it fits. If you’re ready for the thought, it will “feel right” and now you can move onto the last step.
If you’re not ready for it that’s okay. Just note where the resistance is for you, and repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 until you are ready (also talk to friends about your discoveries, sometimes this work is best done with a buddy.)
5. Pick 2 things you can do to make change easy.
Action changes people, not thoughts alone. This is why it’s ESSENTIAL that you follow up insight with action. As a final step, pick two SIMPLE things you can do to make changing this old behavior easy on you.
For example, I knew from the exercises above that two of the barriers that stopped me from getting up early were staying up late, and wanting to sleep in.
So here’s what I did. I gave myself a bedtime 😉 (turns out structure is good).
I set an alarm on my phone that gave me a 30-minute warning at 11 pm that it was “time for bed.” Then I would finish up whatever episode of a show I was watching and head upstairs.
The second SIMPLE action I put in place was a timer on the lamp next to my bed to turn on at 6 am. I knew that I was a “sun in the face must get up” type of person, so I used that to my advantage.
End of the story: It worked.
Resolving the INNER conflict that was holding me back, AND setting up my external environment to make success easier on me, was all it took.
I am now a morning person. Not in theory, but in action. Boom. 👊
I hope this served you,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
TYPER OF THE WORDS. MAKER OF THE THINGS.
Patrick believes that each of us, without exception, has the power to shape our minds, bodies, and lives in any direction we choose. His mission is to help you get the insights, tools, and strategies you need to live an extraordinary life.
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