Our mindsets are formed through prior experiences and emotional milestones in our lives.
Unfortunately, if you are like most of the population, then you have developed several “counter mindsets” A counter mindset is one that holds us back and doesn’t help us produce the results that we want in life. This mindset is a negative way of thinking and visualizing the world.
Changing your “counter mindset” is something that doesn’t happen by accident-it’s a conscious choice that we have to make and it takes some serious work.
Did you know that approximately 65,000 thoughts go through our minds each day? The majority of these thoughts are negative, whether we realize it or not. Most of us struggle with “ANTs”, which are automatic negative thoughts that occur so often throughout the day that we are most likely not aware of it.
Here are 7 steps that we can take to change our mindsets:
1. Accept that your thinking needs an adjustment
The first step in any change is acknowledging that you need to make one! Just identifying this will help you make a step in the right direction.
2. Identify your “ANTs” (Automatic Negative Thoughts)
Pay attention to your negative self-talk and how frequently it happens. Being aware and identifying these harmful thoughts is pretty eye-opening. You may notice that your negative thinking can be narrowed down into a few key themes. Taking a mental or physical note of this is a big step towards change because we can’t change what we don’t recognize in ourselves.
3. Change your thought patterns
There are two fairly easy approaches to moving your thoughts from a negative to a positive.
The first one is to FORCE yourself to change your thinking. For example, instead of looking in the mirror and seeing your flaws, compliment yourself! It might feel phony at first, but once you get into the habit of consistently filling your mind with positive affirmations vs negative ones, you will start to believe yourself and grow.
The other idea is to try the “IF/THEN” approach which is a thought process that allows you to think past your negative thoughts. For example, IF you start to say that you are too tired, too out of shape, or too lazy to exercise, THEN go straight to your closet and put on your workout clothes and go for a walk. Sometimes just by taking one step in the right direction is enough to shut your ANTs down. You can prepare yourself ahead of time by writing down several IF/THEN statements.
4. Understand your “WHY”
Since most of our unhealthy habits and ANTs were formed when we were kids, changing our mindsets takes hard work to break. Understanding your why can help you work towards a more positive outlook. To set a why-think about a goal or dream that will have a transformational change in your life.
Examples of a why may be: “To improve my relationship with my companion” or “To be happier in my career.”
Once you identify your why, write it down on paper and why it is important to you.
5. Realize that motivation is not enough
High achievers understand this reality so they stop mentally punishing themselves every time they stumble or fail to stick to a plan. Knowing this will allow you to be emotionally freer which will encourage you to try again tomorrow and not give up!
6. Start with super small goals
Set tiny, achievable goals that you can easily reach. For example, if you want to reduce stress, try deep breathing for just 1 minute each day. Or, if you want to start exercising, make it a goal to walk for 5 minutes. Decide that your mini goal is the minimum and that you can do more if you feel up to it. More times that not, you’ll feel awesome because you are over-achieving when you do more and if you just do the minimum, you’re still hitting your goal.
To ever make any serious change, we have to take small steps and repeat them daily. This will create momentum towards positive change. Consistently hitting our small goals will form new mindset habits.
7. Acknowledge that you will FAIL
Highly successful people realize that the only thing that really keeps them from their goals is stopping, so they don’t stop! They know that they’ll have obstacles and failures along the way but they give themselves permission to screw up because failure will help them learn and make adjustments as they see fit. If you know that failure can happen and you accept it, seek feedback and make changes to get back into the game.
I hope these tips help you as much as they do me. Do you have other healthy mindset habits that work for you? I’d love to hear them!