Because you can’t start to shift your thoughts until you’re aware of them
Okay, so you’ve done your homework. Now you’re aware of negative thought patterns. Of limiting beliefs and where they originated. Maybe you’re even starting to challenge these beliefs.
I heard an interesting analogy on a recent podcast that compared the stories we tell ourselves to code we’re writing, which will ultimately produce our programming.
Which leads to the big question:
Can someone re-write their code and re-program their mindset?
The answer is an undisputed YES.
And the benefit of this, is a change in the way you perceive events, and the resulting thoughts, feelings, actions and outcomes.
Sounds like a pretty good deal, so then the million dollar question is:
How can you begin to change these negative thought patterns and shift your mindset?
There are 2 practices that have been proven to do this: Gratitude and Affirmations. Doing both of these regularly has been shown to change people’s self-perception and I can tell you from personal experience that they are game changers. Let’s explore both…
You’ve no doubt heard the benefits of practicing gratitude. It’s considered the antidote for envy and the precursor for a joyful life. When you’re focused on being grateful for what you already have in life, and for all of things that matter to you – big or small – it lessens the constant need for more, more, more.
Okay, so if practicing gratitude is so great, why don’t more people do it every day? Why do some start and then stop?
I’ve observed 2 main reasons why people aren’t successful with practicing gratitude:
1. You haven’t found the right gratitude practice for you
Maybe you’ve tried to keep a gratitude journal, but you hate writing. Maybe you’ve tried praying every night but it doesn’t feel right.
The good news is that there are a ton of ways to practice gratitude. Here are 3 of my favourites:
Gratitude journal: I love keeping a gratitude journal. I write in it each night before I go to bed and focus on 3-5 things that happened that day that I’m grateful for. This leaves me feeling positive and happy when I go to sleep which sets the tone for how I wake up.
Gratitude jars: This is another practice I’ve tried – I get everyone in the family to write down something they’re grateful for each night at dinner and put it in the jar. After a month we take them all out and read them.
The best part is reading the wacky things that the kids end up writing down! This one ultimately failed for me because it involved rallying too many people at a busy time of day…
Gratitude buddy: This involves picking a buddy to share your gratitude aloud with. It can be a great practice to try if you go for a daily walk with a friend or partner. Someone picks a number, and then you try to list that many things that you’re grateful for.
You don’t have to choose one of these 3 either. Think about what habit you will actually follow through with, and go with that.
2. You’re just going through the motions
This is something I struggled with when I started keeping a gratitude journal a number of years ago. Every night I would list out things I was grateful for:
Taylor (my partner)
But the truth is, I wasn’t really feeling it. These were things I thought I should feel grateful for... but maybe one of the kids had a meltdown before bed and I wasn’t feeling particularly grateful at the moment. Maybe we needed to get something fixed at the house and right now the house wasn’t leaving me feeling overflowing with gratitude.
The problem is, I was listing the things I thought I should be grateful for, instead of focusing on the tiny joys from that particular day. When I changed this, my practice of gratitude journaling changed profoundly.
Now, I list 3-5 things that were amazing that day. Not general life stuff… things like:
That amazingly delicious Tuscan white bean soup I made for dinner
The joy I felt when Tommy was trying to floss earlier (the dance, not the oral health practice)
The beautiful testimonial I got from a client reminding me I’m making a difference
As you can see, these things are all very specific and thinking about them brings back positive feelings of happiness, warmth, and gratitude!
So I would encourage you – if you’re newer to practicing gratitude – try being very specific and focusing on even the tiniest things from your day that brought you joy.
When most of us hear about affirmations for the first time, we think of Stuart Smalley:
I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.
Anyone remember that from SNL?
Anyways, although that was a funny skit, the truth is that affirmations work! There’s a ton of data behind the power of affirmations in terms of increasing resiliency, reducing stress and boosting confidence and motivation.
When we repeat positive, encouraging messages to ourselves it will shift our subconscious beliefs and thoughts, and if I’ve been able to convince you that our sponsoring beliefs are what determine everything else (thoughts, feelings, actions, outcomes) it won’t surprise you to hear that when we shift these beliefs and thoughts, it actually makes it more likely that we’ll act in a way to make these affirmations a reality!
It’s almost like magic…
In terms of what affirmations you choose, these should be specific to you and your goals. Here are a few examples:
I choose to attract positive energy today, and every day
I am an unstoppable force of nature
I am creating the life of my dreams
I am a confident and decisive leader
Think about what you want to accomplish in your life and how you want to show up in the world, and choose affirmations that align with these goals.
It’s important to note that writing out and saying an affirmation one time isn’t going to do the trick.
The magic happens when we create a daily habit of reciting affirmations. For me, this is an easy add-on right after I do my gratitude journal, since I’m holding the journal in my hands and I’ve written out my affirmations in this same journal (ie. make it EASY to create this habit).
Others like to do this practice every morning as a way of starting their day. Again, the key to success is to find what works for you. If you’re trying to implement a habit or practice that conflicts with something else or that doesn’t work for you, you won’t end up doing it at all.
For best results, incorporate gratitude and affirmations into your daily routine.
Try if for 30 days and see how you feel. Initially it may feel like work, but over time you may notice that you come to really look forward to both. I know I do!
That’s all on mindset for now…
Until next time friends ✌️💜