Four tips to quickly change your mind set
Sometimes, all we need is a change of mind set.
We all miss goals. We all suffer from hindsight’s 20 20 vision. Indeed, everything any of us have ever done is surrounded by regrets at opportunities missed, viewpoints gone askew. In essence, we all suffer from mind sets that aren’t always helpful.
If you’ve ever missed a New Year’s resolution, or come out of a situation realising that you saw it all wrong, this might be you.
So, what do those people who veer away from this do differently? If there is somebody who has fewer regrets than normal, who misses fewer opportunities and leaves fewer things unachieved, what difference is there in their mind set?
Firstly, let’s take a look. Let’s see how a change of mind set might set you up for greater success in the future. Then let’s see how you can change your own mind set.
Who Has a Positive Mind Set?
There is no demographic unity to those with a positive mind set. People who achieve things – not just tangible, skin deep things, but meaningful, deeper things such as peace, love, compassion, satisfaction – come from all walks of life. There also isn’t that much that is special about them – or, at least, nothing is special about them that you cannot find in yourself.
No matter your background or experiences, you have it in you to change your mind set and achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. In fact, if you’re reading this, you likely have some form of addiction in your life. Perhaps you are going through the process of overcoming it, of learning to live with it, to say ‘yes’ to life and ‘no’ to anything that holds you back.
A good, positive mind set is crucial in this journey.
Building a positive mind set takes time and effort. It is an ongoing process that involves knowing yourself better and figuring out how you tick. However, there are also plenty of short terms habits and tricks that you can put in place from today to help you to change your mind set.
Shed the old and say hello to the new with these four simple tips.
Four Ideas to Change Your Mind Set
1. Firstly, identify your bad thoughts
Many of us are looking for a way to identify and change our unhealthy or unhelpful mind sets. You might be the same, looking to change your mind set away from negativity. These are mind sets you may have formed through prior experiences and emotional milestones. They could be mind sets left over from the height of your addiction or any other trauma you may have experienced. They could just be clusters of negativity you’ve picked up along the way.
Here, we are specifically talking about unhelpful mind sets like self-doubt, limiting beliefs, and any other negative thoughts that stop you from becoming who you are. These are classic examples of counter mind sets.
We run through tens of thousands of thoughts each day. The majority of these for the majority of people are negative – the are Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs). You won’t notice them, but they can damage you. They are the voice of doubt, the voice of recklessness, the voice of fear or passivity.
It can be hard to stay positive under this barrage of ANTs. Imagine you had somebody at your shoulder forever putting you down. They tell you that you’re not good enough, that you don’t earn enough, that you are fat, or ugly, or that you don’t deserve to be happy. This is what ANTs do to you.
It’s quite common for addiction to be an attempt to mask these ANTs, to block them out.
However, there are healthier ways to get rid of your ANTs. Simply pay attention to them. Listen to them, be mindful of them. Learn to recognise where they are coming into play. Write them down. Acknowledge them, then set them aside.
You will be surprised by how quickly you will be able to turn them around.
2. Then know thyself
Knowing yourself – truly looking within, finding out who you are and what makes you tick – is vital for long term wellbeing. Without doing so, you are like an explorer without a map or compass. With it, you can find what you’re looking for, no matter how long the journey.
This leads on from above. It can be hard to change damaging, negative mind sets simply because they go under the radar. Most of our harmful habits and counter-mindsets originated early in life. You cannot see them because they are so fundamental to you.
This doesn’t make them immutable. They are definitely ripe for change. You simply need to understand your own motivating forces. You need to understand how you work. This can lead to real transformation.
Before each decision, ask yourself ‘why?’ Ask yourself ‘why?’ when you view things negatively, when you feel despondent about something, when you are putting something off. Write it down in a notebook.
You will be able to spot patterns. You will find illumination. If you can understand your ‘why’, you can understand how to change the outcome. Change your mind set at the point of motivation.
3. Then, use this knowledge to change your mind set
Once you’re aware of your motivating factors and your ANTs, you need to do something about them to change your mind set. Mindfulness itself is a good tool. You will find yourself naturally seeing things more positively and constructively as you come to know yourself better. However, there is more you can do.
You need to take an active step away from the negative, towards the positive.
Positive and negative thoughts fight for space in your brain. If you give power to the positive, they begin to win. But how do you do this?
Affirmation can be key.
Try keeping a ‘gratitude diary’. Every evening, write down a couple of things that happened that day for which you are grateful. Do this every day. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you begin to see the positive in the world, in your life.
Focus in particular on things you know you feel negative about. If you don’t like the way you look, be grateful for your body, for your health, for those you know find you beautiful. If you are struggling with addiction, write down why you are grateful to be free of it for another day.
Or simply look at yourself in the mirror each morning and say: ‘I like you. You’re flawed but good, as is everyone. You deserve everything good that is coming to you, you’re doing well.’
4. Finally, focus on habits over willpower to change your mind set
Motivation and willpower are great. They can be a breath of fresh air, a kick up the backside. However, they are not a good basis for any kind of change. No matter how many people preach their virtues to you, no matter how many people talk about grit and determination, they are poor allies.
We’ve already explored motivation. You don’t want to ask what motivates you to change so much as understand your own motivations for doing things. Don’t treat it as a moving force or a source of energy.
This is because willpower, and motivation, when we use the word as a synonym for willpower or ‘drive’, are both finite resources. They won’t get you very far. Then they will run out.
This is backed up by modern research into brain function. You deplete your willpower over time – and not over that much time, either. It drains, gets used up, falls victim to changing mood and circumstances.
It’s part of the reason so many people fail at their goals. You might have the willpower to stick to your New Year’s resolutions for a week or two. Maybe longer. However, it will always run out. Come March, you’re back to your old habits. You’re back to your old mind set.
Or, rather, you never changed your mind set to begin with.
To really change your mind set, you need two things: routine and small goals.
Routine and small goals
Get into the routine of doing something positive or healthy. Don’t invest it with any emotion. Don’t psych yourself up for it. Simply get it done. Rather than amping yourself up for the best gym session ever, simply go along, go through the motions, pushing yourself as hard as you’re able on any given day. The point is turning up, regularly, at your set time.
Turning up is your small goal. The routine is what carries the goal.
Over time, you will find a more disciplined, more positive mind set kicking in.
For instance, you struggle with addiction. Let’s say it’s alcoholism for the sake of argument. You might be really enthusiastic right now to never drink again. That’s not going to last. Your enthusiasm – your willpower – will falter over time. Then you will be open to returning to old patterns – you might fall off the wagon.
However, get yourself into a routine. You avoid pubs and bars. You drink soft drinks. Dinner comes at the same time every night, you socialise in the gym or other dry spaces. Set yourself small goals. Rather than trying to never drink again, simply focus on not drinking today or tomorrow. The days will stack up, but you won’t be overwhelmed, and you will be carried by something far more substantial than willpower.
Change your mind set consciously
You will never change your mind set by accident. Simply repeating past behaviours will elicit past results, many of them negative or self-defeating. Change happens consciously, by choice. It involves myriad lifestyle factors. You need to constantly work on it, maintaining the life you want to lead.
Then, over time, you will find a great change coming over your mind set. Things will be positive, light, manageable. They will be forward focussed, and they will allow you to be who you want to be.
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