We’ve all seen those motivational posters, a lion’s face captured in golden light with the caption, Believe and Succeed.
I really don't like those posters.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but for some reason they just turn me off.
However, despite disliking them, they’re actually onto something.
Words, specifically our thoughts, are VERY powerful.
And if switching up the narrative has the potential to change our lives for the better, it only makes sense that we would try it.
But you know me, I need to know why things work. So today we're going to learn about the power of words. Or more specifically, our thoughts.
But first, let’s talk about goals.
So, what’s a goal?
A goal is a desired result.
How do we achieve desired results?
By taking deliberate action.
What fuels our actions?
What determines our feelings?
You guessed it, our thoughts.
And if you’re reading this blog, chances are, you have some sort of wellness goal you’d like to achieve.
Maybe you’ve got some habits you’d like to kick, or perhaps you’d like to add something new to your routine. Whatever it is, it’s possible something keeps interrupting you from achieving this goal.
Spoiler alert, it’s your thoughts. …though you may not be consciously aware of them.
From the day you were spat into this world, until this very moment, and every moment beyond, your brain is continuously being programmed. This lump of grey matter is like a computer that builds an algorithm that dictates your character, based on your conditioning.
What that means is, everything you’ve ever experienced, observed, or have been taught, will influence the thoughts, beliefs, and opinions you have about people, places, things, ideas, and yourself.
Sometimes your conditioning supports healthy thoughts, thus, healthy decisions. And other times, not so much.
Either way, how you’ve been programmed to think will ultimately determine whether you reach your goals or not.
And we can thank the subconscious brain for this.
The brain is divided into a bunch of different departments. Most of them working on autopilot. It’s in charge of muscle movement, respiration, heart rate, temperature, and lots of other mechanical things. It’s also in charge of storing all of your past experiences (and associated emotions) in your subconscious.
As you move through life, the brain will sift through your historic files and compare your current experience with things that have happened in the past.
Now, the brain’s biggest concern is keeping you safe. That means it doesn’t take well to change. Change, even if it’s positive, is still stressful to the brain. It craves regularity, and demands predictability.
This is that comfort zone thing you’ve heard so much about.
“Success lies just outside of your comfort zone” …put that on your motivational poster…
Anyway, when you try to quit an old habit, or start a new one, the subconscious brain will set you up for failure (but only because it loves you, in its own fucked up, twisted way).
Let’s use my food addiction as an example.
Somewhere in my history I associated food with safety, comfort, or some other dopamine driven, feel good sensation.
One day I decide my eating had gotten out of control. So I made the decision to cut down on unnecessary snacking.
Suddenly I found myself in a new routine. My daily stressors and triggers were still there, but the snacks I found comfort in weren’t.
When triggered, my brain would start sorting through the files looking for ways to deal with my stressors. And if I didn’t reach for food, my subconscious would start yelling: Where’s the snacks? Get this girl some snacks! SHE NEEEEDS SNAAACKS!
Now, the brain will do some crazy shit to make you break and reach for that unhealthy habit you’re trying to quit. This is a reaction.
Every time I caved and ate the snack, instantly the dopamine would kick in and my brain will get the boost it’s looking for. Except, this boost was temporary, and came with some other undesired side effects (feelings of shame, weakness, guilt, and not to mention setting me back from my goal).
And what do I do when I'm feeling shitty? I reach for another snack.
See where I’m going with this?
It’s easy to get stuck into this kind of cycle. And the longer we stay in this cycle of reaction, the stronger the algorithm will grow.
But if you remember back a couple of minutes ago when we were just talking about GOALS (desired results), we achieve them by DELIBERATE ACTION. …not reaction.
So how the hell do we move from REACTION to DELIBERATE ACTION?
Well, we start with our thoughts.
While the subconscious brain plays a big role in determining our reactions, it’s our CONSCIOUS mind has the final say of our ACTIONS.
Despite years of conditioning, you, my friend, have the power to call the shots on your actions.
The trick is to think about the thing you want to achieve.
What kind of actions do you need to take in order to achieve it?
What kind of feelings support these actions?
What do you need to think/believe in order to feel this way?
It’s these thoughts, these WORDS, you need to tell yourself when you’re faced with the challenges that come with achieving your goals.
By practicing interrupting the subconscious chatter with conscious, deliberate thoughts that actually support your goals, you’ll gradually change your algorithm.
This is called mindfulness.
This is what an affirmation is.
And it’s the way you can achieve anything.
And it's friggin' science.
If you'd like to snag my Mindset Makeover Worksheet, you can sign up for my NEWSLETTER!
I appreciate you.
Thank you so much for being here.
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- 5 Secrets for Successful Self-Care
- Feelings: Auditing Your Emotions + Hacking Your Hormones
- 6 Ways to Identify Your SELF
- How To Recognize Your Self-Care Needs
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