Practice New Thoughts Until They Begin to Take Root
Feel stuck or uninspired with your dreams and goals?
Many people I connect with, as a coach and speaker, tell me they have dreams and goals they don’t pursue.
They feel they’ve been called to do more.
But somehow, something always gets in the way.
They think it’s:
- too hard
- not possible for them (unworthiness)
- easier to keep doing what they’ve always done
Notice I said They THINK.
The #1 thing that stops you from making your goals and dreams happen is recurring, unhelpful thoughts.
But the dream(s) keep pulling and nagging and hoping and waiting.
What are you supposed to do?
The MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do to break the bad habit of limiting beliefs is to become very, very aware of the recurring, unhelpful thoughts.
I do this by being curious and by practicing being a Divine Scientist with my thoughts.
From there you can identify and begin practicing new helpful and empowering thoughts.
A belief is simply a thought that you’ve thought SO many times that it’s become an automatic, habitual, unhelpful, limiting belief.
Try on new thoughts.
What if you tried on some new thoughts?
What if you stayed consistent and persistent so that the new thoughts became new beliefs?
What might be possible for you?
Now this is actually very simple, yet it’s not easy.
You’ll have to become an advocate for your new thoughts.
You’ll have to be that super persistent and consistent Scientist.
Questioning your thoughts.
Not judging yourself.
Not beating yourself up.
Persistently looking for evidence everywhere to prove the new thought.
You’ll have to stop indulging in self-pity and self-doubt.
Forgive yourself when you stumble.
And you will stumble.
I do, all the time.
But I just get back to it without beating myself up.
When you find that you are in self-pity and self-doubt, you’ll have to forgive yourself.
Here are some of the limiting beliefs (recurring, automatic thoughts) I hear from people all the time (and that I’ve worked on myself over the years.)
- Things usually don’t work out for me.
- I don’t know if I can be successful.
- They’ll think my ideas are stupid.
- I hate my body.
- I’m ugly.
- Someone’s already doing that.
- I’m waiting to feel inspired.
- But I don’t want it to be hard.
- I’m not smart enough.
- I’m not talented.
- I’m not interesting enough.
- I’m not sure anyone will want to hire me / pay me / buy this.
Here’s the thing.
Most people truly believe their thoughts are facts.
Thoughts are not facts.
They are a collection of words…
that make a sentence…
that make a thought…
that – in this case – make you feel bad.
You’ve just been thinking them for SO long… they feel 100% true to you.
When you lead yourself with bad, scared or doubtful feelings you are NEVER EVER going to take confident, decisive and persistent action to make your dreams happen.
How to have a brain transplant.
So what’s a person to do?
(Short of brain surgery?)
You can do something similar to brain surgery on yourself.
You can question your thoughts.
You can doubt your recurring, unhelpful, bad-feeling thoughts.
Take one thought.
Begin questioning that thought.
Let’s take this one as an example:
“I hate my body.”
Where did this thought ACTUALLY come from?
(Media? Culture? The bully in High School? Your narcissist Father? Your Frenemy? Your ex-husband? That real or imagined internet bully?)
Is that thought helpful?
Does the thought make you feel better?
Does the thought make you feel worse?
Is the thought true?
(Be careful with that one. You may have been thinking it so long that you’ll want to say “But Maritza, it is true!”)
You can decide to choose new thoughts.
Yes – you can.
You are the decider!
You can practice those new thoughts.
Here’s where people who try to change their thoughts usually go wrong.
You try to jump from a bad feeling thought to what you think SHOULD be thinking instead.
Trying to change your bad feeling thoughts to good feeling thoughts TOO quickly is striving for instant gratification.
Just like any form of instant gratification, it doesn’t work.
It doesn’t last.
For example, let’s use the “I hate my body” example.
It’s impossible to jump from “I hate my body” to what you might think you SHOULD be thinking instead “I love my body” in one superhuman leap.
It feels like a lie.
It is a lie as far as the neural pathways in your brain are concerned..
It ends up making you feel much, much worse.
Instead, focus on making the thought a LITTLE TEENY TINY ITSY BITSY bit better-feeling and helpful.
The word to describe the new thought might be it feels a little bit better or like RELIEF.
In the example we’re using, that might sound like one of these new thought options instead:
- My body is useful.
- I have a body.
- My body can take me places.
- My body houses a tender heart.
- My body feels good when I move it.
New Thought Choices.
Here are some of the new thought choices I’m practicing lately:
- I’m responsible for every single thing I think and feel.
- I’m here to get to the work of growing myself so that I use up every bit of my life.
- No one can cause an emotion in me.
- People are allowed to behave the way they want, I am allowed to react the way I want.
- When you manage your mind and emotions, you can do twice as much.
- Money is easy and fun.
- There’s plenty of time for everything I want to do.
- Suffering can feel familiar but it’s not necessary.
- Hard work and good rest feels incredibly satisfying.
- The world longs for what I have to offer.
You better believe I’m caring for and cultivating each one as if they’re tiny little delicate seedlings.
I know one thing for sure.
You will never regret doing the necessary thought and belief change work to TRULY take a chance on yourself.
To make your dreams actually happen.
But Maritza, I already know this!
Something insidious in our culture right now is the fact that SO many people “know” so many things about personal development, self help, spirituality yet do not have anywhere near the results they want life.
Talking about it does not equal doing the actual work.
Aaaarrrggg, I know!
I wish it did.
I know FOR SURE that I have MUCH MUCH MUCH more growth I need and want to do and I’m actively doing thought work every.single.day.
When you see my Heartwork Journaling pieces, they are either the result of cathartic work uncovering old thoughts OR they are repetitive reminders of the new thoughts I’m trying on, practicing and embedding.
If you do not already have the results you want in your life, focus on radical self AWARENESS and APPLICATION of knowledge.
You’ll have to do the work.
It’s not quick.
It’s not easy.
It’s not sexy.
And it works!
Please please please come to this with a beginner’s mind.
Take one thought and begin to move it to a better-feeling yet believable thought to you.
Use simple creativity to continually remind yourself, embed the new thought, practice it, cultivate it and protect it.
Author & creator of Heartwork Journaling. The art & science of thinking & feeling on purpose.