Having constant negative thoughts pouring through your mind will quickly put a damper on most, if not all, aspects of your life, business, relationships - you name it! When it comes to a negative mindset, we have ALL been there. But the relentless cycle of a negative narrative can leave us frustrated, stressed, and wanting to throw the towel in (or eat copious amounts of chocolate!) With that, here are some things to consider when it comes to your mind!
Identify Your Negative Thoughts
Every day, you have around 65,000 thoughts that go through your mind. Roughly 90 to 95% of those are on the same trajectory as the previous day (i.e. habitual and fairly structured in routine). Only 5% to 10% are within our TRUE conscious awareness. All too often, the higher proportion of those 65,000ish thoughts are wrapped in negativity. To overcome these thoughts, you have to first become aware of them. Notice when you are thinking negative thoughts and determine how frequently it happens.
Become an Observer of Your Thoughts
Now you have awareness, now start to observe! Doesn't it always seem much easier to see and solve someone else's problems than your own? You can recognise when your sister is getting all worked up over nothing, or that losing sleep over a meeting isn’t going to help. However, when it is your mind dealing with negative thoughts, it’s a lot tougher to see and stop. When you decide you want to change your mindset, you need to become more conscious of what you are thinking. When you can step back and analyse things as an observer, you will see a shift in your focus, and you'll be more mindful of how you are looking at the situation.
Recognise When You Are “Using” Negative Thoughts to Stay Small
Often, when we are being ridiculed, facing disappointment, or not wanting to put in the effort, we'll use negative thoughts to protect ourselves. When we think negative thoughts, like "It won't work," or "I can't do that," we are permitting ourselves to play it safe. When you catch yourself thinking negatively and talking yourself out of action, take a step back. Consider “What is the smallest step that I can take?”
Accept That Your Thoughts Need Adjusting
Once we have taken that step back and gained a bit of space from our thoughts, take some time to consider the inner game. We rarely look inside at our own thinking as the place to start making changes. If you’re dealing with doubt and fear when it comes to decision making, reaching goals or making changes in your life/business, you may need to take time out and look at ways in which to adjust your mindset. Remember - this will require patience! You have probably been thinking the way you have for a VERY long time so things are not just going to drastically shift overnight. Practice, awareness, and patience will be key here!
Are you Using Black and White Thinking?
Many people will tell you to just "think positive." However, it isn't always that easy. When you find yourself stuck in a cycle of negative thinking, or are terrified of a negative outcome, positive thoughts often ring as untrue. When you find yourself worrying about a negative result, take a piece of paper and pen and write down the best thing that can happen. Then, write down the worst thing that could happen. Then, think of some middle ground outcomes. When you create a variety of potential outcomes, you will see that the black and white thinking needs to have a tinge of colour to start shifting our mindset, perceptions, and more!
Flip the Switch (i.e. #FlipThatShit)
As you become more aware of the negative thoughts, you need to determine a way to stop them from holding your back. Every time you notice that you are entertaining a negative thought, #flipthatshit. Now, I am not talking the instant “just think positive” mantra or entering some sort of toxic positivity here. #FlipThatShit, to me, relates to observation, curiosity and challenge around the thought. “Where has that thought come from? Why? What is it I need at a deeper level? Is it true? Is there evidence to suggest otherwise?”.
One of the best ways to change your mindset is to start small. Probably smaller than you even realise to begin. To be honest, the smaller you can take those steps, with discipline and consistency, the greater impact you will start to feel.
Assess the Progress
Taking time to reflect will be key to seeing how much your mind has changed. All too often, reflection on progress is missing and, without it, we often fall back into the negative way of thinking far quicker. Reflection is especially key due to the smaller steps. It can be difficult, at times, to see those changes. But being able to bring all of the smaller steps and outcomes together, gives us the momentum of a compound effect to keep taking those smaller steps of progress.
Get Comfortable with Failure
Changing your mindset will take work, and you are guaranteed to experience failure along the way. Successful people know that they will experience failure along the way, but unlike most people, they don't let the failure stop them. Failure IS a part of the journey. It is a part of life, of relationships and so much more. Ultimately, it is feedback packaged up in a different gift tag. Because, in so many ways, failure is a gift! Because it gives us insight, learning, knowledge, and opportunity for growth moving forwards.
Be Mindful of The Perfection Trap
Changing your mindset, like anything you are working towards, is a journey. All too often, we wait for the “Perfect” moment to start these changes. Or likewise, can judge yourself that you haven’t attained “perfect” outcomes. Perfectionism needs to do one (quite frankly). Be proud of yourself for taking those small steps and wanting to be on this journey. It is about PROGRESS, which trumps perfection every day. Some days you will think you have a better management of your chimp mindset under control, and then other days it will have gone down a massive log flume! Just keep being kind to yourself and know that ALL of it is exactly where you are meant to be.
If you feel overwhelmed, take a break. Chill out, lie down if you want to and relax. When you start to feel better, go again.
Changing your mindset doesn’t happen by accident. It is a choice that you have to make for yourself. Following these five simple steps will help you get on the right track to developing a more positive mindset.