How did the little train make it over the mountain? He said, “I think I can,” over and over even when it knew it would be hard. Imagine what would have happened to the train if it had said, “I know I can’t.” The same lesson applies to helping us turn our negative thoughts into productive and positive ones.
Often the difference between those who succeed and those who get stuck is the ability to think their way into achieving what they want in life. Think about it: If you spend your time obsessing over how you will fail, where do you think that will lead you? What if you focused instead on how well you’re going to do?
We have an amazing amount of power when it comes to deciding how we are going to think about things. If we’re cranky it will lead us in a certain direction, if we’re excited it will lead us down a different path. There’s no mystery to this process, it’s just that our lives tend to move in the direction of our thoughts.
Think about your own life. What happens to you if you think only negative thoughts? What results do you get, on the other hand, if you think positive thoughts? The power of thought is so strong that it can make the difference between success and failure, between giving up and persevering. The good news is that it isn’t difficult to get started down a positive path. Try practicing the following steps to restructure your thinking and teach yourself how to achieve what is meaningful to you.
1. Think of a goal that you would really love to achieve for yourself. Pick something that would make you really happy and fulfilled deep inside.
2. Identify the negative thoughts that hold you back from achieving this goal. Ask yourself how your life would be different if you didn’t have these thoughts.
3. Think of one positive thing you can do, starting today, to make your goal a reality.
4. Picture what your life will look like when you complete this new action.
5. Go out and do it. Make sure to actually do something, not just think about it. When you’re finished pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
When you are done with steps 1 through 5, then simply go back to the first step again. This process literally helps you rewire your brain so you begin to think differently. It helps you get rid of the negative voices in your head and turn them into positive actions. You will probably find that this approach feels weird at first and that your brain will fight you. This is normal, your mind is used to thinking in certain, repetitive patterns that got you where you are today.
Each time your old, unhelpful thoughts creep into your new actions just remind yourself of how your life will be when you get rid of the negative thoughts. This method doesn’t work the first time you try it, but it does become easier once you practice it over a period of several months. There are no quick fixes when it comes to restructuring our thoughts.
Try this exercise each time you feel like you can’t do something and watch yourself begin thinking and moving in new and exciting directions. If you think it you can do it.