Negative thoughts…we all have them no matter what. The difference is that some people don’t let them take over while others allow them to destroy any set goal. Even the most positive/ambitious people have an inner critic that interferes with their confidence and courage, me included. Whether I am starting something new, training for a race, or launching myself out of my comfort zone, there are always negative thoughts that creep in and try to sabatoge my goal.
Where Do Negative Thoughts Come From?
I am no “expert”, but I believe that the majority of our negative thoughts stem from fear and insecurity. In many cases, people don’t even take on a new challenge or try to learn something new because they are afraid to fail. So, fear of failure is a BIG one! Insecurity can wreak havoc too. Not being sure of your path, your methods, and why you are doing something can lead to insecurity and indecisiveness. It’s important to have a clear decisive picture of your goal, how you will achieve it and why.
Negative thoughts can also come from distraction and comparison. When you are easily distracted from your goal, you find excuses to be inconsistent. This gives way for negative thoughts to find their way in. “I can’t get to the gym three times this week because I am too busy with work, so I won’t go at all”. Lastly, one of the most detrimental things we do is compare ourselves to others. The habit of comparison can be overwhelming for some. Their negative mindset takes over and they quit even before they start. Instead of being inspired by another’s success, they feel badly about themselves and don’t even try.
Redirect Your Thoughts
One of the tools I use to redirect my thoughts when my mindset begins to weaken is to make 2 lists. On the left side I list all the negative thoughts that I am having regarding a particular goal/subject. On the right side, I come up with a list of “opposing” thoughts to contradict the negative ones. I like to think of the right side as positive thoughts that CRUSH the negative ones on the left! Then I go back to this list from time to time if need be until my goal is achieved. Sometimes, the thoughts on either side will change or no longer be a factor, so I make adjustments to the lists as I go.
I get asked a lot about how to stay on track and stay positive. This is one of the ways! Like anything else, once you practice this exercise regularly, it becomes easier to do and implement. And it’s fun and interesting to look back at your lists and see how the thoughts that were once standing in your way are no longer! I hope this was of help to some of you, especially with the new year upon us. Take some time to reflect on ONE thing that you would like to achieve in 2018, make a plan and stop standing in your own way!