Our thoughts are tricky things to control. Our beliefs and habits are often hidden from us, but these are two of the things that have great influence over our thoughts. Your thoughts influence your actions. If you want to change your behavior and results, it’s important to gain control over your thoughts.
This has been a battle for thousands of years and continues to be a great challenge. Fortunately, psychology has grown considerably over the last 20 years on this important topic. Now, you can learn to reprogram your thoughts if you’re motivated to do so.
Use these techniques to gain control of your actions by reprogramming your thoughts:
1. Affirmations. Affirmations are essentially thoughts that you choose for yourself. You can listen to them, read them silently, or read them aloud. Affirmations require a lot of repetition and emotional involvement, but they can be highly effective.
◦ Create affirmations that support the pursuit and achievement of your goals.
◦ Create affirmations that address your weaknesses.
◦ Create a schedule for exposing yourself to your affirmations.
◦ Be patient. Expect that it might be several weeks before you begin to see results.
2. Learn. Increasing or altering your knowledge in many areas can have a huge impact on your thoughts.
◦ Philosophy. If you view yourself or the world differently, your thoughts will change. Take a brief look at Stoic and Buddhist philosophy, for example. These viewpoints are vastly different than how most people view the world. Become a student of philosophy and you’ll learn a lot.
◦ Success. There’s a lot most of us could learn about success. Goal setting, willpower, perseverance, and communication are just a few topics. Learning more about these types of topics will change the way you view success, and your thoughts will change, too.
3. Ask yourself questions. Questions change your focus and thoughts. Asking yourself questions like, “What’s good about this situation?” or “What are my greatest strengths?” or “What should I be working on right now?” will change your thinking.
◦ Use questions to redirect your attention and thoughts. This is one of the easiest ways to change. Develop the habit of asking the right questions.
4. Visualization. Visualize something negative and notice your thoughts. Now, visualize something positive and notice your thoughts. Compare. There’s no doubt that visualization impacts your thoughts and beliefs. Use this to your advantage:
◦ Visualize achieving your goals.
◦ Visualize completing the tasks you need to do each day.
◦ Visualize yourself being the type of person you want to be.
◦ Visualize yourself mastering a skill you want to learn.
◦ The period of time right after awakening and just before falling asleep can be especially effective.
5. Attack limiting beliefs. Your beliefs largely create your thoughts. Eliminating negative beliefs and adding positive beliefs will drastically change your thoughts. Take a negative belief and apply the following process:
◦ Where did I get this belief? Is it my own? Did someone else give it to me?
◦ What is the belief based upon? Is the source valid? How do I know it’s true?
◦ What is this belief costing me? What would happen if I believed the opposite instead?
◦ Am I willing to let go of this belief for a month and see what happens?
You’re not as easy to program as a computer, but you’re more programmable than you think! If you’re struggling to manage your behavior and get yourself to do the things you know you should be doing, try reprogramming your thoughts.
Many of our thinking patterns are purely habit and very challenging to alter. But challenging doesn’t mean impossible!
Netsanet Tegegn, LCSW Is a Psychotherapist in Virginia Beach who provides individualized counseling services for those who wish to create long-lasting and positive changes in their lives...