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Shifting Internal Thought Patterns

#highperformance #personal development Apr 30, 2024

I’ve written a lot lately about the importance of mindset.  Every action starts with a thought, and often, the thoughts that pop automatically into our heads are negative in nature.

How helpful would it be to have a process for shifting those thoughts from negative to something more progressive, something that will help you to move forward – especially when you’re stuck?

Here is a 10-step process I learned from my coach. I found it very helpful and so, wanted to share it with you:

  1. How would you describe the negative feeling or thought? This is about acknowledging it, recognizing, and even labeling it, so it becomes more tangible.
  2. Ask yourself if you are ZAPing? If you missed my blog on Avoiding the Downward Spiral, it describes the 3 pitfalls of zooming in, attaching to the thought, and punishing yourself or procrastinating in taking action – in other words, getting stuck.
  3. How would you be relieved if it got better? Bring some clarity to the benefit of changing the thought pattern.
  4. What would be true if it got better? Think in terms of a more desirable outcome.
  5. Ask yourself if you are willing to improve it? Yes, or no?  Be honest with yourself.  Why is it important? Be clear on your intention.
  6. What is the lesson from the negative thought? What is it teaching you? This could be about yourself, your relationships, or your reaction to the circumstances.
  7. What advice can you give yourself? If this is challenging, think about what advice you would give to someone else experiencing the same thought pattern.
  8. What is a belief you would have to let go to feel better? Sometimes those beliefs are caught in our heads from long ago, even though they are no longer true, or useful, or relevant.
  9. In the future, when the negative thought returns, what will you say to yourself?
  10. Say “I’m willing to do this.” Affirm your intention to overcome the negative thinking and move to a more progressive thought pattern.

Let me give you a real example of how I’ve used this. My assistant, who helps me with my social media posts, recommended that I do a life update once a week about something I’m doing or working on – business or personal. 

I was thinking (1) who would care about that? My life isn’t interesting to anyone else, and that seems like bragging, nice girls don’t brag.

And I was (2) attached to that thought pattern, ruminating about it, and procrastinating getting those posts together for her. 

Then I told myself (3) that maybe this would be a good way to connect with my community and help them know me on a more personal level and (4) who knows? It might just work to increase engagement. What’s the worst that can happen?

For those reasons (5), I realized it was important to me to “get over myself” and give it a try, because if I could improve overall engagement with my community, that would be a good thing.

Of course, this approach, recommended by my assistant, has worked very well. Of all the posts I make, these are the ones that get the most comments and likes.  Surprise, surprise.

So, the lesson (6) was not to be so resistant to someone else’s suggestion and to try it.  You can always change it. After all, marketing is all about testing and measuring what works.

My advice to me (7) is to remember to get over myself sooner than later.  People don’t care how you look in the picture if they are interested in the topic or the content gives them food for thought.

And I had to give up the belief (8) that people would be judging how I look and making a lot of negative comments.  They may be doing the first thing, but there haven’t been any negative comments.

In the future (9) when I have negative thoughts and hesitation, I’m going to remind myself get over it and keep trying new things to see what works best, and what helps people the most.

And yes, I am willing to do this.  What about you? How can these steps help you? Can you think of a negative thought pattern and belief system that is holding you back and work your way through this process?

I’m really interested to hear about your experience with this.  And please share this post with anyone you think might benefit from it.

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