When we have a problem, we generally would like a quick and permanent fix and of course, we don’t want to waste our time on something which doesn’t work. But, what’s the quickest way to feel and remain positive? And can long lasting positivity improve our physical health?
The fastest route to positivity, is through everyday tweaks to your mindset.
“Be positive, stay positive!” You might scowl at this well-meaning advice and think, “I’m trying, but how?” How did we learn to be so negative and self-critical in the first place and how can we replace these words with more positive ones.
Our language provides clues to our way of thinking and awareness of your language can change and influence the way you feel.
With over 20 years of experience working as a behavioral change specialist, I’ve not heard anyone dramatically change, their life though affirmations alone. If you are after fast track mindset change I’m sorry to tell you there is no short cut, in the same way that fasting and fad based exercise programs won’t bring you long term weight loss.
The only way to make a permanent change is to commit fully and to learn to do things a different way. Your mind needs to be trained in the same way that your body does.
A positive mindset will help you to create and nurture a healthy body, whereas a negative and critical mindset will affect your motivation to do the work necessary to make changes. Also, be aware of a ‘why me’ attitude, which can leave you open to making excuses and this in turn will affect your commitment. Start each day with a positive attitude and work to cultivate a mindset which will serve you well.
Here are six ways in which you can start to create a more positive and progressive mindset. I would advise reading it with a particular area of your life in mind i.e. diet, exercise, stress management.
Be honest with yourself.
Know when you have messed up. Know when you didn’t prepare well enough, maybe you even got lazy and took the short route. Be disappointed, upset, you are human and that’s ok. Dwelling on the mistake will not help. Focus on what you can learn and put right next time so that is wasn’t a wasted experience.
Learn from the experience.
If you feel stuck or you keep repeating similar patterns, step out and consider what you need to learn or understand so that you can move on. Your mind wants to tell you something – have the awareness to listen! (This is usually the point when people quit. They either decide they are not cut out for it or the pain of change feels too hard).
Accept and understand how you can put things right, where you can take full responsibility and make the decision to change. If, in your mind, it’s everyone else fault, this will leave you feeling powerless to change anything. (This is a really common pattern with diets and weight loss.)
Planning a different response.
This relies heavily on you taking responsibility, which empowers you to take action to learn from the experience. Ask yourself, what do I need to focus on or learn so that this doesn’t happen again? How can I be better equipped for the challenge next time? Use those powerful feelings of frustration, embarrassment or disappointment as energy to make you more determined to make those changes in the future.
Your willingness and ability to be coached.
Whether you are an experienced athlete hitting a plateau or someone in a high-power job, used to being in control. Perhaps you are a seasoned dieter lacking confidence and wanting to find a new relationship with food? Are you willing to seek help and are you able to listen and take feedback? Are you willing to be honest with yourself and your coach about your eating patterns? Find someone who can help you to apply these lessons, to create the lasting improvements that you want in your life?
Make a commitment.
It’s easy to start something. But successful people are committed, persistent and relentless. They are gritty and determined and they keep going. It’s also easy to lose motivation. You won’t always feel motivated, but if you are committed to the cause, end result, it will help to reinforce commitment and motivation and will help you to create a habit. Think about the daily things, which you are committed to despite your varied motivation level. I want you to feel empowered knowing that you can commit and create similar habits for the other things that you want to achieve in your life.
The only way to make a permanent change is to commit fully and to learn to do things a different way.
Emma is a behavioural change specialist with over 20 years of experience in supporting people to improve their lifestyle and maximise their performance.