When we try to change our lives for the better; we almost always focus on our behaviours. We think that if we change what we are doing and choose a more positive behaviour, we will see better results. In essence, this is true but it really simplifies the issue. Too often, we ignore our thoughts and beliefs about the things that we want to change when our thoughts have a massive impact on how we behave. Thinking positively is critical to successful living. For example, if you want to be more assertive and stand up for your rights, you must first believe that you have those rights; that you are entitled to defend those rights and that you have the ability to communicate your rights in an effective manner. If you lack any of those thoughts or beliefs, you are going to struggle to be assertive. The same goes for confidence which is all about thoughts and beliefs. If you lack confidence in any area of life, you are going struggle to make a success of that area of your life.
If you want to create positive change in your life, you must first begin thinking positively and develop your confidence. When you believe that you can do something, your chances of success are far greater. As Henry Ford said:
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way you are right”
Positive thinking can add so much to your life – both in terms of quality and quantity. When you think positive you get rid of stress and tend to live a healthier life and make better choices. If you’re naturally a negative thinker, there are ways you can change that thinking and get on the path to a life-changing way of thinking.
7 Easy ways to start thinking positively
If you really want to start thinking positively and change your life for the better, look at the following ways you can incorporate positive thinking into your own lifestyle:
1. Be responsible for your thoughts
Many people act like they have no control over their thoughts; as if they just arrive out of thin air. That is simply not true. We have approx. 60,000 thoughts per day and we can control and influence the vast majority of them. Of course there will be some thoughts that stump you when you try to work out where they came from. These thoughts tend to come from pre-held beliefs and conditioning.
As soon as you accept responsibility for all of your thoughts and beliefs; you will be in a position to begin the work of changing them for something more positive. No one can tell you what to think or, control how you react to your thinking. When you begin to take responsibility for your thoughts, you’ll face the reality of what they’re doing to or for you and be more able to change those negative thoughts.
2. Thinking positively benefits from a little planning
So many of our thoughts come from the subconscious mind. When you plan to think positively, you won’t be as apt to take what you’re thinking as reality. Instead, you have the time and opportunity to think it over and come to the conclusion that reflects the reality of the situation.
It is important to note that you do not have to accept your thoughts as facts. If you are in a bad mood, you are likely to see everything in a negative light but you can challenge this. We all suffer from what are referred to as thinking errors from time to time. It is important that we challenge these negative thoughts, choose more positive and supportive thoughts and seek out evidence to support those new thoughts.
Nobody is asking you to be unrealistic or deluded. You are just being asked to adopt an attitude of realistic optimism whereby, when in doubt, you choose the more positive viewpoint. The more positive attitude will not solve your problems but it will put you in a more effective frame of mind; allowing you to be creative and think of more potential solutions.
3. Avoid negative people
Negative people can be a major obstacle to thinking positively. They can feed the fire of self-doubt and anxiety. It can sometimes be classified as a crowd-mentality, so don’t fall prey to it. Think for yourself.
Jim Rohn regularly stated that you are the average of the 5 people whom you spend the most time with. Their behaviour will eventually influence your behaviour. If you want to be more positive and confident; it pays to choose your friends and companions wisely. Choose people who not only speak with confidence and positivity but act with those qualities too. You will soon find that it rubs off on you.
4. Use a journal
It’s helpful if you can see at the end of the day what your thoughts have been. Take the time to write them down. You’ll see what went wrong with your thoughts and be able to improve them. A journal is one of the simplest but most powerful tools that you can use in your attempts to be more confident and positive.
Like everything important that you try to change in your life, it is a journey rather than a quick fix. There will be setbacks along the way. Keeping a journal will allow you to see where you are slipping up so that you can make the necessary changes.
5. Consider the repercussions
For example, if you have a deadline for an assignment and it becomes clear that you’re not going to meet it, consider what might happen. If you finish it on time, it won’t be as good as you wanted. If you take more time, it may cause other problems.
This is a good time to ask yourself whether your negative thinking is caused by perfectionism. It is neither necessary nor possible to be perfect. The best you can do is to do the best job that you can do. It is almost always possible to keep improving something but you have to ask whether the improvements that would be achieved are worth suffering the long term consequences of delaying completion.
Also, consider solutions. For example, you could ask for an extension to the deadline or you may be able to delegate some of the work. There are usually a number of options available. By being proactive and considering the repercussions, you can remain positive and in control.
When something goes wrong, catastrophic thinking can easily take over. This is where you lose all perspective and think that because one thing has gone wrong; everything is ruined.
That is rarely the case. We each have many different areas to our life which although part of the one life; exist independently of each other e.g. performing poorly in a project at work does not make you a bad parent.
Instead of thinking catastrophically when something goes wrong; take the opportunity to reflect upon all of your successes in life and all the things which you are grateful for. This will allow you to see things in their true perspective which reduces the amount of negativity you experience.
7. Live in the moment
You cannot be certain what the future holds. Optimistic people see opportunities while those who think negatively are more likely to think about the things that could go wrong. It may be too much to expect that somebody who thinks negatively will suddenly adopt the optimist’s approach and, it’s not even necessary.
The true solution is to stop focusing on the future and live in the present. Yes, you need to have plans for the future and goals that you are trying to achieve but once you have set your goal and made your plan, it is time to focus on the what you can control i.e. the here and now. Live in the present moment, focus on what you can control now and then, on a regular basis, you can review your progress.
There is no point worrying and being negative about things that may never happen so live in the present and make the best of each moment. This way, you will find that you create a brighter future without spending excessive amounts of time worrying about it.
If you feel that you may be lacking confidence, check out Unbreakable Self Confidence.
Accept the reality that you can control your thoughts. You’ll become more empowered to face stressful situations in your life and to change the way you think. It will become easier to maintain a positive attitude the more you practice thinking positively. Thinking positively comes natural to some people but there are those of us (and I am one) who have had to work hard on a daily basis to establish a more positive and confident outlook on life. Henry Ford was right when he emphasised the importance of thinking positively in achieving success. If you find that your thoughts are predominantly negative, don’t beat yourself up about it. Implement the steps above and commit yourself to thinking positively. You will soon work your way to a happier and healthier life.