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(Read Time: 9 min.)
The kind of life you create for yourself is rooted in your identity. It's how you see yourself and what you think is possible for you.
You have the ability to change and grow who you are by purposefully changing your thoughts and beliefs and continuously stepping into a new and better version of you.
"What would I need to believe about myself, about what's possible, about the Universe, what's out there, in order to make this happen? Remember, everything begins in the mind. And all your thoughts must be really intentional if you want to get to the goals and have the success that you want." --Annie
Allowing your mind to run wild with any thought that it serves up can create lack of focus, amplify fears and anxiety, and keep you from your goals. Here are seven ways you can tame and direct your thoughts and create a new way of showing up for yourself.
1) The Subtle Thought Shift™️
A lot of us have heard that we just need to "think better thoughts". Often, the prescription given is to change a negative thought like "I can't" to a positive thought like "I can". But there's a few reasons why this often isn't very effective.
Going from "I can't" to "I can" can be a big stretch, especially if it's a really big goal like, "I can start my own business and make $100,000". Use a Subtle Thought Shift™️ instead. This looks like shifting the thought, just a little, to something you can actually believe right now. "I can't" becomes, "I could take the first step and do one hour of research tonight."
Following the step-by-step process to shift your thoughts that I talk about in this episode is also very helpful. You can write your thoughts down and then create a small, actionable thought that will get you started. It works better than big, lofty affirmations that are hard to fully believe and don't give you an idea of where to start or what action to take.
2) Begin with the End in Mind . . . in Your Mind
Start by thinking of a goal you have, big or small. It could be "take a trip to Italy", "lose 5 pounds", or "build a digital course". Now think, "What thoughts could I think that would be the very best thoughts, the highest and best thoughts, that would help me get that result?" You can intentionally direct your brain to create a thought that would serve you to get to your goal.
Create a thought that would inspire a feeling in you that feels really great, or exciting--even if it made you a little nervous or scared--but you felt alive and in alignment with the goal or the result.
And from that place, I promise you, you'll be able to come up with many more ideas on how to achieve that goal. So pick the result that you want. And then ponder, "What thought would I need to think? What would I need to believe about myself, about what's possible, about the Universe, what's out there, in order to make this happen?" So begin with the end in mind, in your mind.
3) Visualize the Process
The third thing is visualization. A lot of you have probably heard about this, but maybe you don't really truly know exactly how it's used. Psychologists, specifically sports psychologists, have been using it for years. But it's not just visualizing the outcome or the end result, like winning the race. It's visualizing the entire process so that you can take your brain through what it feels like at every little step to get there.
Here's why it's so effective. Your brain doesn't really see the difference between the actual event and the rehearsal you visualize. Visualize and practice getting the result you want such as writing your book, learning how to make that wonderful dessert, starting your business, or doing a successful webinar. To be effective: actually go through the entire process and include all the details as you visualize.
I do this with my clients by creating an audio recording that takes them through every step of getting something accomplished. Then I have them listen to that tape for 28 days straight. The repetition of hearing, seeing, and feeling yourself actually there, taking the steps, rewires your brain.
4) The Placebo Effect for Your Brain
A study done by Harvard researchers brought in 84 maids from eight different hotels. They then divided the maids into two different groups. Maids in the first group were told that their on-the-job activity counted as exercise, even though they had reported that they didn't think it did. The maids in the second group were not given this information.
The results were astonishing. In the group that was told that their work counted as exercise, in just four weeks, the average weight loss was nearly two pounds. Their body fat percentage decreased, their waist to hip ratio decreased, and their blood pressure dropped by 10 points systolic and five points diastolic. The maids weren't asked to change anything about their job, activity, or lifestyle. They just kept doing everything that they'd been doing. The only change was that they believed their work was exercise. This is how powerful our minds are.
You can use this on your own brain. By believing that something different can happen for you, you will start choosing the behaviors that align with that belief. And it will also be easier to as well. There is a lot of advice about changing your habits and behaviors, but it works best when you're also choosing the thoughts that encourage the habit. You've got to start with your thoughts first. Remember, everything begins in the mind.
When I'm coaching clients, they often don't believe that they can accomplish something. I just hold space and fully believe in them. They borrow my thoughts and having someone on their side gives them a safe space to grow completely into the belief until their success is inevitable.
5) Honor Your Word to Yourself
The fifth thing I'm going to share with you is keeping your word to yourself, not just others. In fact, we are often much better at keeping our word to others than we are to ourselves. This is especially true for women because of how we are culturally conditioned.
In the book by Don Miguel Ruiz, "The Four Agreements", one of the agreements is "Be impeccable with your word". This should extend to being impeccable with your word to yourself. If you say you're going to get up at 5:30 am and write or work on your business for an hour before everyone else wakes up, then it's important to do it. Follow through. The more you do, the more your identity changes into someone who honors yourself and your dreams.
For your brain, you're creating a feedback loop. Your brain then automates that, and every time you say you're going to do something--and you actually do it--it reinforces the neural pathway. Over time, it becomes the pattern to which your brain defaults. The same is true if you habitually break your promises to yourself. That can also become a feedback loop that defines how you show up. But your brain is malleable. You can start creating new behaviors any time you want.
So if we just start showing up and following through, not just for others but for ourselves, too, then it becomes who we are. It becomes our identity. And that is a success trait. That is how to master your mind for success.
6) Take Action
This one is really simple. A lot of us, myself included, try to solve a lot of things in our heads. But taking action is way more effective. When we get out of our heads and just take action, we activate what's called the confidence-competence loop in psychology.
Take this podcast, for example. I fumble over my words, I don't always get everything right, or I get stuck. But I'm out there in the game, taking action, and guess what happens. I get a little better every time. As I'm recording episodes, and I finish another one and another one, I feel a shift in my body.
Any fear that was there before I started, anxiety, lack of belief in myself, or feeling like I just don't have the confidence dissipates or lessens. If I just jump in and take action and do it, I'm at least 1% more competent each time I finish. Even if it was rough. Even if it was a little messy. Over time, 1% adds up, and eventually I'll be a lot better. So just take action.
The confidence-competence loop means that you get just a little better every single time you do it. That's the competence: you become a little more competent at trying something new that you're not used to doing. And every time you get a little more competent, you become a little more confident. Over time, both your competence and your confidence grow.
7) Invest in Yourself
Invest in yourself and don't look at it as an expense. Highly successful people all do this.
There are two different mindsets about spending time and money on you. The non-success mindset believes "that's spending money, that's an expenditure that's going out, that's an expense, that's money I'll never get back".
But the successful person doesn't think like that at all. The successful person looks at things and says, "How can I always be investing in myself?" And it's an investment. They look at everything that they learn about themselves, every new skill that they acquire, and every time they pay for therapy, coaching, a gym membership, or a retreat as an investment that will pay dividends over and over again. For the rest of their life.
Every time you choose yourself and choose to invest in yourself, you're gaining knowledge and wisdom, but also confidence and belief in yourself. You are putting money on you. You're betting on you.
Oprah Winfrey said something like this when I went to go see her on stage a few years ago. She said, "I I invest in me, and I'm going to bet on myself because I think I'm a really good bet". The more that you invest in yourself and show up for yourself, the more your brain can get on board with believing in you, too.
I hope you'll use these seven tools and strategies. Invest in yourself, shift your mind, and know that you can master your mind and thoughts. Let me know how it works out for you. If it feels like a lot, just try one at a time. I want to see every single one of you out there master your mind for success.
If no one's told you today, remember, I believe in you. I want you to be successful. You're already worthy. And from where you are right now, wherever you are in this world, whatever you're doing, whoever you are, you can create big, beautiful, amazing things with your life.
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ABOUT THE HOST
Before you scroll any further, I wanted to say, "Hi!"
(Yes, sometimes my Texas "Howdy" just has to come out.)
I'm Annie, an expert coach and biz strategist, and geeky nerd-researcher. I'm wildly passionate about helping others learn how to build lives and businesses that bring them joy.
If you want to create a "Life by Design, Not Default" where you intentionally build a life around what you love, blur the lines between work and play, and have a business that pays you with freedom, impact, and money, then you're in the right place, my friend. I'm glad you're here!
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