How to Change Your ThinkingJul 05, 2021
What do you believe?
Have you ever taken the time to ponder your attitude about the world?
These are the things you trust to be true or false.
I’m not just talking spiritual beliefs, I’m talking about all of your beliefs.
For me, I never philosophized too much about why I think the way I do until, years ago, when I joined my coaching group.
Unlike the superficial how's-the-weather conversations most folks have 90% of the time, many of the discussions in my coaching group are about meaningful stuff.
We talk about things like how to create generational health.
So, why am I telling you about this?
One, it completely opened my eyes to the power of beliefs in our lives, especially when it comes to changing habits and building your best life.
Two, it reminded me of the four levels of learning.
The first being reading, the second being reflecting, the third being assimilating or acting, and the fourth is teaching or writing.
So, by teaching/writing this to you, I’m actually forced to learn and retain the information better.
It’s a win, win.
You see, your entire world is connected to a belief.
You have so many beliefs about individual people.
For example, what does someone look like (skin color, hair length, etc.) and where do they come from (from the South, from the North, etc.).
Side note: It makes absolutely no sense that people are treated differently because their skin is a different shade, but really, it’s just science that makes us have different skin color.
You also have beliefs about yourself.
You have beliefs about what certain words mean like “successful, “ “organized, “ “fun,” etc.
In fact, absolutely everything starts with what you feed your thoughts.
Thoughts create a belief that you have.
That belief causes you to take a certain action.
That action produces a certain result.
Because of that result you have a certain belief.
And the circle goes round and round.
How to Change Your Thinking
Mrs. Smith (not her real name) played sports in college; however, over the past two decades she gained weight and got out of shape.
She's a 41-year-old mother of three young children.
Mrs. Smith has this limiting belief that she can’t do anything at a training session, that she won’t be able to keep up, and that she’s going to get hurt because she's "old" and "no longer athletic."
That belief, causes an action or, in this case, inaction.
(Remember doing nothing is still a choice.)
That inaction is to NOT join a fitness-and-nutrition coaching program, to NOT train.
That inaction produces a result, which happens to be weight gain.
That result then reinforces the belief that she can’t do anything athletic anymore, etc, etc.
Until Mrs. Smith changes her belief, that circle will continue on an infinity loop.
On the flip side, let’s say Mrs. Smith has a belief, a vision, that she is going to complete 16 workouts over the next four weeks.
Although she knows it won't be easy, she has a positive attitude, and believes she can do it.
That belief causes her to take action and show up to the coaching session on the first day.
That action reinforces the habit for her to keep showing up.
Mrs. Smith gets one step closer to achieving her priority-one goal and it continues to reinforce her positive habits.
The difference between the two scenarios?
A different belief.
If you want a different result, you need a different action, and if you want a different action you need a different belief.
Let’s look at your belief about a person.
Let’s say you have a grudge with a co-worker or family member.
You have a belief that they are slacking and not pulling their weight.
That belief is going to cause you to have a different action towards them.
The action may be negative feedback, lack of training/mentoring, or it may just be ignoring the person and giving them "the silent treatment."
As a result, it will reinforce the result that they are NOT pulling their weight and NOT doing their job because that’s all you can see.
That result reinforces your belief that they are NOT a team player.
But what if you have a different belief about this person?
What if you believe that this person is doing great work and maybe they’re just having a bad day.
Maybe this talented person is having multiple bad days due to a serious health or financial issue.
That belief then changes your action to get curious and see how things are going with the person, maybe you grab lunch with them, mentor them, etc.
That action produces a better result because you had the opportunity to understand each other better and you see that they are actually a great team member.
That result reinforces a belief, which continues to guide your actions towards them, which leads to a certain result.
You can role play this cycle and power of beliefs with anything in life including relationships, parenting, your career/business, financials, fitness… literally everything.
The important thing to remember is it all starts with your belief.
If you want to change your result you first need to change your belief.
Use these six-steps to change the way you think about something:
1. Identify the Issue
Self-awareness is always step one. You have to recognize the need to work on things when they aren't going the way you would like.
Maybe you're over 40 years old and you have the false belief that folks over 40 are old and out of shape.
Perhaps you look in the mirror and see your belly hanging over your pants and belt.
The issue is you falsely believe that, because you are over 40, you are destined to be overweight and unhealthy.
2. Backtrack to Beliefs
Move past frustration and start to look below the surface and tie it back to a belief.
You may feel annoyed, and even depressed, that you've let yourself gain excess belly fat; however, you realize that your unhealthy habits, not your age, is causing you to gain weight.
Slowly you begin to get unstuck.
3. Do Your Homework
Face your internal "rules" and practice active reflection.
You may feel the weekend is a time for relaxing.
And by "relaxing" you mean drinking several glasses of wine, eating big dinners, and staying up late.
As a result, relaxing on the weekend is keeping you overfat.
4. Check the Equation
Is what you gain from your beliefs worth what they cost you?
You fear that it's too expensive to hire a fitness-and-nutrition coach to help you get healthy; however, the cost of obesity is much greater than the investment to prevent obesity.
5. Embrace a New Belief
You have to make a decision that you’re going to accept a new belief.
Prevention of disease is actually a great investment in your health.
Maybe you heard the saying, "Pay your doctor or pay your grocer."
Personally, I'd rather invest daily to feel healthy and strong right now versus saving up for early admission to the nursing home.
Either way you must pay.
6. Replace the Old Belief System with New Thinking
This is done over time and through exercises like visioning, journaling, and lots of practice and reflection.
Most of our beliefs are deep-rooted and take years to change.
It's not easy and this is only the surface.
However, I hope it brings some light to just how powerful your belief system can be.
If you take action and analyze your beliefs, maybe you'll change some things and adopt a new way of thinking.
Remember who you’re competing against in this game of life.
It happens to us all.
You may see someone else's results and think, “Why can’t I make positive progress like that?”
Well, here are a few facts:
- We all start at the same spot.
- We’re all at different experience levels.
- Our bodies respond differently to training and nutrition.
- Comparing yourself to someone else will get you absolutely nowhere.
- It takes patience to find what nutrition and training style works for you.
Be open minded and experiment.
If you need motivation, look to others who have achieved what you want and use them as inspiration.
Ask them to share their system.
Keep that positive energy going and trust the process.
It may be cliche but it’s the truth.
To your success,
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