How to Get Your Mind FIT
By, Kim Dolan Leto
“What we think, we become.”
Your words grow into your thoughts, attitudes, actions and eventually your future. When it comes to goals, your mindset is determining whether or not you succeed or fail. Do your thoughts about yourself take you to your goals or away from them? Do you speak to yourself as a friend or as an enemy? If you would never talk to someone you love the way you talk to yourself, it’s time for a change.
Don’t let the inner me become the enemy.
The internal monologue we hear all day long, is the driving force behind our actions. In the book, Mindset, by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck shares we either have a growth or fixed mindset.
She explains mindsets frame the running account that’s taking place in people’s heads. They guide the whole interpretation process.
The fixed mindset creates an internal monologue that is focused on judging: “This means I’m a loser.” “This means I’m a better person than they are.” “This means I’m a bad husband.” “This means my partner is selfish.”
People with a growth mindset are also constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. Certainly they’re sensitive to positive and negative information, but they’re attuned to its implications for learning and constructive action: What can I learn from this? How can I improve? How can I help my partner do this better?
As we take the journey through these steps, think about your mindset, is your internal talk growth or fixed based and is your natural inclination toward success or failure?
4 Steps to Get Your Mind FIT:
1. Start listening to yourself.
Whenever you notice a negative thought entering your mind, train yourself to recognize it and write it down. When you write down negative thoughts, and talk back to them, you begin to take away their power and gain control over your thinking.
*Here are some great examples of common negative thoughts from Dr. Amen’s Automatic Negative Thoughts, ANT therapy.
• “Always” thinking: thinking in words like always, never, no one, every one, every time, everything.
• Focusing on the negative: only seeing the bad in a situation.
• Fortune telling: predicting the worst possible outcome to a situation.
• Mind reading: believing that you know what another person is thinking, even though they haven’t told you.
• Thinking with your feelings: believing negative feelings without ever questioning them.
• Guilt beatings: thinking in words like “should, must, ought or have to.”
• Blame: blaming someone else for your own problems.
2. Write a New Script
It’s not enough to write down negative thoughts, replace them with a clear statement of how you would speak to your child or someone you love and respect.
3. Steps to Change
• Acknowledge – Identify your negative theme.
• Replace – Exchange your old negative theme with a positive one.
• Repeat – Practice speaking to yourself correctly.
• Maintain – Quickly notice and correct negative thinking.
4. Start today! If not now, when?
Common Thought Traps that Prevent Us From Having What We Want:
Complacency comes in many forms and all of them sabotage progress. Whether it’s laziness, lack of interest, lack of motivation, inability to stick with it, procrastination, indecision, or excuses, they all add up to the same thing. Nothing changes!
Sometimes we need to tough-love ourselves a little and stop justifying, rationalizing and making excuses. After all, how are other people doing it? We all have the same 24 hours in a day.
Think about something you want to change right now, is the pain of changing it greater than staying the same? If so, this is when you’ll get so uncomfortable you’ll do something about it.
Don’t justify where you are if you want to be somewhere else, it isn’t easy for anyone to change. Making excuses never produces solutions. Are you happy where you are? If you’re not, stop talking about it and start making the decisions that will change it. Don’t you feel great when you do what you say you’re going to do? Small steps yield huge results.
Do you compare yourself to a time in your past or to other people?
Take a look at how both of them can limit you.
Comparing yourself to yourself.
Is there a time in your life when you felt your best or looked your best? Chances are those good old days became a bar you can’t rise above. People often have a time period in their lives they look back on and glorify.
Don’t accomplish something and then spend the rest of your life looking back, life is now and it’s time to have a new dream. Think of the high school athlete, some remember those days as the best days of their lives and don’t feel that spark for living quit like they used to. But what if they got a new dream? Life can get better with age. The bar you set for yourself determines how high you can go and how happy you are.
Comparing yourself to others.
This is wrong for two reasons.
1. You think you’re better – pride.
2. Or you’re worse – insecurity.
Comparing is unhealthy. The only person we should be competing against is ourselves. Competing against yourself to improve and grow is healthy, but competing to try to be better than someone else is wrong. An ugly motive will always produce an unsatisfying result. Liberate yourself and focus on being your best, not the best.
What’s hidden in you? Chances are you have a dream in your heart. Perhaps you’re scared if you went for it and gave it your all you could still fail.
Fear is a dream killer, goal sabotager, and a life-paralyzer.
I have really struggled with fear, but what I’ve learned is I would rather fail than not try. Every time I went for a new goal, l grew from the experience. When you know you’re supposed to do something, but you don’t; it eats at you. People suffer from anxiety and depression because they won’t come clean with themselves. Own who you are and the purpose and dream that has been planted in your heart; they are a gift from God. If you fear failing, let me share the truth; we all fail, but we fail our way to success.
There are so many fears, but the commonality they all share is their paralyzing affect on your life. Do it afraid and with each step toward your goal you will be free from fear.
Confusion and indecision are that gray area where nothing happens. Using health as an example, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the different information. But don’t get confused, learn how to eat right and find exercise you enjoy doing because health doesn’t have a finish line. People spend so much time trying to find the secret, or the best diet or training plan, when the bottom-line is they just need to commit to living a healthy lifestyle. We learn going through it. I tell people it takes at least 12 weeks, to see big changes. Confusion kills progress. Don’t get confuses or frustrated. Believe that your hard work is paying off. Commit and see it through, and then reevaluate. Riding the fence will get you nowhere.
Not Knowing Your Worth
Receiving heartfelt emails daily from women trying lose weight, become a model, or feel better about themselves has shown me that insecurity is a big problem. From a young age women are taught to value themselves based on their appearance, but this is gravely wrong! We are not limited to what we look like, we are so much more. Please don’t allow one limiting factor, like a body part, age, career, or something from your past, block your view from the whole essence of you. You are whole, not parts. Please choose to see all of you and don’t negatively focus on the one thing you want to change. If you know someone that needs to hear that today, please tell them.
*Special note to the Moms: Whether you’re a new mom or a mom with older children, your life is packed. Time is very scarce and the last thing on your to do list is probably you. With a day planned out before it even starts, a mom’s job is not for the lazy! But here’s the problem: don’t devalue all you do because it doesn’t have a huge pay check attached to it or thank you cards for doing the laundry. Running a home and family and doing it right, is the backbone of our country. All the little things you do are the glue that hold everything together and prepare your children for their future. If you don’t believe me, just stop doing it for one day. You are important and every monotonous detail you take care of makes a difference.
Many moms email me because they feel invisible, like they have lost themselves, so it’s important to recognize your value in the family and choose to see it as a blessing.
Thinking: It’s too Late or I’m too Old.
It’s never to late to dream again. People reach certain ages and they die. Have you heard the quote: “Don’t die before you’re dead!” Isn’t it true?
Consider the person who wants to go back to school but thinks it’s too late, aren’t those years going to pass by anyway? Wouldn’t you rather invest in the life you dream of than live with regret?
Stir yourself up. If there’s something you want to accomplish, don’t let age hold you back.
My Doctor went back to school after raising her children; she tackled all that schooling in her 40’s. Hearing stories like hers makes me know anything is possible with a vision, a plan and persistence. If you know you’re called to do something, please don’t let age stand in your way. This time next year you’ll be so happy you went for it.
Some of us have a natural tendency to err on the negative side. It’s easier for us to believe bad things than good, and this can come from something in our past. Our childhoods, past relationships, and experiences can shape our mindset, but we are responsible for now.
Our minds need to be worked out just like our physical bodies. Spend time training your mind. Practice speaking the truth about yourself and watch your goals come alive and your life change.
Here to Help You Get Mind, Body & Soul FIT,