What were your last 5 thoughts? Were you thinking about how much you hate your job, how cold it is, how tired you are? What does your social media page convey? Are your posts mainly complaints about being sick, annoyed, or rants about things that bother you?
I'm writing this from the point of view of someone who's a reformed "negative Nancy". Believe me when I say that changing your thoughts will change your life. I have lived both sides of this coin. I still get irritated, annoyed, outraged and anxious. Especially when things don't go my way. But what I don't do anymore is publicly announce the things that give me negative thoughts. I think it's ok to be in your feelings from time to time. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control that make us sad, mad or annoyed. And it's good to have trusted people to talk and vent to in order to get those thoughts out so we can move on. Moving on is the difference between whether you're a negative person or a positive person. The only way to move on is to intentionally replace positive thoughts with negative thoughts.
So, here's how it works. It's simple: Choose your thoughts. Simple, but not easy. In fact, it's about as easy as starting a new exercise plan or changing your eating habits. It requires you to re-wire your own brain for a new way of thinking and to do this, you're going to have to make a conscious effort to change your thoughts.
Here's a scenario. You get up in the morning and it's cold and you think to yourself "I hate the cold" ... your first thought is of something you hate. You pour your coffee and lament about having to workout because deliberate movement is still uncomfortable to you. You sip that coffee thinking of excuses to skip your workout. You either do the workout anyway, hating every second of it, thinking of all the to-do items on your list that day and go through the motions of the workout without really dialing in, or you skip it completely and feel guilty. You hop in the shower and stand there wishing you didn't have to go out in the cold to the job that you hate where you're underpaid and under-appreciated. You then sit at your desk all day wanting to scream at the co-worker who talks about her kids non-stop or at the guy who chews too loud and cringe when your boss asks you for something. You somehow make it through that day, and the whole way home, lament over having to deal with responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. You go through those motions, slap some sort of dinner on the table, watch a little TV and then fall into bed annoyed that you have to do that all again tomorrow. Sound familiar?
Listen. You have more control over your happiness than you give yourself credit for. And your control starts with your thoughts. It will feel inauthentic at first and everyone is different with different personalities so you may have to try a few different new thoughts before you find one that you can work with. So, let's change that scenario around. You wake up and it's cold. Before deciding that you hate the cold, remind yourself you can't control the weather so there's no point in dwelling on how much you hate the cold. Put on your favorite hoodie and slippers. Pour your coffee and enjoy a new ritual of starting your day with positivity. Look at photos that make you happy, read motivational articles or watch motivational videos (TED Talks is one of my favorite ways to get in a great mindset). List a few things on paper or in your head that you are grateful for. And if all of that fails, spend 5 minutes reading or watching something that will make you laugh. Laughing is a great way to get in a better mindset. During your workout, get dialed into your movements. Focus on why you are doing those movements and what you will gain from regular exercise, not on how uncomfortable it is.
While you're in the shower, be grateful for hot running water. While driving to work, instead of focusing on how under-appreciated you are, focus on your worth, your talents and brainstorm ideas for seeking out better opportunities. Schedule lunch with someone you trust who can help you move forward in your career or out of your career into a new path. On the way home, listen to your favorite music and sing out loud. Prepare a healthy meal for your family and reflect on how preparing that healthy meal comes from a place of love and provides nourishment and better health. Pat yourself on the back for providing healthy nourishment for your loved ones. Catch up on your favorite show and when you turn the TV off, instead of lamenting over all the things that went wrong that day, as you lay in bed let your last thoughts be a focus on the good. Then commit to repeating this again tomorrow, replacing negative thoughts and behaviors with new positive ones. Decide this is how you are going to live your life. Be in it for the long haul. Over time, you will develop new coping mechanisms, a new outlook and a way of life that yields positive results. Try this for one month. At the end of the month, if you've been truly committed to this, things will start to change.
Melanie Redd is owner of Power Glow Fitness and Personal Trainer who specializes in Building Strength of Body, Mindset Change and Weight loss. Studying the art of movement and applying healing and performance enhancing movement experience to her practice.