I am pretty sure you have heard the definition of insanity.
Insanity (n) – to do the same thing the same way but expect different results.
If insanity is defined as doing the same thing and expecting different results, then it seems like the converse must be true – want different results then take different actions.
“Efforting” for Success
This formula of changing my actions in an attempt to realize different results is the basis of countless self-improvement plans and was for many years my main plan for personal development.
My plan sounded loosely like, “If only I can change or improve what I’m doing then I will get the results I want!”
Add in the occasional perfectionist streak and then it would sound like, “If only I do it perfectly I will see the results that I want!”
You’ve been there too, right? Thinking thoughts like:
“If I just cut back on my total calories and stop eating dessert I can finally lose those extra ten pounds!”
“What exercises should I do to tone up and get rid of that granny-flab under my arms?”
“If I stop going to the movies and out to eat and only buy clothes when I really need them, maybe I will finally get myself out of debt once and for all!”
You start that new diet or exercise program committed to changing what you are doing, but things come up and you slip back into the old routines that aren’t serving you well or getting you the results you want.
This used to be my pattern too!
Usually, I’d fall off the wagon when things happened that put me in a bad mood. As a result my “inner brat” would say things like:
“I just had the crappiest day of my life! I deserve a piece of cake!”
“Work was so frustrating today! There is no way I am driving to the gym now. I need time to relax and unwind.”
It makes sense, right?
When you’re feeling lousy it’s much harder to make the choices that will serve you well related to diet, exercise, relationships, money, and pretty much every other area of your life.
Actions Alone Don’t Create Positive Change
The problem is that resolving to change what you are doing is only part of the process required to make lasting, positive change in your life.
“If you want to make positive changes in your life, you need to change more than just your actions. You need to change your thoughts.”
Because changing your thoughts to ones that make you feel better will translate into more positive emotions. And these positive emotions will trigger both better actions and increased activity. The better you feel the more likely it is that you will stick to your plan and achieve the results you are looking for!
Five Do’s & Don’ts to Improve Your Thoughts
Here are five ways to improve your thoughts so they are better able to support your goals.
Do – Write your goals down on goal cards. Consider also writing down why these goals are important to you. Then review the cards regularly to keep your goals in mind. If you want your review to be even more effective read your goal out loud!
Do – Express gratitude for all that is good. Do this with your family at meal times by asking every family member to name three things that were good about the day. Or do the exercise on your own and write down five good things about the day before going to bed at night.
Don’t – Complain. Many people feel that complaining or venting is therapeutic; however, chronic complainers stay mired in negativity and actually draw more negative people and circumstances into their lives.
Don’t — Blame. Spending time blaming and playing the victim will do nothing to improve your emotions and it won’t put you in the mood to take the actions that will serve you well.
Do – Find people doing the things you want to do and spend more time with them. What do they talk about? How do they spend their time? How do they talk to themselves about certain situations? Learn from these people and put into practice the things they do to keep themselves positive and focused.
Review the list of Do’s and Don’ts above. Pick at least one Do and one Don’t for the next 30 days and make it a priority.
By expressing gratitude daily, signing a “30 Day No Complaining” Contract with yourself, or spending time with a friend who always seems to have a smile on her face, you will soon be changing your thoughts. And when you do, you will unlock the first, most important step to making lasting changes and creating your Custom Built Life!™
Share in the comments below which of the five do’s or don’ts you are making your priority and be sure to come back throughout the month to update us on the changes that are taking place as a result of this choice!
Stacy and Dave