”The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Chinese Proverb
This saying makes me smile and continues to give me renewed encouragement whenever I am feeling challenged in an area of my work or life. Many people, including me, find great difficulty in changing an unwelcome behaviour or situation. Mine was biting my nails…oh and smoking.
Here are some of the “excuses” for not being able to change the habit that I have heard over the years.
“I am too old to change now”
“It’s not a good time for me at the moment”
“It so difficult and I don’t have the energy”
“I’ve tried so many times, I know I can’t change”
Contained in all of the statements are negative beliefs. These negative beliefs hold us back from achieving what we really want to achieve in life because they have a powerful grip over our thinking and behaviour. Now, I ask you, are any of those statements helpful to us, if we are to even think about changing an unwanted behaviour? No!
We can change in a heartbeat, if we truly wanted. However, these negative beliefs block us from the resources that are needed in order to successfully make the transition to the behaviours we want. Here is a way of moving from the defeatist attitude of negativity to the empowering mindset of a winner:
Stop the bus and get off
Stop and think about the effect your thoughts are having on you and your behaviour. Getting of the bus and rethinking your behaviour takes real courage to act and become more strategic, rather than reactive. Ask yourself about your feelings and whether those feelings are producing a resourceful state for you. If they not, then you can chose a more resourceful state. It is your choice, but there are some things you need to know first.
Thoughts produce behaviour
Most people are unaware that their thoughts directly affect performance either at work or in life generally. Research shows that we have in excess of 75,000 thoughts a day. Many of those thoughts we repeat. That is why repeating a negative thought is never such a great idea. How we think and what we think have a dramatic impact upon others and ourselves.
Become aware of your internal dialogue. Is there a negative recurring phrase you repeat to yourself? These negative thoughts are a product of a negative belief that we have picked up along this journey we call life.
Challenge your negative beliefs
Write the phrase down. This gets it out and into your consciousness. You are now aware of the thought and are in a position to challenge the negative thought.
A feature of a negative belief is that it is unobtainable or has improbable high standards. An example of a negative belief is the need to always be in control. This person has to be the one who makes the decisions, or at least need to know the details of everything. If you throw in a little perfectionism, you have a person who is stressed and constantly falling short.
Changing a behaviour that we have been repeating for many years requires courage, patience and awareness. Practice being aware of your internal dialogue and you will quickly enable a powerful and empowering thought-process to drive your personal performance through the roof.
If this blog has planted a seed of personal power for you, please let me know!
Have a great week!