Think about how many times you’ve heard, “think positive!” as encouragement when you’re having a difficult time. It’s become an adage that seems a bit overused, however there are reasons why it’s still encouraged. Positive thinking does have its benefits – but that’s not the only way to change your mindset to reach your goals.
Here are some exercises to try the next time you feel ready to change your mental attitude:
Use Reflective Thought.
If you’re unhappy at the moment and thinking, “okay, what can I do now?” – stop for a moment to think about your past instead. Weigh what you’ve learned, changes you’ve experienced, what actions you’ve taken over the years that have worked (or not worked). This includes all facets of life, from relationships with friends and loved ones to health and career decisions.
Once you’ve singled out those moments that have made a positive impact in the past, consider what making similar changes could do for your future. Use that to fuel a passion for a new hobby or interest, and learn from that past wisdom to move forward!
Consider this scenario: you don’t have the correct ingredients for a recipe that you really want to make. Instead of giving up on the recipe all together, try coming up with some creative alternative solutions! No lemons or limes around? We have an easy solution for that to keep on hand. Try raisins instead of dried cherries, substitute cornstarch for flour, use yogurt instead of sour cream, or half a banana in place of an egg for baking.
Figuring out creative solutions even just in the kitchen will help you be more likely to apply these tactics at the office or as other general “life” hacks.
Think for Yourself, Not for Others.
Everyone’s life path looks different. We all find fulfillment in different tasks, interests, and desires. Is it so hard to believe then, that although some find happiness in the generally accepted life path (school, job, marriage, children, etc.), that others may not? If you feel stuck, it could be because you’re thinking inside someone else’s guidelines.
The beauty of each of our lives is that they are completely our own. You can live where you want, get married or stay single, have your own children or adopt, have two part-time jobs instead of one, and find whatever balance makes you happy. Stop thinking in someone else’s guidelines, and start thinking about your own.
Consider all Possibilities.
Instead of thinking that you can’t do this or that, consider what would happen if you could! For example: there’s a big position opening at your company that you really want, but you haven’t been there for long and you’re unsure if you would qualify. Instead of just giving up and thinking you can’t do it, ask yourself: what if I could? Consider the routes you’d have to take to get there (who to talk to in the company, how to prove yourself, who to ask for advice that’s done it themselves), and weigh the benefits.
Thinking of all the possibilities is a positive way to gamble. You can’t win if you don’t play the game, and often it’s our mindset (not reality) that keeps us trapped in the loop and never moving forward.
Consider Your Peers.
Do you often compare yourself to friends or family without even realizing it? Are your peers the type of people who constantly challenge themselves, or the type that do not commonly initiate change? If you find that you’re surrounded by people that also feel stuck or unsuccessful, that could be part of what’s holding you back.
Find a leadership group, a weekly meeting, or other social situation where you can find others that are motivated forward-thinkers. Being surrounded by people that have a similar passion, or are even a step ahead, creates drive to push your own goals to the next level.
Overall, changing the way you think is a powerful way to make things happen in your life. It all starts with an idea, and exploring that thought process is the first step in moving forward. If you are willing to make healthy change happen in your life, then it will happen!
[Credit: Moore, Susie. “5 Different Ways of Thinking – That Aren’t All About Positivity.” Greatist.]