I want to let you in on a secret that not many people actually know: You control your thoughts.
It’s a novel idea to some because thoughts often seem to be as automatic as breathing. You think without thinking about it, just as you breathe without thinking about it.
But just like you can control your breath, you can control your own thoughts. You can empty your head of the thoughts you don’t want to think about and you can fill your head with the thoughts you do want.
Just like breathing, thinking is essential to your well-being. If you’ve developed the habit of thinking counter-productive, negative, destructive, or hateful thoughts, you, sister, are going to be quite miserable.
And probably coping with your poor thinking habits by using one or more other bad habits like overeating, promiscuity, substance abuse, over-spending, compulsive TV-watching, or social media binges.
If, on the other hand, you develop the habit of thinking positive thoughts and meditating on the things that help you make progress in this life, you are probably crushing it.
So I want to share with you the four strategies you can use to control your thoughts so you can think thoughts that help you instead of sabotage you.
#1. Get okay with spending time alone
I spent a lot of time alone growing up and one of the reasons I spent time alone was so I could get by myself and think. Of course, I’m self-amused, so to this day if I’m not deliberate about getting out, I can spend weeks alone doing and thinking and not even notice I’ve been alone.
#2. Pay attention to the thoughts that come into your mind
Especially the uninvited ones. Joyce Meyer says we need to “Think about what we’re thinking about.” You don’t have to ponder every thought that comes into your head.
You can pay attention to what floats into your mind but you don’t have to meditate on a thought just because it comes. Once a thought floats in, it’s going to try to take root, so make sure to grab the destructive, negative, counter-productive, judgmental thoughts that waft in from the east. Don’t let those suckers stay. Get rid of them. How? Think about something else. It’s that simple. The same thought will come to your head 100,000 times and that means 100,000 times, you have to get rid of it. That’s called discipline
#3. Create vivid thoughts that support your mission (Daydream!)
Tony Robbins tells the story of how champion athletes are taught to imagine themselves winning. They imagine each moment of the game and feel the movements. They see the court or field and actually play through the game in their minds before they ever step onto the playing surface.
Unbelievable! You mean I can daydream of my own success then pull that daydream into my real life? How cool is that? Meditate on the things that are true, good, pure, clean, productive, peaceful, beneficial, and benevolent. If you pre-occupy yourself with progress, you will make progress.
#4. Guard your gates
If you want to control your thoughts and in the process control your results, you have to get really picky about what you hear and what you see. Your music, conversation, TV shows, web content, movies, even the jingles you sing to yourself all impact your life incrementally because they impact your thinking. And your thinking dictates your reality.
What are songs but chants set to music? If your chant is “These hoes ain’t loyal” guess what? You will create that reality for yourself very soon. That’s a real song, by the way.
So whatever your sensual indulgences, make them work for you, not against you. And start by getting a firm handle on your thought life.