Life is all about growing and changing. We live and learn and then try to become the best humans we can be. This can mean developing healthy habits, concentrating on certain values, and achieving personal goals.
But doing this can be really hard. We want to cut out sugar, but when faced with a cupcake at our kid’s birthday party, it’s hard to say no. We want to be on time for things but somehow we always end up late.
How we see ourselves has a huge affect on our ability to develop the habits and be the type of person we want to be.
Let me preface this by saying that I am inherently a very logical person. I love data and numbers, and facts. Give me analytics any day and I’m a happy girl. I am definitely not a woo woo kind of chick.
But there is in fact a lot of scientific research behind the idea that our mind and what we tell ourselves has a whole heck of a lot to do with how we behave and our ability to become the person we want to be.
For example, if we think of ourselves as someone who always has bad luck, we will find bad luck everywhere. If we miss our train, it is because the universe is conspiring against us. When our package gets damage in the mail, we think stuff like this only happens to me.
This puts us in a terrible mood and as we progress through our day we have the tendency to find the bad. This is how one small thing in the morning can lead us to have an entire bad day.
In reality though, the universe is not focused on us all day, everyday. God isn’t plotting out how many obstacles He can put in front of us. We have the opportunity to view any situation however we want.
In the case of the missed train, we can’t do anything about missing the train. We just have to wait for the next one. We now have the opportunity to read a few more of our book or listen to a podcast. We have the chance to make the best of the situation.
How to Use This
One way to use our mind to become a happier, more grateful person is to develop a gratitude practice. This means starting each day thinking of 3 things you are thankful for. This doesn’t have to be deep, it just has to be true.
You can be thankful that it’s Saturday and you don’t have work. Thankful for your kids. Thankful for the awesome new nail polish color you found.
When you start your day thankful, there is no room left to be angry or upset. You can’t help but be in a good mood.
This one might be hard for some people. It’s basically training yourself to be an optimistic. You might even become one of those annoying people who are happy all the time.
The goal here is that when something bad, or challenging or just annoying happens, to try to think of the bright-side or the silver lining. What good can come out of this situation.
When my husband had his car accident this summer and I was stranded in the house with no car and 3 kids including a 7 week old, things could have gotten super depressed. But in looking at the bright-side:
I was on maternity leave still and therefore able to stay home with the kids for a few more weeks as my husband recovered.
We had already began the process of leasing a new car, so we would have a new car by the end of the week.
The vehicle that was damaged was my company car, so I didn’t have to worry about paying for the vehicle or changes to my insurance.
Most of all, my husband survived the accident which could have ended very differently.
If we let ourselves always think the worst then we come to always expect the worst for ourselves. When we see the positive we feel blessed with what we have.
Say I Am
When we are trying to develop a new habit or mindset, I am statement can be a huge help. We tell ourselves that we are the type of person that we want to become and that leads us to actually become that person.
Growing up, I rarely ate candy. My brother was diabetic and we rarely had any in the house. I just never developed a taste for it. When asked, I always said that I am not someone who eats candy.
Now as an adult, I really have no desire to eat candy. The Halloween candy in my kitchen doesn’t tempt me in the least. It could stay there forever.
This same kind of thinking can be used to develop any mindset or habit. Tell yourself that you are someone who manages their time well and you will take more time on your calendar. Tell you are someone who exercises regularly and you will become that person.
I mean you have to follow through of course but the idea is that at times when you might waver, you repeat to yourself that affirmation.
So if you don’t feel like working out, remind yourself that I am someone who values my health and fitness. Then get up and exercise for 10 minutes.
You mind has great power, plus its a terrible thing to waste. Right now I have not been feeling my post baby body. Things are different after baby number 3. So my I am statement is “I am beautiful”. I repeat every time I start judging something about myself. I will continue to do it until I believe it.
What type of person do you want to become? Give it to me in an I am statement in the comments.