How to Prepare for Positive Thinking
(Read Part 1 Here)
Unfortunately, you can’t just decide to think positive and not only hope it will do the trick but also last the duration.
It takes work and preparation but once you have the foundations in place and know how to tackle situations when they arise, fighting negativity becomes a whole lot easier.
When we start a diet, it is with great determination to change our eating habits and ‘this time’ stick it out until we get the results we desire. Unfortunately we don’t put in the required amount of focus beforehand to enable us to be ready for when that determination begins to waiver and we are face-to-face with negativity.
Let’s face it – we are trying to battle against thoughts and self-beliefs that have been ingrained into us over years of repeated cognitive processes and reaffirming actions, so a few whim thoughts of ‘this time I’ll do it’ is just not going to cut it.
We need to prepare ourselves for the mental fight that is to come.
We need psychological weapons to defend ourselves and impenetrable self-armour to protect us from the blows that we will take…
Fortunately, there is hope. There are tactics we can use to combat those psychological challenges and just as importantly, finally give us the confidence and knowledge that ‘this time’ really is our time to win.
…Let the battle commence.
Weapon #1: Jounaling
Don’t underestimate this first weapon because journaling for weight loss is extremely powerful!
It is not enough to try and remember why you want to lose weight, you need to see it visually, because when you really need a reminder, your ‘why’ memory will conveniently fail you…but the doubts of negativity will not.
If you have your why’s and the various battle exercises (discussed later) noted down then you’re back in the fight – so do NOT enter the arena without your journal!
I use Asana and Evernote but have also got a hard-backed spiral notebook when I want to write ‘old-school’. Here are some options you can use…
- a paper diary or fancy notebook;
- an online journal like Penzu, Monkkee or Journalate;
- text editor like MS Word stored in named folders;
- mobile and web apps:
- written postcards
- Post-it notes (online or offline)
Other tools to help:
- GetPocket (great for keeping URLs organized by tags)
- Dictaphone to record notes and keep the recordings filed (Dictaphone by ALON is a free app)
Whatever it is that suits your way of working is perfect, as long as it is easily accessible and editable.
Weapon #2: Believe Who is in Control
You have the power to control what you want but you need to realise it and – more importantly – you need to believe that it is YOU who can control your own outcome.
Nobody makes you succeed, you do that all on your own;
But likewise, nobody makes you quit – you do that all on your own too.
- You control your own effort and how much you put into what you want;
- You have the control to do what is right for you;
- You control whether you learn from your mistakes;
- You have the control to view hard times as challenges and not reasons to give up;
- You have the control to find ways to overcome those challenges.
But convincing yourself that you hold all the aces takes some getting used to.
The first entry in your journal should be – in big, bold letters:
I AM IN CONTROL OF WHAT I WANT AND I CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN.
Read it every morning and every night.
Believe it and continue to believe it!
No matter how long it takes, YOU WILL BE A SUCCESS AND BE AT THE WEIGHT YOU WANT TO BE.
You have the power, the control and the ability to make it happen.
And soon you will also have the tools, the techniques and the correct exercises to help you do it the way that is best for YOU and when you realise and believe this…
…success is inevitable.
Weapon #3: Know Thyself; Your One True Friend
No one knows you better than you.
You are the only person who can make things happen – who can get through the tough times, feel the really low periods but then experience the complete highs of success and the happiness that that achievement brings.
And you are the one who will get you through this, but you need to be properly researched and understood.
Desires, fears, hopes and dreams need to be documented, along with emotions and moods.
What gets you motivated and inspired? What lights the fire deep inside to do great things and smash challenging goals?
This is you getting to know you.
Who Are You?
When we have kids, we know everything about them. As their protector we know what they like to eat and what they don’t, what comforts them and what situations cause them worry. It’s as if we know them more than we know ourselves.
And if you don’t have children, then do you really know everything about yourself and truly know exactly how you are going to react when a difficult challenge arises?
As our own protectors, we need to study ourselves to find out what makes us happy, what we need to avoid, and more importantly how we handle those times when the going really does get tough!
AND…what you think you know about yourself is not always how it is.
So start to really get to know YOU and document it in your journal.
The Right Time to Study Yourself
Those ‘me’ times we all like to have are great for this exercise because it’s when we are at our most content, the barriers are down and we can really think about who we are.
When is your ‘me’ time?
- Is it sitting alone and in complete silence with a hot beverage?
- Is it listening to your favorite tunes?
- What about taking a stroll outside in the fresh air when you can take in the scenery and put your hectic life on hold?
- Or is it that twilight hour just before you go to sleep when your aspirations are at their clearest?
What do you think about when you are in this zone? What gives you the happy buzz? What thoughts bring that warm feeling deep inside when you think about them? Do you dream? Plan? Read? Reminisce? Or like to solve a problem?
Some other questions you can ask yourself:
- What is your personality like? Outgoing? Shy?
- Do you find it easy to talk to others or prefer to sit at the back and listen?
- What have you always wanted to learn? What hobbies would you really like to do?
- What are your favorite foods?
- What is that you just can’t do without – in food and home comforts?
- What about your moods? When are you more likely to be stressed?
- What makes you really, really happy?
- What would you like to look like?
- What do you love about yourself?
- When you try to lose weight, what do you find difficult?
- Can you eat just one cookie or have to have the packet?
- What have you tried before?
- What do you want to try?
- What makes you give up?
- What keeps you going?
- Do you know of any motivation or positive thinking techniques that you might like to try?
Take some time to really get to know yourself and document it. The words do not have to been in any order, follow any pattern or even make sense to anybody else but you.
And it doesn’t have to be done all in one go, you can just jot things down as you think of them or do a mind map of various words that describe you.
Comparison Not Permitted
Another thing you can think about is other people you aspire to or admire. What is it that they do differently? How do you think they would react in certain situations? By analysing others and noting your findings, you have a much better chance of trying to emulate similar responses.
But don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others or getting disheartened when something they do is only wishful thinking and may never be a reality for you:
Staring enviously at a jogger who doesn’t even look like they need to exercise only makes you feel like you will never succeed because you can’t/won’t do the same.
The truth is you will lose your weight, be much fitter than you are now and achieve your own success – you will just do it differently.
This doesn’t mean giving up on something if you really want to do it; just don’t try and mirror your journey to the same as somebody else’s. If you really want to start running, then write it down in big bold letters and underline it. And use your journal to plan out a way of achieving it step-by-step.
Don’t ignore any interests you have just because your body or mind isn’t ready…
tomorrow it just might be.
The Promise to Ourselves
We take our body for granted; we take our mind for granted, and we think we will look after ourselves when we have a bit more time or money – both of which are never achieved, and the potential we all have to get what we want is wasted, in fact we never really understand what it is we do want.
By writing things down…
- we highlight those features that we don’t normally think about, and re-read later can help boost our positivity and self-confidence, or help carry us over a rough patch.
- It helps us try out different techniques and note what works and doesn’t work.
- It is also a written promise to ourselves that we are going to do things differently and finally take our desires seriously.
This is our ‘us’ research, our catalogue of who we are and a reminder of what it is that we truly want, only then can the necessary improvements be made and the negativity faced.
Weapon #4: Positive Reflections
One of the many causes of negativity is our constant reflection of everything bad that has happened before; we have the unique ability to forget the good and replace it with a barrel load of negative experiences!
This has to be rectified and although we can’t stop our minds from wandering, we can make a conscious effort to change its direction and have it focus on a positive memory instead.
But it’s hard to remember these positive memories, especially when we need them the most. This is where our journals come in handy – make a list of everything positive that has happened to you. Some examples could be:
- The Simple Things – a compliment you received or a much-needed parking space.
- Major Events – the birth of a child or the completion of a major project.
- Holidays – Weekends away, trips to foreign lands or visits to/from distant friends and relatives.
- Leisure – A memorable movie, a story or an old song.
- Materialistic – Purchase of something special or a rare extravagance.
- Emotional – A first date or precious time spent with loved ones.
- Seasonal – Christmas mornings, birthday surprises or warm sunny evenings with a glass of wine.
- Wins – a competition/lottery win or a correct answer in a quiz; pay rise, promotion or the start of a new business.
Your list will be a work in progress as you remember more and more things to add. But it’s not just the past that needs to be recorded – make a note of all the good things that you experience from day-to-day.
These are also great to read each morning to start a new day already on a positive note.
Tony Robbins Positive Thinking How To
Consult Your List
When you are feeling low or just need to get over a difficult period in your day, read through your list of great memories and experiences and remember those feelings you had at the time.
When you hit a challenge,
it just might be a memory you wrote in your journal
that gets you through it.
Your initial thought processes will be interrupted and the direction of your emotions will alter. This slight change can be enough to stop the negativity spreading and taking over your moods, decisions and actions.
And remember a positive thought is much more powerful than a negative one.
Weapon #5: Reasons for Weight Loss
Following on from the list of positive reflections, are the reasons for wanting to lose weight and the benefits it will bring – both physically and emotionally.
When the going gets tough…
The tough need a reason!
The benefits have to be personal for YOU and what will improve YOUR life.
- Do you get out of breath taking the stairs? Or after walking just a few yards?
- Do your legs tend to swell and ache with the excess weight you carry?
- Do you struggle to reach your toes and painting nails is a distant memory?
- Do you have health complications brought on through increased weight?
From that list write the positive improvements:
- I will be able to take the stairs two at a time;
- I will be able to walk at a fast pace without getting out of breath;
- I will have slim legs that look great in skinny jeans.
Do the same with the emotional benefits:
- I will have so much more confidence;
- I will be able to wear better clothes and feel good in them;
- I will finally look forward to going on holiday and wearing a bikini;
- I will pick out the first outfit in my wardrobe and know I look good in it.
These are your ‘why’ lists; the reasons you want, and need to lose weight and make improvements in your health. Regularly add more reasons as you think of them.
And when you’re feeling those doubts creeping in and you’re deciding whether or not to have that portion of pie, open your journal and read your why list and concentrate on what each statement really means to you:
- How is it going to feel when smaller trousers fit perfectly?
- And how about zipping knee length boots right up to the top – AND over your jeans?
- How will you feel walking into a room full of people you know, emanating self-confidence and looking fantastic in figure-hugging clothes, without the need for baggy over-shirts/jackets?
Those negative thoughts will fade away as your feelings and excitement for what is to come take over.
You are in control.
Weapon #6: The Right Company
To feel positive, it helps if you are surrounded with positive people who make you feel better about yourself and your ambitions, and who contribute to your life instead of pulling it down.
Negativity breeds negativity and if your friends are feeling pessimistic about the world and their life, it could have a negative impact on you and your ultimate goals.
After socialising with them, does your outlook change? Do you suddenly feel negative and disheartened, and you should accept your ‘lot in life’ because you are not destined for anything more?
If it is then maybe you need to re-evaluate your circle of friends, or introduce some new ones into your life.
Joining clubs in your local area is a great way to make new friends, or signing up to online communities where participation is high and support can be 24/7.
Search out motivational people and follow them; their positivity will be addictive and can inspire you to do great things.
Although it is not always easy to surround yourself with inspirational people, rethink the time you spend around negativity. Your time is precious, why give it away to people who have no interest in your aspirations and what you are trying to achieve.
Weapon #7: Capture Triggers
Most of the time we don’t know what our triggers are that put us into negativity. One minute we are eating lettuce and running marathons, the next we are pinned to the sofa surrounded by empty wrappers from our latest binge.
- What made us change direction?
- What caused us to stop working for what we want and surrender to what we have?
- Was it something somebody said?
Try and find out what these triggers are. Think back to previous times when you ‘fell off the wagon’; was it a particularly stressful period? A holiday? Or had you just wanted to have that ‘feel good feeling’ that you think only food can provide?
And write them down as they happen, no matter how much you DON’T want to at the time!
Knowing what these triggers are beforehand makes it easier to anticipate them; use exercises on them (like tapping), and ultimately stop them before they do too much damage.
Move on to Part 3: Starting to Falter
I would just like to declare that I am not a health professional and I don’t have all the answers…in fact these articles could be all gibberish and just mutterings from a desperate dieter! I am a firm believer though in the power of positive thinking, especially when we have to make changes we don’t really want to make. These articles are based on research I have done, as well as my own experiences; if they can be of any use to you on your journey, then they have been worth writing, and if not, well at least I finally got them off my chest…