We all have those times; those times when we spend more time thinking than doing, those times when we allow our self-talk to talk us into indecisiveness, or those times when our mind creates fear that doesn’t really exist.
Researches have show that only 5% of our human activities (behaviors, emotions, decisions, etc) are conscious whereby 95% happen on a sub-conscious level. Literal translation: we are only really aware of the 5% of things that we do.
So, the question is, what results would you achieve if you were able to be more conscious of your thoughts, and thus, your behaviors as well?
The answer is better results. Why?
The rule of thumb here is that we will not be able to make good decisions in a negative state of mind. Being conscious allows us to change our state of mind before making an important decision or taking an action.
Having coached thousands of people, I realized that it is not the skills or competencies that affect their performance but their level of consciousness of their thoughts and actions. Here are 3 steps that you can practice to turn your thoughts into consciousness and eventually, empowering behaviors and actions.
3 Steps To Change Your Thoughts Into Empowering Behaviors
1. Identify Your Thoughts
Every thing in our minds come from all the information that we receive on a constant basis in our daily lives. We receive more than 2 million bits of information every second, and this information shapes our thoughts.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), our minds play tricks with us. We are only able to retain less than 4% of our experiences and memories while the rest are moved on to our subconscious mind. Don’t trust me? Remember the last time when you were holding your keys or wallet in your hand but you kept searching for them? This is what happens when we are overloaded with information.
Start with identifying the source of your thoughts.
Where are your thoughts coming from? How are these thoughts making you feel? Positive or more negative?
Also, identify thoughts that are actually within your control and those which are not.
List down all the negative thoughts that you want to change.
You can only change what you decide to change. Choose the top 3 thoughts that you would like to change and write them down.
Are you in control of the thought, situation/context/issue?
As there are so many thoughts going through your mind, you need to learn to define the locus of control of the situation.
There is no point in changing something that is not within our control.
Is the thought stopping you from moving forward?
Spend your time and focus on changing thoughts which are needed to help you move forward.
This will help you to decide to change your thoughts which are stopping you from making important life decisions.
If the answers to both of the questions above are a sounding YES, then write down these thoughts down as something that you want to change.
Your thoughts shape your intentions.
2. Clarify Your Intention
Whatever goes though your mind essentially sets the precedent for your intention. Your intention answers the question of, “What do I really want?”
This step is really powerful as it will define what you will manifest and achieve. We have all experienced moments where we constantly whisper to ourselves “Please do not let this happen to me” or years ago while in university, you wished so hard that your lecturer will not call your name and pick you out but he/she just did.
Is it luck? I doubt so. When you have certain thoughts on your mind, you automatically set the intention to the world through various means that you are not aware of.
Your pupil dilated. Your lips became tense. Your face became red. Your body shrinks.
That is how your lecturer is able to locate you easier and call you out.
Similarly in life, once we are able to decide on the thoughts that we want to change, we can then set our intention to change them.
Based on the 3 thoughts that you want to change, these 2 questions will help you to do just that.
Where am I and how have these thoughts affected me?
Define where you are now because of the thoughts.
Example: If you just came out of an awful discussion/meeting with your team, ask yourself, how has this affected me? How has this thought affected my team? Where are we now after the meeting? Are we still at the same starting point as we are before the meeting or has it gone worse?
What can I do to move forward?
This is a simple formula to set the right intention. Ask yourself what can I change or what can I do now to progress.
Our thoughts (analysis-paralysis) often cloud our judgement to move forward. By being conscious of this question, we start to move from a problem-oriented to solution-oriented state of mind.
Your intentions create your actions.
3. Create Your Action
The only way to change something is to take action. Taking action is tough. Because it requires a lot of energy to start, and sometimes we have to let go of our ego.
Here is the A.C.T. Model that will help you to decide which action to take.
What is the one action that you can do/take immediately to make sure you can progress?
You will need to list down a specific action to answer this question.
What is/are the consequences to the situation if you take the action above?
What is the positive ripple effect that you assume would happen when you take the action above?
When can you complete the action that you have decided above? Now? Later in an hour? Tomorrow?
This last element is crucial as it will define if you are going to take action or not. The longer you have to wait to take action, the more reasons you can give yourself to procrastinate.
Lastly, once you have listed down a series of actions that you can take, rate each of the A.C.T. in terms of its impact.
A: How comfortable are you with taking this action? If it is a 5, that means you are comfortable and you feel good about this action.
C: How positive are these consequences? If it is a 5, that means it is a game changer.
T: How quickly can I take this action? If it is a 5, that means it is an action that you can do right NOW (you can make it happen in less than 10 seconds).
If the action scores the highest, it is an indication that you should start with that action first.
You can have multiple actions that you can take to solve a specific negative thought, hence this rating will help you define which to take first. This gives you a kickstart in terms of really turning your negative thoughts into more empowering thoughts and actions.
For every thoughts that you want to change, you are required to go through all these steps.
These 3 simple steps will help you in live a life of empowering thoughts rather than a life full of negativity (complaints, inaction, procrastination, indecisive, and others).
Remember, your life will only change when you truly take actions.
“Remember, a real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”- Anthony Robbins
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