I have a not-so-small library of self-help books. I read them all. I scribble in them. I highlight. I study and summarize. I ear-mark the pages. Very little changed – for decades.
Reading self-help books was not helpful. In fact, reading self-help books effectively undermined my confidence because I was unable, (perhaps unwilling) to follow through.
Change is hard. If anyone tells you otherwise, do not pay attention, they are fibbing. Resistance to change is hard-wired into our brain. Our brain is designed to keep us safe and secure. And safe and secure to the brain is familiar. Unfamiliar – bad/lethal. Familiar – good/safe. Even when familiar is not serving us well your brain will take the familiar default every time.
Change may be hard, but it is possible. Totally possible, with a daily self-coaching practice.
The secret lies in these words…. Daily… Practice.
Daily. Hmmm… easier said than done. Am I right? Do you actually floss daily? Drink six, 8 ounce glasses of water daily? Get 7 – 9 hours of sleep daily? Stretch daily? Practice cello daily? These are a few of the things that I say I do daily, but in truth, I don’t. <<SIGH>> The first step to change is awareness. The second step, is owning your truth/reality.
Practice. Merriam – Webster’s Dictionary defines practice “to do or perform often…. To work at repeatedly so as to become proficient….”
If you want to truly effect change in your life, you must change your thoughts and practice your new thoughts daily. This is what self-coaching is all about.
Self-coaching. To coach means to “to instruct, direct or prompt.”
To self-coach then means to instruct, direct or prompt yourself. We do it all the time, just remarkably ineffectively. Sitting at a red light. Random thoughts streaming through your head. Waiting in line at the cafeteria. More random thoughts.
Can you imagine how different your life might be if instead of random thoughts, you connected with an intentional, crystal clear compelling vision of your dream future? Now that is a thought worth developing and reciting over and over again!
How to self-coach?
Step one – notice your thoughts. You must become aware of the thoughts that are actually streaming along in your mind. Do a thought download every day. Take a pen and a piece of paper and start writing. Just write. Don’t judge. Don’t worry, the spelling and grammar police are not coming along with their red pens. You do not need a fancy leather bound journal, a paper napkin will suffice. But WRITE IT down – don’t just think about it. The physical act of writing focuses your awareness. I can almost guarantee you will be surprised where you end up.
Step two – read what you wrote. Any insights? Any recurring themes? Any intriguing thoughts? Any toxic thoughts?
Step three – pick a thought, you would like to change. Ask yourself “Is this thought helpful?” and “Does this thought help me build the vibrant and meaningful life I want?” If you answered yes and emphatic yes to those questions, keep it. If the answer is no to either question, change it. Find a replacement thought that is true and neutral and every time you catch yourself with the old thought, insert your new thought. Recognize your old thought as not helpful and call it out. OH, there is that old thought I do not believe any more.
For example, if your thought is, “I am always late.” Ask yourself, “Is this thought helpful and does it help me build the vibrant and meaningful life I want?” No and no. Change it to something true and neutral. “I am on time sometimes.”
With Dr. Time and practice, you can gently prod your new thought forward and change that neutral thought to positive, positive to fabulous and fabulous to amazing.
- “I am always late.”
- “I am sometimes on time.”
- “I am often on time.”
- “I am rarely late.”
- “I am sometimes early.”
- “I am always early” or
- “I am never late.”
Shifting directly from “I am always late” to “I am always early” or “I am never late” is bound to fail. It’s too big of a stretch. But you can certainly get there in a few steps. We call these bridge thoughts in coach-speak. I love bridge thoughts. Master the fine art of building bridge thoughts – life will be incredible.
It would be just lovely if we could simply replace our thoughts. But we cannot and those old thoughts – especially the ones we have held near and dear, deep in our subconscious, for decades – keep recurring. When they recur, notice it. Acknowledge it. Tell yourself… “Huh, there is that old thought I no longer believe.” Take the wind out of its sails and eventually it will fade. At the very least if it doesn’t fade, it could be mildly entertaining. Oh right, there is that nonsense thought…. and chuckle at yourself.
Self-coaching. Change your thoughts. Change your life! Seriously powerful!
Buff it up, my friends
Are you ready to Buff Up Your Brain? Ready to, lose weight, increase your mental clarity and polish up your thoughts? Let’s chat.