Goals are powerful motivational tools. They spur you to take action and drive your success when achieved. Recent studies on the brain tell us why they are so powerful: Goals we set in our mind are like neural software programs. They can be about anything at all, like who to partner with, where to eat, or when to complete a project, but they must be specific, measurable, and realistic to work—especially when part of a plan.
But the brain studies highlight something even more fundamental than how powerful goals are. They highlight just how much our thoughts control our lives. We’re always thinking and what we think determines who we are and what we do. In short, what we think impacts us physically, psychologically, and emotionally. If you want to transform your life, you must first change the way you think. It’s the quickest and most effective way to do it.
Replace Negative Thoughts to Achieve Success
Changing the way you think can change your life forever. Take Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer. Even someone as talented as he must have had doubts when he was first started swimming competitively. But over the years he changed the way he thought. He drove his doubts from his mind and replaced them with positive thoughts of success. Changing his thoughts about himself and his capabilities helped him achieve Olympic success.
While changing your thoughts is a challenge, it’s doable. Hard work can help you change the way you think. Of course, your past has a huge influence on how you think and act. Unfortunately, you can’t change the past or the effects of these events on you. But you can change your thoughts going forward. The trick is finding ways to change your thoughts that work for you.
Here are six ways you can change your thoughts and achieve life’s goals:
- Create positive affirmations — Affirmations are positive or negative. An example of a negative affirmations is saying things like “I can’t do this” or “It’s too hard to do.” Many of us are prone to negative affirmations. If you want to change your life, you need to change those negative affirmations to positive ones. Examples of positive affirmations include saying things like “I can do this” or “I will do this.”
- Stop mulling over misfortunes — Don’t dwell on your misfortunes or the perceived wrongs done to you by others. Let these things go. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn them. You should. Just don’t focus on them. Instead, use them to drive future actions toward success.
- Don’t wallow in your misery — Some people love to wallow in their misery. So they create self-punishing thoughts that turn them gloomy or pessimistic. Don’t do it. These are harmful thoughts that can impact your mindset—and your health!
- Aspire to something better — Enjoy any measure of success you achieve. It may not be as much as someone else’s, but it’s still something to feel good about. Of course, you can always aspire to be better at something. You can set higher goals or tougher benchmarks. Though you may not always succeed, it’s important not to get stuck in disappointment and stay focused on the positive. There is great value in what you learn during the process no matter what the outcome.
- Become more self-aware — Too often we tune out our inner dialogue. As a result, we spend a lot of time worrying about the outcomes of things instead of how we’ll do something. Instead, tune into your inner dialogue. Learn to detect negative affirmations and banish them from your mind, making room for positive thoughts.
- Meditate every day — Meditation offers many benefits. It can ground you when you’re feeling overwhelmed, calm you when you’re feeling stressed, and elevate you when you’re feeling depressed. If you’ve never meditated before, try our 21-day meditation challenge, the details of which we spell out (It’s a free resource.)
Goals are powerful motivational tools. They drive us to take action and help us achieve success. That’s why goals are an essential element of every plan. Recent studies on how the brain works highlights not only how powerful goals are, but also how influential our thoughts are when it comes to changing our lives.
Put simply, changing your thoughts can transform your life and achieve the kind of success you’ve always dreamed of achieving. The six techniques we describe above can help you change your thoughts. But they’re not the only ones out there. Dozens more exist. The trick is finding the ones that work for you.
Have a technique or techniques that can help change the way we think, tell us about them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear them.