“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how” – Nietzsche
One of the most difficult things to really focus on in the struggle to change is simply “Why”.
Why do we want to change?
Why do we search out to become better?
Why must we make a decision that goes against our current thought process?
Remembering “Why” you are reaching for something new, will have a significant impact on the success rate of any change.
So let’s start by looking into the reason we chose to make a difference in our own lives. Normally changes begin when a person realizes that they have had enough. They have had enough with their current job status, their current weight issues, or their current social circle. There are hundreds of reasons to want to change, but normally these reasons aren’t strong enough to continue the change. This is where the struggle begins. What do you do when the motivation begins to wane? When life actually begins to fight back against the shift we are trying to make? It is at this point that each of us has to make a decision… to step back into the comfort of our current life, or take control of our mind and stick to the decision to change.
Yes, I get it, writing and reading these words are far easier tasks than trying to actually implement these into our lives. I get it, there are times that I struggle with it as well. When my life wants to return to what it knows, rather than what it could blossom to become. It is in these moments when the true test arrives. Can we control our mind? Can we take captive the thoughts that bring us down? Can we shift negative thoughts to positive motivation? Choosing to control the thoughts in our minds is one of the greatest strengths that we will ever develop.
So how do we control our thoughts? Well, this is a much larger question than what we can tackle in one post, but I want to give some quick talking points that we will drive deeper into in following posts.
- Our first step in controlling our thoughts is to remember why we want to make this change or shift in our lives. We have to always come back to the reason why we are looking to make this change. For most, these decisions are very long term shifts that take months if not years to accomplish. We live in a “get it now” society that thrives off immediate gratification. Our lives are not changed in this manner. Sadly, we can’t order our life change on an app like we order a mocha latte. Sure, some progress can be made quickly, but these quick successes build into longer, more difficult movements. I wrote in 2017 some of my “why’s” in a blog post that can be found here. Now I have changed many of my “why’s” since this post, but its always great to return and see how some of the reasons that I still have for my life.
- When we search for real change in our lives, we must remember the amount of devotion we must have to these changes. I believe that we really don’t use the word “devotion” or act as if we have devotion to many things in our lives. Our society continues to drive us to places of pure devotion towards a cause or person without any understanding of why we choose this direction, or eliminates our devotion by telling us to not be true to any certain object in life. When we want to make a change in our life, we have to take a level of devotion towards these changes. After remembering why, we must devote our time and energy in making these changes, for life will not go down without a fight. Our minds will be filled with doubts and fears, but we must devote ourselves to the change. We’ll dive more into devotion in a couple of weeks to understand just the importance it has on success.
- Positive Self-talk
- One of my biggest struggles, as well as for many others, is simply the words we speak to ourselves. As we are looking at how to control our thoughts, we have to talk about how we speak to and about ourselves. While we communicate with others often throughout the day, its important to remember that we communicate with ourselves much more. If that communication focuses on why we cannot achieve, we will never make it, but if we focus on why we may reach our goals and the how we can do it, our success in change is far closer. Remember, you won’t always have someone there to push you or motivate you, it is your own mind and thoughts that must be a positive influence to your change.
- The final piece of controlling your thoughts is what I call “The Pause”. Its like hitting the pause button on a tv show or movie. For me, it reminds me of hitting the pause button on a video game back in the day. You can be in the middle of a difficult or erratic moment, but with one single push of a button, the game stops and I could stop to do whatever I needed to. Now, life doesn’t always work this way, but oftentimes we have the opportunity to stop and really reflect before making a decision. By pausing, we allows ourselves to turn off autopilot and actually make decisions pertaining to our goals. Until our initial thought is towards our goal, we must not allow our habits to move us in the wrong direction by pausing and checking our decisions.
When we really strive to change our lives, we must remember that it is not going to be a walk in the park. We are changing our habits and our lifestyles. We must take control of our minds to reach our goals.
Change is a constant decision, it must be chosen each time.