By Stephanie J. Marshall, Toronto-based Master Alignment Coach
I want you to shine, thrive, and amaze yourself with what you’re capable of, and I’m going to share the top 10 thoughts I’ve seen women habitualize and use against themselves!
Do You Think This Often?
If one of these thoughts is a part of your auto-pilot settings (thought habit) you’re getting in your own way and making your life harder than it needs to be. These thought habits lead to overwhelm, tiredness, confusion, stress, and can keep you stuck unnecessarily.
- I’m so behind
- I’m tired.
- I don’t have time.
- I don’t know. / I don’t know how.
- I’m stuck.
- It’s going to be hard.
- This won’t work for me.
- I’m too old.
- It’s complicated.
- Everyone will think ______.
If one of these sounds too familiar, your immediate reaction was probably “But it’s true!!!!“. And if you’re a contrarian I’m going to guess that your first reaction was to immediately look for examples in which these thoughts are useful.
But the point is not whether or not the thought is objectively true (might be) or whether there are times when the thought is useful (might be, the thoughts on their own are not the problem), what matters is whether one of these thoughts is a habit and what results it’s creating.
Thought Habits with a Negative Impact
Thought habits are the thoughts that we run on autopilot. We think them and believe them without making a conscious decision to do so.
They are a problem when:
- They kill your curiosity and create blind spots. For example: Someone with the thought habit “I don’t have time” will reflexively think this whenever they are presented with an opportunity that would require an allocation of time, without considering the time they have and the decisions available to them.
- They elicit feelings that drag you down or keep you from taking action such as overwhelm, fear, dread, tiredness, powerlessness. For example: Someone with the thought habit of “It’s going to be hard” may create so much dread that they talk themselves out of doing things.
- They are used as justification and give you an escape hatch. For example: Someone with the thought habit of “I don’t know how” will shut down instead of trying to figure out how they could figure it out, or they will use it as an excuse to avoid making a decision.
The details of what thought creates what result is different for everyone, but what you need to know is that we default to believing our own thoughts, and we’re wired to look for evidence that supports our beliefs. Because of this, our thought habits impact perceived difficulty, resilience, tenacity, attitude, openness, energy, and curiosity. In other words, your thought habits will be a key determinant of your decisions, your experience and the outcomes that you create in your life.
Changing Your Thought Habits
The good news is that with practice we can train ourselves to notice our thought habits, question them, and reprogram the ones that are working against us (without lying to ourselves or going into denial). You are in charge of your thoughts and no one can take that away from you. Reprogramming your thought habits is like building a muscle, it requires repetition of use. Just like building new muscles, it’s not enough to do it once and understand how it works, you have to do it repeatedly.
In the Kickstartology Coaching program the Alignment Framework makes it easy to recognize the thought habits getting in your way, and we have simple tools to help you get really good at catching and redirecting your thoughts so that they are working for you instead of against you. It’s powerful work, and part of the development and maintenance of a well managed mind.
Once you get out of your own way and operate from a well managed mind things become simpler, clearer, and calmer. You will feel like you have more options and more time. You will feel more connected to yourself.