How To Overcome Negative Thinking
Negative thinking, or limiting beliefs as they are called in the self help world, are those quiet little subconscious negative thoughts in our heads that govern how we live our lives.
Often limiting beliefs stem from childhood or life experiences leading up to the present. These thoughts completely strangle our confidence and prevent us from living the life we want.
“I never follow through with things”
“I’m too lazy to get anything done”
“I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not as smart as _____”
These thoughts are getting you nowhere good in life, so it’s time to remove them and the self-doubt they cause.
Steps To Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs
## Identify Them
Sometimes we’re aware of the negative repeating thoughts in our heads, but sometimes they are subconscious and don’t even trigger to us because that’s how engrained they are in our minds.
The first step here is to sit quietly somewhere and picture yourself doing something you’ve always wanted to do or achieve but have never gone after. Become aware of what you are thinking to yourself as you imagine this. Write down everything negative that comes up.
Also, to dive deeper and get to the root of the thought, ask yourself WHY do I think this thought?
Your original thought: “Ugh I want to take the leap and start my own business but just don’t think I can”
WHY? “Because I’ve never succeeded at anything I’ve tried in the past”
WHY? “Because I’m lazy and unmotivated”
Now you’ve just uncovered multiple negative thoughts you’re repeating to yourself constantly. The thought I’m lazy and unmotivated is your root limiting belief that is most likely holding you back in many ways.
While you’re doing this, be aware of the feelings that come up that are associated with these thoughts. When you think “I’m so lazy” to yourself, does it make you feel good or bad? I’m guessing not great. This is why we need to do the next 2 steps below to remove them from our minds.
## Prove Them Wrong
Now you have a list of negative thoughts that you are most likely repeating to yourself day after day, maybe several times a day. This in turn is making you feel sh*tty all day, which no one wants.
We have to prove these thoughts wrong in order to start re-wiring our brain and to start believing that these things you say about yourself aren’t true.
So start to go through your list and think of scenarios when those thoughts were NOT correct.
If a thought you have is “I fail at everything”, list out the times you DIDN’T fail at something. And this list doesn’t have to be big things. If you made it to work on time every day this week, I consider that a win. Every single day you do things without failing at them – Driving a car, doing household chores, hitting small deadlines at work, etc.
It’s also important to realize that we tend to bias ourselves to only remember events that back up these negative thoughts.
We tend to put the more negative events on a higher pedestal in our mind, giving them more meaning and importance than the positive events. One tiny negative event can be fantasized in our mind over & over until we remember it as something big and awful and more traumatic than it actually was.
## Replace Them
Once we discover that all of those negative thoughts are not representations of the truth, we can start to re-word them to make them more positive. If we do this every time we catch ourselves thinking negatively, you’ll start to re-wire your brain to stop thinking those thoughts on auto-pilot and start thinking the more positive kick-ass beliefs.
The trick is to gradually turn your thoughts more positive so you still believe them. Right now you believe that you fail at everything. You aren’t right away going to believe the complete opposite thought “I succeed at everything!”
So we do it in steps.
Take the above “I fail at everything” example. We can turn this into “I failed at X this time (insert the goal or event), but that doesn’t mean I should never go after a goal again”.
It’s a statement you can still believe but it has a slightly more positive angle. Once you start thinking this thought naturally, you can change it again to “I failed at X but I think I’m ready to try again” OR “I failed at X and could fail again, but I know I’m strong enough to handle it” OR “I failed at X but it made me stronger so I won’t fail again when I try”
Eventually, your feelings toward yourself will start shifting. You’ll be a little more motivated and self-confident and feel happier, and with those feelings in place, you’ll be more inclined to naturally start taking action toward the things you want. Once you start working and have small successes, the motivation and confidence will keep growing and in turn help you to keep succeeding.
It’s an amazing positive cycle once you can overcome the limiting beliefs that hold you back in the beginning.