How many times have you been so excited and ready to tackle a problem and change your life for the good only to self-sabotage with overthinking, effectively stopping yourself in your tracks? For years prior to becoming the proud owner of Graham Strength & Conditioning as well as a thriving Nutrition business, I hoped for, thought about, planned to, wished for, and dreamed of opening my own gym.So what stopped me all those years before? Overthinking and what I call “stinkin' thinkin'." As a recovering over-thinker myself, I want to help you overcome your overthinking so that you too can live the life you have always wanted: happier, more productive, and more effective. So what are you waiting for? Let's dive in.
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” ― Lao Tzu
That guy is really onto something there. Everything you think, say, and do is leading you somewhere. It is either leading you towards your goals or away from them. So why isn’t motivation and determination enough? Because your subconscious is always working against you. Think about it…how many years has someone in your past (maybe even you), been tearing you down? Author and public speaker Jon Acuff calls these thoughts living in our heads soundtracks. His book Soundtracks has helped me immensely to identify my negative soundtracks and effectively change them to suit my desires instead of being trapped by my past.
1. Change that Stinkin' Thinkin'
The first step is to change that stinkin’ thinkin’, that is, the negative thoughts about ourselves. How do we accomplish such a task? The same way that we teach our clients to improve their fitness and nutrition: practice. Practice taking a pause the next time you find yourself saying, “You’re dumb. That is never going to work. You can’t do it, you never have been able to before. Etc..” Jon Acuff suggests asking yourself three simple questions to recognize overthinking:
Is this true?
Is it helpful?
Is it kind?
Why would you want to continue to cultivate the lies that you are telling yourself? The truth is that those statements are not true! They are not helpful or kind and you would NEVER say those things to someone you love, so why say them to yourself?!? You can start this practice right now. 2. Replace Old with NewThe second step is to find some awesome, new soundtracks to replace your old, negative ones. You can do this by inverting your old ones (for example: “You are smart! It’s going to work this time! You can do it and you will do it!”). You can also find or borrow new soundtracks from others as you develop your own. At GSC, we utilize the Healthy Steps Nutrition Positive Affirmations resource to help our clients to grab ideas. There is even a list for kids so that parents can do this with their children in hopes that we stop this vicious circle of stinkin' thinkin'. My favorites are: “Pivot, don’t panic” and “You will feel better after you do it!” Say your affirmations often as it takes a while to reprogram your brain! Soundtracks offers a 30-day challenge that I love so much I turned it into a poster that hangs on the GSC office door for everyone to see.
3. Visual Reminders
Lastly, use an item or image to remind you of your new empowering soundtrack. It could be a sticky note with your affirmation on your bathroom mirror, or it could be a special nail polish color or a mascot. At GSC, our mascot and logo are a lion. For me and Tanner, lions stand for strength, loyalty, fierceness, and confidence. A lion also represents a king, which keeps us grounded in our faith. The lion is a simple visual that has so many powerful meanings for us. Finding your own visual representation will help you establish good, positive soundtracks that can remain a permanent fixture in your life.
I would like to challenge you to take 5 minutes and do the following:
1. Order and read or listen to Soundtracks. It’s an easy read. You won’t be sorry.
2. Write down a list of 10 negative things you tell yourself. Then write down a list of 10 awesome things you love about yourself. Note which list is easier to make.
3. Identify one positive affirmation that you can start with TODAY.
To learn more about resetting your mindset, click here and register for our free nutrition chat: Mindset Maintenance on 11/17 at 6 pm on Zoom.Ready to dive into your health and fitness journey? Click here to register for a free info session to learn how Graham Strength & Conditioning can help you on the path to holistic wellness.