10 years ago, I started chanting a simple affirmation to move myself from a place of despair to hope. I had no idea I was engaging in a simple, yet powerful form of mindset training.
The chant was from a simple phrase from Louise L. Hay's lovely book, "You Can Change Your Life."
The phrase is "I am willing to change."
Now the reason why I would allow myself to say these words over and over again, despite being at the height of my anger and my belief that I had totally failed in my life, was because these words did not require me to actually change...
All these words did was keep me aware of the fact that it was POSSIBLE for me to do something about my situation, and because of this, I was willing to adapt them into my life.
It may seem very simple, but this is a very powerful mindset training exercise, because what you are doing is changing deep states in your mind, entrenched emotional and mental states that have rooted themselves inside your identity.
You are also altering the language in which you are expressing your thoughts and feelings - towards yourself, and towards others - which is very crucial for real, lasting and visible change in your life.
Allow me to disect this process with the words "I am willing to change":
1. Firstly, they offered profound relief.
The thought that "I am willing to change" helped me realise that there was a part of me that was not as bad as I thought.
It also allowed me to daydream, to remember who I was before I became so miserable and unforgiving of myself and imagine even further into who I could be if I chose to let go of all my anger, guilt and shame I was holding on to for dear life!
2. I had to do it even when I didn't want to.
Even when I was having a really bad day, and I had absolutely no interest in engaging with the idea that "I am willing to change", I would slowly introduce the idea back into my mind, the way a mother would persuade a baby rejecting his/her lunch... gently and with persistence.
I had to compassionately influence myself into accepting, firstly, that nobody was asking me to make any drastic changes and secondly, all I had to do was say that I am willing to consider the theory of looking at my life from a different perspective.
Doing this would slowly put me into a new mind state, it would put me back into imagining what it would be like if I could truly make a difference in my life.
3. The results of this mindset training were profound!
I slowly started becoming unhappy with being unhappy.
I remember once, one afternoon on a weekday, I was lost in my thoughts of anguish and discouragement. I was jobless and was walking home from running a few errands.
I don't remember what I was thinking about, but what made this afternoon so memorable for me was that for the first time in my life, I stopped those thoughts dead in their tracks.
I told myself "I don't want to suffer like this anymore. I want to look at life differently now. I have had enough of this... I am willing to change."
I felt like I had been delivered!
I know, it sounds silly, but I really did. I had found a breakthrough, and from then on, I knew I could use this newfound tool as a way to change my life.
So how can you start to use mindset training in your own life?
1. Start From A Simple Place.
If there is a particular area in your life that you are tired of and really want to do something about, I encourage you to start with the same phrase I used back then... "I am willing to change." Remember, thoughts are not facts. They can be changed.
So what are you willing to change?
- Eating/drinking habits
- Spending/debt issues
- Losing your temper
- Not exercising enough
- Addiction to smart phone
- Constant distraction
- Being irresposible/unreliable,
- Etc, etc, etc...
However, mindset training is also not easy, hence my suggestion to start very simple.
2. Target That One Thing
Focus on that one area of your life that is bothering you the most right now, and make a decision to change it.
- what are your daily habits and behaviors that trigger that particular situation to recur over and over again? Identify them... really take your time with it.
- what are the regular emotions and feelings that arise whenever you are engaged in this unwanted behavior, habit or situation? Identify each one of them.
3. Create Awareness
I'd say a good 80% of our lives are on auto pilot.
We have allowed our mind and body to run our lives for us and we are completely unaware of this astonishing fact!
Mindset training is about consciously responding, not simply reacting to a situation.
It will be very imperative for you to start becoming aware of your daily patterns.
As soon as you wake up in the morning, train yourself to be aware of how you speak to yourself and how it makes you feel.
If you feel constantly discouraged and dis-empowered, then know that this will always lead you to find a way to distract yourself by engaging in habits that bring temporary pleasure and relief, but eventually cause a lot of damage.
Whenever those feelings of hopelessness start to encroach the territory of your mind, tell yourself:
"I am willing to change.
I am willing to release this old pattern of thinking that no longer serves me. "
I want to create a new reality for myself, because I know I deserve better and I know I can do better."
Train yourself, everyday, to use these words to interrupt the emotional states that have wreaked havoc on your life for so long.
Do it consistently and faithfully over a period of time, and I guarantee you, your life will change!
This is the first simple step of others on mindset training.