I just want to preface this blog post with the obvious – I’m not a doctor, medical professional, psychologist, or psychiatrist. I’m merely a person who is sharing my own personal experience in hopes that it helps you. I recommend seeking professional help if you are dealing with specific issues!
At the start of 2019, I made a choice. And that choice was to be happy. 2018 was filled with self-doubt, sadness, frustration, and lots of negative self-talk; and I was sick of it. So I decided to knock that sh*t off. I knew it would take lots of work and self-reflection, but I was dedicated to changing my daily behaviors to improve the rest of my life. I wanted to re-train my brain from what it was taught growing up.
Here are some of the things I was taught from a young age:
- You should always feel negatively about your body, no matter your age
- Working out should always be miserable, and more is always better
- You will always hate your job
- You will never make much money since you’re not smart enough
And these were beliefs I had until my late 20s. But it wasn’t until this past year when I decided to make a true change that I finally saw (and felt) results like never before. I had to re-train my brain into believing the opposite of what I was told and what I had experienced in my younger years. And if I can do it, I know others can. Below are some of the ways that I retrained my brain after years and years of acting like the victim and choosing a negative path instead of a positive –
- I stopped the constant scrolling on instagram and used that time for more productive activities
- Without the mindless scrolling, I was able to take a deeper look at my time availability and start working on other tasks – I started creating my fitness program, I created a list of new business ideas, I worked out, I searched for homes and found us a new one, I took my dog on a long walk, I listened to a new book, I spent time cuddling with my husband, I opened my own Poshmark store to sell my clothes, I organized my closet, and then I did about a million other things in between. I trained my brain to stop looking for mindless tasks and become even more productive.
- I stopped comparing myself to others
- This goes back to the first step. Constant scrolling = comparison. And when you can teach your brain to stop comparing, there is so much freedom on the other side. Now when I find myself playing the comparison game – I stop, I give the other person a compliment (through the phone), and I get back to my own work. It’s taken a lot of work and I still work on it every day, but I trained my brain to focus on what I have to offer instead of what I feel like I lack.
- I stopped talking sh*t about other people
- This is always a work in progress. It’s easy to talk about others, especially if we are feeling insecure or if we are around people who are talking about someone. But at the end of the day – talking sh*t about someone is just a reflection on your own insecurities. I had to retrain my brain to look deeper at myself and what I needed to work on, instead of thinking or talking negative about someone else.
- I stopped saying can’t
- This is a new one and I have my friend to thank for recommending the book Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo. Her big thing is changing the word can’t into won’t. So instead of saying “I can’t workout, I don’t have time” you would say “I won’t workout.” Or “I can’t start my own business” into “I won’t start my own business.” That slight change really changes everything. It puts the responsibility back on you and forces you to see the situation a little different. For me, changing the word to won’t made such a huge difference in my business and my confidence. I had to train my brain into believing that I could push myself harder than I thought possible.
- I stopped negative self-talk
- Your brain will begin to believe anything you tell it. For example, if every day you tell yourself that you are fat and ugly, you will soon believe that to be a fact, no matter what others tell you. But if you turn that around and tell yourself the opposite, you can teach your brain to believe that, as well. For most of my life, I used to tell myself negative things – “You’re not smart enough. No one will think you are attractive. Your cellulite is embarrassing. Your business will never last.” But when I finally took responsibility for my own thoughts, I was able to retrain my brain into believing the opposite – that I was good enough. I began spinning negative thoughts into positive ones. And the more I worked on it, the less negative thoughts popped into my head.
I share all this on Monday Motivation because I know many people out there are looking for some magic “motivation” to push them through day-by-day. But I’m not a big believer in motivation. I’m a big believer in behavior change. At one point in my life, I had to train myself into working out on a regular basis. Then I had to train myself out of behaviors that had a negative impact on my life. Then train myself into believing the opposite of what I had told myself for years. I had to train my brain to be motivated to be better than I was the day before, because I knew I wouldn’t always be motivated. Motivation is a fluttering feeling, but discipline is something that stays around for the long haul. If we can retrain our brains to be disciplined, so many positive changes can occur moving forward. No longer am I the victim. And that’s a pretty freeing feeling. Hopefully these steps that have helped me can do the same for you!