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5 Action Steps To Unlock Your Positive Thinking

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5 Action Steps To Unlock Your Positive Thinking

When you read the term “self-motivation”, do you visualize a person who is self-disciplined and doesn’t need external motivation to accomplish great things? If so, you are on the right track. Self-motivated people are able to find internal motivations that give them the strength to function and accomplish positive things. Self-discipline is a part of self-motivation, but it isn’t the only factor.

If you struggle with motivation, you may apply negative labels to yourself. You may refer to yourself as lazy, sluggish, or even a failure. Stop that! Lack of self-motivation and laziness are not synonymous. Negative experiences, discouraging words from others, trauma, and stress are all things that chip away at your self-motivation. Stop adding to that negativity with the way that you talk to yourself. Remember that just wanting to increase your self-motivation takes a lot of courage.

“Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.” – Anthony Robbins

Positivity is what allows you to feel satisfied when you have accomplished something, and what encourages you to keep working when things are difficult. Self-motivated people are able to get things done and achieve happiness regardless of whether or not other people are there to help or encourage them. Fortunately, no matter where you are now, you can develop and improve your self-motivation.

Take these 5 action steps to unlock your positive thinking:

 

1. Meditate daily

Focus on two things. First, focus on forgiving yourself for failures and shortcomings. Then, visualize yourself full of energy, happy, active, and accomplishing things that are necessary and that are pleasurable to you. You can also use meditation for sleep. Just visualize the stressful and chaotic thoughts that cause sleeplessness flowing out of your mind. Then, visualize them being replaced with soothing white light.

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” – Oprah Winfrey

2. Get organized

This is one of the more difficult steps to take when you are struggling with self-motivation. The act of going through your belongings, sorting, organizing, and throwing things away is physically and emotionally taxing. Unfortunately, it is a necessary part of this process. Clutter is exhausting, and living and working in an environment that is not harmonious will continuously sap your energy and motivation.

 

3. Workout regularly or participate in a sport that you love

You may question how you will possibly do this when doing so requires motivation – the thing that you are lacking. Yes, it is true that it takes motivation to start down the path of physical activity. However, once you get going, the physical and emotional rewards will contribute more to your self-motivation than they ever take away. If you choose to participate in a team sport, a recreational league may be a great place to also find encouragement from others who love something that you do.

 

4. Give yoga a chance

There are two different ways in which yoga can help you improve your self-motivation. If you practice yoga on a regular basis, you improve flexibility, strengthen and tone your muscles. You will find that with this improvement in overall physical health, doing the things that you need or want to do is much less physically taxing. Your self-motivation will increase in spades if you know that you won’t be physically exhausted. Lack of self-motivation may as well come from an imbalance in one or more of your chakras. There are a variety of yoga poses that can help with that. In addition to this, yoga can be used as a way to push negative energy out of the body and encourage the flow of positive energy into the body.

 

5. Consume food and beverages that benefit your body and mind

Purge your cupboards of processed foods, fatty meats, excess dairy products, and other junk. Drink lots of water and green tea. Focus on developing a plant-centered diet where you take in at least 80 percent of your calories via plant based sources. If you do indulge, then choose food and beverages that are true indulgences. Enjoy a wonderful glass of wine, a wonderful meal at a great restaurant, or an expensive piece of dark chocolate. Don’t waste your indulgences on things that are not worthwhile.

 

Focus on daily positive thinking

Even the smallest negative thoughts can chip away at your self-motivation. Remember that self-improvement and motivation depend on you having a positive outlook about the big and small things in life. When you think a negative thought, force yourself to stop and rephrase that thought into something that is positive and affirming. Eventually, you will find that negative thoughts enter your mind less and less frequently.

When you learn how to think positively and motivate yourself every day, your life will improve immensely. You will regain the self-esteem that you lost during your struggles. You will find happiness is easier to come by. First, because it is easier to do the things you need in order to attain that happiness, but also because you will see yourself as somebody who deserves the happiness that was once elusive for you.

This deep inner happiness will allow you to feel love and joy in ways that you never did before. All of this combines to make you a more successful person on many levels. Your new self-motivation will lead you to success on the job, success in relationships, and most importantly success in loving and accepting yourself no matter where you are.

“Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.” – Og Mandino

You deserve every single one of the positive benefits that come with self-motivation. Surely you can give yourself the gift of a few minutes of meditation, or one day of making food choices that truly nourish your body. Don’t you deserve the tired yet pleasurable feeling that comes after completing a work-out or a yoga session? You don’t need to do everything at once.

Just remember that your action plan is meaningless unless you actually take the steps to do so! What action are you taking today?

Putting all of her talents and skills to work, Leona is involved in a number of freelance endeavors - website and graphic design, communication design, interior design, fashion and styling, kids’ fashion, contributor at smartpaperhelp, and much more. She has a special passion for blogging on all topics related to her educational and career backgrounds. "What I have really gained through these years,” she states, “is a wonderful sense of independence and self-confidence.” Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Dustin

    Oct 3, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    I’ve found meditating each morning a great way to start the day. It allows the negative thoughts/feelings from the past to drift away and makes room for positivity to enter. I started with just 1 minute the first day and I’ve been adding an additional 30 seconds each morning. As for failure, I personally welcome it. There is no meaningful success without failure.

  2. Essays Creator

    Sep 30, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Article that you had shared with us is useful for us. Talked about different conceptual views.

  3. Theodore Nwangene

    Sep 24, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I couldn’t have agreed more Leona,
    Always having positive thoughts will really do you lots of good in fact, it will add more meaning to your life. Meditation is sure one of the methods to feel your entire life will positive thinking.

  4. denny

    Sep 24, 2015 at 12:52 am

    Thanks for your encouraging post. I am finding life is primarily a mental battle. You’re right – it is easy to lose your motivation by applying negative labels to yourself. I recently read a book called ‘Telling Yourself the Truth’ that details the impact of self talk. It opened my eyes to how subtley we begin to criticize ourselves. Do you catch yourself doing the same?

    • Leona Henryson

      Sep 26, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Yes!

      I have had experiences in the past that have pushed me in the direction of “I’m a failure. I’m not good enough. Nobody likes me”. This inner dialogue continued while I was working, driving, eating, watching TV. I started loosing myself.

      How much time and energy do we waste on conducting such useless and futile inner conversations? Why not to change our thoughts to something more useful and meaningful?

      If we learn to become aware of our thoughts, we gain the ability to control them and turn our thinking into a positive dialog.

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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