Training the “body” is much easier than training the mind. In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article showing that the average person has between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
How can you get out of your mind and out of your own way? Try these 9 tips:
1. Get Focused
Everything distracts you; your phone, your TV, your “social” media, your possessions, your friends and their problems…this all contributes to your anxiety and further distracts from your focus. We are in this together. The US is 5% of the world’s population but consumes over 50% of the advertising. You have been trained to be a consumer and to focus on NOTHING for longer than a few minutes. Put distractions away. They are not freeing you from your mind but instead, keeping you from focusing on what matters to you.
2. Gain Confidence
Most beliefs about yourself are ones of limitation. If you don’t like your situation, who you are, or what you look like, you need to step out of your box. The problem is, self doubt confines you to your box…you don’t step outside of it because that would not be “who you are”, even if you don’t like who you are. You doubt your ability to change. The only way around this is to take action and make mistakes and build confidence through competence. Focusing on your doubts will just make them bigger and your confidence will never grow in this state of mind.
3. Get Over Fear
Self doubt leads to fear and fear is anxiety. You are so unnerved by uncertainty that it stops you from living your life every day. The pain of maintaining is preferred over the fear of the unknown, even if a better version of you is on the horizon. Know it is normal to fear but that facing fears makes them smaller and easier to overcome.
4. Check Your Ego
The ego is petty and stubborn. It is that part of your personality that doesn’t want to change, won’t admit it’s flawed, and that allows you to hide from your issues. This is why you are your own worst enemy when it comes to making legitimate health changes. Check your ego.
5. Be the Student and Become the Teacher
Ego and resistance walk hand in hand. You are good at being “your current self” and because you are good at doing “you”, you assume you’ll be good at things you have never done. Of course, this leads to a breakdown when you are confronted with your incompetence. You can only get good at doing something if you do it repeatedly and learn from your struggles and failures. You have to become willing to learn and adopt the student and teacher roles in your life.
6. Cultivate Discipline
A lack of focus is a lack of discipline. To be disciplined, you need to be free of the consumer mindset, need to believe you can change, and need to know that you can be better than average. You don’t want to aim for average, which would be to settle for mediocrity. You want to be awesome! To rise to the top requires discipline.
7. Focus on the End
Your rewarding life is a sum of many rewarding days – not just a whole “30 days” of rewarding. How your life turns out is entirely “your fault”. The good and the bad are all part of the equation. You must think long term, years and even decades out. You can see how the daily rewards or lack thereof add up and compound over time when you take the big picture view. Keep the end in mind and create more rewarding days for yourself.
8. Learn to See
Paradigm blindness is when you are unwilling or unable to accept any challenge to your core beliefs that determine your worldview. Of course, you cannot know what you don’t know, and you don’t know what you cannot see. Your understanding of the world is limited by how you would like it to be. You know nothing and I know nothing as long as we see the world in this limited, inflexible way. Be open to challenging beliefs and different ways of seeing the world. You learn from others.
9. Train your Intelligence
For you to learn and see beyond your current paradigm you have to challenge your own biases. How you feel informs your reasoning. If you feel safe and secure doing “you” and tightly hold on to your beliefs without stepping out of your box, you cannot be trained. All types of your intelligence suffers. Intelligence can be trained, but only when you are willing to be made uncomfortable in order to learn.
Remember, we have between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts in each individual day. You have the ability to get out of your mind and therefore, get out of your own way. How will you choose to use your thoughts to your advantage to create a better, more open, and increasingly positive version of yourself?
Dr. Jerome Craig