Most people don’t have what they want because they either aren’t really sure what that is yet or because the don’t believe they can or will actually have it. Either way, it roots back to the thoughts they’ve been thinking about it and/or not having it.
One way or another, your thoughts brought you to where you are today. Choice after choice, time after time, again and again, you led yourself here, to either have it or not, via your way of thinking.
Most of the thoughts you chose to get you here were automatic, at a subconscious level. Think of it as little internal rules that your subconscious mind has programmed like formulas that trigger automatic responses in your mind, heart, body and energy.
X = Y
That’s how most of us operate on a day-to-day basis without even realizing that we have the power to change that formula any moment we choose. Instead of running on auto-pilot like some robot with dated software, we have the power to choose what we focus on.
The other day it dawned on me how everything we want in life basically boils down to how disciplined we are mentally, more than anything. It spiraled into a new book and this blog article is a spin-off of that book because I just couldn’t wait to share these life-shifting tips.
1) Take an Honest Inventory of Your Dominant Thoughts and Feelings
Real talk: If you don’t have it yet, whatever ‘it’ is for you, it’s because of the way you are and have been thinking about it.
Positive thinking alone doesn’t work, and neither does faking it until you make it. If you want to discipline your mind to create your life intentionally, start with upping your self-awareness game. Self-awareness is the key to all inner wisdom, transformation and lasting change.
Grab a notebook and a pen because I am about to give you exercises!
Focus on one area of your life that you want to be more mentally disciplined with. Start jotting down the thoughts (random and all) and feelings that pop up throughout each day related to what you are trying to achieve in that area of your life.
It’s okay if you miss some or don’t feel like writing them all down. Because you subconsciously know that you are tasked with writing them, you will be more alert to and aware of them. They will stand out more to you, and won’t be as easy to dismiss. The idea is to bring your awareness to it, so you can do something about it intentionally and proactively, and not from a place of default.
It’s a practice you’ll have to repeat. You didn’t get to this way of thinking overnight, so give yourself some grace, patience and love to keep practicing it until you naturally evolve into that heightened state of awareness about your thoughts and feelings.
2) Guide Your Thoughts, Don’t Discard Them
Most of us are so used to discarding our thoughts, we don’t even realize we are doing it. We have a negative thought, our entire body reacts to it in fear or whatever, and then we quickly want to jump to the next thing to not have to deal with that thought or the feelings it brings, but guess what?
The damage is already done.
Meaning, your body was already impacted and the thought didn’t even have to hang around that long enough. I don’t know about you, but that is a huge red flag to me as something that needs to be dealt with instead of covered up with a bandaid.
The art of guiding your thoughts is one of the most powerful personal development tools you will ever learn. As you master your self-awareness and become more tuned into your thoughts and feelings as they pop up, the next logical step is to deal with them, right? Because ignoring, avoiding and neglecting them hasn’t worked.
This is where you coach and mentor yourself. Reframing a negative thought/situation is the first part of guiding your thoughts; and, the second, is doing whatever else it takes to truly move away from the negative and self-limiting thought/feeling as soon as possible.
The means that if reframing something from negative to positive alone doesn’t make you feel better or truly change your perspective and state, do something else. And if that doesn’t work, try something else.
Keep going until you think/feel/see different. It doesn’t mean the thought won’t ever come up again, but the more you guide your thoughts away from it, the more you weaken its chances of returning.
When you are continually guiding your thoughts install of fighting them or discarding them, you are intentionally creating the energy and vibe you want and not submitting to whatever the hell the thought you’re trying to get rid of brought with it.
3) Pay Attention to All Your Signs
Maybe you noticed that I am talking about feelings just as much as I am thoughts?
That’s because they are directly linked, but many times, we think we are our emotions. We automatically assume that whatever we are feeling is automatic, normal, out of our control and just part of the process.
And unless you are doing daily personal development and mindset work, you won’t notice that all of those negative feelings that pop up are just manifestations of negative thoughts you’ve allowed to go rogue.
If you really want to learn how to discipline your mind, teach it to pay attention to your whole person, not just the mindset. Pay closer attention to your feelings, anger outbursts, and even body aches and pains. They are all related to your thoughts, too.
Thoughts that are not embraced and guided, but stuffed down and unattended, will mutate and show up in other parts of your self to wreak havoc: energy-mind-heart-body.
Use your notebook to record anything that stands out for you. The idea is to get you connecting more dots. The more of those internal and external signs you can trace back to originating thoughts, the sooner you can address and guide them to move forward.
4) Action is the cure
A disciplined mind is one that is exercised daily. Don’t expect to have a great mindset if you refuse to do the work you know is necessary to get there. We all have fears, limiting beliefs and different levels of comfort zones trying to keep us stuck in safe mode. Everyone is fighting some internal battle no one else knows about.
It’s your responsibility to do something about it and do it daily. Most of the auto-pilot thought, feeling and behavioral habits you want to change stem from subconscious programming that can only be changed by repetition (how you got where you are now) or by hypnosis.
It doesn’t have to take forever, but you do have to go into this knowing that patience and consistency are your friends.
If you re not yet doing some kind of mindset, personal development and/or inner work, start today and commit to something every single day. And if you are already doing something consistently, it’s time to switch it up.
If you are just starting, test out different things like journaling, visualization and mediation. There are a gazillion free resources online that can guide you, but ultimately, it is up to you to commit to doing something everyday to combat the thought, feeling and behavior habits you are trying to change.
If you have been giving it a go for a while, add something new to your routine or focus on a new routine altogether. It is possible that you’ve reached a point where you need deeper work on yourself and whatever it is you are doing isn’t cutting it.
That doesn’t mean you should keep beating a decade horse with the same stick (horrible phrase, I know), though. Challenge yourself and up your inner work game.
Don’t expect or look for motivation and inspiration when you don’t have it. Create it, and remember that if you are not working on the internal obstacles standing between you and what you want, no body can do it for you.
5) Do Whatever it Takes to Retrain your Focus
Ten 10 seconds after you read your affirmations out loud, you checked your phone, the dog barked, the doorbell rang, and you already forgot.
Yes, after repetition it will be lodged in your subconscious, hopefully, but not if you’re only doing the work once a week or whenever you feel like it knowing that you have internal blocks.
My focus for this section wasn’t so much to tell you to do whatever it takes because I think that speaks for itself and is more than obvious. The intention is to get you to wake up to your own need for more discipline.
Every one of us could use a little more mental discipline, right? But we are not all the same. We have different lives responsibilities and our minds filter and perceive the world differently. That means that every one has their own battle with focus going on upstairs.
Take a blunt-honest assessment of your mental discipline and where it is at today. Challenge yourself to try longer meditation for 5-10 minutes, more reps at the gym or more journaling or visualization. Test yourself to see just how scatter-brained you are right now, so you can properly decide what kind of mindset work you should be focusing on right now everyday.
The point of tis exercise is to get you to see through your own mindset bullshit. Be real with yourself about what you need to train your mind and decide to commit. As with anything new, of course, you may feel some resistance, but that’s just part of breaking through.
Do whatever it takes everyday. It all starts with a decision. Some days, you’ll make it once a day and the fire will carry you through; other days, you’ll have to set hourly alarms and coach yourself continually to stay the course.
It’s all in the power of your choices!
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