“Change your thoughts, change your life.” Wayne Dyer
“Man can alter his life by altering his thinking.” William James
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Buddha
I could fill pages and pages of quotes from wise men and women on the power of our thoughts, but you get the picture. Most likely, you have also read them all. And yet, while you have probably been overexposed to the concept that our thoughts create our reality, I am going to devote this first blog post of the year to turning your attention to it again. Why? Because our thoughts really are powerful and if we want a fresh start to 2019 and a fighting chance at keeping our resolutions, we need to pay attention to what we are thinking.
If you still have doubts about this concept, try this exercise: close your eyes and think back to one of the happiest moments of your life. Perhaps you were on a beach vacation and the sand and saltwater were a healing balm for your soul. Perhaps it was the day your child or grandchild was born, when you first held their little, warm body in your arms, curled his/her tiny fingers around your thumb and were overwhelmed by his/her sweetness and innocence. Perhaps it was on a laughter-filled weekend hike in the fresh air with your best friends. Think back to that moment and relive it. How does your heart feel when you’re done? Most likely, it has opened up and you are overcome with a feeling of ease.
I would ask you to now try the opposite, but there is no point. We do the opposite all day long, so we are all too familiar with it. You know how it is, you think about your to do list, the argument you had with a family member, the fact that your jeans aren’t fitting exactly as you wish, and everything tenses up. What’s worse, it sets us on a course where the next thing we know, we give attitude to our kids or colleagues for the smallest infraction, the long red traffic light annoys us, and even our favorite meal at our favorite restaurant just isn’t enjoyable.
The difference in our emotional demeanor when we keep our thoughts positive versus negative is literally night and day. When we keep them positive, there is an internal shift in us that maintains us open to the good around us, makes things feel lighter, and puts us in a position where we can identify and remain focused on solutions. THIS is the place we need to be to fulfill New Year’s resolutions and start the year fresh.
To stay in this place, we need to fiercely guard our thoughts. Anytime something comes into our minds that creates a tightening in our hearts, we need to shake it off and replace it with a positive thought, like an affirmation that empowers us or remembering the many things we are grateful for. We need to make the effort to constantly fill our minds with thoughts that make us happy so we don’t allow a vacuum for the bad thoughts to seep in. And we need to keep our bodies feeling good so we have the energy to stay on guard. This means getting enough sleep and eating things that energize us and keep us healthy because when we are tired and zapped out, we don’t have the strength to guard our thoughts.
Whatever your resolutions are this year, even if the only resolution is to have no resolutions because you want to free yourself, try this out! You will see how it puts you in a position of power and strength from which you are able to succeed. There is just one golden rule: if you mess up, let it go! Don’t beat yourself up for a single second. Just move on to the next positive thought.
Onwards and upwards in 2019!