Reshape your thoughts in 4 simple steps!

Did you know the more you think a thought intentionally the more you’ll subconsciously resort to it? So how do we train our subconscious minds to think healthy thoughts? There are 4 simple steps you can take towards reshaping your mind. I’m by no means a scholar in this. However, I have personally benefited from this process and I hope you will challenge yourself to as well.

I was listening to a podcast (Mastermind, Part 1: Winning the War in Your Mind) that explained it as neural pathways that we create in our minds.

Imagine a tall field of grass and walking over the same patch continuously. You’ll eventually create a pathway over that grass that makes it easier to find and walk down.

Just like your mind, the more you think a thought the easier it is for your mind to track down that same thought pattern.

I heard it later explained by another resource that these neural pathways actually make up the physical lines in your brain. You know, those funky looking maze lines? Our thoughts create those like using a muscle.

Anyways, the point is that we have a choice when it comes to our thoughts.

If we put a little intention behind what we allow ourselves to think, it can completely transform our entire thought process! And who doesn’t want a healthier, more positive mind?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

Here are 4 simple things you can do to reshape your thoughts and get on your way to a healthier you starting from the inside…

1. Identify

Take time (7-16 minutes) each day to think about what you’re thinking about. I didn’t come up with this number of time on my own. You can hear more about why this amount of time is most effective by checking out Steven Furtick’s conversation with Dr. Caroline Leaf. This time concludes all 4 steps so you’ll spend approximately 1-2 minutes simply identifying what your thoughts are.

My suggestion is to focus on what your most recurring thoughts are that tend to hold you back from your full potential. It sounds fairly easy but we can often mask the lies we tell ourselves. Some of us have been telling ourselves these lies for so long that we’ve come to truly believe them. They’re familiar and seem real. Those are the ones I challenge you to identify in this process.

  • I can’t do this, I’m not strong enough.
  • I’m always alone.
  • I’ll never get out of debt.
  • No one will ever love me because of the things I’ve done.
  • I’m not good enough.

After a couple steps you’ll process this thought by writing it down. I urge you to let yourself think through this process step by step. Although these are simple instructions, following them in order has been extraordinarily beneficial for me.

2. Counteract

Once you’ve acknowledged what the big lie is that consumes most of your day, compare it to the truth.

13 I can do all things through [a]Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

“God is with you – wherever you may go and no matter what life brings.”

Joshua 1:19

And with all his abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs.

Philippians 4:19

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”

Song of Songs 4:7

3. Memorize

Now that you have the negative thought (the lie) and the positive thought (the truth), focus on repeating the truth in your mind to the point of memorization.

I know it sounds cliché but like any new habit it takes a continual intention to make it happen. Repeat the truth back to yourself.

Now that you’ve identified the lie, counteracted that lie with the truth and re-read that truth over and over again, you’re ready to start the process of writing it all down.

Saying it out loud is also powerful. However, there is something about putting pen to paper and handwriting things versus just reading them.

You may prefer to use the notes in you phone, or just say them aloud. Find whatever works best with your ability to memorize and start using that.

Just know, the most effective way for your mind to take it all in would be to write it all down. You don’t have to take my word for it. And if you’re curious as to why that’s true, you can check out this Forbes article that goes into further depth.

Learn to control your thoughts by replacing them over and over again.

4.  Repeat

Continue identifying, counteracting and memorizing for the next 63 days.

I know, that seems like a long time! However, if you can intentionally train your mind to think positive thoughts over the next 9 weeks your mind will subconsciously go down the healthy path naturally.

It takes 21 days to break a habit. And it takes 40 days to make a new one. So to tap into the subconscious layer of your mind with this thought pattern, it only makes sense that Dr. Leaf would recommend the 63 days.

Your thoughts control your words and your actions and ultimately you.

– You are what you think. 

“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy. “

Ephesians 4:22

Also published on Medium.

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