Most of us have got that something. That something we crave doing, or trying, but feel we just aren’t good enough. Maybe it’s starting a business, learning to play an instrument or to speak a new language. Whatever it is, we definitely can do it. I first came across this idea five or so years ago in one of my first teaching jobs. It’s the idea that our brains grow when we make mistakes and learn from them, and that our potential for learning is not fixed, but rather flexible, and highly dependent on what we think about ourselves, or our ‘mindset’. The people that just seem to do so many things and be naturally good at them might be experts, but they were once beginners. They just have a different way of thinking about learning and doing new things, a thought process that’s been coined a ‘growth mindset‘. Sounds easy, right? It’s not that simple. If our whole life, we’ve been saying to ourselves we’re just not good enough, or maybe a parent or relative told us, “It’s just not in our genes,” then we have a lot of self-talk corrections to make. We need to develop our growth mindset and truly believe — know — that whatever it is we want to achieve is possible. So, how do we do that? Here are some practical tips:
Anytime you catch yourself in a moment of negative self-talk, correct it. For example, if you are someone who wants to write a book, and your mind is telling you, “You don’t have any good ideas,” try thinking “I have a wild imagination, I just haven’t put together all the pieces, yet.” The goal here is to change the negative thought to something more positive, and remember that you just haven’t achieved whatever it is you want, yet. ‘Yet’ being the key word. Sounds cliche, but it really works. The next question that might come to mind is, “Well, how do I become more aware of these negative thoughts?” That’s a very important question to answer, because if we’re not aware of them, then we definitely can’t change them. This leads me to my next tip, which also happens to be a great tool for developing patience and, dare I say, New Years resolutions.
When you get the chance, buy yourself a journal. It doesn’t have to be fancy, one from the dollar store will do. Not only is a journal a great tool for tracking and helping you reach your goals, it’s amazing for building awareness. When we take the time to put our thoughts, feelings and actions onto paper, we are guaranteeing ourselves that we will be paying more attention to them. With that increase in awareness will come more opportunities to correct our negative self-talk. Catch yourself often, and start speaking a little more nicely.
3. Quotes and Notes
Find inspiring quotes and refer to them often. Better yet, take your inspiring, ‘growth mindset’ quotes, or notes you wrote yourself, and post them somewhere in your house or apartment where you’ll see them often. Being reminded by these quotes and notes regularly, as with journaling, will continue building your awareness and give you more and better opportunities to turn your negative thoughts around. An example of a good quote is one that I have posted in my classroom, “The expert in anything was once a beginner.”
Once we start becoming more aware of our negative thoughts, we can slowly start to self-correct and build better, more positive attitudes. In doing so, we’ll be well on our way to ‘doing that thing we always wanted to do’. It all starts in our mind.
Thanks for reading, and I hope some of these tips can help you on whatever journey life is calling to you!