• Coach Kat

Changing your Mind-Set (Part One)

“Strive for improvement rather than perfection and the latter will follow.” (Coach Kat)

Perfection is born from continuously practicing and actively striving to develop the skills we wish to master. Our commitment and dedication to that practice enables us to gradually improve and through that improvement (where learning and growth take place) we are engaged in the art of perfection. Why do I relate that phrase to changing a mind-set? Because to change our mind-set we first need to practice improving our thoughts and our thought processes, which then leads to a change in our attitude and so the actions we take.

If we persist for long enough during the transition phase, then the mental and physical processes we engage in lead to the establishment of habits. When it comes to some of our thought patterns they have become so habitual in nature that it is automatic to think in a certain way and so act almost without thinking - creating a thought chain leading to the same destination in our minds every time the thought process is initiated. But have you considered whether that automatic thought process has become a hinderance rather than a supportive and motivating mind-set? If it is blocking you and causing you to feel powerless, then every day you have the choice to consciously step off autopilot and change its direction and destination.

To look at this in practical terms, let’s consider the concept of the gym. When you go to a gym you may do reps, go on the bike or do a run etc and all of these activities have something in common – a singular repetitive action. When combining the repetitive action with dedication, commitment and focus, then your fitness levels and abilities improve because of the frequency of your participation in the process. You don’t go to the gym and expect to be at your peak fitness in one session. No, you expect to go back as many times as required to achieve your desired fitness results and so the same principle can be applied to your mind-set. It takes mental reps (well versed positive thought patterns) that are repeated frequently over time to achieve a mind-set transformation. You must regularly practice exercising your positive mental attitude so that it becomes the strongest in the muscle group and consistently drowns out the negative voice that can be holding you back.

To start developing a supportive and motivating mind-set, I suggest exploring your mind chatter with these steps:

Step One: Take full ownership of your mind chatter. It’s your responsibility and with the recognition of that ownership comes the power to change the content. So, square up to your mind and remind yourself that you are in full control of it. Acknowledge to yourself that you want to make a change in what you are telling yourself and that you have decided to engage in a continuous transformation process. The time has come to be the owner, improver and editor of your self-narrative.

Step Two: To improve your mind chatter, become aware of what you are telling and hearing from yourself; what is the automatic script saying? Get specific and become an active listener. How can you make improvements if you aren’t aware of what first needs changing? Tune into the labels and words you attach to your current self and your potential capabilities because they play a major role in your motivation and future direction. If your thoughts aren’t supporting you or taking you to your power place (where you feel energised, determined and powerful), then it is time to change your thought processes and their content. Your mind is yours and you, yes you, get to decide what you tell yourself about yourself; become mindful of your mind.

Step Three: If you are hearing disempowering thoughts or beliefs, question where they have originated from. Consider, how relevant are they to you in the here and now? Are those beliefs stemming from years ago when you were someone different? Are they even your true thoughts? If they are invalid and out of date, then they are of no use to you anymore. Again, you get to decide what you tell yourself and what evidence you can use to support yourself going forward. What new belief do you want to nurture instead? Get specific and look at the important areas of life and start to change those beliefs so that you have a nurturing belief system. Write these new beliefs down, put them in places you can easily see them, make your phone ping with them so that you repeatedly practice saying them in your mind.

Step Four: Listen to what you say about yourself to other people, again, become aware of it. What are you saying about yourself aloud? Do you say what you think they want to hear? Do you say a belief or label that is so automatic that you haven’t stopped to question why you say it to others? Become aware of the words and labels that you say aloud because they impact you. Focus your conversations on the new reality you want to create, who you want to become during the process and how you are thinking of doing it. Talk about those new ideas to supportive people in your life so that you receive encouragement and give yourself the time to focus your mind on creating different possibilities, which allows you start to developing new pathways of thought. You are where you are right now but you don’t have to stay there and the best way to make a change is to think and talk about how you are going to do it and then, most importantly, take action so that you have new experiences to learn and improve upon.

Step Five: Now that you own and can consciously hear your internal and external self-talk, decide what you want to change the script to. Actively engage in the process of editing the content so that it empowers you to develop into who you want to become and supports you achieving your goals. You get to be the main act, the greatest fan, the enthusiastic cheerleader, the considerate carer and a mixture of both the idealist and pragmatist. How to do this? One tip is to create a circuit breaker so that your thought process steps off its over practiced autopilot program. A circuit breaker can be in the form of a mantra – a positive, uplifting phrase that breaks the cycle of negative talk. Over time you can create different mantras for different situations (one for every occasion) so that you can rapidly remove the internal mind blocks that are stopping you. Another tip, look over your past experiences and remind yourself of all the key strengths that you developed because of them. Put them in the form of a list and keep that list visible so that you constantly reread the evidence of your strengths, which will fortify the new belief system. A final suggestion, keep placing your focus forward and set your mind to work on identifying a goal that matters most to you and concentrate on exploring ways of achieving it; become a curious explorer that is open to learning.

As with most processes, developing and achieving a motivational mind-set takes commitment, determination, evaluation, practice, tweaking for improvement and repetition. Remember, ultimately your attitude is down to you and you must be committed to changing your mind chatter so that it serves your progression rather than hindering you.

What’s the benefit for all this hard work? You have a supportive and motivational mind-set that serves you positively whenever and wherever you are.

In part two, we can look at some of the external activities that can positively influence your mind-set.

Coach Kat

(c) Katrina Ramsden

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