Whatcha' Thinkin' About?

feelings Mar 17, 2021

"Whatcha thinkin' about?" may seem like a silly question in a blog post. Stay with me because what you think about most creates your success or failure.

What you think about yourself is reflected in the mirror. 

That means that if you can change what you think about, you can change what is reflected in your mirror. 

In the 1950s, a plastic surgeon named Maxwell Maltz noticed that his work improving his patients' faces didn't always have the life-changing, positive effects he anticipated it would have. Every so often, he would complete a nose job or repair a scar for a patient, and post-surgery, the patient would complain that nothing changed. He would show them their "before and after" photos, point out the dramatic improvements, and the patient would say, "yes, but nothing has changed." His explorations into this phenomenon resulted in the classic book, Psycho-Cybernetics.

Here's what he found:

  • Our brain works on targets. 
  • Once we set a target, our brain begins to see the target everywhere, and all of our actions lead us towards the target. 
  • We, all of us (yes, this includes you, Christine), get to choose the target. We can change the target whenever we want to whatever we want, and our brain will seek the target every time.

What this means for you, your success, and your reflection in the mirror. What we think about most creates our targets. If I think about my past failures, my brain will seek confirmation of those failures. I will then magnify every slight misstep I make and confirm what I believe about myself...obviously, I'm a failure...I see my failures everywhere I look. 

Let me give you an example. I believe I'm terrible at reading maps. I take out my phone to direct me to a new destination. The GPS starts me on the route. I believe I'm terrible at following maps, so I second-guess the instructions, take myself off course and end up either lost or late to my destination. See...I'm terrible at reading maps. My belief (I'm terrible at reading maps) dictates my behavior (I second-guess the instructions, in reality, creating the failure), and my brain confirms my belief. 

In a health scenario, maybe I believe I don't have time to exercise. Each Monday, I tell myself, this week will be different, but my underlying belief is that I don't have time for this. So I set my alarm, but then I hit the snooze bar, or I wake up Monday morning and remember that there's this thing I have to do at work, and it would be better if I arrive early. No worries, I'll go to the gym at the end of the day. The end of the day comes. I'm stuck at my desk. I miss the class I was planning to attend, or I'm just too tired. I'll go tomorrow. The cycle starts all over again. My belief (that I don't have time to exercise) dictates my behavior (hit the snooze, stay at work, feeling tired), so each day the time slips away, and my brain confirms my belief that I don't have time to exercise. 

We can get stuck in this endless loop of failure because we don't recognize the target and our power to change it. 

How do we change our target? It takes some time and effort. 

One way to recognize our target or underlying belief is to write it down. When you think about making a change, what are the first thoughts that pop into your head? These are your beliefs. They bubble up without having to think about it. They are our "natural reaction" to a change. 

To change the belief, take either (or both) of the following steps:

  1. Find a way to prove the target/belief is false. Have you attended a class in the past? Then you had time. Can you move at your desk throughout the day? This is exercising, and you have time for it. Can you build in fail-safes? Set an alarm on your phone or plan to meet a friend so you can't make excuses for yourself. Once you attend a class, you'll realize it wasn't that hard to schedule it in, proving your belief is false.
  2. Repeat the new target/belief to yourself again and again until you start to believe it. You may leave yourself notes around the house, maybe on the bathroom mirror. You may even say the new target/belief out loud to yourself in the mirror again and again until you start to believe it. 

Does this work? 

Yes!

I've used these techniques in my own life, and my clients use them regularly to make changes.

You may feel a little silly when you realize what your targets/beliefs are. So what? You can change them.

You may feel silly talking out loud to yourself in the bathroom mirror. So what? Being uncomfortable is what leads to change. And you're worth it. 

P.S. We did a Deep Dive into mindset and beliefs in The Women's Wellness Academy Membership, digging into how we make changes and how to make this work for you. You're invited to check it out and join us. 

P.P.S. If you're already a member of The Women's Wellness Academy, you can watch the recording of the Deep Dive.

 

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