As you probably know, your way of thinking affects your life. Even if the conditions or situations are exactly the same, you would feel differently like a day and night, depending on your perspective. The example I use to explain this to my clients is that you look inside your wallet and see $20 and imagine how you would react. “Yay! I’m lucky I have $20!” Or “Argh! Of course, I have only $20…what’s new?” Do you see the difference? Which one is you? And how would your life be different if you always react like the first one?
One of the things I teach my clients in order to change their perspective is to rephrase their sentences. I often hear them saying, “I have to eat healthy to lose weight,” then I ask them to switch to “I choose to eat healthy to lose weight.”
Thinking in the term of “have to” creates a feeling of resistance, of being a victim. When we get pushed, whether it is by someone else or from our own doing, it is our natural reaction to push back. When you say you have to do something, what you are really saying is that you don’t have a choice. You are powerless.
But when you choose to do something, you will feel some energy shift within. It suddenly becomes not so heavy or difficult because the word “choose to” gives you a sense of control and freedom.
So try it with something you commonly say. “I have to wake up early tomorrow” “I have to go to the gym this weekend” As soon as you switch it to “choose to,” you will experience the sense of ownership and empowerment.
Once you get the hang of switching to “choose to,” the next thing you can do is to switch it to “I do” or “I am.” Say, you choose to eat healthy. You can now change that to “ I eat healthy.” See how empowering it is? What happens is that it rewires the way of thinking and makes your brain actually think it’s true. When you do that, eating healthy becomes a statement, and it’s no longer a plan or objective. It is a characteristic of yours!
I’ve used this technique to quit smoking after being a smoker for 15 years. After failing to quit cold turkey and contemplating which methods to use for a couple of years, I decided to trick my brain and make it believe that I’m not a smoker. Every time I felt like smoking, I told myself, “ I don’t smoke.” When my friends asked me to go smoke, I said, “No, I don’t smoke” That’s all I did. I didn’t use any nicotine patches or throw away cigarettes. This was the first time I experienced the power of changing the way of thinking.
So if you want to change something in your life but have a hard time doing it, pay attention to your thoughts and see how often you think “I have to.” And see how light and less restricted you feel when you start using “I choose to.” And then start saying “I do” or “I am” as a statement and act as if it’s true.
“I work out every day.”
“I am a healthy person.”
“I don’t snack.”
“I go to sleep early.”
I hope this blog helps you learn that changing a way of thinking is the key to not only kicking your old habits to the curb but to make drastic changes in your life. All you need to do is to rephrase your sentences. Once you master this technique, you will start looking at your life in a whole new way feeling grounded and empowered.