Default thinking is no matter the set of circumstances, and you return to the same collection of thoughts. Think for a moment, how many occasions you have been faced with when you concluded with the belief you are not good enough, you are not important, that is too big of a goal for you?
We experience default thinking because our brain is wired. I learned to drive in the U.K., but I learned to drive on the car’s different side during the U.S, with different levers on a different side of the road. There were many occasions I would accidentally flip the wiper instead of the signal lever or go to the passenger side of the vehicle instead of the driver’s side. I had to keep my mind in check to ensure I didn’t default to my old habits. This is what we need to do with our thoughts regarding making change for our goal. Those old limiting thoughts will keep popping up in your mind, so it’s important to keep them in check. It is essential to recognize and discount the destructive thoughts and feelings before they discount you.
Addiction is complicated to change because every thought and feeling, which leads to addictive behavior, needs to be opposed. However, we don’t have to be addicted to resist change. How easy is it for us to grab that sugary treat at night because we tell ourselves we deserve it? We don’t want to change because it can be deeply hurtful to confront our avoiding feelings. We often won’t change a behavior pattern until we genuinely believe it puts us at severe risk. Do you know anyone who only changed their habits when they were confronted with health care? Whilst your thoughts may not put your health at risk, it does put your goals at risk. If you projected into the future and could see your life goal didn’t happen, what would you do today to change it? Would your existing thoughts about yourself be adjusted to ensure your goals were achieved?
Do You Recognise These Thinking Habits?
Catastrophizing – There may be times when you experience uncertainty and think the worst will happen. You feel anxious and panicky, if I don’t get this job, I won’t pay the mortgage, and I will lose my home.
Self-limiting belief – This is the assumption you can’t do something before you even try it. You feel limited because you see yourself as incapable.
Zooming in on the harmful habit – This when you forget all the positive experiences and highlight all the negatives.
All or nothing habit is when everything has to be perfect; else, it is an utter failure.
Jumping to conclusions – You perceive everything as negative without seeing the facts first. I haven’t seen the posting, but I won’t take a manager’s job.
Assumptions – Filling your mind with thoughts about what other people are doing or thinking negatively about you,
Selective bias – You pay more attention to the information which shores up your beliefs and dismisses anything which contradicts your beliefs.
Emotional reasoning – Your belief that your feelings and thoughts are factual. I am anxious because I know I am ill, even though the medical tests say I’m not.
What Can We Do To Change?
- Meditate – You know it makes sense.
- Recognize – The dangers this type of thinking can spiral into.
- Identify your meaning and purpose – Why is this goal important to you? What kind of thoughts are needed to achieve this goal?
- Identify your values – Look at the person you are and what you stand for. What kind of thoughts will you need to live these values every day?
- Sticky note reminders – Are a great way to remind you to stay active in reinforcing these thoughts.
- Develop antidote thoughts – If you catch yourself telling yourself I’m not good enough at my job, stop for a moment, acknowledge the thought, then replace it with a question such as what do I need to do to feel great about this job?
- Have a habit jar – Put a penny or marble in the jar each time you challenge the negative thought and replace it with an antidote thought, the exact opposite thought.
- Give your old thoughts a funny pet name – When you slip into this default thinking, you can tell yourself things like, “oh well, that’s just old Gracey talking; she will be gone tomorrow.”
- Fact check – Ask yourself what evidence you have to validate these fears. Use objective facts, not your subjective emotion, to conclude.
- Oppose your feelings – Feelings arise from experience, but they aren’t representative of current-day realities. Use your rational mind to ask yourself the question, Is this really true? What am I assuming?
- Develop healthy sleep habits – This is a life-changer.
- Change your routines – How much proactive time do you dedicate each day to your mental health. Mediation, reading, yoga is maintaining mental health. Stay quiet for a couple of minutes in the evenings and morning routine. Therefore, when a thought crosses you, you will recognize it instead of attaching yourself to it. Redirect all your focus to your breath.