The best way to really get into positive thinking, and how to get the best from it is by studying it. Educating yourself on its power, where it came from, how it can help you etc is the best way to see how it can be of benefit to you – in whatever you want to achieve.
There are hundreds of articles that have been written on the subject of positive thinking and plenty of recorded research on the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious and how positivity has become a popular activity in our society today.
At the end of this article I have included a few links to further reading on this vast subject and some beginner insight into its power.
But first let’s look at how you can start your adventure into positive thinking and how it can help motivate you to achieve those goals in life.
Preparing for Positive Thinking
Being positive can help to attract the things you want, whether it be health, wealth or to just feel good and improve your outlook on life, but it takes practice to keep the optimism flowing…and to also remember to look on the bright side when everything else seems against you.
Fortunately, there are tools and exercises that can make positivity easier and to help it become more of a habit than a chore…and in time the results you get will far outweigh the effort you put in.
One tool in particular is invaluable: a visual reminder of your goals and the reasons why you want to achieve them…
A journal is a fantastic tool to build motivation through positive thinking – it is simple to use, comes in a variety of applications (both paper and digital) and, when used frequently, can be extremely powerful in so many aspects of a person’s life.
This visual and interactive aid can be either online or as a notepad/paper/bound book and even integrated with a poster or whiteboard.
It works best if your journal is accessible at all times so a digital application is ideal for when you’re out and about but a pocket notebook or a shortened version of your paper journal can work as well.
When you first start journaling, it can seem like a daunting task, but you soon begin to see the benefits and the more you write, the more you remember things to write – which, in turn gives you plenty more reasons to stay positive.
I am always adding thoughts, ideas, aspirations and feelings to my journal and it’s great to look back on them when I’m feeling a little down or unmotivated; those visual reminders provide me with a pick-me-up that help to dispel any negative emotions.
So what sort of things should you be writing in your journal?
The simple answer is anything and everything! It’s an extension of yourself; the best friend that will stay with you no matter what, and more importantly, will help you to achieve what you want in life.
Develop Good Habits lists some great ideas including memories or captured moments, ideas or a wishlist of things you want to do or books you want to read.
A couple of examples for positivity could be mindfulness and replacing negativity…
This is a useful exercise to perform regularly and then document your feelings that you notice in the here and now.
Mindfulness is the act of focusing on the present, not the past or what you want from the future; it is about now, what are you doing now?
What do you see, feel, smell?
What are you grateful for?
What emotions are you having? Are you sad, happy, content or fed up? Stressed or angry? Why are you feeling this way?
Write it all down.
Then think about what would make you happy if you are sad, relaxed if you are stressed, if you are in a really good place, what was it that put you there?
And likewise, if you are in a bad place, how did you get there?
When a negative thought comes to mind, try and get into the habit of replacing it with a positive one or an uplifting alternative.
Think about the many negative thoughts you have had in the past and write counter thoughts to them that are completely opposite and void of any negativity. If you can’t think of anything then write down a thought that makes you feel good or a fond memory that guarantees to make you smile.
On the subject of memories, have a section in your journal for every event you can remember that you really enjoyed or that made you happy, try and conjure up that feeling that goes with them. It’s great if you can make them as detailed as possible or a relevant statement that jolts you back to that time.
Doing this will help you when you are faced with a bad day – you can read pre-written, uplifting responses to how you feel.
Journaling for Weight Loss
Keeping a journal is so important when your aim is to lose weight.
It gives you a reminder of why you want to start this journey, and how your life will change when you are more healthy, confident and eager to show the world what you have achieved.
There are no rules when it comes to what you should document, only that you fill it with as much as you can – and keep adding to it.
Here are some ideas to get you started…
What’s Your Why?
Positivity and motivation play such important roles in helping you to lose weight but it gets hard to remember the reasons why you want to shed those extra pounds, especially when that mouth watering box of cookies is staring at you and trying to convince you that just one won’t matter…
This is when your journal comes in really handy because you can have a list of your why’s along with images described in incredible detail so it is easy to conjure them up in your mind’s eye.
Make a list of your why’s and keep adding to them, it can be as simple as fitting into an old outfit or a crucial aim related to your health.
Think of all the things you are going to have – and do – when you have lost weight and write down in your journal how that makes you feel.
From new clothes to heels that you can wear because you are lighter, holidays and trips away that you will really look forward to and know you will be able to appreciate, to work activities that you will no longer dread because you are too self-conscious, have nothing to wear or get out of breath moving from one place to another.
The Right Statements
Using the right kind of statements and affirmations is key to embedding them into your subconscious.
For example, instead of ‘I want to lose weight’ write ‘I will get rid of the amount of weight I want to’.
Make your statements predictions of what will happen, and underline or highlight the word ‘will‘.
Describe an image of yourself when you have lost the weight, really go into the detail of what you strive to look like. If you can draw great, if not explain in your own words what you want to look like.
What are you wearing?
Where are you?
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Imagine every part of your body; what do your arms look like? Your legs, shoulders, waist and even down to your feet…especially in those elegant sandals or bare-foot in the sand.
Think of that problem area and see it completely transformed.
How does it feel to be wearing exactly what you want and know you look good in it?
You want to get so used to that image of yourself that you will be able to visualise it immediately every time you need to.
Really focus down on the mini aims that lead to your ultimate goal; plan every milestone.
How will you be/look/act when you have lost 7lbs…14lbs…30lbs…?
Really get a sense of what it will be like when you have hit each mini aim and allow yourself to look forward to them.
Be Kind to Your Body
Remind yourself of how your body is working so hard so you can live.
Help your body, don’t fill it with poison and constant rubbish.
If your body is not truly hungry, don’t go against it and force it to digest unnecessary and unwanted food.
Remind yourself to work with your own body and wait until it gives you those hunger signals.
Write down challenges that you know you will come up against when trying to lose weight, from overeating at a friend’s birthday party to consuming a whole pizza!
What can you do or think to overcome these challenges?
For example; overeating at a friend’s birthday party:
‘I will really enjoy this party and the time I will spend with my friends. I will enjoy the food but more importantly, I will enjoy stopping before I get full’.
Really focus on the words ‘enjoy stopping before I get full’.
Now you can really enjoy the event without feeling guilty or arguing with yourself about whether or not to eat.
Whatever you write in your journal, make it a habit to read it daily and have it as your ‘go to’ place for whenever you are struggling.
But also report when it helps to distract you from reaching for those cookies or sabotaging your diet in some way.
Make a note of what it was that helped – was it just the fact that your mind was distracted and you was then able to resist the urge? Or was the reminder of what it is you want to achieve enough to raise your motivation levels again?
One of the things that can stop you from giving in to your negativity is to have a distraction.
This distraction can be anything from reading a good book to re-designing your whole house, or taking up an outdoor activity, to knitting your first scarf.
Here are a few other suggestions…
Sorting memorabilia: Do you have a ton of photographs, either printed or digital, that could really do with cataloging? Or better still can be sorted/printed into frames?
Filing digital files: If you’re anything like me, you probably have hundreds of digital folders and have no idea what’s in half of them. This could be a feel-good activity organising them better and freeing up storage by removing duplicates or deleting old files. You don’t have to do them all in one go, just pick a folder every now and again when you feel like a distraction.
Wardrobe Refresh: How’s that cupboard looking in the spare bedroom that has forgotten clothes, furnishing, books or other household ‘stuff’? Could it do with a good clear out? Or how about re-designing your storage space? Grab a pen and paper and start drawing up some plans…you never know where it might lead.
Craft Ideas: If crafting is your thing but you’re not sure what, visit your local hobby shop and spend a good amount of time in there, see what craft ideas you can find. Or hit the search engines with ‘craft ideas’ or ‘hobby ideas’. A friend of mine took up crocheting teddy bears, she really enjoys it and then makes a little side-income by selling them online.
Indoor gardening: Gardening is great but if you don’t have an outside garden or live in a country that has more bad weather than good, an indoor garden can be the next best thing. You could start a little project of cultivating indoor plants or herbs and vegetables.
Collecting or building figures: my hubby collects and builds figures from popular films like Batman or Superman; it keeps him occupied for hours and when he’s engrossed in building, he is not reaching for the snacks!
My distractions: I like to have a few on the go which include: reading – I love a really good novel that keeps me glued to its pages, but I also like to write good ol’ romance stories – no time for food when I’m writing about my heroin’s next adventure; jigsaws (just look below at that bad boy I completed not long ago), cross-stitch and paint by numbers. I’m happy when I have my little distractions which keeps my mind happy and my positiveness in check.
They are great to have around you and they can be on all sorts of subject areas, the key is to find the ones that resonate with you. Pinterest is a great place for positivity and motivational quotes and you can either copy to your phone or write in your journal – place them in and around your home so you are faced with them daily.
The funny thing with notices is that you always end up reading them, no matter how many times you have read them before, your eyes will always land on them, and you read them again whether you consciously want to or not.
Let those notices be of value to you and their statement gets you feeling inspired with a much more positive outlook on life.
Have the right kind of media available to you at all times, e.g.:
Films that motivate: watching feature length movies that bring out the positivity in you are great, and you can document certain parts that really stir something inside of you to remember at more challenging times.
Motivational speakers: you only have to put this search term in YouTube and you will be presented with pages of videos featuring motivational speakers whose job it is, is to inspire you to feel and do great things. Make a note of your favourites.
Comedies: these are ideal for uplifting your mood and getting you out of a negative emotion. It is hard to be negative when you are watching your favourite comedy sketches so in preparation make a list of video clips of your favourite comedies, films or stand up shows.
Also note down certain parts of a comedy sketch which really struck you funny, for example – ‘remember in Friends when Joey…’ or ‘remember that part in Bad Neighbours with the air bag…’ You would have a laugh with your friends by remembering funny parts in a comedy so record them in your journal to laugh with yourself.
Record it: Do a recording of yourself talking about what you want to achieve, this is great because sometimes hearing your own voice gives it more meaning and can make it more real for you.
Remember you are in control and can make your recordings exactly what you need to hear to build your positivity.
So how often should you be practicing positivity? Weekly? Daily? Morning and night?
The ideal answer is all-of-the-time.
Ok, there will be times when positivity is not appropriate or even wanted and it’s a bit hard to think positive when the engine in your vehicle has just blown up or your cell phone has fallen into the toilet! Although it’s how you deal with those kind of situations that makes the difference.
We need to create new habits and by consciously trying to think positive, you are not only retraining your brain of this new way of thinking, but you are batting off any bad thoughts that could start to arise.
So many crazy thoughts go through your brain every second of every day that you will never be able to notice them but the negative thoughts can jump on you, and before you know it, you have just spent the last five minutes convincing yourself of why you cannot do x, y or z.
Here are some examples to incorporate positivity into your day to day life…
Rise and Shine
From the moment you wake up, you need to be thinking what a great day it will be and how utterly productive you are going to be.
Right up to the end of your day – be positive, think positive thoughts and make your plans accordingly.
For most people the first thing they do when they wake up is check their phones (or is that just me)… so adding a positive affirmation as your screensaver or welcome screen can help to light the positivity burner.
This doesn’t mean just any old affirmation though, it has to be personal to you and mean something to you.
It should be something that reminds you of why you want to do something; what is your ultimate goal or what do you want to achieve that day.
These affirmations can be static so they never change (a life goal maybe) or they can be different each day/week etc; you can set them up each evening or have a weekly set that you rotate through.
Reading the same affirmation over and over again can ingrain itself into your subconscious and starting the day off in the right mood can only help towards attaining that day’s personal achievements.
Make your Quotes Ornamental
Fill your life/home/vehicle/bag with positive affirmations that you have to read throughout the day because it’s in your way.
Stick them anywhere that you regularly visit:
- Bathroom mirror
- Inner wardrobe door
- Next to the coffee machine
- Vehicle dashboard
- Work/school/hand bag
- Bookmarks in your favourite book or workbook
Disguise these affirmations in picture frames or as posters. Canva is a free online application that you can design your own quotes and print them out on to pretty paper. As this type of home furnishing is popular at the moment, nobody will think twice at seeing them in your home or office and will not realize that their words mean something to you.
Whatever form of travel you use to get to work or other destination is a great place to repeat your daily dose of positivity.
Play motivation audios on your vehicle stereo system or in your headphones when you’re on public transport.
YouTube videos on your phone or downloaded audios of motivational speakers…and of course your own recordings that you did yourself (mentioned here).
Listen to music that motivates you, read motivational books and listen to podcasts.
A Constant Reminder
You have to be prepared both physically and mentally to be able to continue with positivity because you will forget to think positive, and you will soon fall back into negative thinking patterns. Make your life easier by jotting down your aspirations, memories, wants and feel-good experiences.
Have your journal at hand and read it constantly or whenever you feel you need a pick-me-up.
It is your personal guide through life, let it guide you over the bumps and dips and lead you to where you want to be.
See your journal, not as a dream book, but as your FUTURE.
“A lot of staying motivated comes from feeding yourself with a steady diet of things that motivate”
– Articles on Positivity –
To get more info on the subconscious and how it affects your positivity and motivation, take a look at the following articles that might give you a springboard to more topics that interest you or are relevant to your own situation.
1. Positive Thinking Fuels Powerful Results
‘Positive states of mind have been shown to fuel incredible results in our life and work in a number of ways.’ – A quote made by Scott Halford featured in this first article at Emergenetics. He also explains the emotional state of either ‘negative affect’ or ‘positive affect’, saying that where negative emotions are important to our survival, positive emotions do not hold as much self-preservation in our brain which can make them harder to summon.
Halford goes on to provide 6 tips for achieving more ‘positive affect’ in your life.
Read more at Emergenetics
2. What is the Subconscious?
This next article introduces the subconscious of the human mind by Sigmund Freud. It focuses on Freud’s interpretation of the subconscious and likens our minds to an iceberg where the conscious part of it is the iceberg above water and subconscious or unconscious is the larger part beneath the surface. The subconscious hidden below greatly influences the conscious mind above.
Two proteges of Frued’s had their own opinions; one referring the unconscious mind as one’s shadow (Carl Jung) and the other introduces bioenergetics; where the body becomes a kind of physcial reflection of the mind (Willhelm Reich).
Read more at Embodied Philosophy.
2. What is Positive Thinking
This next one begins by briefly stating what positive thinking is and then goes on to list some dictionary definitions, as well as a good explanation of affirmations.
It highlights the many areas that can benefit from the practice of thinking positively such as business, health, sports, relationships, as well as living everyday life with vitality and confidence in a brighter future.
Read more at Success Concsciousness
This next article approaches positive thinking as being optimistic about life in general and by using meditation to alter the way you feel.
It highlights negative thinking as something to take note of and try and shift your focus to something positive instead. It also gives some tips on how to practice positive thinking.
Read more at Web MD
4. A Way of Life
Positive thinking is not a gimmick; ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ sort of experience; it should be a lifetime habit to nurture and adapt it to work with everything you do and every thought you have.
This is what this article talks about as well as the importance of having minimal contact with negative people and situations. Negativity is highly contagious and if you surround yourself with too much of it, you will be drawn into its grip – luckily the same goes for positivity, if you associate and listen to people who have a positive outlook on life then you are in a much better chance of feeling positive yourself as well as spreading it to those you love.
It also gives some instructions and advice on how to bring positivity into your life with added phrases, words and quotes to focus on.
Read more at Success Consciousness
A person that goes through life with positivity
will always be more successful than somebody who thinks negative.
Thinking negatively is a habit and you need to
make positive thinking your habit.
Read the next article on positivity at Motivational Words.