“Such as your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts”-Marcus Aurelius
In other words, what Aurelius is saying is your thoughts become your actions and your actions your habits. Thus, if you want to change any habit, you must first start by changing your thoughts.
Psychologists and self help advocates have long since been preaching this message. Yet, many people fail to heed this good advice. Perhaps it’s because despite the fact that people want to plan, most folks are doers first and thinkers second. This wouldn’t be a problem if the success of any action was not dependent on the motives behind it.
However, everything we do has some reasoning behind it, even if we are unaware. The trouble is some people are just that-unaware. They are not conscious of the habitual thoughts that are making up their character.
For example, if you wanted to lose weight simply to appear more attractive then you have not tuned your mind for long term success. What happens after you lose the weight and you don’t feel any more attractive than you did before you lost it? Chances are you will go back to your old habits.
However, if you wanted to lose weight to become healthier and live a better lifestyle, you would then be training your mind for long term success. Because staying healthy requires long term motivation.
Before you can create new habits, and true success, you must change your attitude and thinking about what you want to accomplish. Change the way you think about something and you can change the way you feel about it. In most cases, this results in changing the actions that follow these feelings.
If you want to change your size, you have to change the way you think about your body; not just your weight, but your body as a whole. Your weight is merely a symptom of your habitual thoughts.
The same applies if you’re in debt. Do not just change your spending habits, but change the way you think about money. Once again, debt is a symptom: a consequence for the way you’ve been thinking about money.
In order to release yourself of any symptom – debt, obesity, low self esteem, etc – you have to be ready and willing to convert your mind and commit your heart.
This, for many, is much harder than just running on a treadmill or doing affirmations in front of the mirror. Because changing your thoughts means you first have to admit that you have a problem. You need to become introspective and start having some serious conversations with yourself. While we can admit to not being perfect, not many people want to own up to their problems. But understand that you can have a problem without it damaging the amazing person you are.
You may be thousands of dollars in debt, but you’re not a bad person. It’s just that you have not learned how to develop your thinking so you can build a healthy relationship with money.
Same goes if you’re an addict. You, as a human, are not bad, but you do have bad habits and this is probably the cause of bad thinking.
The number of resources for changing your thinking is plentiful. Loving yourself enough to make the mental change is the first step to true success.
Activity: Write a goal and write the real reason you want to achieve it.
eg. I want to achieve business success because I’m tired of being a failure.