Whether you realise it or not, you are speaking to yourself just about every moment of every day, and what you say to yourself – and how – shapes (literally) everything.
From the food that you eat, to the clothes that you wear, to the things you do or don’t do, say or don’t say, the list goes on. There is continual inner chat happening that is dictating your next thought, your behaviours and actions from moment-to-moment.
To further add to the mental load, sometimes we have more than one voice! As a bare minimum we all have what we might refer to as our ‘normal everyday voice’ and the ‘inner critic’. Other people talk about having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.
However you choose to see it, the bottom line is that whatever voice is the most dominant is the one that gets its way.
And so the question is: do you like what these voices are saying?
And furthermore: do you like where they are taking you?
If not, then becoming aware of these voices is the first step to taking control.
Taking control will ensure that you feel like you are in the driving seat of your life, rather than feeling like a passenger on a runaway train.
After all, who’s the boss?
YOU’RE the boss!
In order to take charge of these voices you’ll need to decide which ones stay, which ones go, and which ones get re-educated.
While this can sound like a whole lot of work (and it can be!), the simplest approach I have found that quite simply works is the REFRAME.
This means that when you notice yourself thinking something negative or unhelpful about anything or anyone, you catch it, hold it, and then turn it into something positive.
When it comes to eating, here’s some classic examples of negative thoughts people often have, together with a much more helpful and empowering reframe:
‘I’m never going to lose any weight’ becomes, ‘I can lose weight anytime I make it a priority.’
‘I seem to always be self-sabotaging’ becomes, ‘What am I afraid of that triggers unhelpful behaviours?’
‘I’m addicted to chocolate’ becomes, ‘I love eating chocolate and I eat it consciously or don’t eat it at all.’
‘I just can’t seem to stick to healthy eating’ becomes, ‘I haven’t committed fully to healthy eating yet, but when I do I will experience different results.’
In all of these examples the focus moves from being in victim energy to taking control.
This is invaluable to grasp and use because if we are a victim to our own thoughts, that’s a really unhappy and disempowering way to live.
Ultimately: If your own mind is working against you, then it’s going to be extremely challenging to feel the way you want to feel and live the life you want to live.
However, as previously, YOU can take control of your thoughts. Your thoughts are not fixed, and they are not who you are.
Thoughts are things that come into your head and are usually borne of wherever and whoever you spend the most time with. If you pay close attention you’ll find that a lot of your thoughts are actually other people’s words repeating in your own head – unless you’ve already done the work.
So how do you change?
A good place to start is to change the company you keep if there’s a lot of negativity in your world and you’re regularly exposed to lots of shouting, swearing, name-calling, complaining etc.
If this sounds challenging, then do your utmost to bring in new positive voices to your world. This is easy to do via reading, listening to podcasts, watching inspiring videos on YouTube etc. This is one of the many blessings of living in this modern age – the sources of inspiration are vast and easier than ever to access.
This is the perfect place to start if you feel that you can’t currently address the environment that you are living or working in, as it starts to displace the negativity and override it.
Aside from the external, the internal action you can take is to make a commitment to yourself that you’ll do your best to start paying more attention to your thoughts and start sorting them into one of these three groups:
You want to keep the ones that make you feel good, help you to eat and live the way that you want to and feel like they are totally on your side.
You want to delete the ones that are mean, unhelpful, untrue and demoralising.
And you want to modify the ones that aren’t any of the above but could definitely be better – such as ‘I guess you’re doing OK’, which becomes, ‘You are doing amazing and you’re getting better every day!’
In my work I have found that reframing things for people literally creates a whole new world from which to operate from.
Previously things that felt stuck, closed, limited or impossible suddenly became possible.
Reframing is going to be one of the most important tools in your toolbox, so my invitation to you is that the next time you catch yourself saying anything negative about yourself, your diet, your body, or even someone else – catch yourself, pause, ask yourself to come up with a positive alternative and move forward with that thought instead.
I’d love to hear what you come up with, so please do leave your comments and experiences with this in the comments section below.