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6 ways to change negative habitual thinking

2018 was going to be your year! This was going to be the year that you made the necessary changes to create something different in your life.

Perhaps you wanted to start a business, leave a relationship or develop the healthiest body you've ever had. It was Christmas only a short time ago, but today you woke up and realised life is pretty much the same months later. You might have started something on a Monday 20 times over, but by Thursday you were back to the same behaviours, ways of thinking and had the same attitude as before. 

Do you remember those New Year's resolutions you made? If you haven't yet achieved your aims for this year, there's bad news and good news. The bad news is that if you don't learn how to change your thinking now, you will blink and five years will have passed before you know it and the regrets will be felt. The good news is that you can absolutely unlearn the habitual thinking that has sabotaged your success so far, and you can start today!  

Here's your reality check: no one is coming to fix anything for you. If you want things to be different, then you need to think differently. It really is up to you. We've never had access to more information and inspiration than we have today.

You can find all kinds of solutions, ideas and strategies for change just by doing a quick Google search. Here is what's important: you have to be prepared to do the work on you, to carve out time to make your future matter. Investing time in your own learning and development is the most important investment you will ever make. 

Research tells us that 95 per cent of our thinking is habitual and up to 80 per cent of that thinking is negative. That's not as dramatic as it reads. It's your brain's way of keeping you safe. When you have a thought that something or someone is unsafe, for example, your brain looks for evidence to make you right so that you avoid that situation next time. If you have a belief that you are not "good enough", your brain will look for evidence that you really aren't so that you don't risk your emotional or physical safety.  

The first step in changing your negative habitual thinking is to become aware of what is happening in your head right now. Explore these questions:

•    What am I thinking that may not be true?
•    What beliefs do I have that no longer serve me?
•    When was the last time I had a brand-new thought?

What you think determines how you feel. How you feel determines the actions you take. The actions you take determine the results you get. So, are you ready to bust your own excuses and create new ways of thinking? Here are some strategies you can implement today: 

1.    Identify the new beliefs you need to be the best version of you. Write them down and say them out loud. Be committed to these beliefs and identify opportunities to practise your new thinking. 

2.    Tell your tribe. Share your new-found thinking, ideas and goals with your closest friends and family so that they can hold you accountable. Ask them to let you know when they see the old negative thinking creeping into your conversations. 

3.    Have a clear vision of your future success. Spend time working out what your personal version of success is for the next two years and evolve your vision as your positive thinking evolves.

4.    Pay attention. You are constantly receiving messages from your environment about what is and isn't working in your life. Listen to your own intuition and take action. 

5.    Get uncomfortable. The greatest learning really does happen in discomfort. To create new thinking, you need to have new experiences. That can be scary but it will be worth it. 

6.    Do what other people aren't prepared to do. The world is full of people who start stuff, but never follow through. Successful people do what's required and keep going even when it's hard. Don't depend on motivation to get you through. 

As a coach, I am certain that the people who are most successful in life are those who have absolute clarity on what success will look like, have a positive mindset and are prepared to learn new ways of being. Bring your dreams, plans and changes to life by proactively working on you. You're worth it! 

Lisa Stephenson is the author of Read Me First (Major Street Publishing), a book filled with thought-provoking coaching questions, strategies for success and life's must-haves. Lisa draws on decades of experience as a global speaker, leadership consultant and success coach. She is also the founder of the global, Australian-based consulting firm, Who Am I Projects. Over the years she has worked with some of the biggest global names, CEOs, elite athletes and entrepreneurs. For more information on Lisa go to  

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain