How are your thoughts?

I've heard questions in the past such as ‘how are you?’, ‘how's your soul?’, ‘how are you feeling after the surgery?’, or ‘how's your business doing?’ But I have yet to be asked, how are your thoughts'?

The reason this comes to mind is because this has been a looong journey that I've been on, and still am. Either your thoughts are adding or subtracting to your life. Either they are helpful or they're not. Here's the tricky part, often we become aware of our thinking, but then after a while life happens and we slowly but steadily fall out of our routine. Similar to the well known example of a motivated person that goes to the gym in January, but with time, falls out of this routine after a couple of months.

Why? Why is it so hard to stick to a schedule, to keep checking in, and to continuously have healthy thoughts? There might be many different theories on why, but I'll give you 4:

  1. Healthy habits take time

  2. Discipline sucks

  3. Our brain is wired for negativity

  4. No accountability

Lets dig in,

1. Healthy habits take time. Between 18 and 254 days actually, according to research, and with an average of 66 days. Habits are defined as an acquired behavior we do involuntarily. It just happens... I know how easily my thoughts can go wild inside my mind. Not always telling me positive compliments, but rather the latter. And over and over it happens involuntarily. I didn't mean to tell myself I'm not good enough, but these thoughts come before I even get a chance to realize they are there. Throughout the years after a more than average interest for psychology and personal development I do pick up on this more easily. However, this doesn't mean that they don't come. But that is why habits are so incredibly important. Do you check in with yourself everyday? Do you journal, do you take intentional steps to check in? These habits take time, but they can help A LOT.

2. Discipline sucks. I did intervals today, and I definitely didn't enjoy anything else than the endorphins post workout. However, discipline is crucial. Working on your thoughts when you're motivated is easy. But what about those days when you already feel like shit? What about those days where you stay in bed, eat ice cream and feel like you're not moving forward. In my personal experience, this scenario is very well known to me. However, the behavior of eating ice cream in bed isn't the problem at all, it's the thoughts that are crossing my mind, over and over and over. It’s the negative thoughts that tells me that I am a disappointment, and I'm not strong enough to build this business to become a success. These negative and unhealthy thoughts are like the top ten pop songs that are being played on repeat on the radio. When this happens, which I'm sure many of you have experienced as well, we need to know how to break the pattern. Breaking the pattern takes time, and it takes discipline to not get seduced by the automatic negative thoughts that so often seems to take over.

3. Our brain is wired for negativity. It sounds so stupid right? What's the point with that? Well, it's to protect ourselves. Let me give you an example. You have been given the opportunity to share your passion about saving the planet in a Ted Talk. This is an amazing opportunity, first of all. But you end up saying no. You're afraid to fail, to freeze , and to make a fool of yourself. Therefore saying no is you protecting yourself, or at least, that’s what your brain thinks, ‘yay, I saved you from possible danger’. The idea that our brain helps protect us was much more needed back in the prehistoric times to stay clear from dangerous animals, but not so much in the now. Nevertheless, as we know this, it can help us take a step back when we try to protect ourselves. Let’s say you want to get stronger, and you see all these photos of powerlifters. In the split of a second the doubt starts to sneak in, telling you that it will be really hard, and really exhausting for you to get to that point. Here we go again, you end up deciding not to take the opportunity. In a sense you're protecting yourself from reps of heavy lifting, but you're also telling yourself that you're not able to do it, not strong enough, and don't have enough motivation.

If you've read everything so far, you might see how habits, discipline and awareness of how our brain is wired negatively, is crucial to have a healthy relationship with our thoughts.


4. No accountability. Accountability looks different for different people. For some, they get a mentor, a coach, join a program or a club. What it has in common is community. As humans we are made for community, on both small and large scales. That's the way we grow the most, because when we feel weak, we have someone telling us otherwise. When we don't feel like hitting the gym, we have a friend holding us accountable, or a PT. However, accountability can be uncomfortable. Something I’ve realized is that the older we get the easier it is to avoid accountability by not letting people in, keeping certain parts of our lives private, or/and not having community with other people. After getting married I'm held accountable every single day. This gives room for a lot of growth, and A LOT of uncomfortable situations. This includes being disciplined when I don't feel like it. This includes continuing to pursue the goals that I've set when my brain that is wired for negativity wants to save me from the outside of the comfort zone. This includes healthy habits, and when I want ice-cream seven days of the week. Please don’t mistake me, a marriage isn't the perfect way to have accountability, and sometimes we eat ice-cream many days in a row, but it is one of many ways. Often it can be more beneficial to get a coach for the specific part of your life that you want to improve.

However, I hope your takeaway from this blog post is to ask yourself, ‘How are my thoughts today?’ Be real and raw to get an honest outlook on what goes through your mind right now. Are your thoughts running wild? Well, then the good thing is that now you are AWARE, and that’s the first step.

I hope you keep reading these blog posts because there will be more on healthy thought patterns and HOW to get there.



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