Per my last podcast, our financial thoughts determine our results. After we understand this, the next step is learning how to create thoughts we want in order to achieve the desired results. Below are five steps to accomplish this. For ease of reference I’ve created a PDF with all of these that you can download for free.
1) Differentiate Your Thoughts from Circumstances
Provable in a court of law.
– AND/OR –
Something that everyone would agree on.
This takes practice as many of our thoughts feel like facts. Consider the following:
A checking account with a balance of $30
You owe your friend $130
Many would conclude “There isn’t enough money to pay your friend” and believe this to be a fact/circumstance. Rz, this is just a thought as it’s not provable in a court of law and not everyone would agree.
Your friend might encourage you to borrower the money from a family member, sell your phone, TV or something else to make the payment. Although most wouldn’t consider these as a viable solution, they are options. The only circumstances in this situation are $30 in a checking account and an unpaid obligation of $130.
Differentiating thoughts from circumstances initially seems easy but takes practice.
2) Allow Your Thoughts
Though counterintuitive, forcefully resisting thoughts only makes them stronger. By resisting them we are “fighting” something within us that intuitively feels correct.
The Psychologist Carl Jung said,
“What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”
Allowing a thought slows things down and enables you to consider it more objectively.
Restate the thought as if you were telling it to someone else. This may seem odd but it helps you disassociate from the thought, IE recognize it as a thought and not a fact.
Here’s an example.
You’ve been cutting back on expenses in hopes of saving $100 by month end. On the 31st your savings account only has $25. Your first thought might be, “I’ll never be able to save money.”
Resisting looks like:
“I have to stop thinking this way.”
“I should think X”
“Don’t think like that.”
Allowing looks like:
Mentally pausing and repeating the thought as if telling someone else, “I just had a thought I’ll never be able to save money.”
3) Understand Why You Have These Thoughts
Ask yourself “Why am I choosing to think this?” Remember, thoughts come from one of three areas: previous experiences, upbringing or education.
Skipping this step makes it extremely difficult to create new thoughts. Understanding why you have a thought makes new thoughts easier to accept.
4) Try Alternative Thoughts
Without resisting consider different thoughts. This step only works if you find the alternative thoughts believable. It’s like trying on different cloths. Some you put on and it’s a perfect fit, some are uncomfortable and others you just hate.
Following on the example in step 3, alternative thoughts could be:
“I need to find more money to pay my friend.”
“I’ll pay him back next month.”
An effective way to create alternative thoughts comes from asking, “Could the opposite of this thought be true?”
5) Be Patient
Your brain thinks it has strong evidence for your current thoughts and you’ve been thinking this way for a long time. Creating new thoughts takes time.
Stages of Progression
Moving from your current thoughts to creating new/believable thoughts generally looks like this:
• Doubt they are thoughts and not circumstance. When a supposed circumstance doesn’t meet the definition in number 1 above, it can be hard to accept it as a thought and not a fact.
• Doubt that thoughts can be changed. They feel so real and you’ve thought them for so long your brain tends to accept them as true.
• Alternative thoughts in step number 4 don’t seem as ridiculous or unbelievable.
• Your start to question your old thoughts as facts and consider, though not yet totally convinced, that other thoughts may also be true.
• You are quick to recognize thoughts and accept them as thoughts, not facts.
• New thoughts are quick to follow the original and are easily believable.
4) New Thoughts
• Previous thoughts have been completely replaced and your new/desired thoughts are the first to come to mind.
• You’ve come full circle as your new thoughts feel so real you have a hard time believing you once thought differently.
• Old thoughts seem silly, childish and uneducated.