Are you happy? Does happiness seem elusive with an here-today-gone-tomorrow appearance in your life? The truth is that searching for happiness is a pointless quest. It’s simply not out there. But, don’t let that dissuade you from your desire to be happy! The good news is that you can create happiness. It’s within the ability of everyone to be happy*. In my series Creating Happiness, I will show you how.
Challenging Destructive Thoughts
If you have been following my guide to creating happiness, you are already practicing mindfulness, waving your magic wand and setting SMART goals. Now that you have at least one goal to achieve you may find yourself doubting that you can accomplish it. That’s normal. To combat your self-doubt, first make sure that your goal is truly a SMART goal. Whittle it down a little if it’s not! This is your opportunity to gain some momentum by starting small.
As I said, it’s normal to experience self-doubt. However, this week we’re going to work on challenging your doubtful thoughts when they creep in. Becoming an expert at dismissing self-doubt is important! Eventually, after some practice, you’ll be able to recognize destructive thoughts immediately and replace them with positive, constructive thoughts.
Here’s how to challenge destructive thoughts in order to move closer to your goals.
1. Pay attention to your thoughts. Last week I used the example of weight loss as a goal. The goals you are setting should be small and attainable. You may find yourself thinking that such small steps will never lead to the accomplishment of a larger goal. You may think that with such small steps it will take too long to achieve anything noticeable. Listen to yourself think! What are you telling yourself about your small goals? What are you telling yourself about the likelihood of accomplishing your ultimate dream?
2. Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. When you find yourself thinking that you will never achieve your goals, immediately banish the thought and imagine how you will feel when you DO reach your goals!
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the positive thoughts come naturally. Yes, I’m serious. You have to have control over your thoughts–and you CAN have control over them! But, you probably don’t currently have control and it will take lots of practice before you do. Embrace it and get to practicing!
Homework for this week:
Keep doing the 3 mindfulness practices from week one. Keep your dreams in the forefront of your mind. Work on the goal(s) you set in week 3. Pay attention to your thoughts. Replace each destructive thought with a positive one.
Leave a comment with any questions you have about this process!