Setting and crushing goals…finding true joy and happiness…living your best life! Sounds amazing right…isn’t that 90% of the ‘self-help/improvement' section of any bookstore or on Amazon? We can read every book and listen to every podcast on the subject, but honestly it is not as complicated as we make it. MINDSET, MINDSET, MINDSET…it is everything! Most of us have heard that what you think dictates what you do. This doesn’t mean having an occasional negative thought will immediately change your life. I am talking about the mental voice that you allow to play in your head EVERYDAY! If you allow the voice of doubt, criticism, guilt, and self-hatred to play on a repeating loop in your head then you will absolutely have low confidence and believe that you don’t deserve happiness, strong goals, success, positive relationships, fill in the blank. If you battle those thoughts but make conscience room for seeing the positive things in your life and about you, I guarantee you will start to see your life change for the better. Is it harder to walk-through knee-deep water or mud? Water is still challenging (as is life), but it’s WAY EASIER then trying to drag your legs through mud. Here is a fitness example: let’s say you want to lose 30+ pounds and you finally get the courage to join a gym. You come and do your best 4 days the first week, you feel tired but accomplished. The second week you only make it 3 times and the scale doesn’t move. The third week you come 4 days again, but this time you join a class and you don’t feel like you did as well as some others in the class. At the end of class you catch an unflattering angle of yourself in the mirror and immediately you think: “how did you get here…you are so unattractive…you are disgusting…you shouldn’t be here…loop, loop, loop”. This negative loop morphs throughout the day into the other aspects of your day. Ultimately culminating with laying your head on the pillow completely frustrated and unmotivated to begin again tomorrow. What happens tomorrow?...you don’t go to the gym, you feel guilty and the rest of your day is full of frustration and more guilt! WHAT IF: When you saw that unattractive angle in the mirror, you decided to stop right there? What if you made the conscious effort to think of 3 positive things you just did and NOT pick your body apart? You wouldn’t magically think you look like a model or not be frustrated that you got to this point or falsely convince yourself that you rocked that class…BUT you wouldn’t have looped and ruined the rest of your day. You WOULD HAVE changed your view and noticed a few positive parts to your new journey. You WOULD HAVE walked away from the gym that day ready to conquer the rest of your day…1 day at a time means committing to the long game toward results! It took some time to get yourself to this frustrating spot, you WILL NOT have a quick fix. This journey toward your best self will be emotional, difficult, but incredibly life changing and empowering. You will liberate your experience, when you realize that this journey toward taking your life back and living each day with INTENTION, PURPOSE, and DESIRE will not be an all or nothing situation. Taking this journey 1 day at a time, will transform you faster then you can imagine. You will NOT transform in 2 or 3 weeks…but mini transformations each day will show large visible changes in 6, 12, 18 months. Commit to the long-game and you have taken the first step to changing your mindset for success. Waking up everyday and deciding to focus on the positive is the second step to making huge habitual changes to your mindset. Just like getting into the healthy eating and working out habit takes effort and intention, choosing to focus on the positive and stopping your negative, self-deprecating loops will take specific intention, personal forgiveness, and grace. Being consistent and intentional will allow you to access a place of happiness and contentment over the course of months that you can only imagine right now. How is your current mindset working for you? Why not try something different…what do you have to lose? Let me be very clear: this will take work! You can go through the motions and ‘look’ intentional or ‘say’ the right things to other people…seriously don’t be fake!!! Be authentic, be someone you can respect! You will have to actually dive into your feelings, how did you get here? BE HONEST…you cannot take the easy way through this process…you allowed yourself to trudge through lots of mud, in order to get to the water you will have to travel back through some mud! The mud you will travel through isn’t the negative loops you allowed, it’s the mud that allowed those negative loops to take hold of your life…WHY you got here is important to figure out! If it scares you to say out loud or write down, then you need to start there and be brave. Authenticity and honesty are uncomfortable, but the only way you will make permanent changes to the way you approach your life and your mindset. There is one more aspect to changing your mindset that must be addressed. I’m sure someone in your life has said: ‘you become who you hang out with’. Sometimes we try to fool ourselves and think that we are strong enough to withstand the negativity of another person. “I’m the positive one in the group or I can help them see the positive”. It’s not the occasional encounter that messes with us, it’s the constant day to day grind of negative people. Do the people in your life make you feel emotionally heavy? Who in your life ‘fills your emotional bucket’? Would you say that your closest relationships surround optimistic or pessimistic thoughts? THIS MATTERS!!! If you are trying to change your mindset, you need positive, optimistic people supporting you. Negative people are going to ‘fake’ support at first, but quickly get jealous or pessimistic and allow you to dive deeper into the mud you are trudging through currently. Please don’t confuse my comments about people being positive or optimistic that you need to find friends that are insanely cheerful and peppy. NO…that also is incredibly annoying and unrealistic! I’m talking about the kind of friend that might positively support in this way: You are struggling with impatience and wanting results right now. In talking with your friend and being honest, they respond with a smile and encourage you to stay the course and trust in the process. They follow up the next day and invite you to come to a class with them or go for a walk after work. They didn’t lecture you; they didn’t act like your feelings were baseless, and they didn’t add negative excuses to your feelings. A negative friend might respond in this way to the same situation: after listening to your feelings, immediately talks about how stupid it is the instructor at the gym matches her headband to her top. This leads to gossiping about how ‘in shape’ the people are in classes and how overwhelmed that makes everyone else feel. They then turn the conversation to themselves and their own issues. Instead of leaving the conversation feeling empowered and ready to continue, you probably leave the conversation feeling ‘heavy’ and making new excuses to derail your goals. It doesn’t mean you can’t have some negative friends, but it does mean that you need to decide with who you are vulnerable. Also be honest with yourself: we all know who we can depend on to validate our excuses or who will be honest and authentic with us. Don’t fool yourself and be the victim…you choose your happiness and that includes the friends you allow into the vulnerable places in your life. You are ready to make changes! You might be feeling overwhelmed on how to start or how to keep going when frustration sets in. THAT’S NORMAL! Now take a deep breath, stop playing the victim, and start making the daily mini adjustments to change your mindset and set yourself up for living your best life!!!