Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Change your life by changing your thoughts

Happy Wednesday! You’ve likely heard that phrase, “You are what you eat.”  Well, I don’t recall ever feeling/being a watermelon, bowl of oatmeal, or a Greek yogurt!  I prefer to say, “You are what you THINK!”  I really believe that lasting transformation starts when we begin to change the way we THINK about things, especially about ourselves. Our thoughts have incredible power over our actions.

Oftentimes we fail to find happiness, peace, and/or reach our goals in life because we think of ourselves as a failure; unworthy or undeserving; incompetent and useless. Perhaps you were told those lies by others or bullied as a kid and eventually you began to believe it. Perhaps you had a childhood where you grew up believing that you were ‘stupid” or “wouldn’t amount to anything”. Perhaps you struggled in school or had difficulty holding a job and began to believe that you would never be ‘good enough” no matter how hard you tried. Maybe you’ve tried multiple times to lose weight or quit smoking/drinking and you’ve failed, so you don’t believe you will ever succeed.  Oftentimes, these types of thoughts can cripple a person emotionally, spiritually, and physically, especially if one turns to food, drugs, alcohol, or some other unhealthy behavior to mask or cover the pain. More often than not, thoughts of unworthiness and failure keep one from starting a life style change simply because, “I’m never going to lose the weight anyway; Why try” dominates one’s thoughts.    It’s time to break that chain….to begin to THINK like a winner…..THINK like an achiever……THINK like a champion!!!

Changing one’s thoughts is as hard as changing one’s habits; perhaps even harder. It’s a daily struggle to think positive, but so essential. I continually battle thoughts of doubt, self-worth, fear and insecurity. It’s easier to look in the mirror and see my wrinkles, excess skin, and bags under my eyes than to see beauty and grace. It’s easier to find fault than goodness, especially when I’m weary or not feeling well. I think we all struggle with self-esteem issues, especially if we stray off plan or struggle to keep on track; especially if we’ve tried and failed many times before; especially if we are surrounded by people in our lives that fail to support us emotionally or give us a compliment or even a simple, “thank you” once in a while. The truth, however, is that WE WILL NEVER succeed unless we first BELIEVE that we can, so seriously, it is more important to work on changing how we THINK before changing how we EAT. Those will go hand in hand.

SO…. When I began my journey a few years ago, it was important for me to continually tell myself that “I CAN do this” and “I am GOING to walk again”  and “I’m going to SHOW them (my sister mostly) that I can do whatever I make up my mind to do.” Of course there were days when I didn’t believe it but it didn’t’ matter if I doubted it or not, I said it…..over and over again.  Eventually, after telling myself that, I began to believe it and I began to see results. Setting small, achievable goals helped because reaching those goals added fuel to my thoughts.  “See…. You CAN do this, Theresa” I’d say after losing 10 or 15 pounds. “See…..You ARE going to walk again without pain, Theresa” I’d say when I took my first few steps without the cane or walker.  “See…..God does give you strength” I’d remind myself when I resisted temptation.  Over and over again I’d tell myself (I still do…all day long) that I’m worthy; I’m capable; I’m a winner. ..and therefore, if I am those things, I deserve to treat myself like it……and that means eating good, nutritious food, getting as much physical activity as possible, and being kind and patient to myself……and others as well. 

Changing one’s thoughts is as important as changing one’s eating habits.  Here are some ways I did/do work on that…..
Sticky notes….on the mirror, on my refrigerator, in my purse…..with phrases like, “You can do this!”  “You are a winner!” “You are beautiful!”  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and a whole plethora of others.

Having good people in my life that can remind me of my goodness….or act as mirrors to reflect that goodness back to me when I’m feeling down or insecure (you know the kind…the ones that think you are the sun and the moon….Gosh, I miss my Grandma Borawski….sigh…..) If all the people in our world are negative, critical, or fail to say kind words to encourage you, it’s time to find new friends. Remember, you don’t deserve to be belittled, called names, or treated disrespectful. Surround yourself with those who think you are wonderful.

Celebrate the victories….even the small ones! Reward yourself when you meet a goal (not with food!) and be patient when you struggle or plateau. Remember, your self-worth is not determined by a number on the scale or your pant size.

Ask God to help you see in yourself what He sees in you; true beauty and goodness.  My prayer each day is “Transform my thoughts, O God, so that my body may be transformed as well. Help me “see” like you; “speak” like you; “think” like you; and “love and act” like you.  God will set you free from negative thoughts….about others and mostly about yourself.

Finally, be grateful.  Thank God for all the blessings in your life. When you begin to recognize all the things that you DO have instead of focusing on the things that you DON’T have, you’ll begin to think differently about yourself and your actions will follow.  Try to think of the positive things about yourself…like your beautiful eyes or caring heart….rather than your thunder thighs or spare tire.  When you see yourself in a good light, you will begin to treat yourself better…and you will see results.

Say it with me……  I can do this!  I am going to reach my goals!  I am a winner!  And I CAN…and I WILL…change my life!!!!    Even if I don’t believe it, Theresa does….and that’s good enough for me!

Have a wonderful day today… thinking wonderful thoughts!