Rewire Your Brain to Defeat Traditional Thinking Traps
Welcome to Day Two of the Resolution Reset Process.
Yesterday, I asked you to re-examine your 2015 writing goals and to tweak them so they’re as specific as possible.
Today, I’ll show you what needs to happen for your resolutions to lead you to those goals. Because remember, resolutions (or guiding words) work best if you think of them as a pathway to your goals.
And, no matter where you want to go, you need a plan to get there.
Let’s say your goal is to make $50,000 from your writing by the end of the year. So, you’ve resolved to spend more time learning the craft of copywriting and researching and connecting with potential clients.
But to do that, you need time. And, to find time in your schedule, something’s got to change. Whether that means giving up television, volunteering less at your kid’s school, or getting up an hour earlier, it all hinges on making some kind of change.
That’s where most of us hit a speed bump.
The concept of change is an issue we all grapple with. Yet, change goes hand-in-hand with life improvement. Whether you want to kick a bad habit, shift your career focus, learn a new craft, whatever – at the heart of it all is change.
Problem is, change can be scary, so we talk ourselves out of it.
Say you’ve decided to get up an hour earlier every day to study writing so you can make a living as a writer. But right after your alarm clock blares, fear sets in. You’re not sure you have what it takes to write for a living. So, you stay in bed.
What happens? Nothing. Nothing changes. And no progress gets made toward your dream of living the writer’s life.
Now, what if the idea of change didn’t faze you? What if you were unstoppable in your pursuit of goals, because the steps you take to get what you want are effortless?
It’s possible. You just need to unlock your brain.
Stay with me …
Thanks to advancing studies in neuroscience, researchers are zeroing in on the ability of your mind to change your brain – also known as neuroplasticity.
This is an important field for those of us in creative professions. Most of the career challenges we face as writers are the result of mental hang-ups (think procrastination, low self-confidence, fear of failure, fear of success, etc.). To get past those hang-ups, you need to change your brain.
Meditation, self-hypnosis, and mindfulness are all proven ways to unlock negative brain patterns. I’ll talk about them more in depth later this week.
In the meantime, I want you to try this exercise from Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, neuropsychiatrist and author of the book Brainlock. This is his four-step solution for changing bad habits and taking control of your thinking:
- Relabel. Identify unwanted thoughts and re-classify them as intrusive. So, instead of, “I’m not good enough to write for that client,” you’d say, “My brain is sending the deceptive thought that I’m not good enough.” Sounds trite, but relabeling an intrusive thought makes you aware of it and less likely to react.
- Reframe. Understand that negative thoughts keep returning because your brain is misfiring, creating mental noise. Eventually, when an unwanted thought surfaces, you’ll be able to push it aside as a false brain message.
- Refocus. When an intrusive thought surfaces, redirect your attention to something positive. This is where brain chemistry actually changes, because you’re creating new patterns. Is your brain glitch saying you don’t know enough? Crack open a how-to book on copywriting and prove it wrong.
- Revalue. Don’t take your negative thoughts at face value. They’re just deceptive brain messages. Be mindful of what’s really happening, which is the fact that you’re taking action toward positive life change.
Do these steps daily. If you have a hard time concentrating, try doing it as a meditation. You need to focus on this completely and without distraction for it to work. (What do you think – will you try it? Tell me here.)
I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you how to be mindful as you overcome deceptive brain messages, so you can follow through on goals.
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