Do you sometimes find yourself waking up in the morning, mentally going through your day ahead and dreading certain appointments or meetings you HAVE to go to? At certain points in all our lives, there’ll be things we don’t want to do or places we don’t want to go, and often there will be a valid reason for it. I often tell my clients a mindset tip that will make some of the things they HAVE to do, that little bit easier and I’m going to share it with you.
But before I do, I wanted to tell you a story I had read in a fantastic book called Atomic Habits. The author, James Clear, used this story to explain the very point I’m trying to explain to you. So, the story goes that there was a man who was in a wheelchair for life. I can’t remember if he had an accident or illness that didn’t allow him the full use of his limbs, anyway, someone asked him how he felt being confined to a wheelchair. His response was, “Confined? I don’t feel confined. I feel liberated. Without this wheelchair I’d be bed bound and I wouldn’t be able to do and see and go to all the places I want to.” The point James Clear was trying to get across was that it’s all about perspective! There are things in life we can’t control – from serious health conditions, to jobs we can’t leave due to financial restraints, to everyday things like meetings with our not very nice boss, or ferrying the kids around all afternoon to their afterschool activities. What we can change is how we see those things we ‘have to’ do. Instead of using the words ‘have to’, swap them out for ‘get to’. You GET TO go to that meeting at work, that ultimately pays you a wage to keep a roof over your head. You GET TO take your kids to their afterschool activities because you’re lucky to have a car and be able to pay for these activities that your kids enjoy so much!
Whatever you’re dreading doing, swapping ‘have to’ with ‘get to’ will start tapping into the gratitude part of your brain. You will switch to thinking of all the things you’re lucky to have, rather than the things you don’t like about your life. If you can change you attitude to thinking about all the positive things on a regular basis, your brain will take this on as a habit, so out will go the glass half empty mentality and in will come the glass half full attitude.
Another small change in your language and perspective is using the words ‘what if.’ When I work with coaching clients I often hear them saying things like, ‘what if I’m not good enough?’, ‘what if it doesn’t work out?’. We most commonly use ‘what if’ when we’re worried about the future or worried about something we’re a bit scared of doing. Instead, how about using ‘what if’ in the positive tense? For example, ‘what if it does work out just as I wanted it to?’.
The language we use to talk to ourselves is so important and our attitude to the day and the challenges that lie ahead depends on how we speak to ourselves.