When you pause and notice what you are actually thinking, you may have realized that the thoughts you are thinking are not exactly helping you get to where it is you want to go. AND you may have realized that you are not quite sure what to do about that. I mean really, it’s not as if you just snap your fingers and they are changed forever. I wish!
The trick is to change your perspective. It is to alter the lens through which you are viewing the challenge in front of you, the relationship that is frustrating you or changing how you see yourself.
Shifting your perspective takes a bit of practice. Once you train yourself to alter how you see things, you’ll get better at doing it more quickly. There are two things you need to have when you want to start changing the perspective of your thoughts
You need to hope you can change your thoughts and you need to develop a plan to do that. Let’s break that down more.
Before I explain a bit more about hope, let me first let’s define optimism. We often get the two confused. When you are optimistic, you believe that your future will be better than your present. It’s good to be optimistic
When you turn optimism into hope, you take it one step further. Hope is not only believing your future can be better than your present. Hope is also understanding and accepting that you have a role in making your future better than the present. Rather than just waiting to see what happens, hope helps you to make it happen.
3 parts to HOPE
To cultivate this kind of hope, there are 3 parts to consider; goals, confidence, and pathways.
First, identify your goal.
Your goal is your future desire. But it’s less about out there…and more about inside of you. What is the different inner experience you are looking for? In the context of what we have been talking about for the last few weeks, your goal is to have different thoughts. You now know that when you change your thoughts, it will change your experience of things.
In the second example above, the goal is not a rain free adventure. That is something that is outside of your control. Instead, your goal is to feel a sense of joy when you and your family are at the park despite the rain. The goal is inside of you: joy.
Next, consider your level of confidence in yourself.
Do you believe in yourself and your abilities to change how you think so that you will get a different experience?
Can you find joy despite the rain? Can you create fun and enthusiasm in those around you and turn the puddles into games? The question is, do you really believe you can change your thoughts and that by doing so you will change your experience. If you don’t believe that, you are not going to find that sense of joy you are looking for.
Finally, plan your pathway.
What route are you going to take to achieve that goal? What will you need to do, again, think inside of you, to get there?
Your plan might be that before heading out on the trip, you dig out the rubber boots. You may also pack and an extra set of clothes. But it is more than the outside planning here; the key is to plan how you will change your thoughts. You could design a shift in thinking from “This is not going to go well” to “What can make this fun for us?”
he “If/Then” Plan
As you look at your pathway to get to that different experience, you may notice some potential bumps along the way;
When you are planning this shift in thoughts and experience, take those potential obstacles into account and plan for them.
If my child gets cranky, then I will remind myself to take a deep breath helping me to respond more calmly rather than reacting with frustration.
Use the If/then formula to plan ahead for how you will respond (conscious choice) rather than react (getting hijacked by emotions and events).
If this happens... then I will…
Let’s look at the scenario of a meeting with the annoying co-worker.
Hope + A Plan = The Ability to Change Your Thoughts & Thus Your Experience
Cultivating hope and developing an if/then plan are important factors to building the skill of shifting your perspective. Remember, this takes time and practice. When you start to change the filters through which you see problems, others and yourself, you will start to experience them differently. Define the outcome you want, your goal. Believe you can, your confidence. Decide what you will do, if something goes wrong, your plan.
Hope you can change your future, by taking back reasonability for your thoughts. One-step at a time my dear, one step at a time!
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