Hacking Our Thoughts for Change

Nothing will ever change unless we hack our thoughts first. How many times have you heard these phrases whether they come out of your mouth or someone close to you?

thinking-cap

“Every now and then”

“Here and there”

“I only do this once in a while.”

“A little bit won’t hurt.”

“Who’s it going to hurt?”

“I don’t do this all the time!”

“I can handle it!”

Every time we say things like this they all add up and we’re left with less money and ever expanding waistline. If we say we only buy more lives on an in-game purchase  every now and then, those now and then words add up. How many games do we play on our devices? Now add up how many times we buy lives for each game. We’d be surprised at how much these little games can suck us dry.

2014_Stop_Unwanted_Thoughts

Now let’s apply this to eating. We’re trying to lose weight, we know what we’re supposed to eat that will help us with the journey. But then we’re at work and it’s time for a break, we go down to the cafeteria or out for a snack and we pick up a bar of chocolate vowing all the while that “a little bit won’t hurt.” Guess what? It does hurt, and it doesn’t just hurt for a little while because after we eat that chocolate we’re irritable, we’re tired and we’re even more hungry than before the break.

So how do we hack our thoughts?

We change what we focus on. How does this work? Yesterday, I had to go and pick some x-ray images from the clinic. Since it was such a sunny day, I decided to walk. I knew that I would have to pass by one of my favorite coffee places that also has some of my favorite chocolates. Normally, when I walk to the clinic I always treat myself. Yesterday was different, I focused on something else. I decided to give my spouse a call while I walked there so I could focus on the conversation and not about the coffee house and their chocolates. It worked I didn’t stop and I didn’t miss either the coffee or the chocolates.

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We always need to have a plan and then a backup plan that fits our personalities, the goal we are trying to achieve, and our lifestyle. I choose to walk to places that are within 3 miles of my home. This helps me because I hate to workout and I need exercise.

Three thought hacks to get you started:

  1. Change your routine, when it’s break time tell yourself “It hurts me, I am somebody” every time you look at something you know you shouldn’t eat.
  2. Before you get up in the morning say out loud “God, how can I please you today?” This is a big thought changer.
  3. When you feel yourself inching towards spending money on something you don’t need (more game lives, candy bars, books, etc), ask three questions:

         “Will I die tomorrow if I don’t have it today? A year from now will I still want it? Will it make my life more fulfilling?

These are loaded questions and will help you define your needs from your wants.

Change only comes when we hack our thoughts and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJ)

Wishing you Wellness for a New Day!

 

 

The Negativity Box

Yesterday I found myself writhing in pain again, something that is still very new to me only since the middle of May. This pain came on suddenly and is said to have been lingering in me all my life only with this last trauma and all the stress I have been under with my job did it think I was calling it out. I think it must have me confused with someone else. I don’t want this pain, I don’t want it to move from one joint to another and jumping around my body. It feels like I am at war with my body and some days I am not winning. It’s those days that I have found the use of a Negativity Box most helpful.

Negativity Box

What’s a negativity box? 

It’s an imaginary box in my mind that works to help me clear the negative thoughts from my life and replace them with Godly thoughts and scriptures. Whenever I have a negative thought or the pain is too much to bear I picture myself taking the words of the thought and putting them in a box. Then I think about a happy, Godly thought. Like today, for instance, I was feeling a lot of pain this morning in the joints of my toes, only in the bottom this time. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, nor did I feel like working out. The thought that kept running through my head was “My body hurts, you read that article that said if you workout your body will hurt more.” So I sat on the edge of my bed, pictured myself taking the words and pushing them into the box never to be said again, nor heard from again. My very next thought was Phillippians 4:8 “…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” Which then sent my mind to think Phillippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I got myself out of bed, put my workout clothes on and proceeded to do my exercise routine of gentle stretching, crunches and  light  weight lifting. Did I feel pain afterwards? Yes, the same kind I woke up with. Was it worse? No. But I felt more alive than if I would have just lied in bed feeling sorry for myself and believing the negative thoughts in my head.

Pain Makes A Way

It’s almost been a month since this wide-spread pain started and I can honestly say that it’s more of a blessing than a cursing. I find myself taking better care of myself now. I am also seeing that I make honest decisions about what I can and cannot do. This is huge for me. If I need my husband’s help with something, I ask instead of beat around the bush. If I can’t do an entire research job in one day, I don’t and I don’t stress about it either. The pain is also making me think about God more. I lean on God and read His Words more than once or twice a day now.

It’s interesting the ways God tries to get our attention until we continue to ignore until we can’t ignore the pink elephant in the room anymore.

Getting rid of the negative is the only way I/we can let the words of God permeate our minds. We can’t just keep reading, and reading about all the negative evil things going on in the world and not counteract them with the words of God. We need to replace negative and painful thoughts with the healing words of God. He is our ultimate healer.

My Sabbath Thought for the Day!

RENEWAL

Waking up at the crack of dawn, my husband gently nudged me awake. We had a plan to spend July 4th not in celebration of our freedom, but in enjoying our freedom to visit a lady who help him put things into perspective. This lady is old, she’s majestic, magnificent, and in the splendor of her beauty we found awe, perspective, clarity and renewal.

On July 4th while most people were waving flags, marching in parades, and partying at barbeques, we hiked Mount St Helens. We listened to the peacefulness of this mountain that once spoke with boisterous thunder. We marveled at God’s creation at every turn, from the herd of elk we saw bathing in the morning sun to the chipmunks scampering through the brush snacking along the way.

While walking the trail I stopped to write in my journal, which I carry with me on every hike now, to capture the words that God’s beautiful creation inspires me to think about. First entry of the hike, “The mountain has her own words, her own voice. Yet no one understands the magnitude of her thoughts.” Being away from the hurriedness of the city, where I thought I thrived, I’ve been awakened to new thoughts, new ponderings, new attitudes, new philosophies of what I want for the second half of my life.

God's Renewal

Seeing the remnants of the devastation caused when the earth sighed through the nostril of Mount St Helens, I am reminded of all the chances we are given in life to change. God’s way of life is a constant renewal, if we let it be. When we stop growing, it’s us that stops not God. Life is constantly changing and we must change and grow or we become like the mud petrified tree stumps that stand among the new growth.

As I walked the trail, I pondered the immensity of change and renewal. Changing our character and our being is so much more profound than slapping on a coat paint (lipstick), or a new pair of shoes. Change takes courage, perseverance, trust, love, motivation, and most of all it takes reliance. Reliance in knowing who you are changing for and why. We shouldn’t be changing for other people, but for God. We rely on God’s direction in life to bring us to a place where we are ready to break forth from the sheltering cocoon and be a light to the world.

2 Corinthians 4: 16 – 18 “There we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

 

My Sugar Behavior

13 days ago I said my challenge this month was to eliminate sugar from my diet. Okay, it’s been 13 days and I now realize this behavior change is not easy for me. Ever since I made the challenge all I’ve been thinking about is sweet, sugary things. I’ve had peppermint gelato, chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, cookies, white chocolate mocha’s, chocolate candy, and buttery rich gluten free shortbread. I need to get to the bottom of my sugar behavior in order to change this action. On Friday, January 10th was my first day without sugar.

In the book Who Switched Off My Brain? by Dr. Caroline Leaf, I’ve learned that my behavior is fueled by my thoughts which are fueled by my beliefs. So I’ve decided to change my beliefs about why I think I need sugar. Yes, I know that sugar is bad for me in so many ways. I also know that I can do this because I’ve done it before. I’ve lived without sugar for six years once. I did fine; I stayed at my optimum weight with no problems. So what’s holding me back now? Why am I having so much difficulty eliminating sugar from my diet?

I think I’m using sugar as a comfort food right now. While I’m trying desperately to let go of some emotional struggles I’m going through, I turn to sugar, aka chocolate as my comfort. Today, I wrote down some of the reasons why I’m quite attached to this sweet ingredient and was pleasantly surprised at what I found out about myself.

Here are a few of them

  1.  I’m only 50, my grandmother didn’t get type 2 diabetes until she was 71.
  2.  No diabetes here.
  3.  I don’t do this all the time.
  4.  Once a day is not going to hurt me.
  5.  I have one kidney, I don’t want to put any added stress on my body.
  6.  I can eat what I want on the Sabbath.
  7. I deserve a sweet treat after dinner.

In looking at these and other beliefs I have about sugar, I understand I need to change these beliefs so I can change my sugar behavior. To help me illustrate my new belief with my thoughts and actions, I’ve used the table approach. As I add more positive thoughts and actions that support this new belief I’ll be adding more legs to the table.

Life is sweeter without sugar

My thoughts and actions support this new belief and help my new belief stay balanced.

With each new belief I am moving away from the grip that sugar had on my life. I am also moving forward in my quest to live a healthy and happy life. Changing my beliefs about certain areas in my life is a constant motion in moving forward.

If we stagnantly stand in the same place, we never grow and we never achieve a new level of wellness.

SCRIPTING MY FUTURE

I talk to myself constantly. I know some pretty successful people who do the same thing. I am forever asking myself questions, and yes I answer myself, too. And why shouldn’t I? The questions I ask myself are directed at me, and need my answers to make sense in my life. I’m scripting my future through these conversations with myself.

We all have our own set of scripts. We write out scripts for our voice mail box. If we’re in the professional world, we use scripts all the time, each for a different reason. We rehearse what we’re going to say to people when we first meet them before we actually open our mouths. It’s through these scripts that our lives are laid out before us and we give other people a glimpse into our worlds.

You are listening

Here’s a script I’ve been rehearsing lately:

“Do you really want to eat now or would you rather have a glass of water? Aren’t you losing weight? Do you remember the number on the scale? Don’t you love the way your clothes are so big on you? I’ll just have a glass of water, then if I’m hungry in 20 minutes then I’ll have a small snack.”

Here’s another one:

“If you’re bored, let’s go for a walk, that will perk you right up. C’mon get your shoes on, grab a sweatshirt, your keys, and let’s go. The fresh air is good for you, it’ll get you out of the house. You’ll meet new people and you’ll feel better.”

How many times do we ask ourselves what are we going to make for dinner? And the answer usually comes to us when we’re looking in the pantry or refrigerator. These scripts help us to move forward when life isn’t turning out the way we planned. They are really our self-talk. Whether our scripts are positive or negative they are really controlling our future by planting seeds in our minds. When these seeds take hold our bodies, and our futures unfold like the thoughts that have been planted. I’m scripting my future by changing my script.

Your future depends on your script.

HERE’S TO YOU DAD!

This is one of my favorite blog posts because, I wrote the poem in honor of my father, who taught me how to live, how to serve, and how to love.   This was to honor my father on Father’s Day (June 15, 2012). As I accomplish my goals, I’m reminded of my father’s words to me “You can do anything you put your mind! I’m so proud of you!” There’s never a moment when my father is not part of my thoughts, here’s to you Dad!

WHAT WILL YOU STAND FOR?

This week has me thinking not just about my father but about all the other men in my life who have left their lasting impression on me on how to live a good life. This poem is dedicated to all the men who have molded me into the person I am today. Thank you all for being a wonderful examples of living.

My Dad!

What Will You Stand For?

When your life is all said and done,

When people walk by in a file of one,

The day is streamed with cars in the morning sun,

The tears are shed, no this is not fun.

When you are dressed

In your “church-going” best

You have become the honored, silent guest

What will those people remember, in their minds, of you?

Did you fight for injustice and the lowly too?

Will your thought speak of beauty in the hidden place?

A smile that you made upon a child’s face?

Did you sit in the doorway of a wounded heart?

Or just sit and do that easy little part?

Will people see the big picture of what you did?

Or turn their heads over something you hid?

What will these people feel in their hearts, of you?

Did you help lives that were broken in two?

Did your hand comfort the wayward soul?

Did you stand in the gap of an empty hole?

Were your steps directed towards something grand?

Or did you simply draw lines in the sand?

When all is said and done,

Roses on the casket left one by one,

Time has closed the door

What will you stand for?

Laura M Jacoby