Monday, September 13, 2010

RENEW YOUR THINKING,RENEW YOUR LIFE

On the first day of a new year, we make all kinds of resolutions about things that we are going to change and do differently. While all of our intention and effort is certainly good and noble, maybe it's a little backwards in it's approach. Maybe we are getting the cart before the horse. Rather than behaving our way into change, maybe we need to re-think our way into personal success! Why do I say this? Many years ago, James Allen wrote the very popular book, "As A Man Thinketh." In this book he states, "All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts." That's a very powerful statement! We are as far in life as we are because of our thoughts. In fact, a person can never act outside of their beliefs. If you want to change your behavior, you must first analyze it backwards. You have to go back to what you believe, because what you believe determines what you think about; and ultimately what you think about affects your emotions. Once your emotions get involved behavior soon follows. If you believe a lot of things that are not true, your emotions and behavior will ultimately reflect that! I believe James Allen was probably influenced by the Apostle Paul. Paul wrote in the 12th chapter of Romans (NIV Bible), "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing your mind." Basically Paul says you if you want to be transformed then renew your mind. What does it mean to have your mind renewed? Actually the word renewal or renewing here means "being made over". It's like having a mental make-over, if you will. Do you want to achieve a desired behavior? Then you must first change how you think. If you change your perspective, the way you think about things, you will change your life. Renew your thinking, renew your life! You and I could sure use an extreme makeover of our thoughts daily! You may be saying to yourself, "I still don't see what all of this have to do with New Year's resolutions?" It's very important because, on any given day, all kinds of negative thoughts and destructive self-talk assaults your mind. Did you know that most people entertain about 600 negative thoughts a day? That's a lot of negative influence! That's a lot of pressure thats fighting good intentions. In fact most of us, by the age of six, have learned enough trash to mentally do us in for life. We have learned all sorts of lies that our society, friends and families have told us or modeled for us. These lies have become recordings that play non-stop in our sub-conscious minds. We adopt them as true and they become the life message and creed that we live by, almost unconsciously. For example, what happens to your resolve to loose weight, when you get into a fight with your spouse? In a split second, after the yelling, you are pulling food out of the refrigerator and binging. Where did that come from? You just reacted without giving it a thought. Then you rationalize, "Well, I'm not good at dieting anyway so why bother" and you throw in the towel. What happened to your resolve? I believe if we want renewal, or being made over in our life, we are going to have to do some introspection. What do I really believe? If food is the issue, what is my perspective about food and why do I turn to it? How do I view myself in the first place? Most importantly, what is the truth that I should believe? What does God think about me? Not long ago, one of my clients did want to get a handle on her eating. She had undergone gastric bypass surgery and had lost a tremendous amount of weight but her eating habits had not changed. I thought it was an unusual coaching request, but why not? If I really believed that people acted out of their beliefs, then why wouldn't it work here? So we began to examine why she was eating in the first place. She had devalued her self-worth because of some abandonment issues from her past. Her eating was a form of self-love and comfort. So, she made a conscious decision to reject the lies that she had believed about her value. She began to believe the truth that God could not only change her, but loved her unconditionally on a personal level. She was determined to challenge her negative thinking patterns, especially the way she thought about herself. She began to talk to herself (faith comes by hearing) and tell herself the truth. She would write love notes to herself from God and daily affirmations on her mirrors. She would tell herself the truth over and over. She would consciously become aware of her negative thought patterns in various situations and work on changing her self-talk. She began to visualize herself as loved, valued and healthy. My client was renewing her mind, just as the Apostle Paul had said. Her change did not happen overnight, but I did see her change. She began to be transformed before my eyes because she began to believe the truth! She experienced tremendous changes in her eating habits and desires. When it comes down to it, resolve and commitment are great, but if we dont take the time to discover why we do the things we do, we might as well just keep repeating history. We dont need to reform the old as much as we need to walk out our new identity as believers! If you will take the time to change your thinking, you will change your life. Renew, or makeover your thinking with the truth, and you will ultimately renew your emotions and most importantly your quality of life. It is really true that our life will go in the direction our thoughts take us. About the author: Janet Daughtry, MDIV, CBC, is a certified Christian life coach helping women find their purpose and potential in life. Her website is at CoachJanet.com.

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