Our beliefs shape how we view the world and how we act. And in order to create better habits, it’s key to identify if we’re holding onto any limiting beliefs that might be holding us back from positive change. For instance, thinking we don’t have the willpower to live a healthier lifestyle, or that it’s too late in our careers to make a change. Fortunately, research shows we can actually retrain our thought patterns to make them more positive through a process called neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to our life experiences. This process allows us to trade a limiting belief for a more positive one that empowers us to take action toward our goals.
We asked our Thrive community to share with us the mindset shifts that have helped them create positive change in their lives. Which of these mindsets resonates with you?
Everything is temporary.
“This mindset shift has been life-changing as I learned to navigate adulthood. It applies to every facet of my life from being a parent to being an employee. By reminding myself that everything is temporary, both the good and the bad, it allows me to be more present during the highs and gives me solace during the lows. By keeping in the forefront of my mind that everything will pass, I can reframe my attention and refocus my thoughts to help me achieve my goals and prioritize my life.”
—Danielle Doolen, communications professional and writer, Charlotte, NC
I can handle the obstacles that come my way.
“I start each day with a short mindful meditation along with an intention for the day. My intention is how I would like my day to look and usually it’s along the lines of. ‘I look forward to the adventures of the day, knowing I can handle any obstacle that comes my way.’ I learn from every experience and know that my path forward is a series of stepping stones that leads me to my highest potential” Setting up my day like this trains me to be positive and teaches me that happiness is a choice we make.”
—Camille Sacco, banker and meditation instructor, Winter Park, FL
It’s not too late to get started.
“I decided on January 1st, 2016 that I had all I needed to be the change I wished to see. After 32 rejections for various children’s book manuscripts (and a goal of 100 rejections because Dr. Seuss received 43 for his first story), I started a blog. That led to signing a contract to print my book, The Treasure You Seek, and that opened up speaking opportunities to corporations and youth about embracing failure and having grit. If I had waited until the timing was perfect, until I had the answers and the connections, the days would still have passed and none of those dreams would have been accomplished. So start now. With what you have. And you can change everything.”
—Siobhan Kukolic, author, speaker and life coach, Toronto, Canada
Happiness is mine for the making.
“My mom once shared with me that there isn’t a quota on success and happiness. That piece of wisdom became my aha moment that happiness is mine for the making. My happiness doesn’t take away from someone else creating their version of happiness. If anything, it helps spread the possibility that we are all worthy of a happy life. Any time I get tripped up by a self-limiting belief, I come back to this truth and it always sets me back on the path of reaching for the stars and enjoying my full life.”
—Emily Madill, author and certified professional coach, Nanaimo, B.C., Canada
This is what I can do.
“The biggest mindset shift that has occurred for me is to focus on things that I can do, and then get on with my life. This helps me avoid other kinds of negative thought tracks. For example, in regard to the war in Ukraine, I can donate some funds, tell my politicians to support Ukraine, and sign some petitions. I also stay lightly informed each day. That is realistically all I can do, so I commit to do that, and then I move onto the rest of life.”
—Dave Galloway, principal strategist, North Vancouver, BC
Where attention goes, energy flows.
“Several of my mentors have shared some variation of ‘Where attention goes, energy flows,’ which essentially means that what we focus on, we get more of. Shifting thoughts from what I don’t want to what I do want has made it so much easier to achieve my goals – it allows for flow rather than resistance. Shifting our mindset isn’t difficult, we just have to remember to do it again and again until it becomes a more positive default. It’s one of the reasons practicing mindfulness is so important and has had such a tremendous impact on my life.”
—Adriane David, mindfulness-based executive and personal coach, Calgary, AB Canada
I can choose to let go.
“One process I’ve committed to is acknowledging what’s happening, accepting how I feel, and choosing to let go. This process has helped me identify how I feel, validate with acceptance and let go so I don’t hold onto these feelings. First, I acknowledge what I see happening from my perspective. From there, I choose to accept the reality that this is what I’m experiencing right now. I say out loud something like, ‘I acknowledge I feel this way, but I also accept that this is happening.’ And in response to that, I accept that I feel this way and I let go.”
—Josh Neuer, licensed professional counselor, Greenville, SC
I don’t have to do this alone.
Sometimes tasks and projects feel overwhelming and paralyzing. Not knowing enough about a topic or not having a skill can keep me from working on a project. A mindset shift that I often use is to not go at it alone, and to build a team to get work done. I have used this new mindset in a variety of ways, from doing solo work on a project at home such as landscaping to working collaboratively on a work project like creating training courses. My mindset is that it is more fun to work as a team and the final outcome will be improved.”
—Ellen Delap, certified professional organizer, Kingwood, TX
I can learn to befriend fear.
“One mindset shift that has allowed me to create positive change has been learning to befriend fear. As we move through life and evolve, fear can be a main obstacle that prevents us from attaining what we desire, if we let it. I’ve learned to interpret situations where I feel fearful as part of my growth, and the ability to calm my nervous system in the moment so I can move through that fear is a required skill in order to reach that next level. Often, I will reflect on past experiences where I felt fearful or nervous, and remember how they ended with a positive result. I like to dig deep into my limiting beliefs by asking myself, ‘What are you really afraid of?’ The answer is usually something that is highly implausible. Understanding where certain beliefs came from has also helped me to learn that thought and beliefs are not permanent.”
—Kimberly B. Smith, life and business coach, Houston, TX
Change is possible.
“For six months in my early adulthood, I was a homeless Air Force veteran being treated for complex PTSD. I committed to doing the work that would help me unlearn habits and beliefs that helped me survive my childhood circumstances but no longer served me. The most impactful mindset shift I made was choosing to believe that change was possible with effort. I decided to hold onto the belief that if I read the right books, listened to superior wisdom, and implemented the right actions, I could turn my life around. None of these changes happened overnight, and I am still a work in progress. However, I am a woman who has since put herself through college, led a successful career as a corporate marketing strategist, funded academic scholarships, and launched successful businesses. For me, mindset work is a daily necessity because I believe I have a responsibility to myself to always choose intentional growth.”
—Marcia Hylton, business consultant, El Paso, TX
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