Mindsets are difficult to change. That’s nothing new – we all know that old habits die hard. So how does one change their frame of mind?
Winter brings about colder days and longer nights, and for some of us that spend the majority of our days in cubicles – that means we only see the sun on the weekend – which can lead to depression.
But how did we get there? Your body isn’t getting enough Vitamin D, chemical imbalances in the brain due to diet, genetics, and internal/external sources of stress are all considered potential causes.
Stress and anxiety are what I’d like to focus on for a moment.
I’d argue that the leading causes of anxiety are relational conflicts, money troubles, and feeling as if you’ve lost your grip/control on life. In other words, everyone has been anxious at one point or another in their life.
If you consider the aforementioned causes, then you’ll realize that lack of control plays a role in every source mentioned. So how do we regain control of the steering wheel?
We have to change our mindset. First and foremost, you have to be willing to extend yourself grace for the past. Second, you have to gradually rebuild your faith in yourself and your ability to attain your goals. And third, implement new lines of thinking and measurable methods of improvement.
Gradually, we can shift our minds from recognizing obstacles as inescapable problems to seeing them as opportunities to develop a new skill-set. “I’ve never been good with money” is no longer a viable excuse, because I can recognize that there is no time like the present to learn how to effectively budget my resources.
A friend of mine has been helping me set attainable goals for a healthier me. I was previously drinking sugary lattes AND soda, daily. We have taken steps to gradually decrease my sugar intake and I’m SLOWLY, but SURELY seeing the results. Instead of 3 Diet Cokes, I’m drinking one. And instead of a caramel-macchiato, I’m drinking iced or regular coffee. It’s interesting – now when I “cheat” and go for the sugary latte instead, I can feel the sugar on my teeth and find that even minimal amounts of added flavor make it too sweet for my liking. In other words, I’m making progress! (Measurable by caloric intake, weight on the scale, and also just feeling better mentally AND physically on the days I stick with it.)
The next “opportunity” (sounds cheesy and cliche, I’m well-aware, but I’m doing everything I can to mentally push myself in that direction) I have is the necessity of a new car. “Old Faithful”, my beloved pick-up truck has served me well for nearly a decade, but I believe her time has come to be laid to rest – for a variety of reasons. Due to my previous lack of healthy saving-habits, I made a budget this weekend so I can set aside $300/month to start saving for a down-payment, which will then roll over into a monthly car-payment. By doing so, I’m setting myself up for future success, rather than allowing that to become yet another source of anxiety due to a lack of control.
It’s interesting how biblical concepts like self-control and hard work have real-world value when you surrender and let them impact varying areas of your life. You don’t have to be a Christian to recognize their validity and unprecedented effective nature.
God isn’t limited by out past or present shortcomings if we are willing to humble ourselves and let ourselves be shaped/molded. He’s making all things new – so why not you? When wanting something to change you have to “Do Somethin’ Bout It”, as STL-based hip-hop artist Thi’sl would say in his album, “Fallen King”.
Success in reaching any goal – in the work-place, in fitness, in relationships, and so on – does not happen on accident. You have to work toward it. You have to take steps, no matter how small, toward attaining your goals. Need to bridge the gap in a relationship? Write a letter asking forgiveness and a new start. Want that new promotion? Be more than “just there” at work and find ways to make yourself indispensable.
The bottom line – you aren’t getting anywhere if you just stand there.
It’s time to start taking steps toward a renewed life.