Does it feel like your thoughts are running the show? That your thought patterns are running out of control?
Do you feel like no matter how hard you try, it feels like a vicious cycle of unproductive inner chatter just keeps spinning around in your mind and you can’t break free from it?
If so, don’t worry – you’re definitely not alone.
Your thoughts are the drivers of your life. They influence your emotions and perspective of the world. If you can identify your unhelpful thought patterns, you can correct them. This will help you develop new ways of managing yourself and the world around you.
It’s time to take back control of your thoughts and feelings and start navigating your own life.
Today, let’s explore how you can get a better understanding of your thought patterns and become the best you possible.
8 Thought Patterns Holding You Back
Your thoughts have a powerful impact over your experiences — both good and bad. The problem is, for many of us, there are more negative than positive ones.
But the better you can recognize these all-too-common negative ways of thinking, the easier it is to break free from them.
Let’s explore some examples of negative thinking patterns that can hold you back from living your best life and the steps you can take to overcome them.
1. Assuming without researching.
When it comes to making assumptions, you may as well be leaping into a freezing pool blindfolded. Don’t let rash decisions take precedence over research.
Take a step back, gather the necessary evidence, and move forward thoughtfully. Deliberation is always worth the effort; being correct never goes out of style.
So, put on your detective hat and take up your magnifying glass. The world awaits your deductive conclusions!
2. Presuming that the past equals the future.
Don’t let your past be the judge and jury of your future! Just because history has a way of repeating itself doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck in time like Bill Murray was in the movie, Groundhog Day.
Okay, the cutie you had your eyes in high school shot you down. But that’s no indication of how things will go for you today. Instead of letting earlier experiences dictate your destiny, assume each challenge is an independent opportunity for success.
Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t come easy to you. Just keep at it. Every attempt can help you become aware of what you need to improve. It’s not an all-or-nothing event.
And, just because you weren’t born a genius in an area, doesn’t mean you can’t become one of the best in your field. When it comes to mastering public speaking, salesmanship, or socializing like a pro, practice combined with persistence, can make perfect.
3. Using inaccurate information.
Don’t let yourself get caught in a tide of positive thinking or a flood of negativity. Stick to the facts.
Let’s say you’re dating someone new. At first, you may be too enamored to spot any imperfections. But as time goes on, it’s easy to become fixated on their flaws.
Avoid these thinking styles. Instead, take an objective approach.
Gather as much evidence as you can to help you make the most rational decision possible.
Maybe you’re thinking of investing in a new startup. If it does as well as the broker says it will, it could help you change your financial future.
As much as you’d love for it to be your golden ticket, it’s important to challenge your thoughts and examine the information.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the promise of potential. Do your research.
Assess the company’s business model, market potential, competition, financial projections, and every other piece of information you can get your hands on. That way, you can make a truly informed decision instead of taking risks prompted by emotion.
What’s important is to gather as much accurate information as possible. Don’t let extreme emotions cloud the way you think.
Keep it real and stick to the facts!
4. Placing too much significance on events.
Too often, we’re quick to focus on our failures and slow to celebrate our successes. We regret our mistakes, focus on our missteps, and brush off our accomplishments.
Before long, it’s easy to start thinking in terms of not being good enough to achieve anything worthwhile. These negative beliefs can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading to failure.
Challenge your thoughts and begin giving yourself credit for every success, even the small ones. Learn from, don’t linger on, past mistakes.
Additionally, stop making negative conclusions when things don’t go your way. Don’t assume the worst.
There’s something incredibly empowering about viewing your successes and failures equally. It will boost your confidence, help you feel less anxious, and help you prioritize the most important things in your life.
5. Taking things too personally.
We’ve all had experiences when people do or say something that doesn’t involve us, yet we take it personally. We read into it and think it’s an attack on our worth or identity.
This can result in defensive behavior and sour relationships. But it’s essential to remember that the other person has their own reasons behind what they do or say. If often has nothing to do with you at all.
Your boss is being short with you. Take a deep breath before becoming irrational and overreacting.
Maybe they don’t realize how they are behaving. They could be having an extra tough day with their boss or dealing with a grave issue with their spouse or child.
When something happens, like your car breaking down, it’s not necessarily the universe conspiring against you. It’s important to remember what’s happening to you happens to everyone at times.
You are not being singled out by the cosmos.
These types of thought patterns are not helpful. Even worse, they will cause you lots of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
By taking a moment to breathe and identify these irrational thoughts, you’ll be able to stay calm. This will lead to you living a more compassionate and patient life.
6. Dwelling on the past.
Your past can provide insight if you choose to learn from it.
Unfortunately, far too many of us carry around our regrets, allowing them to hold us back.
To move forward, you must set aside the past and embrace its teachings without allowing it to overshadow your future.
For example, someone missed out on a job opportunity because they lacked the right qualifications. Instead of ruminating over what could have been, they can use this feedback as an opportunity to acquire the skills they need. Then they can use their newly developed skills to try their luck with similar prospects in the future.
The same rule applies to failed relationships. While it’s okay to be sad at first, it’s also important to reflect on what went wrong. With a little time and effort, you can constructively apply your newfound knowledge to any potential romances.
Learn from the past instead of living in it. It’s the way to change anything in your life.
7. Thought patterns fixated on the future.
Having goals and plans is a terrific way to move forward, but dwelling on the future can be a recipe for disaster. Keep your sights set on the present. If you continuously focus on what’s ahead, you may forget to take the necessary steps to get there.
Maybe someone wants to change careers. While it’s important to be mindful of this goal, it’s just as important to do something to make it a reality. For example, they could network with people in the field or take specific courses to make it a reality.
Worrying too much about the future won’t help you identify the steps you need to take. If you’re going to succeed, you must think about what you can do now and then take the action needed to make it happen.
The same goes for those looking to save up for a big purchase, like a house or car. Instead of worrying about whether you’ll ever be able to afford it, create a budget and follow your plan. Take advantage of any financial opportunities available to you today.
Working on your plan, day by day, is how you can achieve your goal.
Practice mindfulness to help you change your thought patterns. This will help you focus on the present moment, the only place you can get anything done.
8. Putting things off.
Do you habitually find yourself putting things off? Are there things you know you should do but, for whatever reason, you continually tell yourself, “I’ll get to that tomorrow,” only to find you haven’t done it, days, weeks or even months later?
These patterns become traps for heartaches and disappointments. Why wait for trouble to come knocking at your door?
Whether it’s improving your health, saving money, or maintaining your vehicle—seize the day. Don’t let procrastination rob you of success.
The future starts now.
Change Your Thought Patterns, Change Your World
Stop thinking it’s impossible to change your thought patterns. You can replace negative thoughts with ones that help propel you forward toward the future you desire.
Feeling better is a choice you can make. Don’t let those pessimistic thoughts and negative feelings dictate your life any longer.
The next time you find yourself succumbing to any of these thinking patterns, take charge of your mind and answer these questions.
Is this evidence-based or is my brain just making this up?
How can I reframe these cognitive distortions?
Retraining your brain is something you can do. While you may not always be able to control your immediate reactions, these questions can help you challenge the distortions that may be holding you back.
Your mind is a powerful tool. It can either work for you or against you.
Start changing your thought patterns today.
Trust me, your life will thank you for it.
Looking to take control of your thoughts? Check out Modern Mindfulness – the beginner’s guide on how to find peace and happiness in a busy world. Learn to harness the power of mindfulness to empower yourself, gain clarity, and live a life that’s filled with joy!