Today I’d like to reach out a hand and pull you up! If you’re going through a rough season in life I want to show you that *you* are able to greatly improve your life if you’re willing to put in some work and change your mindset.
A handful of changes repeated consistently day after day, week after week, can make an incredible impact on your life. And the best part? It’s completely FRE.! You don’t need to buy any books [although I’m addicted to self-development books and audios] or take any classes. You just need to retrain your brain.
You Need to Change Your Mindset
I truly believe our minds are so powerful that we are able to drastically improve our lives by changing the way we think, perceive, and react to our everyday thoughts and experiences.
I know it might sound crazy, but your happiness is up to you. Here are five practices that made a significant difference in my life so I know they can make a difference in yours as well…
Fill Your Mind with Positivity
One of the most important, albeit difficult, practices you must master is to constantly keep your mind filled with positivity.
There are many ways this can be done but what I most want to convey is that for most this one can really take some time. I have worked diligently at this – and while I still struggle sometimes – for the most part, it has been a game-changer.
The negativity will always creep in if you let it. BUT, here is the cool thing….you don’t have to let it! You are in charge of your own thoughts and no one can take that away from you.
See, you have a choice in every situation that arises to see it for the negative or see it for the positive. With practice, you can train your mind to search for the positive and make that your focus. Doing this can almost immediately snap you out of a bad mood.
You get to decide how your day will go. You get to set the tone each morning when you wake. Sure, crap happens…some days more than others; but, here’s the thing: the way you react to what happens makes all the difference in the world.
For example, if you oversleep in the morning and immediately think “Ugh, I overslept. Now I’m running late and don’t have time to make breakfast…it’s going to be one of those days”, guess what?! It will be.
You’ve already pre-determined in your mind that you’re going to have a sucky day so you will subconsciously focus on all the negative things that happen the rest of the day in order to fulfill your prophecy.
Conversely, if you oversleep in the morning and instead think to yourself “Hey, I got a little extra sleep, I’m nice and rested plus I’m short on time now I get to treat myself to the Starbucks drive-thru on the way to work!”, guess what?!
Now you’ve set yourself up for success and you’re more inclined to brush off the little things that happen throughout your day.
I think it’s important to mention that we are often able to see the positives or “silver linings” in hindsight. Things make more sense later when the emotions have settled and you are able to be more objective.
I get that.
It can be much more difficult while in the moment, but practice makes perfect, and eventually, you’ll be able to let the negative roll off your back and begin to see that the glass half full.
Positive thinking is like a muscle. You have to train it. Feed it. Grow it. And if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
Practice Gratitude Daily
This one I swear, I could write about for hours…I wish I could convey what an impact this practice will have on your life.
I promise you.
I grew up Catholic. I always learned (and believed) that we should be grateful for everything God gave us. So I always thought I was “practicing gratitude”. I’m not sure how to put this into words except that I think there’s “being grateful”, which is great.
You’re grateful you have a family, you have a job, you have a place to live, etc. Often I think we feel grateful mostly when comparing ourselves to others who have less than us. We have sympathy for them and it helps us realize how fortunate we are.
The act of practicing gratitude is different in that it requires action, not just passing thoughts.
Actually practicing gratitude can take many forms: keeping a gratitude journal, taking time to reflect each day on your life and the gratitude you feel for each part of it, consistently giving thanks to God for your abundant blessings (or whomever you may pray to, or not if that’s not your thing), actively searching for things in your life to be grateful for that may not be as obvious…
Take time to make this a daily habit in your life and I promise you will notice the difference.
Short on time? Even jotting down 3 things you’re grateful for each day while you’re drinking your morning coffee can give you those feel-good effects! You’ll start to feel lighter on your feet, less stressed and even sleep better. Making gratitude a priority will pay off in a big way.
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This can be a touchy subject. Many people (including myself) have wonderful intentions of giving and helping others. Many of those same people think they have nothing to give.
I was the first one to say “when we get on track then we will be able to donate more”. That is called a lack mentality. (Lack mentality tells us if we give to others there won’t be enough left for us…but that’s not the case.)
We’ve always given. Outgrown clothing, kids’ toys, a few bucks in the offertory basket at church. We gave almost every time we were asked. I always feel bad saying no to anything (the struggle is real) so I would try to give a little (usually $10) anytime we were asked.
We felt good because “every little bit helps” and all, but I wanted so badly to give more but never did because we were broke?!?
So here’s what I learned: You reap what you sow.
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I believe this wholeheartedly. And this doesn’t only apply to money. If you give where you are lacking, that is where you’ll grow.
Do you want to receive kindness? Be kind to others.
Do you want to boost your confidence? Help someone else boost theirs.
Do you want to learn to love yourself? Show someone else that they are worthy of being loved.
Do you want to be blessed financially? Bless others with your finances!
So here is what I now know: I have to give to get.
If we withhold our help from those who are deserving until we have “enough to give” we are actually depriving ourselves of amazing experiences and human connections! We now give more than I ever thought we could, but it’s not completely altruistic.
I give not only to help others but because it gives me an indescribable feeling knowing I’ve contributed in some small way.
Thankfully, my husband is here to keep me grounded because once I donate to a Go Fund Me page and it starts showing you a feed of all the campaigns and the waterworks start flowing I want to donate to every single one….and if I’m in the other room and hear that SPCA commercial with Sarah Mclachlan come on, good Lord you will have to pry my checkbook out my hands or I will save allllll the animals.
And while he has a generous heart, he does a good job of bringing me back to reality and reminding me that we still do have bills to pay.
Try this one, give what you can with an open heart and I think you will be pleasantly surprised with how God (and/or the universe) moves in your life.
Surround Yourself with Good People
If your Momma never told you, then let me be the first…you are who you hang around.
It’s true. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Think about it. Like, really think about it. Be honest with yourself. Are you spending your time with people you aspire to be like?
Do these people challenge you? Inspire you? Make you want to do better? Be better?
If not, then I have some bad news for you….they’ve got to go! Kick ’em to the curb.
How often do you see five losers palling around one super successful guy? You don’t. Because if he sticks around long enough eventually he will be the 6th loser. They will bring him down. It never fails.
You can’t be positive when you surround yourself with negative people. I mean, sure, maybe for a while you can but little by little they will drag you down to their level.
I don’t think I need to elaborate too much on this one, it’s pretty cut and dry. In order to improve your life, you need to surround yourself with good people.
Seek out those who support you, lift you up, and have your best interests at heart. People who have what you want. People who are headed where you want to go will be there to welcome you when you arrive.
Give Yourself Grace
This might be the most important step on your journey to change your mindset.
Give yourself Grace. Everyday. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
This is a process….with a substantial learning curve.
Some days you will succeed.
You will blow sunshine up everyone’s butt, have a perma-smile, and feel like you can solve all the world’s problems….other days you will be grumpy, judgmental, and curse everyone who crosses your path.
That’s normal and you’re only human. Don’t feel guilty and frustrated.
Give yourself grace and start again tomorrow.
Working to change your mindset can truly be a struggle. No one gets it right 100% of the time. Give yourself permission to screw up and, more importantly, permission to do better tomorrow.
I began to adopt these practices at a time in my life when I realized I didn’t really like who I was or how I viewed the world. Making these five changes rocked my world and helped me view life in a way I never thought I could.
I encourage you to make an effort to incorporate these mindset shifts into your daily routine and you’ll be amazed at how much your life will improve!
Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.