How Quickly Can You Retrain Your Mind?

A very nervous, twitchy young man asked me: “How quickly can you retrain your mind?” I responded “much more quickly than he might imagine…a matter of days if not weeks.”

After I assigned two daily exercises for him to do, the two combined requiring less than 15 minutes a day, I asked: “Can you do that?” He responded: “I’ll try.” Flabbergasted by his response I asked: “What’s that famous Yoda line?” He didn’t hesitate a moment before saying “Do or no do, there is no try?”

Within the next 15 minutes of our conversation he twice began to use words like hope and try, caught himself and corrected his language making it intentional instead of conditional. I smiled as I said “You asked me earlier how quickly a person can retrain their minds, in the past few minutes you corrected yourself twice when you began to use language that didn’t demonstrate your intent to change. That’s how quickly you can retrain your mind.” He sported the biggest smile I’d seen during our hour-long conversation and we bumped fists.

For you

I’m sharing this experience with you because many people feel that change is arduous. In reality, the plasticity of our brains enable us to make huge changes in our thinking in a matter of minutes, days or weeks depending upon how ardently we pursue the change.

The fact that this young man was, within minutes, able to embrace more positive, intentional language is a powerful indicator of just how committed to change he is.

If there are aspects of your life that you’d like to change, each morning shortly after rising, use language that states your intention to effect the change you desire. Then, shortly before going to bed, review your day making note of the successes you had in moving toward the change you desire. In those instances in which you didn’t meet your objective, ask yourself “What did I learn from these experiences? What will I do differently going forward based on what I just learned?”

You’ll be amazed at how quickly your mind not only embraces your new way of thinking, but how quickly your new way of thinking becomes your default way of thinking. In other words, your new way of thinking becomes automatic; it no longer requires conscious effort on your part…and it happens within days of consistent employment of these exercises.

For our kids

When kids aren’t happy with the outcomes they’re getting, or some aspect of their personality, share this blog post with them. Help them develop the language for the exercises, language that is positive and intentional. Then leave them alone.

The progress they make, or don’t make, will be a powerful indicator of just how unhappy they are with what they’re experiencing. Asking them how they’re progressing, what they’re learning or encouraging them to continue the work isn’t going to favorably enhance their desire to change. Indeed, it’s more likely to have the opposite effect. Remember, motivation must come from within.

As kids learn how quickly they can change their experience by changing the way they think, they’ll employ this technique again and again throughout their lives. As a result, they’ll live richer, fuller lives…lives less plagued by fear, anxiety and frustration.

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