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7 Irritating Thoughts That Throw You Off Track

7 Irritating Thoughts That Throw You Off Track

We’ve all been there. One minute you’re sailing towards achieving one of your major life goals and then before you know it a sneaky, irritating thought has crept in to throw you off track. The thing is, the mind is a wily instrument, and if we don’t take the time to train our minds, then our minds will end up training us!

In fact, how much time do you even spend paying attention to those thoughts inside your head? Because if you’re not careful, your negative thoughts will throw a spanner in the works when it comes to achieving your goals.

Think about it. Thoughts essentially drive our behavior—before we do something, anything, we have to have a thought first. And when we’re thinking positive thoughts, life is generally pretty good. Those irritating, negative thoughts, however, are the ones that will do us the most harm. Don’t underestimate the power of a series of irritating, negative thoughts one after another, because they can literally throw you off track and turn your life upside-down!

Here’s a list of 7 irritating thoughts to avoid and 7 more helpful, positive thoughts to choose instead.

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1. “I should…”

The word ‘should’ is highly negative and is not conducive to achieving goals in life. When you think the word “should,” you’re essentially criticizing yourself, so its best to avoid this in everyday thoughts.

Replace with: “I have decided to…”

Instead of worrying about what others think you “should” be doing, consciously make your own decisions in life. Take control of what you really want to be doing with positive and empowered thoughts such as “I have decided to.”

2. “I’ll try.”

When we say I’ll try what we really mean is “I’m not prepared to commit to this.” Have you ever tried to get up and walk? Try it now. Try and get up and walk. Did you do it? I’m guessing not. Because it’s not possible to “try” and do something. As Yoda from Star Wars once said: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Replace with: “I will.”

Consider for a moment how much more powerful the words “I will” are, compared to “I’ll try.” When you say “I will,” you’re demonstrating your desire to commit to something wholeheartedly and your goals suddenly feel “possible.” Don’t worry too much about whether you actually reach the goals or not—this is about you taking action so you can move forward.

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3. “I can’t…”

I love to tell people that “there’s no such word as ‘can’t.'” “Can’t” is such a debilitating word that sees you failing before you have even begun. If you’re a perfectionist, this might be your worst enemy because perfectionists often don’t even attempt to try new things for fear of failure. Remember this saying: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So take a chance and delete “can’t” from your thought processes.

Replace with: “What if?”

This is a great alternative to thoughts that begin with the words “I can’t.” Instead of limiting us, the phrase “What if?” opens up a world of possibilities. It encourages solution-oriented thinking, which helps us to solve complex problems. Next time you feel like you’re in a hopeless situation, try saying to yourself “what if” and see what solutions pop up. You might be surprised!

4. “I wish I wasn’t / didn’t have to…”

This is nothing more irritating than a nagging, complaining voice twittering away inside your head. Plus, it’s pointless. If you don’t like something, then take action and try to change your situation. Otherwise, may as well get on with life with a smile on your face!

Replace with: “I choose not to..”

You always have a choice in life. Instead of wishing your life away, take control and make an active decision to either do something or not do it. In the end, you always choose.

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5. “I need…”

How often to you declare that you ‘need’ something and how often do you really, really need it? This word need creates dependency where it’s often not required. Next time you hear yourself think this, have a re-think to determine if you genuinely need what you’re talking about. If you don’t, then let go and minimize any negativity.

Replace with: “I have everything I need.”

By thinking about what you need a lot of the time, you are focusing on what’s missing in your life. This is essentially negative thinking in action! Put a stop to this by reminding yourself that you have everything that you need to get by.

6. “I’m not as good as…”

When we compare ourselves to others we are essentially de-valuing ourselves. These thoughts can leave us feeling like we’re just not good enough. The reality is this: every person on the planet is different and has their own skills & talents, so instead of comparing yourself to other people’s talents, look for your own skills and focus on these.

Replace with: “I’m good at…”

Train yourself to focus on those things that you are good at instead of making comparisons all the time!

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7. “I’ll never get everything done!”

When we have a lot on our to-do lists, it can be easy for overwhelm to kick in. Negative phrases such as this one only add fuel to the fire and build the anxiety associated with lots of tasks. By allowing these sorts of thoughts into your head, you’re essentially taking your focus off the present and are worrying about the future. This can actually paralyze you and stop you from making any progress.

Replace with: “Everything is under control.”

Instead of worrying about whether you’ll get everything done, simply repeat a calming phrase like “Everything is under control” and then slowly and methodically tick each task off one-by-one. All you need to do is take action and stop worrying!
Do yourself a favor and kick these irritating, negative thoughts to the curb and adopt these more useful, positive phrases!

More by this author

Zoe B

A strategist, coach and blogger who shows people how to stop what isn't working for them in life and to start to plan the life they really want.

How to Stop Procrastination By Overcoming Boredom 6 Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills Effectively How to Increase Brain Power: 10 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain 12 Inspiring Quotes from Richard Branson that Enrich your Life 7 Irritating Thoughts That Throw You Off Track

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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