Since a new year is upon us and it’s generally a time when people make a fresh start, I thought it would be interesting to bring up a concept introduced to me a few months back by my music production mentor, Gary Gray – and it is this: if you want to change your thoughts, first change your behaviour.
If any of you are like me, you’ve probably invested a lot of your time and energy into affirmations. To a certain point, they help: I see them as a sort of primer…they prepare the ground so that when you plant your seeds, your are sowing them on soil that is more fertile. But I do not believe that affirmations can do much more than that. Why?
Because to me, the concept of affirmations is a half-baked one. It misses one vital factor – and that is: it’s down to you to do the work – to plant your proverbial seeds. You’re not going to manifest the life of your dreams by brainwashing yourself into believing you already have it. You also have to change your behaviour.
A change of thought must be accompanied by a change of behaviour. If you want to change the way you think, then change your behaviour. Your thoughts will soon change – as will your life.
It’s no use walking around affirming to yourself a thousand times a day that you are a successful and fulfilled creative when in reality you are spending little to no time on your creative passions. If, however, you change your behaviour to accompany your affirmation, your thoughts will soon start to tow the line, and you soon will be a successful and fulfilled creative. If you want to think generous thoughts, start behaving in a generous manner. You’ll be amazed at how your mindset (and your life) changes.
Think about it this way: thoughts are inanimate, they do not exist in the material realm until you turn them into actions. What leads to actions? The nature of your behaviour. Experts estimate we have between 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day. My head is spinning just at the thought of that! The ephemeral, yet relentless flow of thoughts means that without an anchor, a thought pattern is incredibly hard to change. One very effective anchor is your behaviour.
I’ll use a personal example: one of my most relentless and consistent thought patterns was the fear of financial lack. In the past, it was also what held me back from pursuing my dreams. I’ve tried all sorts of methods to help free me from the stifling grasp of this recurring thought pattern, but none really worked in the long term.
As most of you know, last September I had the opportunity to take a trip to California to meet my music production mentor in person and study with him directly. In theory, I could not afford to take the trip. My thoughts started spinning and I found myself in that all-too-familiar and limiting loop: “I can’t afford it, I can’t afford it”.
But something bigger than that thought pushed me to take the trip – label it as you wish: spirit, my higher self, intuition. Whatever it was, it convinced me. I took the trip. Sitting here recalling it, I have tears in my eyes – because it was one of the most blessed trips I’ve ever taken.
Me taking that trip did a lot of things, but most importantly, it ingrained into my soul one vital message: that I always have what I need – and so much more. Me changing my behaviour and choosing to take that trip has finally resulted in me being free from one of my most limiting thoughts. In short, my behaviour changed my thoughts.
The truth is, I’ve always had what I needed (more than what I needed), but my behaviour seldom reflected this. As a result, the limiting thought that I didn’t have enough money maintained it’s suffocating grip on me.
This lead me to feel frustrated – and angry at myself, but round and round in this seemingly inescapable cycle I went: having big dreams, but feeling frustrated that I didn’t have the resources in order to be able to pursue them.
Once I started changing my behaviour, it seemed to send a signal to my brain, which then enabled me to begin changing my thoughts. Once my thoughts began to change, my life began to change drastically.
Behaving in ways that support the changes you wish to make in your thought patterns will help you achieve the results you seek.
Give it a go: start noticing the thoughts you wish to change and instead of circling around in perpetual cycles of frustration, begin to make small changes in your behaviour to support the changes you wish to see.
If you wish to replace grumpy and resentful thoughts with grateful and joyous ones, start behaving in a more grateful manner. Begin each day by giving thanks. End each day doing the same. You will soon begin to feel genuine happiness percolating throughout your life.
As with everything, consistency is key – as is patience. Day by day, little by little as you change your behaviour, you will start noticing huge shifts in the way you think.