Olive Von Topp
Step 3 & 4 of The 4 C's to Changing your Thoughts: Create & Cultivate
Updated: Aug 25, 2021
Part of my work in helping my client banish perfectionism, end procrastination, empower them to take healthy risks towards reaching their goals, and banishing negative thinking, is thought work.
Thought work is the process of catching, getting curious about, challenging, and creating new thoughts when we find we are up against some limiting beliefs about ourselves. This is step 3 and 4 in the process.
So you’ve noticed your thoughts in Step 1, gotten curious and critical about them in Step 2, and decided you want to change them. So like, how do you actually change those thoughts?
Well, the answer is simple, but not easy.
You are essentially trying to rewire your brain/unlearn all the “limiting beliefs” (aka B.S.) you’ve been taught your whole life.
So it might take some time.
Because our thoughts create our feelings, which drive our actions, which creates our lives, one way to arrive at new thoughts is to work backwards from a goal. You can ask yourself “What would I need to be doing in order to achieve this goal?” Then, “What would I need to be feeling in order to do those things? And finally, “What thought would I need to be thinking in order to feel that way?”. And bam! There’s your thought.
Now, the thought you might need to be thinking might be too grandiose for you right now. So we need to start small. We need to start with something you can believe (I can’t stress this enough, you need to actually believe it).
Choosing Your New Thoughts: Use the "Thought Tiers" Approach.
I like to use what I call “Thought Tiers”. First, start with a very neutral thought you can believe that feels better than your current negative thought.
Write it down. Say it. Feel it in your body. Believe it.
The key is, you have to implement thoughts you can believe. If you start too big, like “I’m amazing” (which of course you are!) but you don’t actually believe this thought, it ain’t gonna work. You have to start small and work up to it.
Download my Thought Tiers Worksheet to get started!
So for example:
Tier One: Your usual “Negative” Thought: I need to be perfect in order to be accepted
Tier Two: “Neutral” Thought: I am human
Tier Three: “Peaceful” Thought you can work up to in time: I am flawed AND loveable
Tier Four “Positive” Thought you can work up to in time: I’m actually pretty amazing and worthy of love!
Pick a thought in the tier that you can actually believe today, and then create a custom, or cultivate a habit around implementing this new thought.
Write it down and put the new thought on your mirror.
Say it morning and night after your brush your teeth. While you’re stopped at red lights. Feel that shit in your body. Let it sink it. Practice, practice, practice.
And remember, you are flexing a new muscle. Just like starting a new workout routine, it might feel uncomfortable, annoying, or hard at first!
Rewiring Your Brain
Pay attention to when you slip into thinking your old “negative” thought that you are trying to change. Notice it without judgment, and try implementing your new “neutral” thought instead.
You are essentially rewiring your brain.
These “negative” thoughts are deeply ingrained. They have taken years to develop, so it will take some time for your brain to rewire itself to naturally choose the more neutral/positive route, but the more you catch yourself, practice your thoughts, the easier it gets, and then eventually, it becomes second nature.
Phew, thats hard work!
Then, once you believe this thought, move onto the next thought tier until you get to the thought you need to start creating the life you truly want. Don't forget to use the worksheet!
If you find yourself stuck or in need of some guidance, I get it! This is though stuff. Reach out to me for a free 30 minute session and I can help you get started to work through some of this.