Success is a habit. And a habit is simply how you go about doing things, over and over. Habits are programmed and are largely unconscious acts (you don’t think about them). Because habits are programmed, they’re ultimately programmable, which means they can be installed and uninstalled, just like you can install a successful mindset.
In fact, you can classify almost anything as a habit. Happiness, for example, is a habit. And so is misery. Failure too is a habit. And so is success.
The successful fasting mindset (or the habit of success) is positive and optimistic. It’s also realistic. In order to change your mindset, you need to monitor and change your thoughts because thoughts beget feelings, feelings beget behaviors, and behaviors beget habits. Having a successful mindset all starts with your thoughts, and these sections give you a mini crash course in psychotherapy to help you avoid negative thoughts and create a positive way of thinking, which can lead to success.
Abolishing a negative mindset
Before you can install your new mindset, you first have to remove your cur- rent negative mindset because these negative thoughts lead to habits. A simple way to get rid of your old mindset that isn’t working: Stop thinking
“I can’t” and focus on “I can.” You’ll act in accordance to your thoughts. If you think you can’t, you’re right. On the other hand, if you think you can, you’re right, so be aware of your thoughts.
To help you eliminate your negative thoughts, use a thought journal. For one week, write down all negative thoughts that you have in a notebook or journal, such as “I look so fat,” “I hate the way I look,” or “Why did God give me these thunder thighs?” If you’re like most Americans, the journal will quickly fill.
You’re probably not aware of how much negative thinking goes on in your head. Monitoring and recording your negative thinking is the first step toward getting rid of it.
After doing so for a week, begin to identify whenever a negative thought creeps into your mind and replace it immediately with a more positive and compassionate thought. This process requires that you’re constantly monitoring your thoughts (which is why the journal is so helpful) so that you can straightaway replace all negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Eventually, and with enough practice, this process will become automatic. So, when you think “I hate the way I look,” focus on what you do like about yourself and that you’re making a concerted effort to improve the way you look.
Establishing the habit of success
To create a new habit and mindset, you need to start to develop a new way of thinking. To do so, you replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Instead of “I can’t” or “I won’t,” focus on “I can” and “I will.” In order for this new way of thinking to stick, you need to do it every day, as much as you possibly can.
If you truly wish to establish the habit of success, you can consciously choose to replace any negative thoughts as quickly as possible with a more positive and compassionate thought. You can consciously change your thoughts until the change becomes an unconscious decision. Then as your thoughts change, your feelings will change. And as your feelings change, your behavior changes. After your behavior changes for the better, you’re in a condition to install a healthier, more productive habit.
Consider how you put on your pants. Chances are you put your pants on by putting either your left or your right leg in first. And chances are you do it unconsciously, meaning you don’t think about it. To change this habit, you must consciously force yourself to do the opposite, and continue to consciously make this change on a regular ongoing basis until the action becomes unconscious. When it becomes an unconscious decision, you’ve successfully installed a new habit. Failure is putting your pants on one way. Success is doing it another way. It’s a simple change of habit simple, but not easy.
So instead of saying to yourself, “No way am I ever going to be able to go with- out food for that long,” you can be a bit more compassionate with yourself and say something like “Fasting for that long is no big deal. I’ve gone that long without food before, and the more I do it, the better I’ll get at it.” What you’ll notice about the positive thought replacement is that it’s both comforting and realistic. You have to say something to yourself that is somewhat believable; otherwise, you won’t accept it, and you’ll revert to your negative thought.
You can use this technique for all endeavors business, personal relation- ships, sports competitions, and so on, although it’s particularly useful, if not critical, for optimizing your health. If you want to be healthy, then you need to start acting healthy, even if it feels awkward at first.
Sometimes making the thought change isn’t easy. Many psychologists suggest you fake it until you make it, which means in order to program the habit of success, you must forcefully act the way you want to be.