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Lifestyle / Entrepreneur Mindset

7 Proven Ways to Reprogram Your Thoughts

It's hard to be pessimistic and happy at the same time.
7 Proven Ways to Reprogram Your Thoughts
Image credit: Westend61 | Getty Images
- Contributor
Author of A Paperboy's Fable: The 11 Principles of Success
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's clich?; but true: your thoughts have a significant impact on your success and well-being. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who thought more optimistically lived longer and healthier lives than those who tended to be pessimistic.

If thoughts alone can improve health and longevity, then they can certainly help thinkers achieve great things, either personally or professionally.

Perhaps the biggest challenge when attempting to think your way to success is reprogramming your mind. Habits of the mind can be difficult to break, but by implementing the strategies outlined below, readers will be able to develop new patterns of thought in the new year.

Related: 10 Podcasts That Can Change How You Think About Life

1. Change your daily routine.

In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg details the effects of the neurological loops that govern our lives. Duhigg shows that our daily thoughts and habits have a powerful impact on our decisions, and ultimately on our success.

Readers who are interested in reprogramming their thoughts should first become accustomed to changing their habits. For example, changing your morning routine so that you get out of bed with enough time to go to the gym can give you a sense of accomplishment that boosts your confidence for the rest of the day.

Takeaway: Take a few minutes to outline your daily routines, being as detailed as possible. Then choose one new routine you would like to add or replace.

Related: The 10 Traits That Define Entrepreneurial Success

2. Take time to travel.

Travel isn't just a way to secure a short respite from the stresses of daily life; it also has the power to change perspectives and behavior. One study found that long-term travelers became more agreeable and more emotionally stable as a direct result of their trip.

Since our daily habits can have a remarkable impact on our thoughts, changing our daily routine is a fantastic way to reprogram thoughts by gaining perspective.

Takeaway: Plan a trip that takes you out of your daily routine. Traveling doesn't need to be expensive; even a short excursion can provide new perspectives.

Related: The Most Common Habit of Self-Made Millionaires

3. Read fiction.

To reprogram your thoughts, you must provide yourself with new experiences and new perspectives. One cost-effective way to do this is by reading works of fiction. A study conducted by the New School found that participants who read fiction were better able to anticipate the feelings of others.

Being able to empathize with others isn't just an important skill for those interested in living more compassionate lives. It can also help you to be a better professional. Understanding the thought process of colleagues, employees or prospective customers will make it easier to form powerful connections.

Takeaway: Everyone has time to read. If you think you're too busy to pick up a great book, think again. First, outline your daily routines as mentioned in section one. Second, schedule a few minutes to read each day. Paging through a good book during your morning commute or right before bed can be an effective way to reprogram your thoughts.

Related: 10 Quotes to Help You Not Suck and Be Awesome, According to an Awesomeness Expert

4. Align your time with your priorities.

Time is our most valuable asset. It can be helpful to learn what you spend your days thinking about. If you want to reprogram your thoughts, take a look at your day and try to categorize how you spend your time. Add up the time spent performing various tasks and divide the hours by twenty-four.

If you are unhappy with how your time is currently allocated, it's time to make a change. Otherwise, the thoughts that bubble up throughout the day will be difficult to alter. Make 2018 the year you start spending your time in accordance with your priorities.

Takeaway: By gaining control of your calendar, you'll be able to gain control of your thoughts. Take a long hard look at how you allocate your time and commit to spending your days on your terms.

Related: 10 Things Successful People Tell Themselves Every Day

5. Develop healthy sleep habits.

Countless studies show that sleep is an important component of health and well-being. But, sleep can also impact our mood, thoughts and happiness. Those who get eight or more hours of sleep a day report being more productive at work and tend to exhibit signs of better mental health.

On the other hand, people who get less than seven hours of sleep a day are at great risk of depression and anxiety disorders. In order to reprogram your thoughts, your conscious mind will need ample energy to fight against bad habits. Build up your mental acuity by getting a solid eight hours of sleep each night.

Takeaway: Invest in a sleep-tracking app. If the data show that you're not getting adequate sleep, you may have identified the single best way to change your thoughts. Make sure you get eight hours of sleep a night, and in time your thoughts will become healthier.

Related: 15 Unexpected Things That Are Stealing Your Sleep

6. Avoid caffeinated drinks.

In the moment, caffeine can seem like a magical drug. Indeed, it is used by hundreds of millions of people to clean out the cobwebs each day. However, caffeine can alter our thoughts and can even cause some people to experience increased anxiety.

If you rely on caffeine to make it through the day, experiment with eliminating caffeine for a while. After a month of going caffeine free, take stock of your thoughts to see if your brain is clearer than before.

Takeaway: Commit to living a caffeine-free life for at least one month. If you've become dependent on caffeine, it's a sign that the drug may be negatively impacting your thoughts. Use exercise, stretching or meditation as alternative ways to rejuvenate your brain throughout the day.

Related: Is Caffeine Boosting or Sabotaging Your Productivity?

7. Give yourself quiet time.

We live in a noisy world. Because of smartphones, open-air offices and streaming video services, it's never been harder to carve out quiet time. However, for those interested in careful thinking, quiet is exactly what you need.

Get in the habit of putting yourself in position to think quietly for a set period of time each week. You could take a walk in nature or learn self-guided meditation. By carving out quiet time, you give your mind an opportunity to explore new thoughts that might otherwise be suppressed during the daily scrum.

Takeaway: Our environment impacts our thoughts. Put yourself in a position to think carefully and deeply by securing a quiet place to work through challenging thoughts in peace.

Make 2018 the year of change by reprogramming your thoughts. While this resolution won't be easy to tackle, it can certainly be done. Remember that our environment has a significant impact on what we think, and evaluate how you spend your time and where you spend it in order to begin shaping your thoughts for the better.

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