5 Ways to Control Your Thoughts

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“As you think, so shall you become.” This famous quote is from the martial arts expert Bruce Lee. We have all heard this same principle in one way or another. At a conscious level, we may acknowledge the truth of this saying. However, putting it into practice and realizing the true power of your thoughts is on a different level. 

Why do we become what we think? Our thoughts actually build neural pathways in our brains. The more you think a certain thought, the more you strengthen that neural pathway. When you continually entertain negative thoughts, it strengthens that neural pathway. When you cease to entertain certain negative thoughts, you weaken that neural pathway. 

So how do your thoughts really affect your life, and how can you determine how to control your thoughts? Gandhi said it perfectly… 

Your thoughts become your words. 

Your words become your actions.  

Your actions become your habits.  

Your habits become your values.  

Your values become your destiny. 

How can we control our thoughts to control our destinies? Here are five simple ways: 

1. Understand that you can choose to entertain thoughts or not. 

When you have a negative thought, it’s just a thought. You don’t actually have to entertain that thought. You can become an observer, saying to yourself, “No, thank you. I choose not to hold on to this thought,” and let it go. 

2. Visualize your negative thoughts floating away. 

This may sound too simple and cheesy, but it works! When you have a negative thought, picture it as a leaf floating down a river that goes far, far away. When you have a negative thought, picture it as a leaf, put it in the river, and see it float away into oblivion. 

3. Change your thoughts. 

You probably said, “No kidding, but I don’t know how to do that.” Well, here’s how to control your thoughts. When you have a negative thought that you know you don’t want to hold on to, think, What positive thought can I replace it with? While this process might seem to take effort at first, it quickly becomes a habit. Learning how to control your thoughts is a skill that over time (and it doesn’t very long), can become very easy for you. 

4. Choose thoughts that align with your goals. 

Ask yourself, In order to achieve XYZ goal, what would I have to believe? What kind of thoughts would I have to think? Then begin planting those thoughts in your head on a regular basis. You don’t necessarily need to believe them to start. But as you continue to strengthen that neural pathway, the thought will become a part of your words, actions, and habits, and you will begin to see results. 

5. Remember that other people’s thoughts don’t need to be your own. 

While someone else is free to share their own thoughts, you don’t need to entertain or adopt those thoughts. Simply ask yourself, Do I want to allow that thought into the precious real estate of my brain? Do those thoughts align with my own values and goals? Then adjust your own thoughts accordingly. 

So while the saying “As you think, so shall you become” might be cliché and make you roll your eyes, it’s true! Now you have some specific actions you can take to begin controlling your thoughts and, therefore, your destiny. 

If you would like some one-on-one action steps to help you gain control over your own thoughts, go ahead and schedule a free consultation with me today. 

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Dr. Alex Ledgister is not your typical “Success Coach.” The former Marine who holds a Ph.D.

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