What I Think: Changing Thoughts and Behaviour, One Page at a Time

I started doing something new. Well, it’s not actually new to me, it just feels like I am going to see results this time. Have you ever started a journal and actually wanted to continue writing in it? Well, it’s happening to me. 

I have always held the belief that you get what you think about — that the thoughts you are thinking manifest in your life experience. I remember listening to an Anthony Robbins audiocassette tape maybe 18 years ago. He was talking about just this topic when he said that we choose to fall in or out of love with another person. He explained that when you are distant with a loved one, it probably means that you are thinking about the things that you don’t like in your partner. To be in love means that you must remember and focus on everything that is good — everything that brought you to love that person in the first place. His words resonated with me, and hearing them come out of his mouth felt like he had tapped into my brain. 

Years later our contributing writer, Lisa Sansom, wrote a six-part series about the Appreciative Inquiry process. Fondly referred to as the AI process, it challenges us to focus and appreciate the things at work that work, thereby getting more of that behaviour. All too often we have “debriefing” meetings that focus on what didn’t work so we can ensure we don’t do it again. But spending time on outcomes that don’t work actually causes more of that outcome to occur because that is where we focus our thoughts and energy. 

A life of joy and success is about focusing on the outcome you want as if it already exists. Easy, right? Well, some things are easier said than done. 

I had recently hit some turbulent waters with my beloved. It happens, I know, but we were heading on holidays and I wanted an amazing vacation together. So I started a new journal. The journal I used was the Time Flies Journal. A Bird Lover’s Daybook — a picture book of birds blank on the right-hand side for writing. Everyday I wrote in it, and every day I gave it to my sweetheart to read. The format I used was a simple formula starting with: 

Today I choose to love you because… (identify the attribute) followed by… (an example or two of the behaviour) and ending with: And for this reason I really love you. 

The first entry I put in the journal referred to something he has done for me for many years so I wrote: 

Today I choose to love you because you are kind. 

Every morning you bring me a pot of herbal tea without me ever having to ask, even if I’m still asleep. And for this reason I really love you. 

For 10 days I wrote something every day and it wasn’t always easy to do, I confess. He read the words and then lingered on the pages to look at the pretty pictures. That’s good, I thought. I wanted him to linger on the positive thoughts. 

Something interesting happened from this exercise. First, I had to focus on him every day to find something positive about him to write about. This was my lesson — to spend more time focusing on what really matters. The more I focused on him and his positive attributes, the more they appeared. It was quite magical, actually. Now imagine how we can strengthen our relationships at work based on this principle. 

Secondly, the more he read the journal the more special he felt. He became lighthearted again. Needless to say, we ended up having a great holiday together. 

Is someone at work rocking your boat? Think about their positive qualities (you may have to dig deep) and focus on them. Soon their attitude toward you will warm. 

Beloved readers, this I know is true: What you think about grows. So, what do you want more of in your life and in your workplace? Focus on that.

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Vera Asanin

Written By

Vera Asanin is award-winning and the Editor-in-Chief for Your Workplace. She is a published author of hundreds of articles, and a professional speaker at international events. Vera is inspiring and passionate, and she’s also on a mission to make work better.

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