Negative thinking is the easiest way to slow down your business and personal goals. But how do you get rid of negative thoughts? There are a number of ways to do it, and the one you choose is likely a personal decision.
We asked members of the Forbes Coaches Council for advice on how to banish negative thoughts so that their goals can be more easily met. The perspectives varied widely, but they all had one idea in common: You are in control. Our experts gave us their best tips, and this is what they had to say.
1. Speak To The Negative Thought
Practice becoming aware of when these thoughts come up. Are you tired, hungry, disappointed, stressed or something else? When we try to ignore negative thoughts, they don’t go away, they continue to pop up. To counteract them, recognize them. Let your internal voice say, “I’m recognizing a negative thought; it’s a story I’m telling myself, and it’s not true.” This squashes negativity pretty fast. - Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC
2. Get Around Positive People
Do you want to catch a cold? Get around people with a cold. I am not sure that advice still stands, but it certainly means something to me when coaching others. I see a lot of people associating with like-minded and often negative people when they are trying to change something in their lives, like a job. Negative people are not optimistic. Get around positivity physically, through your ears and eyes. - John M. O'Connor, Career Pro Inc.
3. Don't Expect Everything To Be Perfect
Expecting everything to be perfect can be debilitating and robs you of true happiness. Make sure your vision of success is steeped in reality. For example, if you are promoted next year -- instead of this year, as expected -- does one year really change anything in the long run? Striving for goals with a detachment to the end state having to be perfect can be a liberating way to live on your own terms. - Christie Lindor, The MECE Muse
4. Work With An Active Mindset
There are no substitutions for a bulletproof mindset. Finding a practice that works for you is key. When coaching different types of clientele (executives, millennials, entrepreneurs), each group works differently. The one thing I have found to be true and practical is that there is no standard practice. Your mindset practice is completely personalized and will evolve depending on what limiting beliefs you are trying to remove, as well as what positive traits are you trying to instill in your daily routine. The most important advice I can give is "stick with it." Get into a routine, find what works, and don't stop until you have mastered the program you choose. - Stephynie Malik, Chique Speak
5. Develop A Positive Morning Routine
Thinking starts early in the morning. When a leader controls their thinking, they control their life. Negative thinking can slow a leader down. Leaders must take every thought captive by replacing thoughts of fear with thoughts of hope and belief. One tool that many great thinking leaders use is to develop a morning routine where they read something encouraging and positive every morning. - Ken Gosnell, CEO Experience
6. Just Breathe
In order to stop negative thoughts, you need to slow everything down, and first learn to just notice them. Incorporating alarms, reminders and literal time blocks into your schedule to just breathe will bring you more ease and self-awareness. Then, when you start to notice how many negative thoughts you are having, simply breathe them away. The trick is not to judge yourself or get caught up in your negative thoughts. You will get stronger at this exercise with time, just like anything else. - Hanna Hermanson, Dream Life is Real Life
7. Become Intentional About Your Attitude
Assuming a positive attitude is an intentional action that starts as soon as you wake up in the morning. Become aware when you are focusing on the negative and make the decision to focus on the positive instead. Your attitude is a choice. You attract what you focus on, so let go of that which does not serve your goals. The more you practice positive mind-shifts, the easier it becomes. - Erin Urban, UPPSolutions, LLC
8. Try The Displacement Theory
Have you ever tried to stop thinking? Try it sometime, and see what happens. If you want to break negative thought patterns, you have to replace them with something else. No one can think about two things at the same time. So, pick something you would love to do and start working on it; let your pursuit of that dream displace the old thoughts. - Gary Harpst, Six Disciplines
9. Focus On The Promise, Not The Problem
No matter your talents or current work environment, there will always be reasons for negative thoughts if you let them exist. When you start to feel negative, just remember why you are there. Focus on where you are headed and why that is important to you. It really is about the end goal, not the unpleasant parts of the process. - Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
10. Tap Into The Root Problem
Most negative thinking stems from a problem that's not visibly seen on the surface. I call it the "root problem." These negative thought patterns are sometimes ingrained in us from early on and have become part of our programming. In order to overcome these negative thought patterns, you must identify the deeper-seeded reason why these patterns keep showing up. Then and only then will you be able to address the issue. - Kiki Ramsey, Kiki Ramsey International
11. Make A Conscious Choice
You can't get rid of negative thought patterns unless you can surface what they are. Get to know your negative thinking and how it gets triggered. Only with that self-awareness can you begin to identify when it is happening and make a choice to shift your perspective in the moment. - Jenn Lofgren, Incito Executive & Leadership Development
This article originally appeared in Forbes