Some people see their glass as half-empty instead of half-full.  We all have negative thoughts from time to time, but a consistent pattern of negative thinking is harmful.

Negative thinking is a pattern thinking negatively about yourself, those around you and your surroundings. It’s not the same as general worrying or anxiety about stressful things. Some level of anxiety and worry is perfectly normal.  Negative thinking occurs when you have an unfettered choice about how you think and feel about something. You choose to come to negative conclusions about things. You choose “bad” versus “good” or “wrong” versus “right.”

The pattern of negative thinking can become normal and people develop a pessimistic point of view. Negative thoughts become the norm:

  • “I don’t feel very good today, so I won’t go to the gym.”
  • “I’ve never been in shape, so I don’t think I’m going to get in shape now.”
  • “I’m not strong enough to lift weights.”
  • “I’ve never been in shape, so I don’t think I’m going to get in shape now.”
  • “I’m going to spend a lot of time working out and get nothing for it.”

There’s no time like the present for overcoming negative thinking and creating more opportunity for yourself with healthy, positive thinking.

  1. Identify episodes of negative thinking.

Often, we don’t know when we’re thinking negatively about something. Its important to identify your episodes of negative thinking so you know what negative thoughts your having. When you identify episodes of negative thinking, think about the words you’re using. What things are triggering your negative thinking? Is it occurring at certain times more than other? Your need to realize that negative thinking is happening and when it’s happening.

  1. Find your negative thinking pattern.

Your negative thinking occurs largely in a pattern. From the isolated incidents of negative thinking you can begin to identify your pattern of negative thinking. What activities are you thinking negatively about? If its about getting in shape and going to the gym, what areas are you particularly negative about? Find the pattern of negativity.

For example, you may think negatively about weight training. You may think you’re weak and you’ll never get results from it. Or you’re fearful of weight training and you think you’ll get too bulky and big. Dig through these kinds of thoughts and find the patterns of your negative thinking.

  1. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.

Once you’ve identified your patterns of negative thinking, you can prepare yourself for when they occur. You can identify the triggers for negative thinking and learn to insert positive thoughts. It’s not easy to do. You’ll need to be patient and forgiving of yourself when you start. Habits are hard to break, and negative thinking is a tough pattern to change.

Be aware of your negative thinking patterns and continually try to replace negative words and thoughts with positive words and thoughts. If you fail, try it again next time. Keep at it and, over time, you’ll start to notice more positive thoughts and, ultimately, more opportunity.