Change Your Thought Habits

A Very Spiky Cactus

A Very Spiky Cactus

One of messages I have written that I like the best is the one called Cactus and Ice Cream.
It goes like this:

"So here's a metaphorical choice for you today,
In one hand, you're holding a cactus
In the other hand, you're holding an ice cream cone.
And you have a choice about which you are going to put into your mouth.
Sounds like a no brainer, right?

Easy stuff, right?
So try this one.
You have a thought which makes you feel really bad.
You have a thought which makes you feel really good.
And you have a choice about which you are going to put into your mind to pay attention to.

PS You've only got so many paying attention opportunities in a day and they are yours to spend as you see fit."

And that was the message.

The idea behind it is how we make choices in our daily lives. A lot of folks spend much of their day deliberately (or so it seems) thinking thoughts that make them feel bad. There are even some folks who spend all day and all night thinking like this.

They think of all the things they have done in the past that they wish they had not done.

4 Scoop Ice Cream Cone

4 Scoop Ice Cream Cone

They think of all the things that they could do in the future and they are sure they are going to make the same hurtful choice again and again and again.

And even worse than making those choice to think thoughts that are going to hurt them, is that the really honestly believe that they have no choice about what thought they are going to think. They are sure that since they thought like this in the past, they think like that now, then they will surely think like in the future.

And they have no doubt that control of their thoughts is completely out of their hands. They know this with a certainty so deep that sometimes it almost impossible for them to imagine that they ever thought any other way.


It Wasn't Always This Way

But the truth is, they did think another way before.

No one is born thinking about how bad they are. How imperfect their lives are, how horrific their choices have been, are and will continue to be. That is just not how it works.

Babies think of themselves as perfect. They love who they are. They know what they want, and while they may not have a huge amount of experience in making choices, most babies and small children will not continue to keep doing something or thinking something if the result hurt them or makes them feel bad.

They don’t think like that because they don’t know how. Somebody has t teach them that it is important to treat your self badly. That it’s important to think of yourself as less than others, that it’s important to know for sure that the world is not abundant and you don’t always get what you want.

And most folks grow up learning those lessons very well. In fact, they have those kind of rules engraved with a rusty nail in blood on their innermost secret hearts. And they grow up believing that they are limited, that the only thing the Universe has in abundance is lack and that it is not going to get any better. And then you die.



The Time For Change Is The Present Moment

Wall CLock

The Time Is Now

Time for a change.  More ice cream type thoughts and less cactus type of thinking.

You are in charge. You do control your thoughts. The things you are thinking now, especially the current of thoughts that seems to keep running through your head non stop that tells you what a severely limited sort of being you are, are just habits.

And habits can be changed. You didn’t start with that habitual way of thinking; you kept practicing it until you were good at it. At first some one tells you when you are good and when you are bad, somebody important to you and you believe them. Well, maybe not the first time, but after a while you sure doo.

But then that person isn't there anymore to monitor your thinking and the actions that come about as a result of your thoughts.

So who is in charge of telling you how bad you are now?

If you answered that you are in charge of telling yourself that, it’s a gold star for you.

You are the one that monitors your thoughts and feelings. You are the one who keeps thinking those habitual thoughts and you are the one who can change them.

Start right now. Don’t wait until you have an icky thought. Don’t wait for the game to be over. Don’t wait for anything. Just start thinking a good thought. Right NOW.

Its not pop quiz time though, so in case you need a good thought to think about yourself. Try this one.

“I am in charge of my thinking right this minute. That idea makes me powerful.”

Or maybe this one

“I use my powerful thoughts to be gentle with myself.”

It is always a choice about what kind of thoughts you are going to put into your mind today.

And you have the power to make great choices about how you think.

Try making more ice cream type choices and leave the cactus for
the desert. 🙂

  • 1

47 Comments on “Change Your Thought Habits”

  1. Robin

    This is an excellent & simple way to look at this. Thanks so much for the wonderful reminder of how truly special each & everyone of us are & that we possess the power within us to change!

    1. Michael

      Robin, thank you for your kind words. I used to think the Universe was a lot more complex than it really turned out to be in my experience.

      Now I am finding that simple really works well. 🙂

  2. Gerald

    The bit of me that responded “if only it were that easy” was soon replaced by another bit of me that said “well if it is would you use it?” interesting the consensus was a bit negative even when trying to be positive. This is a first, posting a comment. Keep up the good work guys!

    1. Michael

      Thank you for commenting, Gerald, especially on your first.

      I can say from my own experience that habits like this sometimes take a bit to change. But for myself, changing those habits changed my entire life. And the experience I have from doing that now helps me with the confidence to make other changes as things come up. I know without a doubt that I am capable.

      Just thinking that first thought of “if only it were this easy” and having that conversation with yourself is a good sign. For a lot of folks (like I used to be) the only voice to be heard was the negative, nasty one that drowned out any other thought. I so am not going back there. Thanks again for reading and commenting. 🙂

  3. Gudrun

    I am happy to learn that it is possible for me to chnage my life through my thinking of thoughts. Thank you.

  4. LaDonna

    I found your page through looking in Google. this is a great idea for changing to how I want to live.

  5. Ella

    The thing about changing my thought habit makes sense instead of trying to change my old thoughts. Thx.

    1. Michael

      You’re right, it does make a lot of sense. When we put our energy into changing the future, we find much more success than in trying to change things that already happened.

  6. Angelika

    I used to think that the way the world was, was the way everybody thought about it. I don’t think that way anymore, I quite relish the idea that I can think the way I want to.

    1. Michael

      It is kind of that way, the world is how you think it is. The deal is that you are free to change how you think and what you think anytime you want.

  7. Javier

    I think it is because we all think we should be planning for the future when it is really like we should most times of our life we need to be thinking in the present.

    1. Michael

      You’re absolutely right, Javier. More time spent thinking in the now, and not as much thinking about the future. No problem planning for the future or dreaming about it, but where we live is in the present moment.

  8. Lila

    When its time to change, its really time to change. And a good place to start is with oyou think

  9. Sela


    Que tiempo has dedicado a tremendo a porte y hay demasiadas informacion que no conocia que me has
    aclarado, esta maravilloso.. te queria devolver el tiempo que
    dedicaste, con unas infinitas gracias, por preparar
    a gente como yo jejeje.


  10. Sheri

    It sounds so simple the idea that we can be in charge of our thoughts. Most times, it feels like they just show up unwanted.

  11. Ginger

    Honestly, it never occurred to me that I was thinking in a way that would hurt me. Or even that I had thinking habits to start with. Thank you for opening up my eyes.

  12. Geri

    It hadn’t really occurred to me that I think in a habitual way. I appreciate you writing about this.

    1. Michael

      Hi Geri, it is funny how we wind up doing almost everything in a habitual way. Lots of times this helps us, but sometimes it really does not.

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