Mental hack: neutral thinking

Forget your inner voice (kind of).

People spend too much time focusing on the inner voice, which can be erratic and has much less power over behavior than the outer voice does, Moawad says. Rather than get hung up on the thoughts in your head, shift your focus to what you say out loud.

If you tell a friend, for example, that you expect to overeat at that night's dinner party, you'll set yourself up for failure, he says. Instead, reframe the narrative to reflect what you want to happen—even if you doubt yourself. Verbalize that you're looking forward to indulging mindfully in a cocktail or a sweet treat, and you're more likely to succeed.

Cleanse your consumption. 

You don’t have to rely wholly on yourself to make the above change. Whether your emotions and language are positive or negative is highly influenced by what you watch, listen to, and consume on social media. Unfollow the accounts that make you think less of yourself and your self-worth will improve. 

Still, negative thoughts may cross your mind now and again. When they do, Moawad challenges you to acknowledge them and let them go. The most important thing is that you avoid expressing that negativity outwardly, say, by making a self-degrading comment. 

When the day is up, assess how this task has impacted your mental state and your interactions with others. The more you practice, the more it will become your default way of thinking. 

Write about your ideal self.

Moawad describes the most successful people as consciously competent: They know what it takes to succeed on a high level and they do it on a consistent basis. Visual reminders of your goals and how you can achieve them help you embody that trait. 

To get the benefits, write down your goal followed by a list of personal qualities that will contribute to your success. Michael Johnson, an American sprinter who won four Olympic gold medals and one of Moawad’s clients, included hard work, commitment, and discipline in one of his roundups. 

Keep the list somewhere related to your goal. You might put it on the fridge if you have a nutrition mission, in the drawer with your workout clothes if it’s rooted in fitness, or at your desk if it’s career focused. Seeing it will reinforce behaviors that help you progress.

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