Ever set a goal and wonder why you didn’t reach it? Or tried to create a new habit only to watch your efforts wither away instead of take root? Consider the words of James Allen, famous British philosopher and pioneer of the self-help movement: “Man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated, or allowed to run wild.” Hmmmm…..While we all have the best of intentions for creating new healthy habits and goal setting in many areas of our life, we don’t often stop to ask the question “Why have I not succeeded?” Or, if we do, we don’t stop long enough to listen to the answers and do THE WORK to PREPARE our mind for said change or goal. In short, we don’t cultivate our minds! Think of it this way. Each spring before a farmer or gardener plants new seeds they must cultivate the field or garden. This process pulls up the weeds and loosens the soil to let air, nutrients and water deep into the soil so that when the new seeds start to grow the roots can gain access to all of the things it needs to flourish.
So, my next question is this: Is it time to cultivate your mind? If you often feel frustrated, anxious, fearful and angry, or unclear about where you are going and what to do next it may be time to take a look at the soil of your mind. It may be time to dig up old thoughts and beliefs that are not serving you. It’s so easy to fall into patterns and run on automatic pilot that we don’t realize how often we are tuning into negative news outlets that propagate fear and anxiety. Or that we listen to the same friends complain all the time, without anything positive or encouraging to say. Or that we run ourselves ragged on coffee and fast food without taking the time to rest and sit down to a real meal.
Here’s what I’m suggesting: You’ve got to cultivate for clarity and success. And that begs the question, “How do I do that?” Well, gardeners and farmers need tools, right? And so do we. Since we are all individuals we’ve got to build a tool kit that works for us. What works for me, might not work for you.
The following are tools you might use to successfully begin to create new habits, identify goals you wish to achieve, and actually reach them! Surround yourself with positive people. Sometimes we’ve got to reexamine who we spend time with and seek new friendships with people that uplift us! Instead of tuning into the news, listen to uplifting and empowering lectures, podcasts, and music. Create a daily meditation time to calm your mind and runaway thoughts. Studies show that as little as ten minutes a day spent in meditation can ease anxiety and depression. Here’s a tool that I love- positive affirmations. Use affirmations to remind yourself that you are loved and worthy. Write them down (I am...fill in the blank) and post them where you can see them several times a day. Read self-help books to help uncover deep-seeded beliefs that you may not consciously be aware are holding you back. And, do the work, if necessary, with a counselor or therapist, a trusted friend or life coach, so that you can begin the healing process. Start, or end your day by journaling, to remind yourself what you are grateful for, to write down positive thoughts and goals you wish to accomplish. And once or twice a year it’s fun to create a visualization board to help you picture what it is you want!
Once we dig in and loosen up the withering ideas and unhealthy soil and take the time to use the tools to cultivate our minds we can begin to plant new seeds that will take hold in healthy soil. You’ve got to create practices that encourage new growth. As the great Earl Nightingale said, “whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nurture with repetition and emotion will one day become reality.”
With love & gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel