Today I am kicking off a seven-part series where I take a deep dive into the individual parts of the tool I used to change my life. The thought model is a tool that simply helps us look at what is going on in our head and deciding if our thinking is serving the life we want to create. That’s it. It’s a straight forward concept but usually a bit abstract for most of us because it’s not something we’re ever taught growing up.
The thought download is simply the practice of sitting down with pen/pencil and paper to start transferring what’s going on in your head and putting it on the paper for you to see. I have developed a daily practice of doing thought downloads, very much like the daily practice I have of flossing my teeth. When I forget to do either of these two practices I feel dirty, unhealthy, and yearn to do as soon as I realize I missed my practice. Like any practice that you have done and now do it on daily, this too will take dedication to your mental wellness, and just like your health wellness it will become part of what you do to be your best self.
We call it a thought download because most of the sentences floating around in your head are just that: thoughts. As you do this work, you will discover that very few of the sentences you take out of your head and put on paper are actual facts.
What exactly are thoughts?
Thoughts are observations, opinions, ideas, judgments, reflection, contemplation, recollection, expectation, anticipation. All of these definitions of a thought help reinforce the truth that thoughts are not facts. They are sentences that we make-up or observe about the truth or reality, that is happening around us.
It is not a truth.
Next week we are going to dig deeper into thoughts vs facts but for today let’s just say that facts are not subjective or just existing in our mind. A fact actually exists and is real without any sort of description: actual words said, actual actions taken.
Let me share some examples:
Thoughts versus facts:
- “My husband is funny” verses My husband said: “Exaggerations went up by a million percent last year.”
- “He drinks too much.” verses “He had two beers on Monday night.”
- “My husband thinks I’m fat.” verses “My husband gave me a scale for Christmas.”
Most of us are completely unaware of our thoughts or the impact that they have on the results we are creating for ourselves in our life. Doing thought downloads helps us get off of autopilot and in control of our life and relationship destination. They help us move closer to the goals of the relationship we desire instead of driving us in the opposite direction. In our marriages, we often have many thoughts that we’ve repeated so often that we now believe them. We believe he is a poor communicator and that he always needs to be right without even taking a look at where those believes are taking us in our love relationship. Let me tell you, they are not getting us to love and blissful living!
Why write our thoughts down?
Writing our thoughts down is what creates awareness for us but it also cleans our brain out, just like flossing our teeth. If you have ever journaled you might think back and wonder why you enjoyed journaling or even the opposite, many people don’t enjoy journaling. Journaling feels good because we get what we are thinking out of our head, it gives us a moment of clarity, clear-mindedness even if you don’t do anything with the thoughts you’ve written down. Often when people don’t enjoy journaling it’s because they are afraid of looking at what is in their head, they have a thought that it will make it real, that it might somehow hurt them. The truth is though that they are only words and that’s why I tell you to write everything down when you start doing thought downloads. The most important thoughts to write down are the ones you don’t want to write. Sentences like “I hate them”, “He’s a jerk.”, “He eats like a pig.”, “He is so unloving and cold.” they are ALL thoughts and the fact that you are thinking them just means you’re a human. Once you learn the process of doing a thought model you will learn how to look at those thoughts and decide where they are coming from, what they are creating for you and decide if you want to change them. Also, I believe there is often fear that your partner might find your thought download and that you have the ability to hurt them. One, you don’t have the ability to hurt them and two, you can throw your thought download away if it makes you feel better.
The difference between journaling and a thought download is that a thought download doesn’t need to tell any story or be logical. It is just a list of sentences that you are thinking and possibly a few thoughts. Think junk drawer, opening it, taking everything out and seeing everything for what it is, no judgment about why it’s in there.
What do you do with these thoughts?
The answer to that question is why I created this series, I’m going to break it all down for you over the next seven weeks. Until then it’s just the process of cleaning them out of your head and taking a look at them, just like the first step of cleaning out the junk drawer. You will start evaluating what you took out of your head and decide which ones you like and want to keep. What you won’t do right now, or ever, is judge them as bad, they just are. This is an exercise to learn and grow, not an exercise to beat yourself up in an attempt to quickly change to something you might not be ready to change to. It’s like eating all of the pie and then beating yourself up, it gets you nowhere except quicker to the next binge instead of learning something from the experience.
Thoughts are our emotion generators. Whenever we are feeling a certain emotion a thought is drawing it. A negative or bad emotion comes from a thought we’re thinking and the same with a positive, or good thought.
As you go with me through this series I want to encourage you to play along and see what thoughts you are creating on a day to day basis. I want to encourage you to take 10 minutes every day to do a thought download, that’s all it takes. You can do it early in the morning before you start your day, my suggestion, or over your lunch or in the evening. I often do them multiple times a day if I find myself getting stuck in some sort of mind drama and unable to move forward in my day, it’s great medicine.
By the end of this series, you’ll have awareness of how your thoughts are creating the life you are currently living, the marriage you are currently living, as well as how to start changing them so you can create the life you dream of living. Just start this week, every day, doing a thought download, see what you have stored up in your head, no judgments. If you want my Relationship Thought Download worksheet to help you with this work then just click on the link and grab your copy! Next week I’ll teach you how to keep the thoughts you want and let go of the ones you don’t want.
Thoughts drive everything we do, they are so very important! Starting to pay attention and create awareness will help you begin the process of changing them. We can’t change what we don’t see as a problem!
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