The workings of the human mind are phenomenal – and very powerful! Barring medical problems or chemical imbalances, we are able to control our minds which control our actions. I'm talking about negative thoughts that prevent us from taking positive actions and getting the things we really want. Our thoughts influence our mood and behaviors; negative thoughts can make us feel down or mad, while positive thoughts can make us feel happy and feel good about ourselves and others. When thinking about finding or entering a new career choice, we can be filled with self-doubt and fear, which can lead to a lack of self-confidence and prevent us from performing the action steps that will take us to our goal completion.
If we want to achieve our goals, we need to change our thoughts and thinking patterns from negative to positive. These negative cognitive 'distortions', according to Beck (1976) may include the following:
- Magnification – this involves looking at a situation as more terrible than it is
- Minimization – this involves underestimating your ability to cope with a difficult situation
- All or None Thinking – this is when you believe you are absolutely the best or absolutely the worst; it is black and white thinking with no colors entertained
- Personalization – this involves over-identifying yourself in situations without a good reason
- Selective Attention – this involves focusing absolutely on a threatening or frustrating situation while forgetting the positive or good things
- Fortune-Telling – this involves assuming you know the future and that it will always be negative or the thing you fear will come true without reason
- Overgeneralization – this involves taking a negative situation and assuming it will always be negative
- Emotional Reasoning – this involves assumptions that something is true because you want it to be true rather than what the reality is
- Probability Orestimation – this involves overstating or predicting a horrible future or assuming there will always be a negative response to situations
It is important to assess your thinking and see if you use one of these distortions in your thinking patterns. It's easy to say, "No one will hire me" or "I'll never find a career I'll be happy in". In order for you to resolve these negative thoughts patterns, it is vital that you become more attuned when you use them. One of the best ways, and that I highly recommend, is to use positive affirmations, which are sayings or sentences that are said on a daily basis that focus on positive thoughts; you are basically reprogramming your brain to automatically think these positive thoughts as opposed to the negative ones. It can often feel awkward at first but once you start, and do so consistently, it will become easier. They say it takes 30 days for something to become a habit, so keep practicing. Write an affirmation on a 3 x 5 note card or sticky note and put it on your bathroom mirror, on the fridge, in your car – place it where you will see it and be remindeded.
Some affirmations to help in reaching your career goals, which can also work for any goal you are trying to achieve, include:
- I am successful in all I do
- I am confident and capable
- I am a good person and attract positive things around me
- I am positive and outgoing when meeting new people
- I will be confident in my interview
- I will face my fears and think positively
- I am successful
There are thousands of others. If you do not like any of these, think of your own. The key is to find one that inspires you and say at the least on a daily basis, if not multiple times a day; saying it before bed makes it more powerful and stays with you longer. Before you know it, you will see the power of positive affirmations as you take more action with more confidence and self-esteem and reach your goals!