I know my path has shaped me into the person I am today whether I liked the experiences at the time or not. But in retrospect, some beliefs I stubbornly clung to make me want to slap my younger self silly. Had I been more open to feedback, I could have saved myself many trials and tribulations.
If any of the following convictions ring true to you, I urge you to consider a shift in your mindset, so I can save you from a "future self versus past self showdown" later on.
1. “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist.”
This was my youthful, bullsh*t excuse to scoff at the notion of the power of positive thinking. Positive thinking was all new age-y, self help-y garbage. I thought my sarcastic, “realist” mentality would prepare me for the inevitable disappointments in life. I believed my thoughts and attitudes had no bearing on the outcome of any situation. Little did I know that several years later, after a profound denunciation of this first belief, I’d get a tattoo that read, “With our thoughts we make the world.” Attitude, I found out, truly is everything.
If you tend to fall on the “my grass is dead and brown and everyone else’s grass is greener and prettier than mine” side of things, there are a few things you can do to cultivate a rosier outlook. Watch your thoughts like a dog with his favorite bone. When a negative thought rears its head, catch it. Then tell yourself “that’s not helpful”, and replace that thought with it’s positive opposite.
For example, “I’m never going to lose these five pounds” can be turned into “I’m doing a great job becoming healthier, and I can’t wait to look smokin’ hot in my new jeans."
If you don’t believe it yet, fake it ‘til you make it! This method can even be used for things like that one co-worker that drives you up the wall. “I'm going to scream if Jane corrects me about my budget report one more time" can be turned into, "Wow, Jane's strong suit is that she really has an eye for detail. That's really helpful when putting together these budget reports." (Note: author has absolutely no idea how budget reports work.)
2. “Screw the natural way, give me a pill!”
This former opinion really makes me want to go back in time and give myself a good old-fashioned schoolyard whooping. I remember an instance in college when I uttered these exact words. I wither in shame now.
Years of reading and research have revealed to me that the world of modern medicine does not have it all figured out. Mindful shifts in diet and lifestyle are most crucial ways to take control of your health, and many medications do not heal the root of the problem. Now, I almost never resort to pharmaceutical solutions.
My go-to cure-alls include organic apple cider vinegar and green smoothies. Apple cider vinegar is a truly magical (albeit not-so-great-tasting) potion. Take a tablespoon mixed with a small glass of water every day and it can help with acid reflux, arthritis, digestive issues, immunity, food cravings … I could go on. Green smoothies boosted with spirulina and/or chlorella powder will leave your cells buzzing with nutrients, and it’s the first thing I reach for when I have partaken in a few too many adult beverages the night before.
3. “ Budgets are dumb.”
Guess what, young self? You could be debt-free right now if you hadn't held onto this bozo conviction. I was dead set against anything that involved numbers or spreadsheets. Budgets were boring. Actually, I still cling a little to my distaste of anything mathematical, but I realize now that in some instances it's necessary. After reading a book (Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover), which helped me set up a solid plan to pay off my debt, a massive weight lifted off my shoulders.
I now feel like I am the master of my money instead of the other way around. I am salivating at how close I am to paying off an $11,000 debt that I began to tackle in February 2014.
I shouldn’t admit this because it severely diminishes whatever level of coolness I fight to maintain, but I actually enjoy spending Friday evenings after payday working on my budget. You can take the advice of a financial guru, or just organize your finances yourself. Either way, budgeting was one of the biggest game changers of my youngish adult life.
Whether you share the above beliefs, or just chat about the information with a younger sibling, I promise that changing any of the above mindsets will bring astonishing results if practiced consistently.
What do you have to lose?