You decide what you think, or your thoughts decide what you think. How well you handle the less-than-ideal situations that life will inevitably throw at you can be seen from how you answer this question. Have you noticed that when certain things happen, your inner voice and thoughts tend to happen on their own? Because we have been in similar situations before, we can have a positive or negative reaction to them. Other times, we aren't ready to face a challenge because something outside of us has weakened us. What if you could change your automatic patterns? Our brains learn to recognize patterns in situations so they can tell us how to act. This is why we need to have automatic reactions. This shortens the time between when we think about something and when we do something about it. But negative emotions take over the logical parts of our brains and make us see the worst parts of reality. Here's what I mean: Let's say you get nervous every time you teach a new class and feel like everyone is watching your every step and mistake and judging your poor performance every step of the way. You are about to start teaching a new fitness class. What are your thoughts and feelings? You're worried and afraid that you'll look stupid or do something wrong. What are you thinking that is making you feel this way? You think everyone in the class is comparing you to other group fitness instructors they've had in the past who were better at what they did. What kinds of errors in thinking are there? You don't know anything about what anyone in this class has been through. You worry that you won't be able to live up to what your students think a "perfect" teacher should be like. What would be a better way to think? There may be people who are new to fitness, people who are very good at it, and everyone in between. I've put in a lot of work to get this class ready, and I'll do my best to give them a fun, effective workout. What will you do differently the next time this happens? Ask yourself, "What do I really know about this class and these people?" Why do I always assume that they won't like my class?" This set of questions is meant to help you figure out how to break apart a negative thought cycle and come up with a plan to change your thoughts in similar situations in the future. Even just stopping the automatic response can give you more time to think about how to handle a difficult situation. By following these steps, we hope to achieve the following goals: Catch the thoughts: Pay attention to the automatic thoughts you have. Check your thoughts by asking yourself, "How true are they?" Question your thoughts and look for cognitive distortions. Change your thoughts. If they are unrealistic, irrational, or wrong, replace them with ones that are more accurate. The end goal is to make it so that we have better automatic responses to difficult situations, especially those we face often and with which we tend to do poorly. The first step in doing something is to think about the situation. If we want to change behavior, it is easier, more powerful, and more effective to focus on the thoughts that lead up to the behavior instead of the behavior itself.

You decide what you think, or your thoughts decide what you think. How well you handle the less-than-ideal situations that life will inevitably throw at you can be seen in how you answer this question.

Have you noticed that when certain things happen, your inner voice and thoughts tend to happen on their own? Because we have been in similar situations before, we can have a positive or negative reaction to them. Other times, we aren’t ready to face a challenge because something outside of us has weakened us.

What if you could change your automatic patterns? Our brains learn to recognize patterns in situations so they can tell us how to act. This is why we need to have automatic reactions. This shortens the time between when we think about something and when we do something about it. But negative emotions take over the logical parts of our brains and make us see the worst parts of reality.

Here’s what I mean: Let’s say you get nervous every time you teach a new class and feel like everyone is watching your every step and mistake and judging your poor performance every step of the way.

You are about to start teaching a new fitness class.

What are your thoughts and feelings? You’re worried and afraid that you’ll look stupid or do something wrong.

What are you thinking that is making you feel this way? You think everyone in the class is comparing you to other group fitness instructors they’ve had in the past who were better at what they did.

What kinds of errors in thinking are there? You don’t know anything about what anyone in this class has been through. You worry that you won’t be able to live up to what your students think a “perfect” teacher should be like.

What would be a better way to think? There may be people who are new to fitness, people who are very good at it, and everyone in between. I’ve put in a lot of work to get this class ready, and I’ll do my best to give them a fun, effective workout.

What will you do differently the next time this happens? Ask yourself, “What do I know about this class and these people?” Why do I always assume that they won’t like my class? “

This set of questions is meant to help you figure out how to break apart a negative thought cycle and come up with a plan to change your thoughts in similar situations in the future.

Even just stopping the automatic response can give you more time to think about how to handle a difficult situation.

By following these steps, we hope to achieve the following goals:

Catch the thoughts: Pay attention to the automatic thoughts you have.

Check your thoughts by asking yourself, “How true are they?”

Question your thoughts and look for cognitive distortions.

Change your mindset. Replace them with more accurate ones if they are unrealistic, irrational, or incorrect.

The end goal is to make it so that we have better automatic responses to difficult situations, especially those we face often and with which we tend to do poorly.

The first step in doing something is to think about the situation. If we want to change behavior, it is easier, more powerful, and more effective to focus on the thoughts that lead up to the behavior instead of the behavior itself.

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