Definition of principle: “A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.”
We can use principles to train our conscience and serve as a compass to our behavior and thinking. They can guide our choices and actions in a way that supports our values and help us achieve our goals.
To be emotionally and physically healthier and strong might be some of your goals. To achieve these goals, consider adding the following principles to your own list of principles to live by.
Principle 1: Your Thoughts Are Your Most Powerful Asset. Learn To Control them.
Thoughts are not facts. They are only opinions. Feelings are not who you are. They are just automatic responses to stimuli. You can challenge and refuse an opinion. You can change or reprogram your automatic responses. You don’t need to be a slave of your emotions and negative thoughts. These statements sound all nice and good, but we all know that they are easier said than done. Is it possible to control your thoughts, emotions, and feelings? How?
- Emotional Self-Monitoring: Being aware of what triggers your emotions will help you understand how they work, and it is essential to enable you to control them. You can use different tools to track your emotions and feelings. You can write a journal, writing down every negative thought or strong emotion, taking note of its intensity, the situations, and what triggered it. A CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) Thought Record form is another excellent tool for self-monitoring.
- Challenge your thoughts: Once you have made a record of your thoughts, if they are negative thoughts, try to challenge them. Look for evidence that disputes their veracity. After determining they are not facts, only opinions, try to rewrite the thought. Make it a positive one and support this by evidence. This exercise is called the ABCD technique. Check here how it works.
- Set SMART Goals: Now that you are learning how to rewrite your thoughts and have the tools to control your emotions, it’s the right moment to set some goals like: be more kind, positive, turn problems into opportunities, improve your success rate in rewriting automatic negative thought for new positive ones. You increase the chances of reaching your goals by making them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound). Example: In one month, become able to substitute automatic negative emotions for positive ones. Every time you have a negative thought, you take note of the times you were able to change it into a positive one. Track your progress and measure the results.
Principle 2: Your Time Is Precious. Only Say Yes To The Most Important Things
- Identify Your Values: To make sure you spend most of your time and energy on more important things, you need to have clearly in your mind what the things you value the most are. A simple exercise will help you assess which things are more important for you. Write down the things in your life that are important for you: Intimate relationships, Parenting, Family, Friendships/socializing, Education/personal growth, Career, Recreation, Spirituality/religion, Physical health, and Helping others. Now rate them in order of importance. After that, rank them in the order of where you spend most of your time and energy on. Are you spending your time and energy on the more important things? Now, try to write down a list of qualities associated with the things that are important for you. Example: Honesty, Kindness, Loyalty, etc.
- Write Your Mission Statement: With your values now clear to you, write down your mission statement. Model of a mission statement: “To inspire positive change through teaching and training others. To positively impact the lives of every person I meet. To love and be kind to my family, always putting their needs before mine. To do my best to be in good emotional, physical, and spiritual shape to serve. To serve God and help others live in the best way possible.” From time to time, revisit and rewrite your mission statement when necessary.
- Learn to Say No: With your values and mission statement hanging now in the wall or stuck to your fridge, practice saying “No” to any activities, requests, propositions, or thoughts that are not in harmony with your values and personal mission statement.
Principle 3: The Struggles Are Temporary. Visualize The End Goal And Live It In Your Mind Everyday
Only we know how we feel when facing our struggles. Only we understand how difficult it is to cope with our challenges and circumstances. No matter how hard it is, dwelling on our problems will not help us overcome them. Obsessing over our situation will not change it. Focusing on the reward can help you not to give up on your efforts to reach your goals. Start with the end in mind. Picture yourself living the results of your hard work and enjoying the benefits and effects of achieving your objectives. Focus on the image of yourself or of your situation that you cannot see now, but you can imagine living in the future if you keep going. Once the image is crystal clear in your mind, visualize now that you are doing the things you have to do to get there. If you need to go for a walk or lift heavier weights, for example, visualize you executing the activity before engaging on it. Prime yourself for success by preparing your mind to succeed. Example: Stand up and bend over, trying to touch the floor with the back of your hand. Maybe you can’t touch the floor, but take note of how far you can go. Now, stand up straight, take a few deep breaths, and visualize you touching the floor. Imagine yourself actually doing it. Feel it. Experience it in your mind. Now, try to reach the floor again. Were you able to go further this time? Try this for every activity. You will improve your success rates.
Principle 4: Happiness Is A Choice. Focus On Giving More Than On Getting
Feeling good about yourself, being joyful and happy is essential for your physical health. The best way to feel joy and happiness is by giving and helping others, making a difference in some else’s life. Just give it a try. Doing so will boost your motivation to take even better care of yourself. Because the healthier, more resilient, and sharper you are, the more you can give, serve, and help others. Make your goal about others and not about yourself. You want to read more books, not to show off your knowledge, but to use your experience to teach others. You want to be healthier and stronger, not only for yourself but for those that you love. And, once you are in a position to help and serve others, remember to stop and think about how grateful you are to be able to do it. Practicing gratitude will help you choose happiness and develop the quality of joy.
Leave a comment and let me know how you liked it.
Take good care and be safe.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not substitute medical advice.