Powerful Training for the Mind

By Leo Babauta

Every one of us has thought patterns that keep us stuck:

The exact categorization of the thought pattern isn’t important — what matters is whether the thought pattern is helpful. What effect does it have on you when you think it? Is it moving you toward the life you want, or getting you stuck?

Most of us aren’t aware when these thought patterns happen, so we’re beholden to their power without realizing it.

To be clear, these aren’t “bad” thoughts — they’re natural and normal, but they aren’t always helpful.

If they’re unhelpful, then what would be more helpful?

We can train our minds to use a more powerful thought pattern.

For example, you might try one of these:

The training is to:

  1. Catch yourself when you’re using the old pattern. You’ll usually know because you feel discouraged, you’re reaching for distraction, you are avoiding or putting off, you are feeling mad at someone, you are feeling victimhood.
  2. Pause and acknowledge your fear. Underneath the old thought pattern is simply a bodily sensation of uncertainty and fear. Acknowledge that it’s there, that’s it’s OK to feel fear, and give it reassurance and calm it down.
  3. Try the new thought pattern. Say it to yourself and try really believing in it. Fully empower it. See what effect it has.

You have to do this over and over. Set visual reminders wherever you can. Write notes on your phone, on a mirror, on your desk. Practice, over and over. When you get discouraged from practicing, notice what thought pattern is discouraging you, and try a new one.

What powerful new thought pattern do you want to train yourself in today?


// Free Training from Zen Habit's Founder, Leo Babauta

The 3 Pillars of Fearless Living

Inside you'll find ...

💥 A simple habit assessment and three steps for making change in your life.

💥 The Fearless Action Method for finding your purpose.

💥 How to train in the uncertainty of hard tasks.


Join 2,000,000+ breath-taking readers

Zen Habits has twice been named one of the Top 25 blogs by Time Magazine.