How I Learned To Change My Mindset

One of the biggest things in learning to live a balanced life was to learn to change my mindset. See the three steps I always take to get there!

A lot of things have changed for me over the years. In my journey to find a well-rounded version of health for myself, I’ve tried just about everything. There’s been running from every problem and emotion with drugs and alcohol, obsessive food control and exercise to appear perfect on the outside, and complete complacency with trying anything at all. I’ve had a problem with black and white thinking for as long as I can remember, so most actions and decisions in my life were very all-or-none.

The solution to my very unbalanced life was both simple and hard at the same time. It required me to change my mindset, which is hard to do when you have lived with the same thought process and belief system for many years. It was something that took time and trial and error. It took talking to people and an ultimate realization that I am in control of my happiness. I needed to figure out what things were working and what things I needed to get rid of in order to live the best life I possibly could.

Although everyone’s process is different, here are three steps that were crucial in helping me learn to change my mindset.

1. Identify the problem

In order for things to change, you need to first identify the problem. For several months, I had no idea that my obsessive running and mileage-tracking was even an issue. I thought it may be a little strange to wake up and exercise if I couldn’t sleep, but it wasn’t alarming enough for me to work to fix it. It took an injury and what caused that injury (two 12-mile runs in two days) for me to realize that my focus on running and exercise was making parts of my life unmanageable.

When something starts causing distress in your life, make sure to pinpoint exactly what it is. It may even help to write it down or journal about how it makes you feel. Once you have a name for it, it’s much easier to work towards solving the problem.

2. Think about the big picture

For me, as a detail-oriented person, thinking abstractly or about larger things was (and still is) a difficult thing to do. I would become focused on that was happening RIGHT NOW and myopically zero in one thing. Let’s take my eating habits, for example.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I take full advantage of living in Chicago. I post delicious smoothie bowls balanced out with amazing pizza, burgers, and desserts. My routine for the past few months has been to eat whole, healthy foods Monday-Friday and then explore new food adventures on the weekend.

If you had known me a few years ago, this would never be something I would do. I would eat the same healthy foods day in and day out, deny myself anything with sugar (WHYYYYY), and obsess constantly about what I was taking into my body. This left me preoccupied, unhappy, tired, and below what I probably should have weighed.

Thinking about the big picture (and seeking help from people I trusted) allowed me to view food in a new way. I would consider the amount of food I consumed per week and not per day. I realized that I only have one life to live and I love desserts. As long as you’re consistently striving for balance, there’s always room for meals and snacks that you enjoy!

3. Come up with alternative perspectives 

Bad news or disappointments in life can be taken in multiple different ways. I speak from personal experience here when I say that victim roles will always respond with defeating and pessimistic responses that prohibit them from growing and learning. They will often blame themselves or an outside source for their lot in life, which then absolves them from all responsibility.

Related: Stop Playing the Victim and Learn How To Succeed

When life hands you lemons—and it will—your mindset plays a huge part in how you deal and what you choose to do with those experiences. Make sure to feel your initial reaction, but then try and think of every possible way to view the situation. When I lost everything and hit my bottom, I was almost forced to look at things in a different way. If I didn’t, I’m not sure how I would have coped with everything that was going on. I tried thinking of positive outcomes and how I could use my experience so that everything I went through wasn’t in vain. From that decision you are here reading this blog today!

Related: 5 Ways “No” Can Make You A Better Person

Ultimately, it’s a process. I’m still learning and changing as I go in order to find the best version of health and balance that I can for myself. If you’re ever stuck trying to get there yourself, try working through these steps or feel free to shoot me an email at erinsinsidejob@gmail.com.

Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud!

Questions:

  • Are you a black and white thinker?
  • How easy is it for you change how you view a situation?
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26 Comments

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 6:53 am

      I’ve totally found that to be true. If I’m able to find a positive in a negative situation, it makes it so much easier!

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 6:54 am

      Right?? It’s been a crazy ride!

  1. February 25, 2016 / 8:16 am

    I This is such an interesting post. Obviously, identifying the problem is so important but I think, at least for me, it has to be done by YOU. My husband points things out to me all the time that I need to change my mindset about, and to be honest it just annoys me more than anything. Occasionally, I’ll take note of something myself and work on it, and then tell him about it, which, of course annoys him since he told me the same thing a few weeks ago and I yelled at him hahah. But at lteast personally, the identifying of an issue needs to come from me identifying my OWN problems.
    Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood recently posted…Ryan Richard: 21 MonthsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 6:55 am

      Sometimes I need someone else to point things out for me, but you’re right it takes you to accept and own that that’s what’s going on. It’s never good to always be taking someone else’s inventory.

  2. February 25, 2016 / 8:25 am

    I think food and exercise definitely has to be looked at in the big picture. I’m the same way where I indulge a lot more on the weekend but I know it’s balanced with healthy food during the week. Life should have enjoyment.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #60My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 6:55 am

      Yay enjoyment!

  3. February 25, 2016 / 10:17 am

    Great post. Its so great that you are living it up in Chicago! I try to always look at the cup half full…it is not always easy, sometimes I want to have a bad attitude and outlook, but I am too blessed and when I look at the good in my life compared to the bad, I can’t complain.
    Ivanna recently posted…TRAINING FEARLESS: MY SECOND HALF MARATHONMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 6:56 am

      Thanks Ivanna! I’ve made so much more progress by finding the positive in things than the other way around.

  4. February 25, 2016 / 10:30 am

    Remembering the big picture, knowing that God is in control, is one of the best things to cure, mitigate, and push any anxiety out of the picture. It’s a challenge, but I’m thankful for His grace.
    Emily recently posted…Recovery Series VI: Despair to HOPEMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 6:57 am

      Sounds like you’ve got a great attitude about it!

  5. February 25, 2016 / 1:01 pm

    YES YES YES!! Well done girl! That’s awesome how much you’ve changed your mind set. I truly think that in order to be healthy you need to balance the physical with the mental and spiritual. I love all your tips! Seeing the big picture is so important! Going out is to be enjoyed! Yay for all you’ve accomplished girl!! <3

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 6:58 am

      I love all your exclamation marks haha. It’s certainly been a journey!

  6. February 25, 2016 / 2:03 pm

    What a great post, well said. It is so true you need to find the balance in everything. I think society as a whole needs to change their mindset. We all can not be perfect. Instead we should strive to be happy
    nicole@ life after heels recently posted…Are You Authentic?My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 6:59 am

      Thanks Nicole! Yeah that perfection mindset has to go!

  7. Mollie K
    February 25, 2016 / 2:38 pm

    This post is perfect timing for me. I am currently reading Mindset by Carol Dweck. It is interesting because I think mindset ranges on a “spectrum” if you will. In some aspects of my life I feel like I have the “fixed” mindset which goes hand in hand with the perfectionism notion and in other aspects I have a “growth” mindset. Thank you for these helpful tips as this is something I am currently working on. I am trying to adopt a growth mindset for myself. As a school psychologist and a giver in my relationships…I am very good at preaching the growth mindset to my kids and friends and loved ones, but when it comes time to taking in that advice myself, it is much harder. First step for me is awareness and I think you’re absolutely right-now I need to identify the problems. I think journaling would be a great start!

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 6:59 am

      That sounds really interesting Mollie I’ll have to check that out!

  8. February 25, 2016 / 4:10 pm

    Definitely great steps. I used to write a lot and I felt like that helped me get through tough times. I definitely need to get back to that as I figure out my next step to finding the happiness I want.
    Alicia recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #37My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 7:00 am

      Journaling is always something I’m trying to do more of but I always seem to forget. It’s always been helpful to me

  9. February 25, 2016 / 10:53 pm

    Thinking about the biggest picture and thinking about how the current situation is going to affect you in five years is how I get through issues if I am ever having problems, which honestly, is a rarity these days because I always just tell myself … “no one is dying”.
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Baring It All, Burger StyleMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 26, 2016 / 7:01 am

      Totally. It’s easy for me to blow things out of proportion until I put things in perspective

  10. February 26, 2016 / 11:08 am

    I am totally guilty of living (or wanting to) in a black and white world. It’d be so much easier if someone told me what to do, what not to do, and there was no gray! Changing perspectives has been huge for me, but also challenging 🙂
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Pineapple Banana Pancakes with Whipped Coconut CreamMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 29, 2016 / 5:13 pm

      Gray is so confusing!

  11. February 27, 2016 / 6:45 pm

    so true friend. we often have to find that root first in order to shift perspective, right? I think about that first. It’s not fun but it helps

    • erinsinsidejob
      February 29, 2016 / 5:17 pm

      I know. So many steps!

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