Change Your Life and Achieve Your Goals

Whether you are aiming to lose weight, find the perfect job or partner or just make a new friend, the dialogue that runs through your head is vital to realizing your dreams. If you allow the word can't to dominate your thoughts, your goals don't have half a chance. Remember, The Little Engine That Could? There's no better story about standing up to your fears and taking charge of your worries. Here are some tips to take you from No, I can't to Yes, I can.

1. Cultivate Mindfulness

The first step is to more room upstairs for positive—I can—thoughts which of course mean clearing your mind of the negative—I can't—ones. Regular meditation is an excellent way to eliminate the mental clutter and pave the way for more of what you want to think about. Try sitting quietly for five minutes with your eyes closed and take a few deep breaths. Continue focusing on your breath. Follow it as you breathe in and out. Whenever a thought comes up, notice it but don't engage with it and go back to concentrating on our breath. Practice this daily.

2. Be Aware of Negative Self-Talk

We all have a soundtrack running through our minds. It's our ego shaped from years of experience and generations of traditions talking about what you should or shouldn't, can or can't do. But what if those voices are wrong? Keep track of how often you shut down based on that inner voice telling you you can't before you realize you can. For instance, if you've been invited to dinner with a new friend, does your inner voice say, "You can't. You're too shy?" Or, does it tell you, "What a great invitation!" If you've decided you're going to lose weight, does your inner voice say, "You can't. You've always been overweight?" Or does it say, "Go for it. You can do it if you try!"

3. Consider the Source

Every time you catch yourself saying can't, consider whether you're being pessimistic because you're afraid, skeptical, confused, tired, in need of more information, or been told by someone else that you can't. Then think about a solution that would alleviate the road block. Do some research, ask for support, and create a plan to achieve a can.

4. Get Inspired

Go online, go to the library or access a mentor who's been successful in achieving a similar goal. Read books, talk to experts, coaches, business professionals, and seek out other resources to get tips and advice that will propel you to success. Arm yourself with support, information and positive imagery of others who overcame can't and make them your example of can.

5. Write it Down and Keep it With You

Whatever it is you want to achieve—applying for a better job, training for a marathon or quitting a bad habit—commit to can, by writing it down on paper and carrying it in your pocket or purse. The act of committing a goal to paper sets a strong mental intention that you intend to follow through. Having it with you is a tangible reminder of your intention.

6. Track the Small Successes as Well as the Big Ones

Write down accomplishments that lead you closer to your goal. Maybe it's getting to the track three days this week or going two hours without a cigarette. Maybe it's polishing your resume before you apply for your dream job. Documenting your steps to success will prove to yourself that you can.

LeslieBeth Wish, EdD, MSS, author of Smart Relationships and The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie says," Don't worry if you can't always override your can't messages." Just stick with it and use these techniques the next time. "It's normal to have a bumpy start when you are changing your behavior."

LeslieBeth Wish, EdD, MSS, reviewed this article