It seems like it's the best possible thing you can do, right? "Positive thinking" is touted as a veritable cure-all when it comes to banishing bad moods and hitting your goals.
But Dr Dain Heer, renowned speaker, bestselling author and co-creator of personal development organisation, Access Consciousness, disagrees. We chatted to him about why he advises against the popular solution and what we should be doing instead.
What are your thoughts on New Year’s resolutions, good or bad? And why?
The problem is, when we put something into a resolution and say to ourselves that it’s a new year and we should do something different, all your old habits are still there. What happens for most of us is, we make a resolution and we’re completely committed to it, but by the end of January, we realise it’s not going to work and we judge ourselves for not fulfilling it. So, making resolutions often creates more judgement of you and more negativity. Instead of making resolutions, think about long term goals. Ask yourself, “if I could have anything in my life for the next 2-5 years, what would it be?” and start thinking about goals that achievable and realistic, and don’t give yourself strict timeframes or methods to achieve them, as these will just restrict you and overwhelm you.
You suggest ditching positive thinking, which goes a little bit against the grain! What’s your justification behind that advice?
When you try positive thinking, you’re trying to avoid the negative thinking. The only choice that actually works is to embrace the awareness of both sides. We often believe positive thinking can overcome the negative, for example, using affirmations. However, the problem with affirmations is that you can repeat them over and over again, and they seem to work for a little while, but they don’t actually give lasting fulfilment or work in the long term. Your limited or negative point of view can’t simply be changed by overlaying it with the positive, you need to actively change your point of view instead.
What should we be doing instead and why?
Instead of positive thinking, try choice and creation. In other words, ask yourself, “what would I truly like to create?” The negative and positive don’t matter, it’s the creation that matters. Rather than repeating affirmations, ask a question - instead of trying to overcome the negative with a positive, ask yourself, “what would take to be as wealthy as I’d like to be?”, and so on, depending on your desires and goals are that you wish to fulfil. When you ask a question, it opens the door to different possibilities.
What other tips would you suggest if someone is looking to overhaul their physical and mental health and fitness in 2018?
Stop buying anyone else’s point of view of what it’s going to take. There are many people who will try to tell you what you should do to change your life, but it’s important to not let their point of view override your own.
What do you think the biggest mistake people are making when it comes to this task?
The biggest mistake people often make, is judging themselves and buying the judgements of other people.