“I am really bad at positive thinking (as evidenced by that statement!). Any suggestions for how to turn that around?” asked Parker Moore of Miami on my face book page, Easy Willpower.

Parker’s question made me realize how challenging positive thinking can be for many of us. By addressing three blocks to positive thinking, you can turn around even the most stubborn and destructive thought habits.

With a little more understanding, motivation and practice, you can make positive thinking (and self-hypnosis) work for you!

Block #1: Negative Thinking Feels Natural

The default for the human mind is negative. Unless we consciously choose to uplift our thoughts and our consciousness, we are very likely to go negative.

Negative thinking is just like gravity. We’re comfortable with it. But just as an airplane can defy gravity by getting tons of physical mass to fly in the air, unsupported, so we can learn tricks and secrets to positive thinking.

The first step to changing your thinking is your motivation—do you have a strong enough desire? Often we need to feel the pain of our old way of being before we are ready to create and accept a new, more positive belief.

Self-hypnosis is a way to tap into the incredible power of the imagination to create a new belief and a brand new experience of what’s possible. If you’ve always seen yourself as fat and out of control around food, you can begin to experience yourself as being in control of your life and your habits, healthy and at your ideal weight.

Just as an architect must design a new home in his imagination before any actual building is erected on a plot of land, we must see ourselves in a new way, in our mind’s eye, before any real change occurs in our life.

Right now your old way of being feels natural to you. However, with practice—starting in the privacy of your own mind—you can erect a new image of yourself—happy, positive, smiling, making healthy choices, feeling confident and achieving your goals. Like any good actor knows, the key to making the unreal real is practice, practice, practice!

Block #2: Your Old Habits

Face it – you’re comfortable with your habits exactly as they are! Waking up and automatically brushing your teeth, showering, and getting dressed makes life easy for you.

Putting your car in gear, flipping on the auto-pilot and arriving at your desired destination with little or no thought, frees you up to turn on the radio, listen to an audio book, or catch up with a friend on the phone.

In the same way, your thoughts are also habits. Your subconscious mind is like a computer and it doesn’t care what program you are running. Just as your PC or Mac doesn’t have a preference, your computer mind simply runs whatever language you have installed.

If you’re thought is: “This is so hard. I’ll never succeed,” your subconscious mind says, “OK, fine.” It doesn’t argue or try to get you to think more rationally or positively than you already are. If you decide to run your computer in Japanese, it’s not going to beg you to switch to English. It’s very obedient and so is your mind.

As a result of this fact, you must be vigilant about the kind of messages you put into our own mind. A random thought is not going to create a whole lot of impact, but repetitive thoughts are like water dripping on a stone, filled with power equal to an enormous gushing river.

The thoughts that you repeat to yourself impact your emotions, your actions and people’s reactions to you. That’s because no thoughts are really as private as you might like to think. If you are thinking obsessively, whether it’s about food, dieting, work or any other aspect of your life, you are not present and people can feel it.

We are all made up of energy and this energy either attracts what we want in life or repels it. If you are spending a lot of time in your head with thoughts of fear, worry or dread, you are blocking the positive energy of your inner being—your super conscious, wise mind and loving heart—to take the helm and steer your life in a more positive direction.

To create new thought habits, we must first become aware of the negative messages we are repeating to ourselves and replace them with new positive thoughts.

Even though you may feel that you are lying to yourself when you speak words of kindness, optimism and faith to yourself, do it anyway. What happens when we repeat lies to ourselves often enough? We believe them and they become our new thought habits!

Pretend that you are an actor and play the role of a person who is happy, strong, confident and making wise, healthy choices in all areas of your life. Really get into the character and have fun with it. Isn’t this how your personality was shaped in the first place—by taking on a role? Isn’t it time to replace your old part with one that truly allows you to live a life of happiness and fulfillment?

Block #3 – Listening to the “Evidence”

When asked how she could just call herself a “fat slob,” my client, Jody, responded, “Well, it’s true, isn’t it?”

I pointed out to her that she was looking at herself through a very narrow lens. Yes, you could say that with the evidence she had gathered, she had arrived at the only logical conclusion. After all her eating habits were out of control and she was about 50 lbs overweight.

However, the issue is that Jody, like so many of us was only looking at the evidence that supported her pre-conceived idea. Her reality was actually the opposite of what she assumed. Because she considered herself to be “fat and out of control,” she acted that way, thus proving herself to be correct.

Thankfully, the assessment we have of ourselves is not carved in stone.

In hypnosis, Jody began to see some beautiful character traits within herself that she had previously overlooked. She saw that in other areas of her life, she was actually quite strong and a leader.

She came to see that her overweight condition was simply a result of negative messages she had been continually giving to herself such as, “I’m always hungry,” and “I don’t have time to cook.” As soon as she questioned the validity of those assumptions, she came to see that they were not true. I also pointed out to her that the opposite thoughts were equally true and she had the power to choose.

In other words, she realized that she was only “always hungry” because she was eating simple carbs that wreaked havoc with her blood sugar.

When she planned ahead and ate clean, real protein with some delicious grilled veggies, that hungry feeling vanished. She discovered that not only did she find time to cook when she set her intention to do so, but that she didn’t have time not to cook!

Jody lit up with inspiration as she shared how much freer she felt when she prepared simple, healthy foods for herself that felt satisfying and nourishing.

Often we have a negative concept about ourselves and others because the only “evidence” we are considering is quite limited.

Instead of just playing the role of the “prosecutor” in the privacy of your own mind, pretend that you are also the “defense attorney.” Listen to both sides and then send yourself compassion for the duality that exists as part of the human condition.

This empowering exercise can help you to realize that ultimately there is some truth in most every thought and it’s up to us to choose what thought makes the most sense based on what we are wanting.

At one time, I thought that ice-cream was a wonderful, delicious treat that brought me comfort and love. I haven’t had that thought in almost 30 years. Truthfully, I never think about ice-cream at all even when it’s everywhere around me. It’s not part of my world because my subconscious thought is, “I never want to be an addict again. When I ate ice-cream (and similar foods) I was addicted.”

It’s that simple. No dieting. No deprivation. No willpower. I simply had a change in thought based on new evidence that came along, shifting my experience. This is what self-hypnosis is all about—changing your thinking so that you can have the quality of life that you desire and deserve.

Overcoming the Blocks – Your Path to Freedom

Overcoming these three blocks to positive thinking can propel you to living life at a new, higher level. By increasing your awareness of any habitual, negative mental activity and your comfort with false evidence that appears real (acronym for F.E.A.R.) you can begin to release them.

With a new willingness to release the old and embrace the new, positive thinking can become second nature as you step into your greater destiny.