I’ve been thinking a lot about thoughts lately and how important they are. Here are some of the things that I’ve been learning…
First, let me start with the CTFAR model. I learned this from my life coach, Jody Moore and I’ve written about it before here and here. Basically, Circumstances trigger Thoughts which create our Feelings, which create our Actions, which create our Results. The result points back to the thought. So if I want a different result with something in my life then I need to change my thought.
C = Circumstance – Factual, without opinion – this part is out of your control.
↓ Our circumstances trigger thoughts
T = Thoughts – You will have many thoughts, pick one you want to examine.
↓ Our thoughts create our feelings
F = Feeling – What is the feeling this thought gives you? – one word description.
↓ Our feelings fuel our actions
A = Action – What do you do or not do in a situation when you feel this way?
↓ Our actions create our results
R = Result – This is the result of your actions and proof for the thought
This model shows clearly how important our thoughts are. Two people could be experiencing the exact same circumstance, but could end up with very different results – because of their thoughts about the circumstance.
When I first learned about the model a year ago, it was so eye opening to me. I mean, duh, I should have put this together already, but having it all laid out in a concrete way like this brought me more clarity and understanding.
By the way, if you want to learn more about the model and how to apply it to your life, some great free resources are Jody’s podcast called Better than Happy and Brooke Castillo’s podcast called The Life Coach School Podcast. If you’re interested in diving deeper, and willing to invest a bit of money, then you can join Jody’s Be Bold Membership. I’ve been in her membership for a year now and I’ve learned so much from it.
So now the question is, how do we train our brains to think better thoughts – and therefore get better results? Here are a couple of things that I’ve been learning…
Yesterday morning, I completed my 4th semester of Wife for Life University (edited to add that it’s now called WifeSavers). If you want to know more about my Wife for Life experience (at least after completing my first 2 semesters), you can check out this post.
Some might ask why I have taken this exact same class 4 times, back to back? And why I’m already signed up to take it again for the 5th time, next semester – which starts in a couple weeks (so run over to the website and sign up!)
And the main reason why I keep coming back over and over again is because Wife for Life University is something in my life that inspires my best imagination – especially in regards to marriage, but it bleeds into all other areas of my life as well. What exactly is “best imagination”?
In the book, Wife for Life, Ramona says,
“Our fluid, ever-changing souls exist in a fluid, ever-changing environment, perceived and influenced by other people, relationships, and stories that are themselves fluid and ever changing. Because life and people are so fluid, something as subtle as thought can gently nudge us toward one destiny or another.
Clearly, we underestimate and underuse our power, especially as women, to influence where life will take us – just by employing our thoughts, or what I call our best imagination.”
Ramona also quotes Thomas Moore in the book,
“The difficult truth to learn is that change takes place in the imagination, and knowing this has everything to do with developing a good, intimate relationship to our own soul and the soul of others.” (from the book, Soul Mates, p. 42)
And another quote from Ramona:
“Since so much is riding on employing our best imagination, not our worst, it seems rather obvious that as women, we must do everything we can to nurture and protect that delicate, impressionable part of ourselves. If you want to see your Nice Guy in the best possible light and to love him for not only what he is, but for what he will become – right from the start and all the way to the end – you must be oh-so careful to fill your imagination with stories that help you to love and trust him more, not less. This includes all the stories you are told by other people through conversation, books, the internet, television, music, and movies. This point is terribly important. I have watched marriages fall apart because of the stories a woman overindulges in. People and influences outside your marriage will affect your imagination and thereby the way you approach life – which in turn, will create or destroy your dream of a grand, lifelong marriage. The wrong kinds of stories will subliminally or overtly blunt your best imagination by inciting your worst. Thus, if someone or something causes you to feel discontented with your man or with marriage generally, be wary: there are influences that will strangle your love.”
It is so important to fill our minds with uplifting information. I appreciate when Ramona says that “we must do everything we can to nurture and protect that delicate, impressionable part of ourselves.” Learning about the power of our thoughts has helped me to understand this better and to have an even stronger desire to be careful about what I allow and invite into my mind. This doesn’t just mean staying away from negative sources, but also intentionally and consistently seeking out and filling my mind with positive and uplifting information.
As I mentioned, Wife for Life University is one of the sources in my life that inspires my best imagination, especially in regards to my marriage. And that best imagination then leads to my best feelings and actions and results. That’s why I keep coming back semester after semester – so I can continue to be inspired and practice these uplifting thoughts.
God’s Thoughts are Higher than Ours
At church, last week, it was Fast and Testimony meeting (once a month, anyone from the congregation can go to the pulpit and share their testimony and faith experiences).
The testimony that I especially appreciated and enjoyed during Sacrament meeting was my friend, Jen’s. She talked about how her dad’s favorite book was As a Man Thinketh and she spoke about how important our thoughts are because they lead to our actions. She talked about how she’s grateful that God’s thoughts are higher than ours and that the reason why we go to the Temple and to church and read our scriptures is so that we can change our thoughts to better and higher thoughts.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55: 8-9)
Of course, all that she said really reminded me of the CTFAR model and everything that I have been learning from Jody. It also reminded me of Jody’s podcast about the commandments and particularly that she feels that the scriptures help us with cognitive dissonance – they help us to align our thoughts (and therefore actions) with our beliefs. (see this post for more about scriptures and cognitive dissonance).
When Jen talked about this in her testimony, I felt like she was speaking directly to me. One, because it’s something that I have been learning a lot about over the past year. And two, because I was feeling grumpy that day (and had been the day before as well) and I needed that message.
It inspired me to realize more clearly what it means when God says that His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. In fact, something that I have been trying to include in my prayers since then (when I remember to) is to ask Heavenly Father to elevate my thoughts – to bless me with higher thoughts. When I remember to do this, I do notice a difference.
Prayer, scriptures, words of the prophets, the Temple, attending church (especially Sacrament meeting), etc – these all inspire my best imagination. In fact, I believe that there is even extra power in these sources than any others on earth.
My Morning Routine
I’ve written about my morning routine recently, here, so check it out if you want.
I really feel that getting up early every morning and spending time working on personal growth – spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally, is like my daily re-set button. It’s space that I have carved out of my day to spend time in learning, pondering, reflection and elevating my thoughts.
Here is something that I wrote in my recent post about my routine…
Recently, while attending a church meeting I heard a woman share this quote: “Live life mile by mile and it’s a trial; Live life yard by yard and it’s hard; but Live life inch by inch and it’s a cinch.” Then she talked about how all we have to do is commit to be true and righteous and faithful for just one day. And then the next day we commit again for that day. And the next and the next until we will find that we will have been true and faithful and righteous for a lifetime. We just have to take it one day at a time.
It made me think about my morning routine and how it is a way for me to recommit everyday and renew goals and resolve to keep trying and keep going and keep improving.
So to sum this up, our thoughts are crucial and they lead to the results in our lives – for good or bad. It’s very important to watch our thoughts and to intentionally put ourselves in places where we will be influenced by higher thoughts. Then we do the work to consistently practice these thoughts until they become natural and instinctual to us.
But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not. (Mosiah 4:30)