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“Did you know… it only takes 3 minutes to unload the dishwasher?” A group of us stared back at our friend who had just made this announcement, ready to vehemently argue against her data.

There is no way that could be true.

No way!

She went on to explain how she had not believed it either, but then proceeded to time herself, and sure enough… her average time was right around 3 minutes.

THREE short minutes to get ALL those dishes put away, INCLUDING the dreaded silverware tray. Hah!

Well.

I tried it.

Timed it. More than once.

And…

My average time to unload my dishwasher is…

3 minutes and 20 seconds!

This completely surprising statistic has led me to evaluate my thoughts and the way I talk to myself, noticing the tendency to focus on the negative and be defeated. This silly chore really only takes a few minutes to do, but I had built a case in my mind of how terrible, how long, how inconvenient it is to unload the dishwasher!

3 minutes and 20 seconds is the truth. I can do anything for 3 minutes.

There are some strategies I have come to greatly depend on to keep myself in check with the way I think— the way I talk to myself. Natalie Bacon sums it up this way:

Your thoughts create your feelings.

Your feelings create your actions.

Your actions create your results.

Negative self-talk (thoughts) will keep you stuck and make it harder to get the results you want. And… it’s the opposite of faith.

3 Key Strategies to Manage your Thoughts and Help you get Better Results in your Life

1. Speak truth to yourself

What is the truth? In the dishwasher example, the truth is it only takes a few minutes.

One way I help myself see truth is to write uplifting Bible verses on index cards and place them in strategic places. For example, I have Proverbs 3:5-6 taped to my bathroom mirror. Each morning I can read, “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart; do NOT depend on your own understanding. SEEK his will in ALL you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

In the laundry room, I have verses written out that I pray over my kids.

Another idea is to have affirmations in key places such as the screen saver on your computer… something positive to encourage you.

Try not to allow your mind to add in all the negative possibilities. The verses and affirmations help me refocus my thoughts when I’m battling insecurities and feeling overwhelmed.

2. Ask yourself positive questions

This has been a game-changer for me!

Whatever you allow your thoughts to focus on, your brain will try and support. So rather than saying (thinking) how much I hate unloading the dishwasher, I would ask myself, “How can I get these dishes put away even faster?”

When I’m walking into the gym to work out, I do SO much better if I don’t allow my mind to be negative before the workout even begins. I choose to ask myself questions like, “How can I do my best this morning? How can I improve my time jogging on the treadmill? How can I lift more weight?” My brain will go to work answering those positive questions. But, if I focus on how hard it is to exercise and how terrible I am at it, my brain will also go to work with thoughts that support my negative outlook.

The same is true if you are in a difficult season right now. As hard as it might be, choose to think, “How can I go through this well?” Or, “How can I walk through this trial and glorify God?”

My dad recently passed away, and as I was walking through that tough season I kept telling people how much God was with me. (You can read more about that here.) At one point, I stopped and thought, “Is God really with me? Can I actually track God in this or am I just saying what I’m supposed to be saying?” I took the time to chronologically list in my journal all the ways God was with my family and me, and I came up with 33 specific ways that I could say, without a doubt, I saw God in our situation… as difficult as it was.

3. If thoughts create beliefs, then speak words of faith

Pray, in faith, with gratitude.

When Eddie and I were wanting to start a family, and it wasn’t happening, I was falling apart (to put it mildly). Eddie began praying over me daily, saying, “Thank you for the baby you have for us.” It was such a model of faith for me!

Whatever you are walking through right now, you can pray, “Thank you God for going before me in this.” Or, “Thank you for being my comfort during this time.”

Maybe your starting point is to simply say, “Thank you for this new day.”

My encouragement to you is to think about your thinking.

Speak truth. Ask yourself positive questions. And Pray in faith with gratitude.

What you think about, you bring about.

Philippians 4:8 (The Passion Translation). “So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.”

So…

Go unload your dishwasher and see if you get close to 3 minutes! And remember…

Your thoughts create your feelings.

Your feelings create your actions.

Your actions create your results.