Got some spare change?

I’m not talking about the spare change between those sofa cushions.  The spare change I’m talking about comes from you: changing your mind.

Changing your mind is the first step in changing your life. It is foundational. And right after we change our minds, we begin to build new habits and perceptions.

One of the first things parents want to give their children is enough security and love so that they can grow and expand their worlds.  Deep roots so their branches can spread and blossom.

While changing your mind isn’t considered as awkward as asking for spare change, it’s occasionally perceived as a character flaw. Too often it’s conflated with disloyalty, being unfaithful, avoidant or even scatterbrained.

When in fact, mental flexibility is a cornerstone of progress. We adjust to our challenges and re-strategize to solve problems.  Isn’t true education about eliciting a change of mind? A flexible mind is something to which we should all aspire.

Straight lines work for railroad tracks but not for thinking. It’s not as if we take our eyes off the prize – the destination remains the same.

Carol Tuttle, Mindvalley teacher and successful entrepreneur, tells the story of when she and her husband, Jonathan, were working on making some positive changes in their lives. In addition to written affirmations and other tried-and-true practices, Jonathan decided to cue his subconscious by adding more multi-sensory messages: He filled his pockets with spare change. Throughout the day, he’d hear the jangle the coins in his pocket, feel their weight, and say out loud “Change is good!”

Everything starts with a thought. We hear that so often in contemporary society that it seems as if it’s a late twentieth century idea. But the observation that we are what we think and that there is extraordinary power in changing one’s thoughts is as old as people seeking wisdom, meaning, and even efficiency in their lives.

Aristotle, The Buddha, Confucious, Abraham Lincoln, George Bernard Shaw, and many others throughout the ages have testified to the power of changing one’s thoughts.

Our only security is our ability to change.
John Lilly

Even on the cellular level there’s confirmation on the importance of changing one’s mind and habits.

Small easily achievable goals such as picking up and storing just one paper clip on a chronically messy desk let you tiptoe right past the amygdala, keeping it asleep and unable to set off alarm bells. As your small steps continue and your cortex starts working, the brain begins to create software for your desired change, actually laying down new nerve ways and building new habits.
Dr Robert Maurer, One Small Step Can Change Your Life

What I love about this is it undercuts the dark cloud of overwhelm. Take the steps and you will make it.

The key is the steps are small. Steady. Go slow to go fast.

The secret to changing your life is to change your mind about the small stuff. Something you do every…single…day. Like walk, eat, brush your teeth, sleep and bedtime routines. This is the “spare change” the loose pennies, nickels, and dimes that add up.

So what small thing can you change…today? For those with sleep problems here’s a list. Chose one – just one – for the next week. Or month. It will make a difference. They’re super simple and can be incorporated into your children’s bedtime routines easily.

  1. Start your bedtime routine 10 minutes earlier.
  2. Unplug all electronics in the bedroom. Clock radios, TVs, phones, tablets.
  3. Indulge in a new new pajamas – a “sleeping costume” – as part of your bedtime routine. And if you’re a parent, you can tell your child the new sleeping costume has magic powers to send them off into the universe of dreams.
  4. Read an old-fashioned, paper book before turning out the light.
  5. Keep a journal next to your bed and spend 5 minutes to write 3 things for which you’re grateful.

Spare a moment to make a change in your brain’s “software” as Dr. Maurer points out.

The power of changing your thoughts is part of Kate Hanley’s Master Tools to Change Your Mind giveaway. Sleepytime Club is part of that giveaway.  By signing up here, you’ll get Sleepytime Club’s “Change Your Mind About Sleep” bundle of good stuff and the answers to these questions:

  • What 5 secrets do the most balanced women know?
  • What 9 hidden choices are you making every day?
  • How can thinking differently radically improve your health?
  • How can you rethink the way you make lists, so you get more done?
  • What conventional parenting wisdom is actually hurting your kids?

Here’s the link to sign up.