Thoughts 101-A Beginners Guide to Mindset

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Last Updated on March 2, 2023 by the thought method co.

Studies show that if you want to achieve goals and have mental & emotional well-being you need to focus on your thoughts. When you understand how your thoughts affect you and incorporate productive thought habits into your mindset you’ll act with purpose and expedite genuine growth.

A perfect place to self-invest in in your thoughts and thought habits. You’ll need a good grasp of your thoughts habits and where they come from. Let’s start by talking about what thoughts are.


What are Thoughts?

Thoughts are ideas and associations you make when you analyze information that comes from your environment. There are conscious and unconscious thoughts. You’re aware of conscious thoughts via your inner voice. And you become aware of your unconscious thoughts when you practice mindfulness and analyze thought patterns.

How Thinking Works

You collect millions of pieces of data each second through your senses: sights, sounds, touch, taste, etc. And your brain filters the information with the primary purpose of keeping you comfortable and safe.

Some information goes directly to your unconscious. For instance, you aren’t constantly, consciously aware of how your house smells (unless it’s pretty ripe) or how the clothes you’re wearing feel against your skin. And other information is in conscious awareness like when you are having a conversation or if the shoes you’re wearing scrape at the back of your ankles.

Thought Habits

In an effort to be efficient your brain groups data and makes thought patterns and belief systems called thoughts habits. In current society you are told what to think and not how to think so you likely have unhealthy thought habits that you aren’t aware of.

When you unknowingly built your thought habits they were influenced by the world. So if your parents or someone you respected used unhealthy thought patterns you likely picked them up.

It is common for media to label food as bad or good, and if you check out any newspaper you will see tons of examples of cognitive distortions (like the decades old limiting belief that “no one wants to work,”) so it is no shock if you suffer from all-or-nothing thinking.

In fact, it would be shocking if you didn’t have some sort of all-or-nothing or unhealthy thinking habit.

Thoughts Lead to Results

Thoughts determine emotions and influence your behaviors, which lead to results. Imagine a domino effect:

situation > thoughts > emotions > behaviors > results

A situation occurs. You process the situation with your unique thought habits and thinking style. From there you assign an emotion, which then impacts your behaviors, and ultimately results.

Thought to Result Example

Situation: After watching the series “Queen’s Gambit” Ava and Anita both want to learn how to play chess. They bring with them their current belief systems and thought processes.


  • Situation. Wants to learn to play chess.
  • Thoughts. Thinks it will be tough, but possible.
  • Emotions. Feels excited and optimistic.
  • Behaviors. Reads books, watches videos, plays on-line.
  • Results. Learns how to play chess and keeps getting better.


  • Situation. Wants to learn to play chess.
  • Thoughts. Thinks it’s impossible.
  • Emotions. Feels crushed and hopeless.
  • Behaviors. Skims a book, loses some games on-line.
  • Results. Determines she’s a failure and “proves herself right”.

How to Use Thoughts to Your Advantage

Thoughts determine your mental and emotional well-being. And if you want to achieve personal and professional goals you need to focus on them. Awareness is the first step. By simply being aware that you have unhealthy thought patterns and processes removes some of their power.

From there, focus on mindfulness and awareness of thoughts. Are you able to stop the chatter? Are you thinking in all-or-nothing terms?

From there pinpointing unhealthy thought patterns will be relatively straightforward. And you can reframe the thoughts to benefit you.

You can also build a growth mindset and look for opportunities instead of focusing on roadblocks.

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán


About the author

Hi! My name is Lyndsey Getty, the founder of The Thought Method Company. In these articles I use my unique experience and knowledge to explain complex topics in an accessible way so you can improve your thoughts. Likes, shares and comments are greatly appreciated ❤️

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