Welcome to Sunday, friends!
It’s the THOUGHT that counts, right? But where do your thoughts come from? And can you learn to “control” your thoughts to get yourself on the road🛣️ to success?
In today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast, we’re chatting about the POWER you hold over your THOUGHTS, and how the Thoughts-Feelings-Actions-Results connection⛓️ is your key to WEIGHT LOSS, increased FITNESS, or almost any other RESULT you want (and deserve🥰) in your life!
Are you ready for this THOUGHT-provoking podcast, including a simple and fun homework assignment📓 that has the potential to CHANGE EVERYTHING🎆? Let’s GO!
(Don’t wanna listen? Download the transcript here)
Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/rRek_WFBlNg
Pahla B Fitness YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/PahlaBowers
Ep. 075: BONUS Get Your Goal Conversation: https://pahlabfitness.com/ep-075-bonus-get-your-goal-conversations/
Ep. 070: Feeling ANGRY: https://pahlabfitness.com/ep-070-feeling-angry/
Ep. 034: What You CONTROL: https://pahlabfitness.com/what-you-control/
Join the Get Your GOAL Coaching + Accountability Facebook Group: https://pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal/
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Where Do Your THOUGHTS Come From (Full Transcript)
You’re listening to The Fitness Matters podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 78, “Where Do Your Thoughts Come From?”
Well, hello, hello, my friends. Are you ready for an interesting thought-provoking podcast today? I’m sorry. I can’t even help myself. Do you know that I don’t spend a lot of time coming up with intros for these podcasts? Generally speaking, I start off by cracking myself up because that’s what I do. You guys, welcome to The Fitness Matters podcast, where every week we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. And here’s something that matters to me. I want to tell you guys, thank you. Everybody who is leaving a review and a rating on the podcast lately, it’s been extremely helpful. I totally appreciate that. If you have a moment, and if you are actually an iTunes listener (if you’re not, no big deal) but if you are listening to the podcast on iTunes through the podcast app, you can leave a review, or a rating, and it helps me find a larger audience.
And I happen to know, because today’s topic is actually sparked from having a slightly larger audience to this mindset work, I know that there are people who need to hear this podcast. Maybe not today’s, but maybe all of them, frankly. Here’s why I know this. Today’s topic came to me where all good thoughts come from (which we’re going to get into in a second). It came to me because I recently posted on my main channel, my Pahla B Fitness channel on YouTube where I have a much larger audience than I do for the podcast. Normally I do different story videos, lifestyle stuff, talking about weight loss and menopause and growing older and all those kinds of things, but I also have full-length follow-along workouts.
Just in case you randomly came to me through the podcast and didn’t know that I do other stuff, I have a whole other YouTube channel as well as the podcast, that has all kinds of content for you. Anyway, I posted a video on there very recently that was talking about mindset, which I dabble in on the main channel but I tend to keep it a little bit more physical than, let’s say, metaphysical, if you will. I tend to talk a lot more about muscles and bone density and the benefits of exercise and things like that. During the course of talking about weight loss, I talk about mindset. And because you and I both know, since you’re here on the podcast, that your mindset really matters to your fitness, I tend to talk about this topic in smaller chunks over there on that channel. And what happened was I posted this video that was really essentially all about mindset. It was talking about how your mindset could be stopping you from losing weight.
And I had some comments on that video that let me know that when this information gets out to my larger audience, that sometimes they’re completely ready for it, and sometimes they’re not entirely on board yet. And this was not an entirely onboard kind of a comment, but it was somebody who didn’t quite get what I was saying in the way that I was saying it. And I thought it was really interesting, and it totally brought up, for me, some of the questions that I had when I first started doing mindset stuff. And that is why I do think that today’s topic is particularly important. You might be new to mindset stuff. Sometimes when I get into it, I’m three, four, five layers deep on how this all works and how it all shows up. And sometimes it’s like, “Wait, what about your thoughts? What do you mean by that?”
And that’s where today is, because of what happened in the video. Just in case you didn’t watch it, I’ll put a link for you in the description box or the show notes, wherever you’re watching or listening. But in the video I talked about a specific thought that I had that was blocking me from being able to get to the weight that I wanted to when I was losing weight about two years ago. And so the thought was that I didn’t deserve to be happy after my sister died, like as happy after she had died that I was before. And here on the podcast we’ve talked about that so many times that it’s not really a new thought for you. You’re like, “Oh yeah. Pahla thinks that. Okay, move along. Nothing to see here.” But this was the first time that I had really talked about that to my general audience.
And so a person asked me a question: “Why in the world would you think that you don’t deserve to be happy?” And I thought that that was such an interesting question. And it wasn’t phrased exactly like that. It basically said, “Well, where would that thought come from?” Hence, I created this podcast today called, “Where Do Your Thoughts Come From?” Because honestly, I think that this is something we haven’t really talked about, that we all acknowledge that we have thoughts. And my premise when you and I are talking about mindset work, and the thought work that we do here on the podcast, my entire premise is that your thoughts can be changed, and that you can personally change them, that you have, for lack of a nicer sounding word, you have control over them. Honestly, this is going to be a conversation for a whole other day.
The word “control” I’ve butted up against numerous times recently in ways that have really made me think about how I want to be using it. And I’m going to keep using it until I come up with something better, but we’re also at some point in time going to have a conversation about control, and what that means, and whether or not that is a good word, or a bad word, which as you already know, if you listen to the podcast, I don’t believe in good and bad. That’s a whole other topic though.
Anyway, so this topic of “Where do your thoughts come from?” really sparked a fair bit of thought on my part, and a fair bit of Googling, because I was thinking, where do our thoughts come from? And what does that inform us of as far as our ability to do thought work and to create the results that we want for ourselves in our lives? So here we go, Google. In fact, here we go, Wikipedia, even more importantly because sometimes you Google stuff and the first couple of answers are from Reddit and things like that. I’m like, okay, thanks. Let me go ahead and get some information. So I went to Wikipedia for all of these. So here’s the scientific answer. Your brain has billions of neurons that produce chemical reactions, which generate electrical signals that we understand as thoughts.
This is my favorite because there’s a meme that my friend Shirley showed me one time that I thought was the funniest thing in the world, because, again, here on the podcast we talk about your brain and your thoughts and how sometimes the thoughts that we have are just so completely illogical or ridiculous or outdated or we don’t even really believe them, but our brains have just become super efficient at thinking them. And so anytime I butt up against an illogical or irrelevant or odd thought in my own brain, I often think to myself, “Yeah, because your brain is a piece of meat with electricity running through it. Of course, it’s going to be a little bit nutty sometimes. Of course it is.” And thank you always Shirley for sharing that meme because I think it’s hilarious.
Anyway, the psychological answer of where your thoughts come from, is that your brain is essentially . . . I’m totally paraphrasing; this did not come from Wikipedia. Wikipedia was actually rather scientific about this. But what I have often thought about psychology and the study of our brains and our thoughts and things like that, is that your brain is essentially a giant sponge, and it just soaks up everything in our environment from the time that we are capable of, even pre-capable of thinking thoughts very likely. So that includes things like other people’s words and actions, sights, smells, sounds, perceptions, and it distills it into thoughts. And the process by which it does that is almost entirely out of our view, meaning that it’s more subconscious than conscious. And in fact, gosh, I fell down the rabbit hole while I was Googling and Wikipediaing, (which really should be a verb). There was a person who was positing that there’s really no such thing as conscious thought. And I didn’t entirely understand it.
It would take more time than I was willing to spend on it today to really read and understand and grasp everything that he was saying about how we make decisions and his thought model about our thoughts. It was really fascinating and there’s more reading to be done. Anyway, my quick and dirty version is that your brain is a giant sponge. Now the philosophical answer, traditionally, and I had actually really forgotten this. This is something that I had learned a really long time ago and had forgotten because my brain . . . One of the things that your brain loves to do is categorize things and because of that, it excludes some things as wrong and looks for evidence of all the things that it thinks are right. Philosophically, a long time ago, there was a really big debate – and there probably still is, frankly – about whether or not we are born with certain innate thoughts or if all of them are collected from our experiences.
I tend to belong to the experiential camp, just so you know, although it’s not really relevant. And I tend to agree with the scientific answer because that’s science. And I don’t entirely disagree with the psychological answer. And the psychological answer depends a little bit on whether or not you are a behaviorist, or a cognitive psychologist, where you go with that. I tend to pull from both behaviorism and cognitive thought because they make so much sense to me. The philosophical answer that I personally agree with is that we collect our thoughts from experiences. It’s so interesting to think though that there might be some innate thoughts that we are simply born with, that everybody has. Fascinating, right?
And coming along on the heels of that, though it’s not entirely related, is the religious answer to the question of “Where do your thoughts come from?” That will depend obviously entirely on your religious philosophy, your religious beliefs, but you might believe that your thoughts come from God. And I think that’s a really fascinating thing to think about too. For me personally, again, I’ve already explained my personal biases when I talk about our thoughts. I think that our thoughts come from our experiences. I think that our thoughts come from our brains essentially being a sponge. That’s why I distilled all that information that way, because that one really makes sense to me. We take in so much information, and we distill it in ways that make sense to us based on our experiences. Now here finally is my answer to this question, “Where do your thoughts come from?”
I was cracking myself up as I often do for these podcasts. I was cracking myself up because I’m like, “So Pahla, here you are, a relatively newly minted life coach, and you’re going to throw your hat in the ring with some of the greatest thinkers, some of the greatest scientists, some of the greatest philosophers, some of the greatest theologians, some of the greatest psychologists of all time, and you’re just going to show your answer.” That’s what we’re talking about today – my answer to where your thoughts come from. Yes. Yes. I have put myself on that pedestal in that company because here’s my answer: It doesn’t matter. You guys, I want to be super, super, super clear here. I am drawing a line in the sand between the great thinkers of the world and myself because of the scope of my conversation.
There are absolutely 100% times when thinking about your thoughts from a religious perspective or a philosophical perspective or really specifically the thing that I’m going to tell you, a psychological perspective is appropriate. There are times when your thoughts require help from a professional who isn’t just talking about life coaching. You guys, I have given you this disclaimer so many times. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a therapist. I took Psychology 101 in my first year of college 35 years ago. So I know a little something, but I am not licensed in any manner to help you with thoughts, really specifically, thoughts of harm to yourself or others. That’s the broad category that I always put this in. And I will tell you that for me personally, severely under eating, or over exercising, absolutely falls under harm to yourself. That to me is a line in the sand. Those are thoughts that I can’t help you with, and I strongly urge you to seek the help of a professional.
Most of your thoughts, for most of us, things like “It’s really hard to lose weight” – those are thoughts I can totally help you with. Those are thoughts that I can 100%, hands down, help you figure out and control, for lack of a better word, and get the results that you really want by noticing your thoughts. There is a time and a place to explore where a thought like, “I don’t deserve to be happy,” might have come from. There is a time and a place to think about your experiences and why you have absorbed like a sponge all of the different things that have been in your environment, in your lifetime, that you have noticed and taken on as truth. But the fact is for the kind of help that I offer you, it doesn’t matter. I tried hard to think of a better word than this, but the word that keeps coming to me, and I’m just going to say it, and you’re going to hear it how you hear it. It’s dangerous to worry about where your thoughts came from. And here’s why.
When we think about, “Oh, my mom told me my whole life that I couldn’t sing,” which is a real life example. Let me tell you something. My mom has told me from my earliest memory that I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, and she’s not wrong, but also she’s not right. I happen to love to sing. If you have ever watched basically any of my workout videos, you’ve heard me sing. I sing. I love to sing. I enjoy singing. Actually, gosh, did I sing on the podcast recently? I think I did. Anyway, when I think about where a thought like “I’m a terrible singer” might have come from, the danger that I’m pointing out to you is when I attribute that to, “Well, my mom told me that, and therefore, essentially, it’s my mom’s fault.” Here’s the crux of everything that I know and love about mindset work. It’s nobody else’s fault what you think. Nobody else truly has control over your brain and your thoughts.
Sometimes we absolutely attribute our thoughts and our feelings and our actions and our results to other people. In fact, I’m going to refer you to the episode where we talked about what you control (Ep. 034, What You Control https://pahlabfitness.com/what-you-control/), but, here comes the almighty “but,” because everything that comes after that, in my opinion, is more important. But, when we stopped looking outside of ourselves for all of those influences: society says; other people say; magazines say; I got it from the TV; I got it from my parents; I got it from my siblings; I got it from my spouse; I got it from where I work – when we take responsibility for the thoughts in our head and we stop worrying or thinking or blaming them from coming from somewhere else, then we have all the power.
When we stop thinking and stop wondering where our thought came from and start simply acknowledging, this is a thought I have in my head. This is a thought that I have control over. This is a thought that is helpful, or unhelpful, or good, or bad, or indifferent, or ugly, or whatever it is – whatever label you want to put on it. This is a thought that I can do something with. That is where your power is. That is where you can shape your thoughts, which will then create your feelings, which will then drive your actions, which will then get your results. If I had spent time thinking about where that thought came from, “I don’t deserve to be happy, or as happy after my sister died as I was before,” surely I could have spent hours on that. Maybe months, maybe years, maybe the rest of my life, honestly. Who knows how long it might take me to unearth where a thought like my worthiness, my deserving of happiness came from.
I could probably dig up unhappy childhood memories. I could probably dig up all kinds of messages that I have received in my life from different sources. There are definitely things that I could point to outside of me that gave me that thought, but none of that is as empowering as simply acknowledging that the thought exists in my brain. This thought appeared in my brain and without questioning it, I believed it simply because it was in my brain. We all do this. You guys, when a thought shows up in your brain, it sounds truthy. It sounds like, of course, you want to believe that because it’s inside your head. We want to agree with ourselves, that is a rather basic psychological premise that comes from much, much greater minds than my own, much greater scientific minds than my own. I’ve realized that we try to agree with ourselves.
So when you hear a thought in your head, it seems like it must be true because we don’t question it. It therefore creates feelings for us, drives actions for us, and produces results in our lives. But it doesn’t matter, for my purposes, where that thought came from. What matters is what I’m doing with it right now. What I’m doing with that really specific thought, and with other thoughts that I find in my head that don’t actually get me where I want to go. The crux of the story, by the way, if you don’t ever go watch that video, is this. I had this thought that I didn’t deserve to be as happy after my sister had died as I was before. And that thought, “I don’t deserve to be happy,” was creating a feeling of unworthiness and despair for me. And from that despair really specifically, I wasn’t doing any of the things that I needed to be doing in order to get to my weight loss goal.
Now, there were other thoughts that I was having simultaneously because, you guys, we have 60,000 thoughts a day. Even though we can follow the thread of one thought, it gets muddled sometimes because we might have lots of different thoughts about one topic. Regarding the thought of, or the topic of weight loss, I had lots of other thoughts, like, “I want to get to this weight.” I know exactly what I need to do, of course, I’m going to get to this weight. There were plenty of positive thoughts that were creating positive feelings, positive actions, but my overall results, in the big picture, were very muddied. My results were very back and forth because sometimes I was having helpful thoughts. And sometimes I was having this really specifically unhelpful thought of, “I don’t deserve to be happy.” So the result that I was getting was that I wasn’t happy. I was creating my own unhappiness because I wasn’t getting the result that I was looking for, that I was aiming for, that I thought I was doing everything for.
When we notice our thoughts, that to me is the bulk of the work. Simply noticing your thoughts. Regardless of where the thought came from, who might’ve said it to me as a child, who might have reinforced it throughout my life, what messages I took in that created a belief system in my mind that I practiced and got very efficient at. Regardless of where the thought came from, what matters to me now is what I’m going to do with it. What I did with that really specific thought is I noticed it. I noticed that I was having it because until I noticed it, until I journaled and found that thought in my head, I had no idea it was there. And then once I did find it, I started noticing it everywhere. In fact, you and I have talked about this. When we talked about running, oh my gosh, can I come up with what episode that was?
I will share with you in the show notes because I’m going to look it up after I finish recording this because I truly do not remember which episode it was. But there was an episode where we talked about me and running and how I had this thought, this hidden thought that I hadn’t acknowledged out loud in my brain, that I couldn’t enjoy running as much since my sister was dead as I did before. This theme of “before and after,” by the way, I’m noticing it everywhere. I notice it quite frequently now that I’m looking for it. I don’t know that it’s quite as prevalent as the “I’m stupid” thought that I have hundreds or possibly thousands of times a day, but the “I can’t be happy” thought comes up very frequently in lots of ways. And now that I’m noticing it, there’s something I can do with it. What am I doing with it?
Well, again, mostly, I’m just noticing it. I’m noticing and acknowledging the results that it’s getting in my life. You guys, it is so powerful to simply notice. This is actually one of the things that I remember from psychology 35 years ago. It’s that being watched changes the behavior that we are watching. When psychologists or scientists study your thoughts, the very act of being studied changes your thoughts. You will have a thought. I had this thought that “I don’t deserve to be happy.” As soon as I noticed and watched and studied and made note of that thought, it fundamentally changed that thought. That thought became an object. It became an object that can be watched, noticed, studied, and journaled about, as opposed to simply being part of my essence, part of my being. This is the tool. Journaling, noticing your thoughts, doing thought work. This is how we change our thoughts.
Lots of us think that we have to change our thoughts by really on purpose thinking something else. And sometimes that’s appropriate. But it’s not always inappropriate. It’s one of the tools that I use. It’s one of the things that I do when I’m working towards my goals. But one of the most powerful things that you can do is simply recognize your thoughts as thoughts. Recognizing your thoughts changes them from being ingrained as part of you, to being a thing that you can watch and notice and – here it comes again – have control over.
Now, obviously there are weird parallels to be drawn with psychologists, and studying the brain, and studying thoughts, and control, and those kinds of things. Again, that word control. I’m going to do some more thinking about it to create a better thought model for myself so that I can explain it in a way that makes better sense, but we’re going to stick with it for right now. We’re following it all the way through. You can control your thoughts without doing anything other than noticing them. That’s a really interesting idea, isn’t it? It’s why thought work is so powerful, even without doing much of anything. When you notice that you have a thought, you notice that that thought came from somewhere. It came from somewhere inside your head, but where you gathered it from is mostly irrelevant. And your responsibility for that thought lies within you. By noticing, you take responsibility.
I love when we dive into conversations like this – this one really specifically because we covered a lot of ground with thinking about the philosophy and the science and the psychology and the religion of where your thoughts come from, and how that may or may not matter, and you taking responsibility. And understanding that by responsibility, all I mean is that you notice your thoughts. I know that this sparks lots of things for you, and this is your homework: Notice that you are noticing. It fundamentally changes everything about you when you notice. And of course, if you’d like to share, you know I want to hear what you’ve noticed. You guys, thank you so much for listening. I will talk to you again next week.
Are you totally loving this mindset work, and you really want to do it every day in order to get your goal? Then my friend, you need to join the Get Your Goal group. It is my personal and private, very interactive coaching and accountability group, where every day we talk about your mindset and we get your goal. You can learn all about it at PahlaBfitness.com/get-your-goal. I’ll see you in the Goal group.