Deliberate Thinking to Help You Take Action

Deliberate Thinking to Help You Take Action

What can you do when you want to make a change in your life, but you feel stuck?

Sometimes simply taking a step in the direction of the change helps, because it’s easier to steer a moving vessel than one that’s docked. A single step can open new doors of opportunity and put you in a position to see different options from the ones previously available to you.

But what can you do when fear (which usually masks itself as confusion, limited time, limited resources, etc.) prevents you from taking a step?

I’d like to offer a process I use to help clients know what to do and also helps them want to do it.

The first step is to understand the reason you want to make a change.

Regardless of what it is, the reason anyone wants to change anything in their life is so they can feel differently…better than they do now. The desire to help people do that is what motivated me to pivot from financial planning to coaching, but I’ll admit I was hesitant to promote or explicitly state that as my mission, because it seemed, well…shallow.

But I’d like you to consider for a moment what the impact would be on your life and the lives of everyone around you if you felt better, happier, more fulfilled, more at peace.

We all know happy people tend to be healthier, more active, more productive, more creative, more loving, more encouraging, and more generous, while being unhappy limits your ability to think clearly, problem solve, show up fully (mentally and physically), and energetically contribute to your life, work, and relationships.

Think about what might change for you if you felt better. How could it impact your health, your career, your finances, your relationships? What about your community or the people you casually interact with? What kind of example would it set for your children, your spouse, your coworkers and clients/customers?

The second step is to solidify your reason.

Think about one specific thing in your life you’d like to change. Maybe it’s your weight, your work, your financial situation, or your relationship status.

Now ask yourself, “What’s important about that to me?” Write down the first answer that comes to mind. Whatever answer you come up with, ask “What’s important about that to me? Without editing or judging your answers, keep asking, “What’s important about _____ to me?” inserting the last answer you came up with. Repeat this process until you feel a shift in your emotions or your body. It may feel like a release of tension or an opening of your heart; you may even cry. (That’s how I know I’ve gotten to the heart of the matter with clients: They cry. Every time.)

While understanding that you want to feel better in general is an important first step, this step helps you identify specifically why making this change matters to YOU. Knowing and remembering this will serve as a powerful motivator to get you started and keep you going when obstacles appear (which they inevitably will).

The third step is to do a thought download.

Write the subject of what you’d like to change at the top of a piece of paper. Set a timer for 15 minutes and write down every thought that comes to mind about the subject.

Here’s an example of a thought download on the subject of Money:

  • Money is not important to me.
  • There is an abundance of money in the world.
  • There are people less educated and less motivated than me with more money than I have.
  • To have money, you have to work hard and sacrifice other things that are important.
  • Realistically, I’ll never be rich.
  • Money doesn’t buy happiness.
  • Having a lot of money would change me.
  • If I have a lot of money, it means someone else is going to have less.
  • I’m responsible with money, but I might not be if I had a lot more of it.
  • You can’t get rich doing what you love.
  • You can’t strive for wealth and success and be happy and fulfilled at the same time.
  • It takes money to make money.
  • It’s not right to want more money than you need to be comfortable.
  • Once I have a little more money, then I’ll feel secure.
  • Money makes people greedy.
  • Having more money would give me more options regarding how I spend my time.
  • More money means more responsibility.
  • The more money I have, the more I could give to things that are important to me.
  • The more money I have, the more I could lose.
  • If I had a lot of money, it would change my relationships with my family and friends.


I’m sharing lots of examples here to show that there doesn’t need to be rhyme or reason to the list. In fact, you’ll probably uncover thoughts that are both surprising and contradictory. That’s normal. This is a free-flowing download of all your thoughts on the subject.

Work. Health. Love. Happiness. Spirituality. Success. Whatever circumstance you’d like to change, write down the topic, set a timer, and list all your thoughts about it.

The fourth step is to question everything.

Now that you’ve listed all your thoughts about the subject, go through the list, reading each thought, and ask yourself, “How do I feel when I think this?” Write a plus sign next to the thoughts that feel good to you and a minus sign by the ones that don’t.

For each thought with a minus sign, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Is this true?
  • Do I know it to be true?
  • Is it true for everyone?
  • What evidence could I find that this thought isn’t true?


The fifth step is to deliberately choose what to think.

You’re probably aware of the concept of limiting beliefs, or beliefs that keep you from taking action and getting the results you want.

Did you know that a belief is just a thought you continue to think? (Read that again.)

A belief is a just thought you continue to think, a thought is just a sentence in your brain, and you are the only thinker in there, which means you get to decide what you believe.


The same way you learned to tie your shoes and drive a car. Practice.

Having questioned all your thoughts, I’m sure you found evidence to contradict many of the thoughts that don’t feel good to you. Rewrite those thoughts using the new evidence you have or by choosing a completely new way to think about it.

Here are some examples from the thought list above.

  •  Money’s not important to me. Money is important to me because I need money to live comfortably and to do things and support causes that are important to me. 
  •  Having a lot of money would change me. I decide who I am and how I behave. More or less money won’t take away my power to choose. 
  •  Money makes people greedy. I can choose whether to be greedy or generous.  


Once you’ve edited your list, choose the thoughts that feel best to you and support and motivate the change you want to make. Which of those would you need to believe in order to change?

Pick one thought each day and say it to yourself regularly throughout the day.

I like to set a timer on my phone or Fitbit to remind me to think deliberately, because I know that beliefs are thoughts I continue to think, and my beliefs are what motivate my actions and the results I create in my life.

Get Curious.

If you’re still not sure what action to take next, get curious about it.

Ask, “How could I…?” and brainstorm all the ways a person might possibly do it.

Ask, “If my life depended on it, what would I do?”

Because here’s the thing: Your life does depend on it. The life you are creating – whether deliberately or not – and your day-to-day experience of life going forward absolutely depend on it.  

If you would like personalized help or accountability to create the life you want to live, don’t hesitate to schedule time with me.


For weekly ideas and insights about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.