Have you ever decided you wanted to buy a new car (whether new or used), and then suddenly everywhere you look you start seeing the same car as the one you want? It has happened to me and I bet it has happened to some of you. Did these cars just come out of nowhere? Did everyone else suddenly buy the same car that you want and start driving it the next day?
The obvious answer to both of those questions is no. Those cars were always there, you just didn't notice them. Your brain is bombarded with millions upon millions of stimuli each day. Remember, the stimuli from a web page is not a single stimulus. Each page has a plethora of colors, shapes, words, and symbols, not to mention the spacial relationship between them all. While looking at that web page, what is going on in your peripheral vision? Are there any sounds being made around you? What do you smell? What emotions are you remembering or thinking about? All of these stimuli are hitting you every waking second of every day. Not to mention all the stuff that happens when you are asleep.
So how do we sort through all of this to get the stimuli that we want so we can function? One of the many filters that the brain uses is familiarity. Basically, what have I seen before or thought of before that I recognize and don't have to fully process? This is what I want to talk about. Your brain is always looking for things that you are already thinking about. If you are thinking about food, you may get hungry. If you are thinking about a boyfriend or girlfriend, you may get butterflies. If you are thinking about a new truck, you may just see one.
This filter that the brain uses is incredibly effective and helpful, and we can manually feed it information. Similar to the truck example, if we are thinking about kindness, we are going to notice more kindness around us. If we are thinking about our friend who is looking for a job, we will notice job opportunities. So here is a crazy idea, what if we thought about the change we want to make? If our goal is to lose weight and that is a conscious thought, we are going to be aware of the donuts in the break room so we can not accidentally eat one (this can be a double edged sword). If I am thinking about how I can lose weight, I'm not going to mindlessly add a Snickers bar to the grocery cart when I am sent to the store to get milk, eggs, and diapers.
It doesn't just work with weight loss though, it works with anything. Any goal we have, our brain will automatically think of ways that we can accomplish that goal. And the best part about it is we don't even have to be conscious of it. If we wake up in the morning and before we leave the house we read out loud our goals, or focus on our vision board (more about that in a different post), our brain will spend the day thinking about how we can accomplish those goals, even if we aren't thinking about it consciously. If before we go to bed, we read our goals out loud or focus on our vision board, our brain will be thinking about it all night long.Now a quick word of warning on this. The first time I spent time focusing on my vision board right before bed, I didn't sleep very well. My brain was so excited to figure out solutions, that it had to tell me every little thing it was thinking. Kind of like a 6 year old who starts telling you a crazy story about some mundane thing but is just totally amused and contented with the story that they have to tell you and you can't do anything else until they are done. If you are a parent or grandparent, you know what I'm talking about. My brain did that to me all night long.