Always watch your thoughts

“Watch your thoughts, for they will become actions. Watch your actions, for they will become habits. Watch your habits for they will forge your character.
“Watch your character, for it will make your destiny.”
These wise words often are attributed to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. But on the other hand, the quote often is said to be “Anonymous.”
A search on the Internet will reveal many different sources of this quote or variations of the same idea. From 19th-century American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson to Lao Tzu, a philosopher and poet of ancient China.
Since Lao Tzu predates Thatcher and all the rest by 2,000 years or more, it is reasonable to believe that the sixth-century philosopher originated this piece of wisdom.
Or maybe the idea is so basic to the human soul and spirit that we all know it innately.
Of course our thoughts matter! We all know that.
What are you thinking about right now? Are you disappointed or angry? Are you critical of everything? Are you incredibly unhappy, thinking sad thoughts?
Or, on the other hand, are you thinking happy thoughts? Really happy thoughts! Are you at peace with the world and its occupants? Are you smiling inside?
And how do these thoughts become actions that ultimately make your destiny?
Take the last scenario, for instance. If you are smiling inside, your smile is bound to come out. And other people will smile back and often ask a friendly question such as, “How are you doing today?”
Since you are still smiling inside, obviously you won’t be complaining. So you and your friend can affirm each other.
And your actions will become a habit—a habit of friendship. A fun habit that results in morning coffees, evening game nights, and meeting more friendly people.
That’s the way it works!
Conversely, sometimes we get stuck in a pattern of feeling sour inside. This can lead to always saying the wrong thing and rubbing people the wrong way.
Negative thoughts result in negative actions and negative habits.
So it is up to us. It’s our choice–will we think negative thoughts or positive thoughts? But knowing the outcome, there is really no choice. We have to think positive!
Lao Tzu is considered the father of Chinese Taoism and was a contemporary of Confucius. Both philosophers had profound wisdom about how to navigate the difficulties of life.
And we all need all the wisdom we can find. Life is hard sometimes and the harder it becomes, the more important it is for us to listen to the seers.
Lao Tzu reminds us that, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” The right step!
But most important of all is to just take that step and then flow with it.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes,” Lao Tzu writes. “Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.
“Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
So step forward into the flow and watch your thoughts. Because your thoughts result in actions that directly affect the quality of your life.
Your destiny is up to you!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at