One of my mentors, the great personal development teacher Bob Proctor once said this about beliefs: “It appears there are guards commissioned by a higher authority to arrest any progress in a person’s life beyond the person’s level of belief”.
Understanding the problem
We all have our belief system, developed since we were born, through our experiences, what we were taught, and what we heard from our family, friends, teachers, and environment. We carry those beliefs with us throughout our lives, and most of the time, we’re not even aware of them.
For example, I constantly heard “money does not grow on trees” from several family members and friends from a very young age. I saw the difficulties my family had in earning money. I grew up believing that it was challenging to make money, that money is scarce, and that I need to work extremely hard to earn money and live a content life.
I only realised that I had these beliefs when I started conveying the same messages to my son when he was little and wanted to buy everything when we entered a shop.
Like myself, we all have some deep-seated, limiting beliefs about the world, society, others, and ourselves. We have old negative stories we keep telling ourselves that are holding us back and crippling our lives.
Understanding the solutions
Today my beliefs are entirely different! Why? Because once I become aware of a limiting belief, I take action to change it.
Here is the formula I use whenever I need to shift a limiting belief into a more empowering belief. It’s simple and can be applied by anyone:
Remind + Pay Attention + Check + Reframe + Create + Persist
Remind yourself that you are responsible for your life – you are the creator and the editor of your stories.
We’re usually more comfortable blaming others and external situations for our circumstances. This might be true on many occasions, but if we continue this blame game, we’ll never be able to take control of our lives. Allowing others to be the drivers of your thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and stories is disempowering, so take your power back by taking ownership of your life.
Pay attention to your inner talk.
Being able to recognise your limiting beliefs is crucial. Reflect on what is happening and what triggers those beliefs, and the emotions associated with them. The best way to do this is by being present, stopping and being self-aware.
Check what is true and false.
Once you identify the limiting beliefs, challenge them! Engage in a critical and constructive discussion with yourself and decipher what is true and false.
Try this exercise to dismantle your negative beliefs:
- Write down the negative belief you want to challenge.
- Come up with three small actions to test if this belief is true.
- Write down all the things you assume will happen when you do these actions (what your belief makes you presume).
- Try the three small steps.
- Write down what happened and note the differences between reality and your belief.
Reframe your stories and beliefs
Once you identify your limiting beliefs and do the work to determine them to be false, it’s time to ingrain the new paradigm into your subconscious mind. One of my favourite ways of doing this is through affirmations.
Try the following:
- Write down the old belief on a piece of paper.
- On another piece of paper, write down the new, empowering and positive belief. Use the present tense to write your affirmations…” E.g. I am…”.
- Burn the paper with the old belief (this might seem silly, but it’s a symbolic way of letting go of the old that it’s not serving you anymore).
- Read your affirmations several times a day. Visualise yourself in that state or situation and feel the emotions. If you are an auditory learner, record your affirmations and listen to them frequently.
Create new experiences
While you change your paradigms by repeating your affirmations frequently, create experiences where you can see your new belief in action. Be bold, get out of your comfort zone and push yourself to do the uncomfortable. When you start to act, you will create new habits supported by your new belief, which will deliver the results you want.
All the above might seem straightforward, but it’s not! Our minds are powerful and have embedded beliefs that are difficult to change. The secret to being successful in changing them is to be consistent and persist with it.