Saturday, May 4, 2013

Self-Sabotage, Limiting Beliefs, and Change

Do you sabotage your progress after setting a goal to make a change in your life? I've done it myself ...  I see it frequently with my clients. Setting a goal feels empowering. In that instant my vision is as clear as a memory of a sunny day and my fuel tank of good intentions is completely full.

What happens after that? Why do we run out of gas and stall before getting where we want to go?

No one tells you from the start that change is downright uncomfortable. Change is like a tight pair of shoes you can't wait to take off at the end of the day and switch to your comfortable slippers. It is easier to stop and fall back into the familiarity of the known.

We've all said it, most likely without meaning it, but nothing easy is worth having. It is common sense, however it is not common practice.

The key is to persist. That little voice inside that says "I'm too tired" or "I'll start tomorrow" or even the one I hear all the time regarding diet and exercise "I'll start Monday." What the heck is it about Mondays?! The most tiring and difficult day of the week to get going and we set that as the ideal day to being a new way of being or doing? Yes, that's a great idea!!!! What it really is ... is procrastination. In the past I even did it myself hundreds of times. There are days I still procrastinate and I am quick to nip that in the bud.

Persistence is to continue to wear that tight fitting pair of shoes. Eventually you wear the darn things in and they in turn become the most comfortable shoes you own! Sound familiar?

I say move forward in spite of the little voice whispering limiting beliefs to you. What is a limiting belief? We all have them. It is a thought that puts limitations on your abilities, future, progress, looks, dreams or goals.

"It is hard to earn money"
"I can't"
"I'm not smart enough"
"There's never enough time"
"I don't have the energy"
"I've always been this way"
"It's in my genes"
"Nothing ever goes my way"
"I'm not good at that"
"My whole family is like this"
"It's too hard"
"I have the worst luck"
"It will take too long"
"I'm too busy"

Enough of those little words in the mind will derail any train of good intention chugging along the tracks. Life does from time to time throw some challenges in front of us, sure. It doesn't help however if we become our greatest obstacle to succeeding in change or reaching a goal. They are just thoughts. Thoughts that can be changed.

Becoming aware of the broken record in your mind playing limiting beliefs is the first step in pruning those thoughts like weeds in a garden. Watch your thoughts instead of being controlled by them. We create our thoughts. Those thoughts create the landscape of our lives. Period. Feel the emotions they generate. Do you like that emotion? If not pull out the weeds and plant some new thoughts. Awareness is the foundation of this. Does that mean I don't have bad thoughts? No, it means I now sit back and sift through my thoughts and decide which ones I want to water and which ones I want to yank out and compost. I'm thinking them for Pete's sake, that means I truly do have control over them, regardless of how habitual some thoughts may be.

We all can. We all have the energy. Just because we were "always this way" does not mean we cannot adopt a new way. It's just your mind working to maintain status quo because change is uncomfortable. Break in a new pair of shoes and kick the old ones to the curb. I find it very rewarding to make progress here.

-Nicola Byrne

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