You know you need to change.
You’ve acknowledged it. Identified it.
Had a cataclysmic moment that made you realise that you weren’t getting any younger, that life was passing you by, and that you weren’t doing what you love.
Oh, hang on … that was my cataclysmic moment.
But your cataclysmic moment could be the realisation that you are stuck in a dead-end job or a relationship that is no longer serving you.
You are aware of what it is that you want to change, so why aren’t you changing it?
There are many reasons why we don’t change
Why we don’t change ourselves.
Why we don’t change our environment.
Why we don’t change our relationships.
And the main reason is we are fearful and lack self belief.
The idea of change is appealing.
You think about it. Even dream about it.
But the fear of the unknown and your self-limiting beliefs stop you from consciously seeking change, and letting go of the security blanket that you’ve wrapped yourself in.
Better the devil you know
The thought of letting go of attachments is difficult. You become familiar with what you know. And in most cases, you know how to live that life even though it no longer brings you comfort or happiness.
But it’s necessary to let go or otherwise you can’t embrace change.
You can’t hold onto yesterday whilst reaching for tomorrow.
You can either remain trapped in the past, or you can let go, and move on.
But you can’t change if you keep repeating old habits.
You can seek to do new things but if they aren’t done with intention, you will keep falling back into old and familiar habits, and ultimately nothing will change.
Get out of your comfort zone
We all get comfortable in life. Especially as we get older.
The thought of doing something new is daunting.
You start to doubt your abilities and skills; the ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ mantra echoes in your head.
But you need to stop seeking comfort and routine and seek out the unfamiliar and uncomfortable, because when you venture into unchartered waters and breach your comfort zone, you begin to grow, and change.
When you change your self beliefs then you will change your life
Self-doubt is one of the biggest obstacles we all face.
Not believing that you can change, or attempting something outside your comfort zone, to sever ties with attachments that no longer fulfil you, and continuing to repeat past behaviours and habits, is self-destructive.
You need to break the cycle of negative thinking and self-deprecating beliefs.
And to stop disrespecting yourself and start believing in your abilities and self-worth.
A lack of self-confidence and self-esteem stops you from achieving success and happiness in your life.
When you’ve spent so long doubting yourself and your abilities, finding the courage and confidence to step outside your comfort zone is difficult. But it is possible.
What you believe, you become.
Stomp on the ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts)
The average person has over 6,000 thoughts a day.
And if most of these thoughts are negative, then your outlook on life and behaviour will reflect the same.
Negative thoughts, or self-limiting beliefs, randomly pop up out of the blue and are detrimental as they limit our ability to have the confidence to undertake new tasks and challenge ourselves. They hold us back and keep us rooted where we don’t want to be.
They inhibit growth.
Self Limiting Beliefs:
“…assumptions or perceptions that you’ve got about yourself and about the way the world works. These assumptions are ‘self-limiting’ because in some way they are holding you back from achieving what you are capable of.” – Blackman 2018
Constantly repeating the same behaviour creates a neural pathway. The more you repeat the behaviour, the stronger the connections in the brain become.
This is how habits are formed.
Neurons that fire together, wire together
The brain’s ability to change and rewire itself as a result of our actions is neuroplasticity.
To change your self-limiting beliefs you first need to pinpoint what they are.
You can identify your self-limiting beliefs by simply listening to yourself.
What are you telling yourself when you are laying awake in bed at night?
Are you thinking of all the limitless ways you can achieve your goals, or are you focused on that negative voice telling you all the reasons why you can’t?
With focus and intention, you can rewire your brain and develop good habits to improve your life. Or you can continue to repeat past behaviours and embed bad habits deeper into your subconscious.
Research has shown it takes between 18 to 254 days to form a new habit. The study also concluded that, on average, it takes 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic
Stop being a negative Nelly
7 common self-limiting beliefs
- I can’t
- I am not good enough
- What if I fail
- I am not as good as them
- I am not attractive
- I don’t have time
- I am too old/young
Change the narrative
Instead of telling yourself all the reasons why you can’t, think of all the reasons why you can. There is no such thing as “can’t”, you always have a choice. You can do anything you set your mind to, and if you don’t yet have the skillset, you have the ability to learn. You can choose to, or choose not to, but the choice is yours.
I am not good enough
Thinking you aren’t good enough is a fear of being judged or rejected by others, and wanting to be liked and accepted. But not everyone is going to like you, and that’s fine, what others think of you is irrelevant and none of your business. Once you overcome what others think, you will flourish.
What if I fail
Fearing failure is fearing the pain and discomfort of failure. Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of it. Stop avoiding uncomfortable situations, step out of your comfort zone and don’t let the fear of discomfort and failure stop you from achieving your goals.
I am not as good as them
Comparison is the thief of joy. When you compare yourself to others, you are focusing on their abilities and not your own, and begin to lack confidence in yourself. Be proud of who you are, and your abilities, and be yourself! Remember everyone else is taken.
I am not attractive
Labelling yourself unattractive is a lack of self-worth and low self-esteem which makes you feel insecure and bad about yourself. Ignore your inner critic and don’t compare yourself to others, focus on the positive things that make you uniquely you.
I don’t have time
“Time is what we want most and what we use worst”- William Penn.
Everyone has 24 hours in a day but it’s how we choose to use those hours to make them count. There are 1440 minutes in a day, use them wisely, for lost time is never found again.
I am too old/young
As mentioned earlier your brain has an amazing ability to change and adapt, and master new skills whatever your age. Age is no barrier.
Stop living in the past
Let go of past discomfort and unhappiness. Don’t keep revisiting it. Put it behind you. Acknowledge it. And learn from it. But erase it from your future and move on.
What has happened in our past, shapes our future but we don’t need to reside there.
I’m not referring to severe trauma which is something entirely different.
But for instance, being made redundant or not being successful in a job interview, a relationship break-up, or some other major event that has had a significant impact on your life that has caused you pain and anguish but is also something that you know you need to move on from.
Don’t allow what happened to you to define you.
What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve
Change is possible.
You can transform your old self into a positive, new version if you have self-belief.
With discipline and consistency, you can implement change.
The mind is powerful and if you believe passionately enough, you can change your reality.
No different to if you believe that you are ill, and talk about and focus on illness, then chances are you will become ill, most likely with stress and anxiety from obsessing constantly on the negatives.
The same goes for self-belief.
If you believe that you can achieve something, believe that you are competent, and are confident and think positively about your capabilities you will increase your chances of implementing the changes that you want in your life.
Self-belief is not being overconfident or overselling your abilities, but being willing to grow and adapt, whilst still being aware of your strengths and your weaknesses, accepting failure, learning from your mistakes, and seeking answers with confidence and intention to learn, grow and flourish.
Quick 1,2,3 of habits to quit
- Let go of attachments that no longer serve you
- Stop repeating old habits
- Get out of your comfort zone
- Ditch the negative self-talk and change your narrative
- Stomp on the ANTs (automatic negative thoughts)
- Quit living in the past
- Change your beliefs
And most of all “Believe in Yourself”
“trust in your own abilities”
– Cambridge Dictionary
- lack of confidence