Challenging Your Current Beliefs

Be honest.

In the context of changing, improving and evolving the current version of your life into something better (whatever that means in your world), do your existing beliefs empower you or limit you? Help or hinder? Do they make you more or less likely to succeed? Do they lean more towards the positive or the negative end of the scale?

Coming from my professional background, people have always assumed that I work with bodies. Understandably. And while their assumption is kind-of right, it’s also kind-of-wrong. What I really work with is beliefs.

Beliefs residing in a brain, residing in a body.

Beliefs which determine choices. Beliefs which determine actions and reactions. Beliefs which make things hard or easy. Complicated or simple. Worth doing or worth avoiding. Beliefs which determine rules and standards. Beliefs which influence, if not determine, certain outcomes. Beliefs which lead to decisions and behaviours which ultimately waste or maximise a person’s potential.

Here are some of the beliefs that I’ve been dealing with for thirty years:

“Exercise is painful and boring.”
“I can’t live without chocolate.”
“I’m not a gym person.”
“I look at food and I get fat.”
“… but it’s easy for you (Craig).”
“I could never do….”
“He’s not fat, he’s big boned.”
“For me, it’s a time issue.”
“My problem is entirely genetic.”
“This is soooooo hard.” 

Of course, the belief-outcome relationship relates to all areas of our lives; not just the physical stuff.

In the world of behavioural psychology, we know that negative beliefs are more likely to produce negative self-talk, negative decisions, actions, reactions, expectations and, of course, outcomes. Which then reinforces those existing self-limiting beliefs which started the whole messy and unnecessary process in the first place.

Quite the cerebral merry-go-round.

For what it’s worth (to you), thirty years of working with people who live in bodies has taught me that, in many cases, the psychology is more of a barrier than the physiology.  

So, how do you create healthier, more empowering beliefs?

1. Recognise your limiting beliefs for what they are.
2. Acknowledge that your beliefs are optional and changeable.
3. Ask better questions.
4. New experiences often produce instant cognitive shift so try new things.
5. Talk to people who ‘live’ in a different paradigm to you.
6. Look through someone else’s ‘window’.
7. Face a fear. It’s one of the quickest ways to create positive internal shift.
8. Commit to being the solution person (not the problem person).

:)

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Trish B October 31, 2012 at 9:04 pm

What a great post! Love it!!!! Thanks, Craig.

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Bernadette October 31, 2012 at 10:10 pm

It was Henry Ford who said
“Whether you think you can or that you can’t…you are usually right.”

I often think of this quote particularly when I know I cant do something and surprisingly I am often wrong.

There was a time I too was big boned, too old, time poor, genetically challenged, metabolically dysfunctional, when moving my massive bulk was boring, painful, unpleasant, uncomfortable, a gym was the last place I ever needed to see let alone be in and thought anything too “healthy” was just not me and I got stiffer and fatter and sicker and weak just thinking about it. I thought words like willpower and self discipline were all about not doing things that I wanted to do when really they are tools to help me get things done. It never occurred to me that possibly I was so wrong about so much I was killing myself and worse I didn’t care.
One day I decided to prove all of my firmly held beliefs by actually doing all the stuff I knew I could never do – just to prove I was right but I was WRONG !!!!
I found that I could exercise and lose fat and build muscles and eat food as fuel and do new even exciting things and meet new different people. I look younger, I am stronger and fitter and enjoy the gym!
I learned how to do things instead of making excuses, I became accountable to myself really accountable to me, I found the help I needed and the courage to ask for it. Now I challenge all my beliefs because lurking in my head are ideas that may not be true.
Who would have thought?

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Evan November 1, 2012 at 11:05 am

Hi Craig,
another way – so,
9 recognise that the belief originally developed for good reason and to achieve something. When that something can be achieved in another way then it is much easier for the belief to become optional.

Eg “exercise is painful and boring” lets me avoid feeling bad at failing and not being embarrassed and humiliated by not looking buff at the gym. Knowing this I can choose a personal trainer who doesn’t get their kicks out of telling their clients how bad they are (there is at least one example I can think of in a major newspaper in Aus). When, with the help of a personal trainer, I find that there are things that I enjoy doing that help me get fit then it will be easier to let go of the belief “exercise is painful and boring”.

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chebbieanne November 1, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Evan,
I found the opposite was true for me. My trainer was very encouraging (how he kept a straight face I still dont know) but I knew full well how crap I was at doing everything. He just smiled everytime I reminded him how crap I was at that stuff. I figured we both knew I was absolutely useless so I could only get better. I pretty much hated everything we did but gradually as I got use to it I started to almost enjoy it.
I think clients presume trainers are judging them but really the client is judging themselves. Trainers want you to master exercise because that makes them look good too :)

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amanda November 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Brilliant stuff Bernadette!

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Brian Madigan November 2, 2012 at 8:17 am

Great post Craig. What we believe will be true for us. That is simply a fact. Learning to see the un-supportive beliefs and then work on ones that will actually create the change we’re looking for is the trick. I;ve used a lot of techniques on myself and clients. Once those beliefs are out of the way the road is clear. Of course, we still have to do the work to drive down it.

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