I have been presented with a wonderful opportunity. Although, I jumped at it right away I have been questioning my decision ever since. This life experience has lead me out of my comfort zone and into the “unashamedly vulnerable” zone where I am faced with the choice to hide or keep going. Even though I am usually pretty cool with who I am, in new situations my ego surfaces and wants to block me. What happened to my “I can do anything” attitude? What happened to my belief in myself?
What is a belief? It’s a feeling of being sure that something is true. It is not always a fact, it is merely a thought or an idea that we kept thinking until we became convinced that it must be true. You have practiced them so many times that they have gathered more energy than other thoughts. You have fed them consistently with the food of your attention. Unless checked, these thoughts expand with so much energy, that they move from the pure energy realm into the physical realm — into an unwanted reality. This is when we unconsciously use our precious mind power to create a negative “self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Or maybe, we might have read the idea somewhere (book, Internet, etc.) or heard it from any of the following: friends, family, teachers, religious leaders, and politicians. The idea resounded with us and we adopted it as the truth. Many beliefs come from social conditioning. For example, if we are religious they come from our religious affiliations and so on. Some of them are wonderful and uplifting, but many, unfortunately, do us no good.
Here is an example of how a negative belief develops. As a child, you might have felt like you were not good enough. You heard it from your parents, from your peers, and from your teachers. You heard it so many times that you started to repeat it to yourself and it shaped into a belief. Your entire adolescence and adult life have been influenced by this false belief that you aren’t good enough to be successful at anything. So, here’s what often happens when you are presented with a growth opportunity: You think: I’m not good enough. You feel: I feel small and insignificant; I feel unworthy. Action: You take no action, already convinced that you will fail. You stay in your comfort zone. Your result: A life of misery, a life of unfulfilled dreams and desires.
The scenario above not only plays out for many people, it also spills over into multiple areas of their lives: career, money, relationships, health, and so on. Could you have one or more self-limiting beliefs that, once shattered, will open up a whole new world of possibilities for you? If so, why not just eliminate them from your mind?
Nothing changes if nothing changes, so what can we do to not be overtaken by the negative part of our own belief systems. The good news is your negative beliefs can be changed. However, as it turns out you can’t just erase your old beliefs. Abraham-Hicks said that a “thought once thought is never gone.” What you can do is replace your old beliefs and create a beautiful set of new affirmations, incantations, thoughts and words and new prayers that will become your new beliefs.
The power of a positive belief is one of the keys to reality creation. Installing a new belief, can be easier than you might imagine. First, you have to learn to trust the process, knowing that at this point you are right where you need to be, doing what you need to do, and you are doing a fine job of it. The universe is neutral and doesn’t care about your “good” or “bad” deeds of the past.
First identify a new belief you would like to install. Most people start by focusing on performance and appearance-based goals like “I want to lose 20 pounds” or “I want to write a best-selling book.” But these are surface level changes. The root of behavior change and building better habits is your identity. Each action you perform is driven by the fundamental belief that it is possible. So if you change your identity (the type of person that you believe that you are), then it’s easier to change your actions.
Identity-based habits focus on you rather than your goals. It is surprisingly easy to achieve a goal and still not be happy with who you are as a person. Society pushes us to obsess over results: How busy are you? How successful have you become?
And while there is nothing wrong with achievement and improvement, it is also very easy to forget to ask yourself the more important questions: Who am I? What do I want my identity to be? Identity-based habits are one way to match your values and beliefs with the outcomes that you want in your life.
Your next step will be the idea of “casting votes for your identity” which reveals how your daily actions add up over the long-term. Your actions drive your beliefs and each action you take is a vote for the type of person that you believe that you are. What beliefs are you expressing through your actions?
Finally, remove the “All or Nothing” philosophy that can so easily wreck our progress. We often think that if we fail to follow our exact plan step-by-step, then we have totally blown it. The truth is that it doesn’t work that way at all. If you make a mistake, remember that it’s just one vote. Be aware of the votes you’re casting and try to win the majority. Every action is a vote for your identity. Here is the interesting part, research shows that making a mistake or missing a habit every now and then has no measurable impact on your long-term success. It doesn’t matter if you cast a few votes for a bad behavior or an unproductive habit. In any election, there are going to be votes for both sides.