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How to Change Limiting Beliefs

A Practical Cognitive Behavioral Approach

In a previous article, I have explored how our negative core beliefs keep us stuck. If you are not familiar with this I suggest you read “How to get Unstuck” first.

Now before going ahead make yourself comfortable. Take a pen and paper and get ready to do some very valuable work that will make a real difference in your life. Take your time with this. The more you put into it the more you will get out of it.

Ok, let’s get down to work: start by writing down the first restrictive negative belief you want to change. Then proceed with the following steps:

21 Steps to Positive Change

1) On a scale of 1-10, how true does this belief subjectively feel?

2) On a scale of 1-1- how true is this belief in reality? (be as neutral and objective as possible)

3) When does this belief the most emotionally convincing?

4) When does it feel the least emotionally convincing? Take your time answering this question as this will reveal to you what conditions exasperate the issue and what makes it better.

5) What actual evidence do you have for this belief? what supports it? Be realistic and as neutral as possible

6) What actual evidence contradicts and challenges this belief? What evidence is there to show you it might not be necessarily true?

7) What possible advantages are making you want to hold on to it? In what way could this belief be serving you beneficially in some perverse way?

8) What disadvantages are there in holding on to it?

9) Now remind yourself of a circumstance in the past when you had doubts about a belief. Go back to that time and recall what it felt like to experience doubt. How did you know you were doubting your previously firm beliefs? what were you experiencing? what made you change your mind?

10) Recalling and staying with this doubting state start doubting your current belief. Ask yourself those questions again: does this belief really fit with what is truly important to me? In the past, when did this belief interfere with what I wanted to do? What would it be like to be free of this old belief?

11) After rolling these questions in your mind for a while focus again.

Is this negative belief an over-generalization? Is it the result of catastrophizing? Is it just a personal attack against your person or others? Does it label you or others into something fixed? Is it the result of demanding of yourself something unreasonable, such as ‘you SHOULD be or do such and such”?

12) After careful consideration how true does your old belief feel now on a scale of 1-10? Now comes the fun part: relax, take a few deep breathes and close your eyes. Imagine that there’s a furnace somewhere deep inside yourself.

If you really want to permanently destroy that old belief imagine throwing it into that fire and watch it burn away into ashes. Take pleasure in doing this.

13) Now ask yourself: what would be a more helpful and realistic alternative belief to have? State it positively (say what you want not what you don’t want!).

Make sure you are happy with it. Word it in the present tense, as if it was happening now. (i.e. I believe I am good enough as I am, or, I believe I deserve love just as I am)

14) On a scale of 1-10, how true does it feel right now?

15) As you did before ask yourself, when does the new belief feel the least and the most emotionally convincing.

16) Examine the evidence against this new belief? Is there any problem with it? Then find evidence that proves its correctness and usefulness. Write it down

17) Write down any disadvantages there may be for holding this new positive belief. Be as objective as possible

18) Write down all the advantages of holding this new positive belief now.

19) Now go inside yourself again. Recall a time in the past when you felt receptive and willing to learn. Remember what it was like to be open to change and new beliefs.  How did it feel? Re-live that time in as much detail as possible. Where in your body did you feel those feelings? What were you telling yourself? Do all it is possible now to achieve that same state again now.

20) Staying with that memory of feeling receptive and open focus on your new belief. How would it feel to accept this new belief? How is it better than the previous one? How different would your life be if you held this new belief as your own? What would you be doing that you were doing before? What could you achieve and overcome that you weren’t able to before? Think about all this and engage with your new belief.

21) Now evaluate your new belief.  Do you need to make any changes? Can you improve on it in any way? How good do you feel holding it?  On a scale of 1-10, how true does it feel now?

Now Take Action!

Now decide to take some action. What can you do differently right now, today, as a result of having acquired this new belief? If you truly believed in it, what would you do differently?  Set yourself a task based on this belief being true and decide what action you would take.

Start doing things differently right now so that your new belief gets empirical support and you experience it in your life. This way it gets verified, enhanced and supported and therefore embedded in your new behavior patterns.

Have fun with it, experiment and watch your life change and feel great as a result!

How to Get Unstuck

unstuckFeeling Stuck in your Old Ways ?

When we are blocked in an area of our lives it often is due to the fact that we feel safer that way. We may feel unhappy but that is easier to deal with than our fear of the unknown. We begin to change when the pain we experience in staying stuck is bigger than the anticipated pain of change.

A lot of fear comes down to our negative core beliefs : deeply held beliefs acquired some time in the past due to painful experiences. Becoming conscious and challenging these beliefs is the first step in the process of change.

For a moment, think about something you would really like to do or be right now but don’t feel able to. When you’ve got that, write it down. Do that now. Maybe you have always wanted to be an artist so write down “I am a capable and talented artist”.

The Trouble with Positive Affirmations

Now, in all probability a voice in your head has just emerged to criticize this statement bringing up all sorts of reasons why this is either impossible or a bad idea. Positive affirmations can give us a sense of safety and hope if we let them but at first you will probably feel they sound fake, embarassing or not right. No surprise there.  If you have spent all your life bludgeoning yourself with negative beliefs such as “I am worthless” or “I am not good enough” or “I must be perfect to deserve success” anything else will sound unfamiliar and syrupy or cheesy . So saying to yourself ” I am lovable just as I am” or “I am capable and confident” will surely sound untrue at first.

The problem with not accepting a belief because it doesn’ t sound right though is that feelings are a result of thoughts and if you want to change a feeling you have got to change the thought first. It’s a bit like the idea of “fake it til you make it”. You can’t wait to feel it to believe it, you gotta believe it to feel it! Luckily there are some ways to get around this obstacle, but all of these do involve a certain willingness to suspend judgement and take a leap of faith, as well as engage our rational mind doubting limiting old beliefs.

Seek out the Monster in your Head

So what is that critical monster in your head saying when you tell it you already are what you want to be ?( After saying your affirmation: i.e. “I am ok just as I am” )

Listen to the objections that come your way. What s the cruel voice saying inside your head ? “so you’re ok as you are… ah ah sure you are!”, “who are you kidding?”, “You are ugly”, “You will never change”, “You can’t do anything right”, “No-one will ever love you unless you are perfect”, etc etc… You will be amazed at the rotten things you can come up with. Write them down.  These are your personal negative core beliefs.

Become a Mind Investigator

Once you have written them down you can start having a good look at where these beliefs come from: Mom and dad? Your school bully? The boy/girl you were in love with when you were ten? Teachers that pushed you too hard? Your little jealous sister ? Scan your blurts for possible sources. Time travel back into your life in five year increments and list by name who influenced you the most in each block of time.

Once you have identified these challenge their opinions. What self serving reason could they have had to have done or said what they did do or say? How did their own worldview influence them ? What did they believe about themselves ? What messages did they grow up with ? Remember this is not about blaming or condoning, just understanding and distinguishing their beliefs from what yours would be if you hadn’t accepted theirs as true. If there is still a lot of emotional energy involved in recalling these memories you might have to release it first so you can forgive them and yourself and move on.

Keep in mind that it is also possible your negative beliefs may come from subtle non direct messages received from your environment or from an experience of something that happened to you where others were not directly involved:

Maybe you felt different because of a situation you found yourself in; maybe you were abandoned by a significant other; maybe you fell ill and became isolated; maybe you were born with something that set you apart from others and you yourself came up with the negative conclusion that you were not Ok just as you were: the possibilities are endless and very personal.

Challenge the Critical Voice

Whatever your monster is, after it has been brought up to the light of day you can start working on challenging its critical voice and changing those negative beliefs that keep you stuck and unhappy. If you would like help with a practical cognitive behavioral approach to this, read this article about “how to get rid of negative core beliefs”.

How do you lose weight fast ?

How do you lose weight fast ?

Burn More Calories than you consume !

There are a million diets out there that claim to be able to help you to lose weight fast. But are diests the correct solution to successfully shedding your extra pounds? Chances are you have followed all the fads, bought all the products and tried all the diets hoping in a miracle cure of some kind. Did it work? If yes then good for you, but if you are reading this it probably hasn’t. The truth is diets don’t work because they foster a deprivation mentality. And we all know that if we are told we cannot do something that is exactly when we want to do it more!

In reality it is much better to eat a bit of everything (unless you have specific allergies) than to focus on eliminating types of food from your diet. Of course this doesn’t mean that it’s ok to go out right now and stuff yourself with fish and chips and cake. What it means is that the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. And how do you do that ?

  • portion control 
  • healthy foods 
  • exercise

Why can’t I lose weight ? Help me lose weight fast !

A lot of you may be asking the question: “How can I lose weight fast ?” The answer is there are fast ways to lose weight but before you can find out what they are you need to ask yourself another question:”What has stopped you losing weight so far ?”  Chances are you are still overweight due to one or more of three factors:

  • Eating big portions / unhealthy foods
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Lack of motivation / willpower / unconscious blockages

A few questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do you over-eat (are your portions bigger than a fist size? How many meals / snacks do you have per day) ?
  • Do you eat “junk” food ? Do you eat regularly or skip meals and then binge ?
  • Do you get enough exercise ? (3 hours a week of low to medium intensity or 3 bursts of 20 seconds high intensity exercise once a day)
  • What are your beliefs about food ? (i.e do you use it for comfort ? Do you feel you always have to finish all the food on your plate ? Do you eat when you are genuinely hungry or is it an habit ?)
  • Do you find that despite your best intentions you keep falling back to your old bad eating habits?

Tips on losing weight fast

The first step is to be honest with yourself and face the truth of what you really do rather than what you want to be doing. In order to figure this out it is helpful to keep a record of what you eat so you can become aware of exactly how much you eat and when for at least two to ten weeks.

  • Once you have figured this out you need to decide what you want to accomplish. It is no enough to say “I want to lose weight” You need to have a goal of exactly what weight you want to be, what size and how many pounds you want to shed in how much time. Make sure that your goals are realistic and possible to achieve!To give you an example, it is reasonable to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week but if you set a goal of 3 or more a week it won’t happen and you’ll be discouraged.

  • Once you know what your dream is you need to clearly visualize it as if it already happened. In other words you need to visualize the ideal outcome. This is because the subconscious is a goal striving mechanism. What you tell it to do it will. So if you keep on thinking of what you don’t want to be that is exactly where you’ll end up.

  • Next you need to have a plan. How are you going to achieve what you want? Once you have made up your mind focus on a different achievable goal per week. Do not try to change everything all at once. You will only get overwhelmed. Once you have achieved your goal,  move on to the next achievable one. Take it one day and one week at a time. Keep track of your progress and celebrate your successes no matter how small they seem to be. They will give you motivation to keep going.

  • Stay positive. It takes time and effort to be successful.  You need to remember that nothing of value in life is easy to achieve. However, if you hold on to the belief that despite the challenge and the difficulty you will keep moving forward, you will eventually get there. Needless to say, you will not see overnight results so don’t test yourself by constantly checking the scales and comparing your weight to when you started. What you need to remember is that while you giving yourself due credit for your efforts it is important to focus on how much you want to lose rather than what you’ve lost so far
  • Finally, you need to strengthen your will power so you learn to make informed choices and not just go on auto-pilot. Self control is something that can be learned and improved. It is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Take your time though. You don’t want to ‘overdo it” either. For example, instead of depriving yourself of your favourite chips you could cut down the amount you consume gradually until you are ready to give them up. At the same time you can replace them with healthier snacks such as fruit or salads.

However, if you think you’d benefit from the support of someone who can guide you through the challenges, keep you motivated and strong or you find that while you consciously want to lose weight your subconscious seems to be sabotaging you by keeping you within your old familiar habits, don’t get discouraged! if you think you may be using food to deal with uncomfortable emotions or stress or you find yourself stuck in compulsive behavior there is help at hand.

Hypnotherapy deals exactly with these kinds of subconscious blockages and with the help of a hypnotherapist you can easily and safely overcome these obstacles in just a few sessions.  

There are a few different weight-loss programmesto choose from:

Individual Hypnotherapy and coaching sessions

Online Weightloss Course

If you are unsure about which one would suit you best do not hesitate to contact me