New Year’s resolutions: are they a great way of starting new projects and kicking tiresome habits or are they just a waste of time that last no longer than 2 or 3 weeks?
Whatever your feelings the fact is the majority of resolutions made are not achieved. A recent article in Forbes magazine suggests only 8% of people actually end up sticking to them.
But if you’ve already made a resolution and you’re reading this then don’t despair! You can start to put in place a methodology to succeed by understanding the underlying reasons that make people fail time and again.
Probably the obstacle numero uno preventing us from realising any kind of important goal are our subconscious limiting beliefs. Yes, even if you thought the major problem was laziness or a lack of perseverance, the root of the obstacle often lies hidden in the assumptions and ideas we harbour about ourselves that we are not even aware of.
My coaching clients often come to me thinking the main work is to simply create a plan of action to stick to. Of course this is massively important but usually after a while of exploration it emerges that blockages do exist and these nearly always revolve around some lack of self belief.
Even if you think of yourself as a confident person, we all have these little gremlins lying buried somewhere in our minds. And since we’re unaware of them I’d like to give you here a little New Year’s gift of a simple step by step process for recognising then uprooting these limiting beliefs:
1. So you’ve set up your resolution or goal that’s important to you. If you’re managing to accomplish the steps related to it then great, celebrate it!
2. However when it comes to the moment of actually doing the thing you said you would, you may experience some of the following symptoms of limiting beliefs: procrastination, all manner of excuses arise in the mind or a desire to be distracted by just about anything e.g a sudden urge to be busy and clean the house…
3. This is the point where you have to dig deeper with self awareness. If you look carefully at what is pushing you towards procrastination or distraction you’ll notice a feeling of discomfort.
4. Even if it feels uncomfortable stay aware of that edgy feeling! It’s an ally that will help us identify the subconscious ideas we’re holding.
5. Now investigate that feeling. The likelihood is that it arises out of some kind of fear.
6. Investigate that fear. Try to verbalise or write down what that fear is by completing the phrase
“I’m afraid _______” Here are some examples: I’m afraid I’ll look stupid if I try public speaking, I’m afraid I don’t fit in in that job or class. I’m afraid I’m not good enough to try for that position etc…
7. Now simply remove the “I’m afraid …” part and you’re in touch with your previously subconscious belief e.g “I’ll look stupid if I try public speaking”
8. These beliefs may have served a function in the past by trying to protect our vulnerability yet if we don’t examine and question them they sabotage our growth as individuals. So these beliefs may be deeply ingrained. Therefore the next step is to question their validity. We can start by asking ourselves if we can absolutely be sure if they are true i.e “Is it absolutely true that I’m not good enough for that position?”
9. We can then continue asking ourselves questions like “What does holding on to that belief cost me?” or “How might the opposite of that statement also be true?” These questions help us to disidentify with the assumptions.
10. The above steps help us to break up the stronghold that the subconscious beliefs have on us. They will greatly help us with the final step which is going ahead and doing what we resolved to achieve. But when doing the action there still may be feelings of fear and edginess. So finally arm yourself with a spirit of curiosity and complete the action whilst testing to see if those assumptions really are true.
Repeating this process will help expose and undo the beliefs that hold us back from accomplishing our dreams and goals. If you’d like to go further in this kind of work with the support of a trained coach and put in place systems of accountability to make sure your 2014 resolutions are achieved then book a session with me.
By Andy Paice, Life Coach at Shine on the Green