What do you suppose might be the biggest obstacle to achieving your goals and living a life of fulfillment? How often have you started the day bursting with energy and enthusiasm, only to quickly lose momentum and fall back into the status quo? We all do it. So what’s up with that? Believe it or not, it is the stuff we make up and believe about ourselves that creates our biggest obstacles.
Often it is our own beliefs that prevent us from moving forward on some aspect of our lives. Think of all the wonderful ideas you’ve had for self-improvement, better services you could offer, or ways to improve your relationships at work and at home. Notice how each of those ideas came to you with energy, enthusiasm and excitement, yet for some reason you did not follow through to completion. When we really look deeply at what gets in the way, it is interesting to note, that often it is the things that we tell ourselves, or the things that we have come to believe about ourselves that holds us back. This doesn’t mean that we are broken or require fixing. It may simply mean it’s time to re-evaluate some of the beliefs that we have been holding on to.
Simply put, beliefs are merely habits or thoughts that we have had for so long that they have become our reality and we actually let them go unchallenged. Our early relationships with family and friends, played a role in how we came up with these beliefs. Negative experiences in these relationships helped create the limiting beliefs that we hold to be true about ourselves. Once a belief has started to take root in our minds, it is easy to find evidence to support it.
To illustrate this point, we can examine the belief that “I’m not good at managing my finances because I’ve always been poor at math”. Your checkbook is not balanced properly because you believe you can’t manage your money. You reinforce this belief by gathering evidence that this is true and only notice the errors you make. As a result of the belief that you can’t do it, you neglect to attempt to balance your checkbook for a long period of time. The checkbook gets in even worse shape. You see the unbalanced checkbook as evidence that you aren’t good with finances. In fact, you haven’t even tried and it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our brains are very good at filtering out things that do not support our beliefs and only noticing the things that do.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, our thoughts are our reality. If our thoughts are based on the limiting beliefs that we’ve been carrying around since childhood, it may very well prevent us from achieving all we hope to in life. What we think and believe affects the way we behave and perform. Until we break out of the grip of these beliefs, the things we believe will continue to be our reality. It takes a conscious and continuous effort to become aware of them, challenge them and discard them.
A life working with a belief system that says “I cant”, will not allow us to experience freedom and personal happiness. The two greatest obstacles that prevent us from achieving our goals, are doubt and fear – both of these are rooted in our limiting beliefs. Common beliefs like, I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, everyone else is better; interfere with our ability to reach our full potential. Our beliefs hold us back because we think they define what we are capable of doing. In fact they only define what we are doing right now. Success is achieved by challenging our limiting beliefs. We need to develop a belief system that is empowering rather than limiting, and create a new habit of believing in ourselves.
So how can we get out of our own way? We begin by looking deeply inside and identifying the beliefs that hold us back. How does this belief serve you? Is it even true? What evidence do you have? If we are genuinely certain that we want to change it, then we need to create a more empowering belief. Set an intention that you are prepared to work towards and one that you truly believe that you can accomplish.
“I am completely capable of looking after my own personal finances.”
Look for evidence each day that supports your new belief and repeat it as an affirmation every day. Plan action steps that will enhance your belief. In this case it may be contacting a financial advisor to assist you as you get started. And finally, be gentle with yourself as you work to make this new belief your reality. As you progress towards your goal and begin to gather evidence that supports your new belief, you will distance yourself from the beliefs that held you back.