The Power of Your Beliefs
By Marge Perry
I use to believe…if I stepped on a crack, I’d break my mother’s back;
that the tooth fairy would leave money under my pillow in payment for
lost baby teeth; that I could get pregnant by holding hands with a boy;
and that in order to be successful in life, I had to go to college…WOW
where did all these beliefs come from?
Well, for a short time after my friend Laurie told me about the “crack belief’” I had a rather irregular gait as I walked, skipped and jumped over cracks on my way to Longfellow Elementary School. Eventually it happened…I accidentally stepped on a crack. I worried all day at school, and then rushed home to see my mother apparently healthy and free of broken back bones cooking our dinner.
"How our Beliefs are Formed"
Sometimes we struggle through life with beliefs that limit us; then something happens that questions the belief we had, and our world opens up to new beliefs, and possibilities.
We all have hundreds of beliefs that influence the way we conduct our lives. Some beliefs are directly related to our values and feed our spirits, while other beliefs are dated and actually limit our potential.
Beliefs are important because they drive our thought patterns and influence our behaviors…Think about this for a minute…Imagine if you had a belief that triggered negative thoughts about your intelligence, your appearance, or even the color of your skin...How would those defeating thoughts influence your behaviors?
As a life coach, and a former owner of a weight management clinic, I have heard more then a few limiting beliefs that have contributed to not attaining goals and bitter frustration.
Let me give you an example of how a limiting belief can influence a life. Let’s look at “Sally’s” experience losing weight. She tried most every diet, owned a garage full of home exercise equipment, belonged to gyms, and even at one time hired a personal trainer. Yes, she knows how to lose weight.
She has lost weight many times in her life…then regained it. Sally’s goal is clear…to lose 40 pounds and maintain the new weight permanently. No matter how hard she has tried, she always seems to slip back into her old eating behaviors and lifestyle choices that drive her weight up.
"How Your Beliefs Affect Your Life"
Why is her weight such a struggle?
Sally has had a belief about her weight since she was a child. She remembers how her mother, aunts, and her older sister were always on some sort of diet. Sally also remembers hearing her mother lament about the trials and tribulations of having a family history of obesity. Her mother would say to Sally “It’s in our gene make-up, just like everyone in our family has blue eyes! “ and “no matter how hard we try, we will always struggle with our weight.”
This belief that Sally embraced as a child led to a self-defeating prophecy of thoughts, and behaviors that supported “struggling with her weight.”
"The Key to to Change"
How do you change a limiting belief to a more empowering and useful one?
The first step is to identify you have a belief that is not helping you. Then ask yourself if there is anything about the belief that is not true? Look at how the belief affects your behavior…is it a positive or negative influence? And, is there a belief that would serve you better?
The first step for Sally was to recognize that her long held family belief was in direct conflict with her goal.
When she thought long and hard, Sally was able to dispel the belief that a family history of obesity doomed her to always struggle with her weight. She identified some people in her life that had “beaten the odds” and maintained healthy weights. That proved to Sally that there was a “crack” in the belief. The belief was not always true. She had the potential to be in control of her weight and successfully reach her goal!
What new belief serves Sally better? She found that “I can and want to maintain a healthy weight,” worked for her.
Her old belief lead to behaviors such as skipping meals, binge eating and sporadic exercise sessions. Her new and empowering belief made it much easier to adjust her behaviors to support her goal.
As you can see, changing a belief is a process. The end result can be incredibly freeing and life changing. Your beliefs can be dream makers or dream takers…the choice is yours!
About the Author: Marge Perry is a Life Coach, and co-author of The Secret Weight-Loss Scrolls. Visit www.aspirecoaching.biz for more info.