The anatomy of change
Having observed thousands of people over the last decade, I’ve come to realize that we often go through life with one foot on accelerator, and one on the brake. The accelerator refers to the behaviors that propel us to new outcomes and results. The brake refers to the limiting beliefs that we may hold.
Here’s how most people – including millions around the world who set New Year’s resolutions ever year – go about trying to achieve change.
Let’s say you were trying to lose 10 lbs or get fitter – a common New Year’s resolution.
Most people, unless they have a medical condition, realize that they need to change their behaviour: eat better, exercise more, drink more water, etc. in order to get fitter and or lose weight: the New Outcome they are seeking.
So at the start of each year, gyms are full, diet programs are sold in record numbers, and self-help programs get over-subscribed. In a month or two however, gyms are empty, membership in diet and self-help groups dwindles – and 99.4% of people fail to achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
Has something similar ever happened to you? It did to me, lots of times, until I realized that I was approaching the situation completely incorrectly.
Instead of changing my behaviour – a necessary pre-requisite to change – I needed to first examine my belief system. Once I understood and changed my then existing limiting beliefs, I could adopt AND sustain new behaviours – leading to lasting change.
You see, the 99.4% of people who changed their behavior could not sustain the new behavior because sooner or later, the old limiting beliefs re-surfaced. And limiting beliefs are like the house in a casino – the house ALWAYS wins in the long run (or every casino worldwide would have shut down by now; instead, world-wide annual gaming revenues are forecast to hit $513 billion by 2015!).
What are some common limiting beliefs? Try: “I’m not worth it”, “It’s too much work”, “I tried it before and it did not work” – fear of failure, “If I succeed, I will draw attention to myself – and I don’t like that”, “I’ll have to buy a new wardrobe and I can’t afford it”, “I’ll have to diet/exercise/have no fun for the rest of my life”, “If I don’t finish all the food on my plate – even though I am full – that is wrong, because there are starving people in this world.” I’ve heard these – and lots of other limiting beliefs. Once these limiting beliefs kick in – like the house in a casino – its game over!
So the next time you want to get fit or lose weight or achieve any other goal in your life, start by understanding your (limiting) beliefs, no matter where they originated. Convert these into enabling beliefs. Then, and only then, adopt new behaviours, which will lead you to the new fulfilling outcomes you are seeking. This is what participants learn to do in our success blueprint programs.
Do this, and you will be the 0.6% of people who sustain change, year after year. In fact, you will parlay small initial successes into big successes in no time at all.