Identify and change your negative beliefs.
Many people are limited by their lack of belief in their own abilities and what it’s possible for them to achieve, particularly when it comes to eating and fitness!
Therefore, before you embark on anything that aims to change something about you or your way of life, it’s important to address any negative beliefs and habits related to food and exercise. Quite often these will have been ingrained into your mind from childhood and will have become an automatic response – just like pulling your hand away from a hot plate, or stopping at red lights.
There may also be more emotional reasons why you eat or avoid exercise. For instance, many people eat when they are upset or stressed. That’s OK, but it’s important for you to recognise that this is the reason, rather than your body needing food.
So a belief is something which our own minds have created. A lot of people think the process of changing a negative belief will be very difficult, involving doctors or therapists.
However, here’s the good news! You can change a belief by changing the words that you say to yourself in response to a specific situation or trigger.
Important point: You’ll have noticed that we haven’t even mentioned calories or exercises yet! That’s because getting control of your weight and lifestyle is mainly about attitudes, habits and mind set…not necessarily about a “fad” way to reduce your calorie intake or flatten your tummy, despite what the slimming and fitness industry will have you believe! They try to deal with the symptoms but what they so patently fail to do is to address the underlying causes.
How to change a limiting belief.
We said the process was relatively simple…and it is! Take these steps:
Step 1: Identify the limiting belief and write it down.
‘I believe changing my eating habits will be difficult and take a long time to happen’ or ‘I’ve tried hard to diet in the past but I don’t think I’ve got the willpower to succeed’.
Step 2: What would it be more helpful to believe?
Write this down:
‘I believe I can change my eating habits and this can happen quickly and easily’ or ‘I believe I now have the determination to succeed in the long term’.
Read your new statement aloud and notice how it makes you feel. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, that means your unconscious mind is ‘fighting back’ – wanting to protect you against something which is different from what you have taught it to believe.
This is fine – that’s what the mind is there to do! Step 3 will help your unconscious mind to cope with change!
Step 3: Add some ‘process’ words to the new belief:
‘I am learning to believe that changing my eating habits can happen quickly and easily’ or ‘I’m starting to believe I have the determination to succeed in the long term’.
Write the new statement down then read it aloud. How does it feel now?
If it is still making you feel uncomfortable you may need to add more ‘process’ words:
‘I am enjoying learning to believe that changing my eating habits can happen quickly and easily’ or ‘With the right preparation, I’m starting to believe I have the determination to succeed in the long term’.
Step 4: Once you have created a new belief statement which feels reasonably comfortable to say aloud, you are now ready to begin to transform your belief.
Write down your new belief statement at least ten times, one after the other.
Say the new belief statement out loud to yourself in the mirror at least ten times.
Write out the statement and put it up in places where you will ‘meet’ it regularly in your home. It could be on the fridge door, in a place where you can see it when you are sitting using a computer or watching television or cooking dinner – in fact anywhere where it will come to your attention often!
Record the statement on your iPod or smartphone and play it to yourself. This is particularly helpful if you listen to it followed by a piece of music you really like or a recording that makes you laugh.
Get some friends/ members of your family to say the new belief to you at regular intervals. You can even make this into a game with your children – maybe a challenge where they have to say the belief to you five times in a day at times when you least expect it.
Create a series of challenges for yourself to trial how the new belief is beginning to embed itself in your mind. Start simply. For example, consciously change a brand of household product that you have regularly used for a long period of time to something new or decide to travel by a different form of transport and/or a different route on a regular journey.
Notice and record how you feel about making these changes particularly any ways in which this is different from when you have made changes in the past.