5 Steps to removing limiting thoughts and beliefs
It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Northern Ireland today – summer may have arrived at last! I’m sure it will only last a day or so but nonetheless it is fantastic to see the sun.
I have had today pencilled out in my diary for a couple of weeks now. I blocked out the time so that I wouldn’t book in any client appointments today and I wrote a list of things I wanted to get done.
My self-sabotaging thoughts started last night when I heard the weather forecast for today. As I went to bed, trying to set my intention that I would wake in a productive frame of mind I heard the little voice …
“It’s hardly ever sunny. You should cancel your work plans and just enjoy the sunshine. You can always get the work done later. It’s not that important anyway. Getting some therapeutic sunshine and much needed Vitamin D would be far more beneficial”.
So I woke this morning and sure enough the sun was shining. I put on my shorts and the little voice inside my head rejoiced and performed some celebratory back-flips. It crooned “Oh yeah – she’s going to bin the working lark – she’s going to sit outside in the sun … whoop!”
I decided to humour the little voice – after all it was jumping for joy that I had listened to its advice. I had breakfast and quietly turned the laptop on so it would be ready for me when I got back from the school run.
My original plan for today had been to get the kids to school and then be at my desk for 9am working away on the laptop, writing blog posts and meditations, writing content for my coaching course and getting caught up with paperwork. Due to the sunshine I made an addition to my plan – I would go for a walk.
As I pulled up in the car park and set out on my walk my little self-sabotaging voice was ecstatic. It was egging me on to just stay out walking. It was very convincing: –
“Isn’t this lovely out here. Why would you want to sit indoors on a computer all day. Sure isn’t this why you left your office job in the first place? You’re self-employed – you set your schedule. Sure why don’t you head home after your walk and sit in the garden? You could read your new book – it’s a self-help one anyway so you wouldn’t really be wasting your time …”
This inner dialogue went round and round in my head as I walked. I have learned over the years to become mindful of my thoughts and as I walked I started to find it quite amusing. The temptation was most definitely there to give in and just enjoy the sunshine today but I decided to work as planned.
I knew that if I gave in and sat in the garden all day I would feel bad later this evening. The little jubilant voice that was coaxing me to skive off would change its tune. It would sound like a judgemental parent or boss – “See you are useless aren’t you? You can’t even stick to the plan. You had wanted to get so much done today but you couldn’t even write one blog. Tut tut.”
So my day has been good and productive despite the sabotaging efforts of my little inner voice. I managed a 5 km walk in the sun to get my head cleared and to get some inspiration. I then had a lovely cup of coffee and got my content all written for my coaching clients. I wrote and recorded a guided meditation and also had time to have lunch outside in the sun and to make tonight’s tea while on my break.
I have written this blog post and have the other few bits and pieces on my list all attainable before the kids get home from school. Then I intend to spend an hour or two in the garden reading my book.
The secret to eliminating the self-sabotaging voice is to notice it in the first place. Here are 5 tips that helped me overcome mine: –
Practice mindful meditation each day. Become the observer of your life. Notice what you are doing and thinking rather than just being on auto-pilot. Whether you are washing the dishes or walking the dog – notice what is going on around you and within you. This regular practice is invaluable and helps you learn to observe your thought patterns.
Identify the thoughts
Once you become mindful you can start to identify and make note of your thoughts. Get yourself a journal and write down what you are thinking. Write down your decision making process. Identify any limiting beliefs that are coming up for you.
Analyse your thoughts & beliefs
Once you have identified your thoughts and the limiting beliefs that arise as you go about your day, begin to question them. Ask yourself if your beliefs are justified or whether they are false. Look at them critically and be honest with yourself – is fear the root cause of you not doing something? What is causing the fear? What is the worst that can happen and is it really that bad?
Replace the old with the new
Replace your old thinking patterns and beliefs with more positive ones. Using my example from earlier my thought pattern was something like this – “I can just do the work later, sure it is not that important anyway. Nobody is paying much attention so it doesn’t matter if I am a few days late with my content”.
I noticed this thought and re-worded it as follows: – “Yes I could do the work later but I know that I probably won’t and that then I will beat myself up. I will do it now as planned and then that will free my time up later this afternoon and I can enjoy the sun then. The work is important – it is important for me to feel productive and it may make a difference to someone’s life today. It may seem like nobody is paying attention but I know that my efforts are recognised nonetheless.”
Try and notice your thoughts and then replace them with more positive vibes – it really works.
Mindfulness and becoming self-aware comes with practice. Keep practising these techniques until they become a habit. The more you do this the easier it will become – I promise!
I hope this was useful for you and I would love to hear how you combat your negative self-talk and self-sabotage. You can connect with me by leaving a comment below or by following my Facebook page.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and I wish you love & light for the rest of your day.