Charles Dickens is one of the most famous writers ever to take pen to paper and is often regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. One of my favourite stories by Dickens is A Christmas Carol. I loved Disney’s remake of it as a child and the message behind the story has always stuck with me…especially around Christmas time. For most of us in the western world, the Christmas and New Year holiday period is often a period of reflection and setting goals for the year ahead; an opportunity for change and growth. Unfortunately the majority of us never truly achieve what we set out to accomplish through our New Year Resolutions and this is where Ebenezer, through the artful prose of Dickens, can help us.
You see, a lot of the time, it’s not our capabilities that hold us back from achieving the great things we would like to achieve in life, it’s our beliefs. More specifically, it’s our beliefs about ourselves…our limiting beliefs. Because without the belief that we can achieve something most of us don’t even try.
So let’s imagine the Ghost of Christmas Past is taking you on a journey into your past. What are the beliefs that you picked up over the years that don’t support you and are holding you back in your relationships, your finances, your health, your career? Take a moment to think about that now and write down two or three that come to mind. Now, allow the Ghost of Christmas Present to bring you back to now…notice how those beliefs have shaped your life over the years. What ideas, what dreams, what talents, what abilities have lain unfulfilled because of those beliefs? Are you where you want to be in life, doing what you’ve always wanted to do…or is there something more you want to accomplish, someone different that you want to be?
Men’s courses all foreshadow certain ends, to which, if preserved in, they must lead….But if the courses be departed from , the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me! ~ Ebenezer Scrooge to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, in Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Now it’s the turn of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Step into the body of your future self and see through your own eyes, hear through your own ears and feel those emotions…what pain are you suffering because of those disempowering beliefs? Allow him to take you 5 years into the future. Will you have wasted another 5 years of your life, holding back because of these limiting beliefs? Now skip 10 years into the future. What’s your life like now? I’m guessing if you’re doing this exercise and you’re imagining the accumulated guilt and regret of living life well below what you’re capable of it’s a pretty uncomfortable feeling. How about if we jump 20 years into the future…what’s life like for you now?
Okay! Come on back to the present. Now’s your opportunity to change those beliefs and make new empowering beliefs about yourself and what you’re capable of. You can do this easily because beliefs are completely arbitrary…they’re made up! We’ve picked them up over the course of our lives from our parents, our teachers, our community leaders, our peers. We may have even picked them up from watching a movie, reading books or even a short blog! Because they’re in our heads, we don’t even question the truth behind them, we just accept them as true. If you want to change, recognising this is the first step.
So put a line through those old disempowering beliefs because, although they may have served you in some way in the past, holding onto these is not good for your health and is limiting your current and future potential. Here’s a simple rule of thumb: Take a belief that was holding you back and replace it with a new belief that is completely the opposite. For example, if you have a belief that, “I am shy around new people” why not switch it to a new empowering belief like, “I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them”. How about this one, “I haven’t yet met the person who is going to change my life.” Someone with this kind of belief is likely to take every opportunity to meet new people and take an interest in getting to know them.
Now, armed with your new belief, again take a trip into the future and notice how your life is different. What have you accomplished in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years all because of this new belief? Just like before, step into your “future you” and see through your own eyes. What are you seeing, what are you hearing, what are you doing, who are you with and what are you feeling?
Armed with your new belief, go out there and make your life the way you want it. Build solid references for your new belief, gain new experiences that prove to you that this belief is true for you. The only things standing between where you are now and where you want to be are time, knowledge, skills and effort. Go out, spend your time wisely, learn the knowledge and apply it, put in the effort, and make your future the way you want it to be.
If you’d like to know more about how you can make real change in your beliefs and in your life, or if you’re just generally curious about what professional coaching can offer you, please contact us at any time for a free consultation.