Your Beliefs Determine Your Results
Written By: Sarah Kolman RN, MA, CHPN, INHC
When I’m striving for a goal, I can often be my own worst enemy. As soon as I set out to try something, my inner critic shows up and has so much to say! If you, too, trip yourself up from time to time, read on for some tips on how to get out of self-sabotage and get back down to business.
All of us have an inner critic. It’s the voice that confirms all our limiting beliefs about ourselves and even seeks evidence to back them up — I’m not enough, I’m unlovable, I’m not attractive, I’m not smart, I’m untrustworthy and unreliable… I call this radio station in my own brain “K-BULL radio” (because everything on it is bull) and when I have the volume turned up, look out! I can’t find an optimistic thought about myself if you pay me! These thoughts can affect what I do, what I say, and how I respond to the world in massive ways.
When I’m not aware of the blaring radio station that is subconsciously dictating my life, it can sabotage my efforts to create the life I actually want to live—without even knowing it is happening. I sabotage healthy eating. I can sabotage love and connection. I sabotage my performance and commitment at the gym. I sabotage my integrity, honesty, and self-worth. I even sabotage my career goals. It trickles into many areas of my life.
Here’s something to get clear about — while our limiting beliefs can contribute to disappointment, unmet goals, and low self esteems, they come with good intentions. After all, they’re designed to protect us! Here’s an example: I was teased throughout my childhood for having skinny toothpick legs. Ever since, I’ve been embarrassed about them. In my mind, when classmates would make fun of my skinny legs, they’d also be telling me I was unattractive, not enough, and unworthy. It’s been shockingly easy (even as an adult!) to view myself through this lens that was established when I was in elementary school — I don’t even want to tell you how often I have negative thoughts about my legs!
When that voice comes around nowadays, I know that it’s just trying to protect me from the vulnerability, shame, and embarrassment I felt when I was younger. Getting teased was really hard and my subconscious self doesn’t want me to have those unpleasant emotions again. When I believe these limiting beliefs from my subconscious, I keep myself small, hidden, and insecure. I’ve worked hard to recognize it, thank it for its care, and change the station to something more supportive and empowering—like I am strong, powerful, confident, and worthy.
Just like my experience when I was younger, small incidents can stay with us and end up getting lots of airtime on K-BULL radio over the years. It could be an offhand comment from a coworker, classmate, or boss, or something bigger — like seeing yourself a certain way because of the order in which you were born in your family, or struggling with a tough medical diagnosis. Many of my clients are tuned into a “K-BULL” station that is :
My body is broken…
I’ll always be sick…
I can’t heal…
I am weak. Everyone else is stronger than me…
I am not dedicated. I don’t have willpower. I can’t change…
Why would anyone want to hang out with me?
I can’t eat or drink what they can…
My skin looks disgusting. I am unattractive and unworthy…
I am overweight and unlovable…
Any of this sounding familiar? We all have low moments, but when the story you’re consistently telling yourself, day in and day out, starts to resemble something like this, a dangerous thing can occur: you start to believe that story and create that reality, completely sabotaging all of your efforts to feel good and be healthy.
In the gym, I am working on improving my quad strength and I set a goal to be able to front squat my body weight within a 6 month time frame. Cue the K-BULL radio! My thoughts: “You aren’t improving. See, you are simply weak. You are a failure. You aren’t committed. What were you thinking? You are lame. This is embarrassing.” Of course, I had the thoughts to throw in the towel and change my goal because saving myself from follow through, failure and embarrassment is way better than making up some excuse about why I needed to change the goal.
However, I caught K-BULL before I self-sabotaged. I chose to see myself as committed, creative, determined, humble and confident (even through failure). Instead of quitting or changing my goal, I reached out for support. I got help from a trainer to not only help me with a new training plan but also just coaching me through a growth mindset and facing my fears and limiting beliefs head on. I’m not sure if I will meet my goal, but I’m practicing feeling strong, confident, flexible, and committed in the process.
First, Catch K-BULL
Like everything in life, awareness is key. You gotta actually know what thoughts and ideas are swarming around in your noggin before you can shift the problem. You get to go in! Slow down, and check in with yourself. What are the thoughts surrounding this feeling I am having? What is the voice inside saying to me?
Once you identify the thought you get to negate the thought. I say, “thanks for sharing, but I’m committed to bigger, better things.” So when the “you are broken, you are unlovable, and there is something wrong with you” voices come blaring across the airwaves, you get to notice them and choose instead to believe that you are whole, that you are enough, and that you are capable. Once you get past the ignorant K-BULL you can actually choose what you want to create and make a plan that will get you there.
Choose What You Want to Create
Once you’ve caught yourself listening to K-BULL radio, the next step is to remind yourself that you get to choose how to respond. Check out this article on ‘ways of being’ to learn more about the power of choosing who you are (versus staying focused on what you do or produce). You get to choose new thoughts and new ways of being that actually support you in reaching your goals—whether health, family, career or financially focused. This is the perfect time to change the channel and choose a mindset and belief system that is more true and will actually support you.
For example: “I trust my body. I am worthy and enough in this moment. I can do this. I will succeed with support. I have everything I need. I can choose connection with others when everything in me wants to isolate and reject. I can choose worthiness when everything inside me wants to believe that I lack worth and am not enough. I can even choose empowerment when I feel like the world is giving me more than I can handle.”
The specific wording isn’t important. What’s important is that you tap into ways of being and believing that are true to your core essence — who you really are — and that you reject the story that is actually standing in your way of a better life.
Get a Membership to the Mindset Gym
Your positive mindset might need some strength training and conditioning — this is hard stuff! (When I decided I wanted to learn how to do a pull up, I definitely couldn’t do it on day one. In fact, it took over six months of dedicated training to build up my strength.) The same thing goes for a supportive mindset. If you’ve been in a rut with listening to your limiting beliefs for a long time, that’s what’s comfortable and familiar. The neural pathways in your brain that are associated with positive thinking may not have been exercised in a while and you shouldn’t expect it to be easy right off the bat. So...
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Don’t get caught up in defeat when self-love and knowing your truth doesn’t feel natural. Remind yourself to have a sense of humor about it and keep trying. My dedicated practice lately has been to actively choose to believe my strength, worthiness, and value — and it takes constant. Freaking. Practice.
No Need to Do It Alone
You don’t have to do things alone! When did we start believing that as a culture? If something is important to you and you want to ensure you reach your goal, get support! Catch that limiting belief that you should know how to do it yourself and there is something wrong with you if you need help. That is big ol’ fat K-BULL. Whether it is personal training, nutrition counseling, health coaching, business coaching, financial advising, counseling, etc.—ask for help! When we ask for help, what do we get? I usually get a plan for execution, support in shifting limiting beliefs, acquiring new knowledge, and being held accountable for follow through. Boom! Success. Every time I have asked for help, I have exceeded my goal and have felt proud of myself for the things that I have accomplished when I didn’t see it possible. Asking for support, relying on others, is one of the most empowering tools in our kit. How ironic!
Sarah Kolman RN, MA, CHPN, INHC is an AIP Certified Coach, Registered Nurse, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and Contemplative Psychotherapist. Sarah’s unique one-on-one health coaching practice blends her nursing and psychotherapy experience with holistic and nutrition-based health concepts. A passionate student in the field of psychoneuroimmunology, she helps her clients heal by focusing on the brain-body connection and its profound impact on wellness. With Sarah’s support and guidance, clients learn to manage stubborn symptoms that have persisted through countless traditional treatments. Learn more about Sarah’s coaching services by visiting her website, www.this-one-life.com. Her book Full Plate: Nourishing Your Family’s Whole Health in a Busy World is available on Amazon. You can follow Sarah on Facebook.