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Change Your Life by Changing Your Belief

May 24, 2008
Let's start with an example of positive mental reinforcement. Imagine that you want to prepare a meal for your friends. As you mentally prepare it's likely that you'll plan the menu, the shopping list and the food preparation involved.

You believe that this meal will happen, so your brain helps you achieve success. Now, let's look at a negative instance. For me, a good example is the thought of running a 5K race with my friend. I hate running. The very idea makes me think of pain and boredom.

I believe that I can't finish the race. Yet my friend wants me to run with her and her daughters in two months' time. How do I change my thinking so that I will not only be able to run the race, but also enjoy it? Merely thinking positively won't help, as anyone who's tried to give up smoking or change eating habits can attest.

My belief needs to change. I need to believe that running this race is worthwhile. How do I change my belief? The interesting thing about beliefs is they are usually formed either when we are young. When I was twenty, my boyfriend persuaded me to go running with him.

I bought a cheap pair of running shoes, set off without any preparation and within fifteen minutes was a red-faced, oxygen-starved wreck. The experience has stuck in my mind and every attempt at running brings this terrible memory back. That was the structure of my belief and it was set in stone.

Many people are stuck in a similar structure of belief. It might be a fear of speaking, a phobia of flying or even not sleeping well. The first step towards change is to reverse the belief. The next steps include building motivation and knowing what actions are needed to get to what you want.

Using NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and hypnosis, it's possible to revisit the experience that formed your negative belief and change it. Once I revisited my painful running experience, I realised that I was afraid of being embarrassed in front of my athletic and good looking boyfriend. I was shocked to actually feel the pain and discomfort of running during the experience.

Once I altered my old belief, I set out to understand what would motivate me. I know that one of my strongest personality traits is my competitive nature.

Maybe it comes from being the third child born in a family of four kids. Our childhood games were always about winning. So I've always been someone who either excelled at a task or avoided the task completely.

But once I realized that finishing the race was a win in its own way, I decided to run the race. Once I overcame my apprehension, my next step was preparation. I took some advice on how to stretch and what kind of shoes to wear. I made a weekly plan that progressively challenged me by gradually increasing time and distance on every run.

It's working already. Today I ran for over twenty minutes on the treadmill and covered 3.3k. My thinking and belief structure has completely changed. Now I look forward to my weekly run. For me that's a real change, and anyone who knows me would certainly agree.

The question I present to you is simple. What would you like to change?
About the Author
Liz Labrum is a Master NLP Practitioner and hypnotherapist in Surrey with clients in London, Richmond, Hampton and Kingston. Get help to reduce stress, stop smoking, lose weight and help avoid burnout.
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