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Create Freedom and Abundance from the Inside Out
Here we are again– it’s the start of a new year and I’m sure you’re heightening the motivation to change one or many aspects of your life. We both know, however, that motivation tends to be a fleeting emotion and typically fades after a few days or weeks. I read in a Forbes article that only 8% of people actually follow through on their New Year’s resolutions. This is to be expected, given the typical way that we set goals and embark on change in our lives. I’d like to share an overview of how to actually create the change you want to see in 2016. This is based on a ton of personal trial and error using typical goal-setting techniques, along with the core philosophy I’m sharing in my Liberated Life coaching program.
Whether you want to lose weight, improve your financial life, or attract your soul mate this year, there are clear patterns in place in terms of why you have the current circumstances that you do. It’s never random. In our Western world, we are massively conditioned to put all kinds of will power into changing our circumstances without doing the deeper work of investigating why our circumstances are showing up as they are.
You have created your current circumstances based on what you believe to be true about yourself and the world you live in. There are specific beliefs fueling all of your behavior… and until you shed light on these beliefs, it’s impossible to make lasting changes.
This simple diagram shares how this mechanism works:
Before you put all of your focus on changing your circumstances, see if you can reverse engineer the process of how you arrived at the condition that you want to change. What actions, habits, and addictions, have directly contributed to the unwanted circumstance? What behaviors have motivated these actions? What thoughts and feelings circulate in your mind on a regular basis that justifies your behavior? What do you believe to be true about yourself and the world you’re living in that generates these specific thoughts and feelings?
Tracing your circumstances back to their root cause is the ONLY WAY to truly transform your situation. When you finally understand the root cause of the outer conditions of your life, you’ll create a foundation of change that has staying power.
Most of us get stuck in the pitfall of self-sabotage when we embark on personal transformation. This diagram reveals exactly why this happens. Until we are aware of the underlying dynamics that motivate our actions and generate our circumstances, all attempts at changing our situation will only solidify our limiting core beliefs.
Let’s take a simple example to illustrate how the mechanism of self-sabotage works. Let’s say that you’re currently 20 pounds overweight and your New Year’s resolution is to lose this extra weight. Why is the extra 20 pounds there? Well, you’re aware that you have a sugar addiction and that you often turn to food to relieve stress. Your goal is to cut the sugar addiction and find another way to deal with stress rather than eating.
Now, if this is as far as you take it, you will self-sabotage. You can’t cut the sugar addiction and lose the weight unless you continue to reverse engineer your situation based on this diagram. You’ve made it to the point of behavior, knowing that you ‘act’ on food addictions because you feel stressed out a lot of the time. If you continue to go deeper, however, you’ll see that you have specific thoughts and feelings that fuel your addictive behavior all of the time.
Simply put, your mind is telling a story about why you should eat sugar and turn to food to relieve stress. Your thoughts and feelings are painting a picture over your reality that make the need for your behavior feel extremely real and justified. If you want to lose the weight permanently, you have to be aware of this story you’re telling yourself. You have to see that you are the artist of your own existence and that you are always painting on your canvas. If you want to change your outer conditions, you have to tell a new story, one that aligns with the outer changes you’re looking for.
The thoughts and feelings that you’ll likely notice in this regard center around worry, overwhelm, or a lack of self-respect. You are constantly telling a story about yourself that makes you feel locked into a specific way of behaving. Simply heightening awareness of this story help you see that it’s not only inaccurate; it’s a big fat lie!
This is where we get to the real potential to transform. As you become aware of the false, damaging story you’re telling about yourself, the next layer to peel off is the core belief you are holding onto that makes your story appear to be 100% real. We all have core beliefs about life that are distorted attempts at feeling secure and deriving meaning from our existence. Up until a certain point in our spiritual and emotional development, we need these stories to validate our sense of self, to give us a concrete identity we can use to navigate though the world.
These core beliefs are formed very early in life and are ‘given’ to us by our parents, teachers, religious figures, media influences, and so on. By the time we are teenagers, these beliefs have become heavily instilled within us. We have a clear sense of who we are as a separate individual. For better or for worse, the majority of the time, our core beliefs are inaccurate and, therefore, harmful to our well-being.
Here are some generalized examples of core beliefs that are conditioned into us:
In the example above, the core belief that underlies sugar addiction is often ‘I’m not good enough.’ People usually turn to sugar to fill an internal void, where they never feel whole in who they are right now. This belief also creates the drama and stress that makes eating sugar seem like a perfectly rational choice. The extra weight is a way of compensating for this internal emptiness. The weight gives us a sense of ‘padding’ against this void, which gives us a feeling of pseudo-safety in warding off the feeling that we are never quite enough.
Can you see how trying to lose the weight without understanding this mechanism is set up for failure? The weight is there for a specific reason. It’s a prop you’re using to uphold your limiting beliefs about who you are. If you lose the weight without doing this deeper work, you’re removing a deeply ingrained safety mechanism that wards off feelings of never being good enough.
This is essentially the same mechanism at work for any condition you want to change– money, health, relationships, you name it.
What’s fascinating about this process is that simply shedding awareness on your core beliefs is an enormous part of the healing process. It’s often the case that you don’t need to ‘do’ much more than just bring as much conscious attention as you can to what you believe to be true. Why? Because these beliefs aren’t who you really are. They are like phantoms that are fed by a lack of awareness. Once you bring the light of consciousness to them, they are exposed as being not only false, but completely absurd.
Yes, there are a variety of techniques you can use to clear core beliefs, but the first step is always to bring full awareness to them and then ask yourself if they are really true and if you really need to hold onto them. Some of these techniques/methods include hypnotherapy, visualization, EFT, holotropic breath work, shamanic healing, and the use of psychoactive substances. Many people find these approaches to be very supportive in creating a new identity.
If you’d like to create lasting change this year, this is the process that I recommend. For every outer condition you want to change, trace it back to the core beliefs that have created this condition in the first place, and then do the deeper work of clearing these beliefs as much as you are establishing new habits and behaviors.
You’ll likely find my coaching program The Liberated Life to be immensely supportive in doing this work. We have an amazing community committed to supporting one another in living the most abundant, empowered, and awakened life possible.