The Upward Spiral of Self Belief

Upward Spiral of Self Belief

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you are right”

Henry Ford

If you think you can lose weight or think you can’t you are right.  The same with any bad habit you are trying to stop.  If you want to control your eating, your alcohol consumption, stop using drugs or stop smoking then you need to start by believing you can. 

This might seem like common sense, but most of the clients who come to me for help with weight loss, alcohol or drug addiction have tried so many times to stop before and failed because underneath their desire to stop they don’t actually believe they can. 

When I ask on a scale of 1 – 10 how great is your desire to stop it is always a 10 but if I ask if they believe that they can stop they drop down to between a 4 and a 7.  The desire is there but they are lacking the self-belief to follow through and without the self-belief that they can be successful, they are beaten before they start.  They can stop but they can’t they stay stopped.

It is all about self-belief and the more you have the more you get, it is like stepping onto an upward spiral where you feel better about yourself a little bit more each day. You need to believe in yourself before you start otherwise every failure that you have confirms the ideas that you already hold about yourself.  

When you have self-belief you see failure as a hurdle to be climbed over, without it you see every failure as a mountain with no way across.  When you believe in yourself, you believe in your abilities, you know your strengths and you know that no matter what hurdles you encounter along the way to your new life you will find a way to succeed.  If you can’t go through you will find a way to go around or to go over.  You believe that no matter what happens you will achieve your goal.

How to improve your self-belief to ensure success in habit change

  1. Self-belief is a skill and like any skill, it needs to be developed and practised.  We all have some things we are good at in life and belief in ourselves, we might be good at our job, a good parent, a good partner, or we have a hobby that we enjoy.  Take that knowledge, that belief in what you are good at and transfer it to the challenge of putting your bad habits behind you. 
  2. If you don’t have self-belief in giving up your bad habit then there is something that you need to learn.  You don’t become a professional football or guitar player overnight.  It takes practice and you need to learn from the beginning.  If you fail it just means there is more to learn. 
  3. Develop a growth mindset and understand that we are changing and growing every day. We learn new things every day.  We are constantly changing and developing, and self-belief is a skill that you can develop as you set yourself challenges and achieve them, step by step.
  4. Set realistic goals that can be achieved.  Maybe you want to lose 3 stone but start with a realistic goal of changing your diet, focus on eating healthy food for a week.  Maybe stop snacking in between meals for 7 days. Plan to go for a walk each day.   Try to cut down your alcohol intake by having fewer drinks each day or having alcohol-free days.  The biggest barrier to changing our habits is the fear that it is for life.  How can I survive if I never have another drink, or never eat chocolate again? It is better to focus our attention away from our bad habits and on getting fitter and healthier.  If you set yourself a target to eat healthier and to do some exercise every day it may come as a natural development that you just don’t want to continue to poison yourself with sugar, drugs or alcohol.  So, take it in baby steps.  Set yourself little goals that you know are achievable.  And as you achieve those little goals you can set the next set of targets.  Remember that self-belief is always building on itself. 
  5. Take it a day at a time.  What do I need to do today to move forward?  The biggest turnoff to achieving anything is focusing on the great big goal – it can just seem too big and too difficult.  But, if each day we can do one thing to improve who we are, to improve our health, and our fitness, if we can learn something new about ourselves, it will all add up as the days go by to move you closer and closer to your bigger goal.
  6. Our brain loves little victories and will encourage you onwards and build up your self-belief.  Once you start achieving little goals you can move or change your big goal.  That 10k you walked, you now want to run and next year you want to run a marathon. 
  7. Stay focused on yourself and your achievements.  Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, it can lead to negative thinking, “I’ll never be as good as them.”  “How can they eat just one chocolate?” “How do they manage to drink just one glass of wine at the weekend?” This is your life; this is your journey.  Compare yourself to how you were yesterday, last year and see how far you have travelled. Stay focused on your goals and your achievements. 
  8. Take time to imagine yourself once you have achieved your goal and how your life will be.  Notice the feelings that you have when you have achieved your goal and keep them locked inside.  What will have changed for the better and know that it will only keep improving.  When we put a bad habit behind us it reaches out into all areas of our life, and everything just gets better. 

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