This article is adapted from one of the chapters in my new online course Productivity Mindsets & Time Management Tools.
Who we believe we are – our self-image - is who we’ll act like.
So if we make sure that those beliefs match the person we want to be and the things we want to be able to do – we’ll start to almost effortlessly reach our goals.
And there are many thoughts on how to do this. Some swear by daily affirmations, some find it useful to keep challenging one’s beliefs, others believe in hypnosis, visualization, positive reinforcement, and so on.
After coaching people around the world for the past 13 years or so, I’ve found that all of these can work. It simply seems that different techniques work for different people.
But whichever approach we choose – there’s one thing that everyone who succeeds at making this change seems to do:
They make the change believable for their subconscious mind.
Your subconscious mind believes the things you tell it over and over again. And that plays a huge role in what your self-image is, and how it affects you.
Because this means that whichever words or phrases you regularly use to describe yourself is what your subconscious believes that you are. And when it believes something, it will always fight to make that belief true.
So if your subconscious believes that you’re, for example, undisciplined and unproductive - it will try to hold you back from being as disciplined or productive as you can be. Because if it doesn’t, then what it believes in stops being true- and it doesn’t like that.
So if we want our subconscious mind to help our growth rather than to hinder it, we should update these beliefs to something more helpful.
Now that might take a little time, and it will definitely take some effort, but once it’s done our subconscious mind will start encouraging and pushing us to live up to those new, improved beliefs.
It will fight to make us be and act in accordance with that updated self-image.
We improve our self-image by making a conscious choice about what we want our self-image to be - and then start training our subconscious mind to believe it.
But, we have to be careful not to tell our subconscious obvious lies – because those are much harder for our mind to accept.
So if Jim wants to change his self-image from “I’m shy” to “I’m confident”, it won’t be ideal for him to just switch those words out with each other.
Instead, he should tell himself something that is more believable. Something that more easily could be true.
So he might change, “I’m shy”, to “I’m becoming more confident”.
When his self-image is that he is becoming more confident, his mind will more often encourage him to do things today that are more confident than the things he did yesterday – even if they’re not 100% super-confident things.
And it will do that simply because doing so fits with its belief of who Jim is.
And since this is not an impossibly huge step from one end of the scale to the other, it’ll not just be easier for his subconscious to accept– but also require a much smaller step outside of his comfort zone.
That way, he’ll avoid the panic zone and make sure he stays in his growth zone.
If you’d like to do this for yourself, here’s your simple exercise.
Make a list of the most common words you use to describe yourself.
When you’re done, take a look at which of those words aren’t serving you. Once you’ve identified them, start replacing them with something more helpful and positive. Something that tells you that you are becoming more of what you’d like to be.
To begin with it might be a good idea to just choose one, maybe two things to work on.
Then keep repeating this new description to yourself. Do it both randomly throughout your day - and especially when it’s relevant to what you’re doing.
Get a feel for the exercise, and see the effect on something that isn’t too overwhelming or scary to work on. And once you see progress, go back to your list and pick one or two more things to work on.
Remember, it’s not important that the steps you take are big, what matters is that they take you in the right direction.
Would you like to learn more helpful mindsets that will help you get more done with less time and effort? Check out my new course "Productivity Mindsets & Time Management Tools" by clicking here!
Hi, I'm TJ Guttormsen.
Since 2009 I’ve coached clients ranging from Olympic gold medalists and billionaires, to people who simply want more out life.
I’ve done over 100 national media appearances, published books, and created online courses that have earned several “Highest Rated” titles from their 11 000+ members.
Today I coach clients from all over the world, and teach seminars for business and events from my home in Las Vegas.
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