Do This Exercise before Setting a Goal

When you set a goal, ask yourself whether it contradicts with one of your beliefs. Reflect on that question and write down everything that comes up.

Example: Beliefs against Setting Up a Business

Suppose that you plan to set up a business. Which one of your beliefs contradict that goal?

  • Setting up a business requires a lot of hard work.
  • I’m lazy.
  • It requires a lot of connections.
  • I don’t have any connections.
  • It requires social skills.
  • I don’t have any social skills.
  • It involves a lot of risks.
  • I don’t want to go bankrupt.

The list goes on, but let’s work with this list.

Question Your Beliefs

We’re going to ask three questions for each belief.

  • Is this belief accurate?
  • Can I come up with another belief that would serve my goal more?
  • If yes, what is it?

Let’s go over our list.

Setting up a business requires a lot of hard work.

  • Accurate? Yes.
  • Another belief possible? No.

I’m lazy.

  • Accurate? To some extent.
  • Another belief possible? Yes.
  • Alternative? I can cultivate the self-discipline to work hard.

Setting up a business requires a lot of connections.

  • Accurate? To some extent.
  • Another belief possible? Yes.
  • Alternative? Setting up a business requires some connections.

I don’t have any connections.

  • Accurate? To some extent.
  • Another belief possible? Yes.
  • Alternative? I can build the connections that are necessary to set up a business.

Setting up a business requires social skills.

  • Accurate? To some extent.
  • Another belief possible? Yes.
  • Alternative? Setting up a business requires some social skills.

I don’t have any social skills.

  • Accurate? To some extent.
  • Another belief possible? Yes.
  • Alternative? I can cultivate the social skills that are required to build a business.

Setting up a business involves a lot of risks.

  • Accurate? To some extent.
  • Another belief possible? Yes.
  • Alternative? Setting up a business involves some risks.

I don’t want to go bankrupt.

  • Accurate? Yes.
  • Another belief possible? Yes.
  • Alternative? I’ll manage my risks to minimize the probability of bankruptcy.

Write Down Your New Beliefs

  • Setting up a business requires a lot of hard work.
  • I can cultivate the self-discipline to work hard.
  • Setting up a business requires some connections.
  • I can build the connections that are necessary to set up a business.
  • Setting up a business requires some social skills.
  • I can cultivate the social skills that are required to build a business.
  • Setting up a business involves some risks.
  • I’ll manage my risks to minimize the probability of bankruptcy.

Can You Change Your Beliefs?

Your beliefs are some thoughts that you accepted to be true at a particular moment in your life. Throughout the time, you reinforced those thoughts in your psyche, and they turned into deep-seated beliefs.

You can change your beliefs by taking the following steps.

  • Read your new set of beliefs frequently.
  • Memorize them.
  • Repeat them often.
  • Recognize your objections to your new beliefs.
  • Work on those objections, and add new beliefs to your list if necessary.

Objection Handling

Suppose that you repeat the new belief about developing social skills. You detect some objections coming up.

  • I’m an introvert.
  • Introvert people have poor social skills.
  • You either have social skills, or you don’t. You can’t develop them.

Now, apply the same questions to your objections.

I’m an introvert.

  • Accurate? Yes.
  • Another belief possible? No.

Introvert people have poor social skills.

  • Accurate? Not necessarily.
  • Another belief possible? Yes.
  • Alternative? An introvert can have excellent social skills.

You either have social skills, or you don’t. You can’t develop them.

  • Accurate? Not necessarily.
  • Another belief possible? Yes.
  • Alternative? I can develop social skills if I invest the time and effort necessary.

Beware of the Fixed Mindset

I included the last objection on purpose to introduce the concept of fixed mindset and growth mindset.

People with a fixed mindset believe that a person can’t develop new skills or improve themselves. The opposite of the fixed mindset is the growth mindset.

The idea of the growth mindset is the fundamental principle of personal development.

When I first heard about the growth mindset in the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, my outlook on life changed.

Core Beliefs Have a Great Impact on Your Life.

Our mindset is a core belief. Our core beliefs determine the rest of our beliefs, which in turn affect our thoughts and actions.

If you have a fixed mindset, I strongly recommend that you read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, and replace it with the growth mindset.

Add Your Existing, Supportive Beliefs

Next to your new set of beliefs, write down your existing beliefs that support your goal.

  • Compared to a job, setting up a business results in greater wealth in the long run.
  • By setting up a business, I’ll produce significantly more value.
  • I’ll create new job opportunities for people who need them.
  • I’ll become the best version of myself.
  • I’ll make the most of my life.
  • I’ll be able to enjoy my life more.

Merge the three lists into a single list. Print it out. Read it often. Memorize it. And repeat it. Keep handling the objections as they come up. Add new beliefs to your list as needed.

Conclusion

Your actions play a critical role in creating your reality. Your actions are the results of your programming. Your programming is the result of your beliefs. Your beliefs stem from your core beliefs.

You can change your life and your results by changing your beliefs. You can do that by coming up with a new set of beliefs that are aligned with your goals.

Your existing beliefs are nothing but some thoughts that you believed to be true. You can change your beliefs by repeating your new set of beliefs until you internalize them at the gut level.

Coming Soon…

The exercise in this post is the first step you need to take to align your beliefs with your goals. In a follow up post, I’m going to share other practices to internalize your new set of beliefs.

Burak Bilgin
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly roundup of my latest posts.

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