In my coaching and teaching, I regularly discuss how we grow up absorbing beliefs from the people around us, often well-meaning individuals. These beliefs can push, encourage, and challenge us, or they can prevent us from trying new things and hinder our developing self-confidence. As a parent for example, I try to instil positive beliefs in my children, hoping to equip them for future challenges. However, what we often overlook is learning (or teaching) how to purposefully create new beliefs by ourselves for ourselves.

Believing in new possibilities is crucial for personal growth and fulfilment. Without the ability to embrace new beliefs, we risk stagnating and dying inside, as our potential for growth and change diminishes.

The good news is that it’s possible to learn to believe something entirely new, even if it feels out of reach. In this post, we’ll explore why it’s important to believe new things, how to develop new beliefs, and how this process is supported by evidence from positive psychology and coaching practices.

Why is it Important to Believe New Things?

Our beliefs shape our reality. They influence how we perceive ourselves, our potential, and the world around us. If we hold limiting beliefs, we constrain our ability to grow and achieve our goals. On the other hand, embracing new, empowering beliefs can open up a world of possibilities.

Positive psychology research supports this idea, emphasising the power of a growth mindset—a belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and perseverance. According to Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University, individuals with a growth mindset are more likely to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, and see effort as a path to mastery. This mindset is built on the foundation of believing in the potential for change and growth (Dweck, 2006).

How to Believe Something New

Developing new beliefs involves more than just deciding to think differently. It requires a deliberate process of practice and reinforcement. Here’s how you can start believing something new:

Step 1: Identify Your Current Beliefs

The first step is to understand what you currently believe. These beliefs are often so ingrained that we mistake them for facts. Reflect on your beliefs about yourself, your life, your relationships, your past, and your future. Ask yourself if these beliefs serve you or hold you back. Recognising that thoughts are optional and not facts can help you begin to challenge and change them.

Step 2: Decide What You Want to Believe

Once you’ve identified your current beliefs, decide what you want to believe instead. Choose beliefs that resonate with you and feel achievable. It’s important to find a neutral or slightly positive belief as a starting point rather than jumping to an extreme opposite belief, which may feel unbelievable.

For example, if your current belief is, “I will always be stuck in this job,” a more neutral belief might be, “It’s possible for me to find a new job that I enjoy.” This intermediate belief can serve as a stepping stone to more empowering beliefs like, “I am capable of finding a job that fulfils me.”

Step 3: Practice Believing

Practicing new thoughts is essential to turn them into beliefs. Think of it as rehearsing for a role in a play. Initially, it will feel unnatural, but with consistent practice, it becomes more comfortable and eventually second nature.

A belief is just a thought you keep thinking until it becomes familiar and accepted. To instil a new belief, repeat it often and visualise it as true. This process is akin to “brainwashing” yourself with positive thoughts.

Moving Through a Thought Sequence Bridge

Sometimes, the new belief you want to adopt may feel too far from your current belief. In such cases, a thought sequence bridge or ladder can help you transition from one belief to another gradually. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Identify your current limiting belief.
  2. Adjust this belief slightly to make it more neutral.
  3. Gradually shift your thoughts towards the new belief by creating intermediate steps.

Over time, I have worked on several thoughts to support my professional transition. To bridge the gap between where I started and where I wanted to go, I used the following approach with bridging thoughts:

  1. Finding evidence in my story or from people around me that I could use to my advantage. For instance, instead of viewing my engineering background as a hindrance to my new dream, I drew on the fact that my beloved uncle worked in psychology and my mother had a strong interest in the field.
  2. Identifying past clues in my life experiences that showed I had always been interested in the human aspect of my professional journey.
  3. Reclaiming the competences and skills I had acquired, such as academic exposure, a love of learning, and organizational skills, as tools that could support and propel me towards my new goals.
  4. Understanding how my unique background could contribute differently to the field I was entering, framing it as my unique contribution.

Example of a Thought Sequence Bridge

  • Current Belief: “Becoming a successful & reputable life coach is a pipe dream.”
  • Intermediate Steps:
    • “Some people are changing careers (even engineers) and becoming successful life coaches.”
    • “Someone like me could learn & practice life coaching.”
    • “It is possible that I start a coaching business and have clients.”
    • “I am able to gain significant life coaching experience, and become a great life coach in time.”
    • “I am bringing a unique perspective to my life coaching and supporting clients.”
    • “I am becoming a successful and reputable life coach.”
    • “I have successfully supported 70 clients since I started life coaching, and I know I bring something unique to them.”
    • “I have a successful & reputable life coaching business”

Rehearsing New Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions

Visualisation is a powerful tool to reinforce new beliefs. Using your prefrontal cortex, imagine yourself as the person who holds this new belief. Visualise your thoughts, feelings, and actions in this new reality. Ask yourself, “Who is that person who has achieved that and thinks this is normal?”

Rehearse this new self-image repeatedly until it feels natural. Live as if you already embody this new belief, and practice it in your daily life. This rehearsal process helps solidify the new belief and makes it a part of your identity.

Conclusion: Embrace the Power of New Beliefs

Believing in new possibilities is essential for growth and fulfilment. By identifying your current beliefs, deciding what you want to believe, practicing new thoughts, and using visualisation techniques, you can transform your mindset and achieve your goals. Embrace the journey of adopting new beliefs and watch how it opens up new opportunities in your life.

If you’re ready to transform your beliefs and achieve your goals, let’s connect. Together, we can work towards a more fulfilling and empowered life.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Sophie

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Inspired by:

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Random House.

Life Coach School. (2014, December 11). Episode 35: What Do You Want to Believe? [Podcast]. Retrieved from https://thelifecoachschool.com/podcast/35/

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